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Dil Chahta Hai: Time to acknowledge the Sameers around us

It’s been 20 long years since the movie released, and the trio made a trip to Goa. But the characters are etched in our minds forever. And I was just thinking about everyone, especially the character Sameer.

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The Flight Attendant (2021) Season 1 Review: It’s a first class murder mystery

The life of air hostesses or flight attendants has always been of interest. From reel life in movies like Garam Masala and Anjaam to real life where Monica Bedi was spotted and offered a film, their jet setting life has enamored quite a lot of people. But no one has actually got down to understanding their daily routine and how they beat jetlag, as they change flights and move from city to city. The series based on booky by same name authored by Chris Bohjalian, tries to throw some light on this profession.

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Nobody (2021) Movie Review: Bob Odenkirk On A Death Wish

I was channel surfing on a boring day, not sure what I wanted to watch, my eyes fell on “Nobody”. There was Bob Odenkirk, probably lying on the ground, and many fists landing on his contorted face. Images of Saul Goodman from “Better Call Saul” & “Breaking Bad”, who usually got roughed up or picked up by gang members, started popping out of my memory. I had never seen Bob in a movie before, so I felt, this was as good a time as any, to watch a full fledged movie of Bob Odenkirk.

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Sherni (2021) Movie Review: Man vs. Wild

Right in the middle of the movie, Nangia, played by Neeraj Kabi, delivers a lecture in a seminar on how development and environment does not go hand in hand. Hence, we should strive for a balance, where both can coexist, exclaims Nangia.

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Friends: The Reunion (2021): A Candyfloss Get-together

It has been 20 years since I graduated from high school. We wanted to have a reunion of few close buddies who are still in touch. The last such reunion we had was in 2019, when a pal from Canada and another from Australia were visiting India during the year-end holiday. Of course, soon Corona virus hit us and we all were trapped in our homes.

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Short Film ‘Infected 2030’: Fear & Loathing in the Pandemic

As the title suggests, the movie is set in the future 2030 AD, where people are struggling with a virus for which there is still no cure. The short film starts with a couple, in a high rise in Mumbai, overlooking the Worli Sealink, where the wife Shivika is lying infected in the bed, while hubby Manik does the daily chores and takes care of her.

It’s a very depressing tale where the couple has zero interaction, as Manik places the breakfast on her side table and just leaves, while Shivika is cooped up in the room that’s covered with plastic sheets, from wall to wall. It probably means that, the plastic is disposed off every few days, and fresh ones placed, so that the doors, walls, windows and ceilings remain clean. That itself paints a grim picture of how life would be, if we are not able to find a cure for the current pandemic which has clenched the entire globe.Continue reading “Short Film ‘Infected 2030’: Fear & Loathing in the Pandemic”

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Aakrosh(1980): The Anger of the Voiceless

India is facing a challenge, we do not have vaccines, the Government is busy building a palace for Prime Minister Modi, while Indians all over the country are dying due to lack of oxygen, beds and vaccines. The Government is not paying heed to it has made this crisis worse and has hit the middle class and cities. This makes me wonder, what about people who do not have access to technology? How do they air their grievances? The prologue is related to the theme of the movie Aakrosh. What do the voiceless do when they are failed by the very system which is supposed to protect them?

Aakrosh begins as a legal thriller where we see Lahanya (Om Puri) being accused of murdering his wife and the film directly does not answer the question for a major part of the film. The film is not interested in the crime or condemning it, but more interested in how of it and not the why of it. 

Then we have Dusane (Amrish Puri) who is from the Tribal community but has been assimilated into the upper class society because of the position he holds. He knows he is a part of the society and shares the table with bigwigs because of his position. He is sure that he may be welcomed socially, but will never be a part of the upper caste club. 

