Sara Arjun, Rahul, Manikandan K and Nivedhithaa Sathish star in Sillu Karupatti – and here’s our review.

This much-anticipated Tamil film by talented female director Halitha Shameem is now on Netflix for the world to see, and it’s a good entry point into the current wave of Indian cinema. The film is a cleverly done anthology, with four disparate age groups explored, tied together by the sweet blossoming of romances set in the same local neighbourhood where the story unfolds, giving us glimpses of Tamil Nadu, South India.

The first story, curiously named Pink Bag, stars the vibrant teenage actor Sara Arjun with the exuberant Rahul who play Mity and Maanja, from two opposing sides of the economic divide. Happy-go-lucky adolescent Maanja shows how being a rubbish collector, and playing in a landfill, can feel like a treasure hunt, and rich girl Mity discovers a boy who is honesty personified. In Kaaka Kadi (crow’s peck), the twinkling-eyed Manikandan K plays Mukilan, a corporate man who makes memes on the side and discovers he has testicular cancer. Nivedhithaa Sathish plays ‘unromantic’ fashion designer Madhu, and they meet regularly in a shared cab and find romance. The next story, Turtles, places focus on an older couple. The brilliant danseuse Leela Samson plays Yashoda, a turtle conservationist who meets KravMaga Sree Ram, Navaneethan, by chance, and a much-needed companionship blossoms. The final story is Hey Ammu, where a couple with three sassy kids have been married for over a decade. The romance was never there until the husband Dhanapal, played by the excellent Samuthirakani, buys his wife Amudhini an Alexa device, and she opens up about being taken for granted in the relationship. Actress Sunaina conveys the message of her character with such precision.

A tip: watch Pink Bag carefully, to see how it connects to Turtles, taking care to spot the boys from Pink Bag in Kaaka Kadi, and a fleeting part where Madhu from Kaaka Kadi is seen in Hey Ammu. The four stories show how a touch of idyllic love and pragmatism can help relationships thrive, and how technology driven modern India is. Most conversations juxtapose English with Tamil, and the cinematography by four DoPs, including Yamini Yagnamurthy, comes together seamlessly thanks to a confident director to make a memorable, hope-filled film.

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