Then we have Bhaskar Kulkarni (Naseeruddin Shah) a rookie lawyer whose father has groomed Dusane and is an idealistic who is navigating the world of caste, politics, and justice. The film is mostly depicted through the viewpoint of this protagonist 

At first, he is more concerned about his career and how it will affect his career as a lawyer. He is frustrated by what he thinks is a lack of cooperation by his client. He is met with silence everywhere he goes, he thinks that it is their arrogance or ungratefulness on how these people cannot work with this great system. What he does not know is the system is just to give a moral and legal cloak for those who are in power and can oppress those who do not have a voice. 

Bhaskar is an interesting protagonist. He is not someone who is trying to change the system, his belief in the system is intact. You cannot fault him, for the person he is. And because of the genetic advantage of being born in a certain caste, he does not have to face discrimination in his life. When he discovers the gutter of corruption and greed, he is shaken and scared at first. He gets to fight the system in his way only to be greeted with disillusionment. 

Nothing is black and white in this Govind Nihalani directorial debut where he is aided by the genius Vijay Tendulkar. This is not a film that gives any comfort. It is a film that causes you discomfort and makes you think that we all are part of the system and in a way, we also play an active part in this action. 

Om Puri as Lahanya delivers one of the finest performances in his career. The anger which comes due to helplessness is solely conveyed through his eyes, and way he cries at the end of the movie is so haunting. Om went on to do another angry man role with panache in Nihalani’s next Ardh Satya

Smita Patil‘s role sadly doesn’t have much scope to offer and it is sad she is just used as an ornamental piece in the film. 

Amrish Puri cast in a role that is a far cry from his usual Bollywood roles reminds me why he is such a good actor. Naseeruddin Shah as a young lawyer is a delight to watch. But to think of a him as a Marathi Brahmin guy requires suspension of disbelief. 

Govind has cast Marathi actors for non-important roles, but surprisingly for lead roles he went with a non-Marathi cast who do not look or talk like Marathis. Not that I am holding a grouse against him for this, but casting Marathi actors in key roles would have helped the film a lot.

That aside, Aakrosh is one of the best films to come out of India. Do give it a try. 

The film is streaming on Amazon Prime India and Hotstar (in a censored version)

 

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Karnan (2021) Movie Review: The Missing C Factor

I remember watching Fandry in a packed theatre and the audience laughing at the character and his mishaps, but then came the gut-wrenching climax and the audience went numb because it exposed them. I cannot remember such a stunning silence after a movie, here I thought was a director who has failed but then he has done a much bigger job as he had shown us the mirror. 

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Kavalthurai Ungal Nanban (2021) Movie Review: The System and the Common Man

Kavalthurai Ungal Nanban (KUN) has been making some noise since it was released and it is presented by one of India’s best directors, Vetrimaaran I was waiting for the film to stream on OTT. The film is now streaming on Zee5. 

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Collective (2019) Documentary Review: Deeply impactful, highly relevant

‘Fuck all your wicked corruption
It’s been there since our inception, but we couldn’t see
All the times we’ve felt so hollow
As our hopes were hanged in gallows
All this time we’ve been locked away
And there was nothing left to say
Until today’

Goodbye to Gravity – a heavy metal band – performs this song at a concert in what seems like a clip recorded on a phone. Given the genre, the song is more a roaring cry. Fittingly, the end of the high octane performance is met with a fireworks display. As the vocalist is acknowledging the applause, he notices that a spark from the firework has lit the sound proof ceiling of the nightclub named Colectiv that they are performing in. “That’s not part of our performance”, he quips. Wit then gives way to fear as he asks if there is a fire extinguisher around. He receives no response. Flames start erupting from the ceiling. Chaos and cries of fear engulf the arena. The handheld device shakes violently, screams and wails can be heard, silhouettes are barely discernable in the blaze of the fire. And then suddenly the screen goes blank.

The name of the song performed – The Day We Die.

Continue reading “Collective (2019) Documentary Review: Deeply impactful, highly relevant”

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Radhe (2021) Movie Review: Old Wine in an Even Older Bottle

Some stars have made careers out of making “masala” entertainers, like Rajnikanth, Mithun, Akshay to some extent; and audiences don’t really care for reviews or others opinions on their movies, since they want to watch unadulterated entertainment. Our most wanted bhai’s movie, also falls in this category.

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Stowaway (2021) Movie Review: Space, Time & Moral Dilemma

I had read couple of accounts in newspaper of how stowaways used to cling onto the wheels of the airplane or hide someplace in the cargo containers of ships, and sometimes in toilets; just to escape from whatever they have been facing. It was never for thrill of it, but always for a specific need like illegal emigration to better pastures.

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Nayattu (2021) Movie Review: The use of Formula to Experiment

Nayattu is a tale of the hunters being hunted. We have 3 cops, a by-election and hit-and-run case, and the death of a Dalit, this makes for an interesting concoction for Martin Prakkat’s new film. 

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Another Round (2020) Movie Review: Cheers to Good Health and More

They say that life imitates art and vice versa, last night I ended up thinking of the same in a strange manner. I took a nostalgic trip back in time, to a period when I was in my final year of college and discovering the joys of alcohol. It was the first time in my life that I had a lot of freedom. With my family having shifted to another city, I chose to avoid the college hostel, preferring instead to living with 5 other friends in a compact independent house. I was specifically reminded of a month where all of us ended up experimenting with alcohol consumption, just for fun of course, going on to learn and unlearn a few things in the process. If you are wondering, why am I ranting about an old story, don’t worry as that is not what this post is all about. But its hard not to watch Thomas Vinterberg’s latest film Another Round (Danish title-Druk) and not reflect upon one’s own tryst with booze.

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The place where you have a tune as your name…

As Guns & Guitars recently made its debut in the OTT platform MUBI India, it seems like a good time to revisit our sojourn in Shillong, the rock capital of India, during the shoot of the film.

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Breaking News: Leading OTT Platforms to Offer a One-Month Free Subscription for Indian Audience, Move Aimed at Widening Subscription Base

By now we all know the importance of OTT/digital platforms and their impact upon our lives, the pandemic having the environment around us. With cinemas remaining closed for several months & with several issues plaguing the entertainment sector even today, it’s very unclear as to how things would turn out for the industry for the rest of 2021 as well. While the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has been in the news of late for the development of a ‘toolkit’ by 17 major OTT platforms, in line with the implementation of the self-regulation code that was introduced in 2020, now they have made a major announcement, all these 17 major OTT platforms will offer one month’s free subscription to Indian consumers.Continue reading “Breaking News: Leading OTT Platforms to Offer a One-Month Free Subscription for Indian Audience, Move Aimed at Widening Subscription Base”

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67th National Film Awards (for films from 2019): List of Winners

The 67th National Film Awards were announced earlier today in New Delhi. This was after a long delay of a year or so due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The awards are for films from the year of 2019. The announcement event was organised by the Directorate of Film Festivals, which comes under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.Continue reading “67th National Film Awards (for films from 2019): List of Winners”

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Master (2021) Movie Review: Vijay Shines, Lokesh Flatters to Deceive

Covid-19 has given a break to theatre-going experience across the globe. Even though Indian cinema halls have opened up slowly from October 2020 onwards, there has been no tentpole release which has revived the fortunes of cinema halls so far. December saw the release of Telugu film Solo Brathuke So Better which indicated that the audience in Southern India is willing to watch movies in the theatre. With this being the Pongal/Sankranti week in India, we have two films in Tamizh and three in Telugu (plus Master’s dubbed version) hitting marquee in a span of less than a week. If we go by the initial response, it is sure that cinemas are here to stay and co-exist with OTT. Continue reading “Master (2021) Movie Review: Vijay Shines, Lokesh Flatters to Deceive”

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Vanguard (2020): Another Wolf Warrior Propaganda film

China is a country which is known for stealing ideas and not respecting copyrights of anyone in the world and also known for deliberately hiding the spread of China Virus aka Covid 19 and putting the entire world to the risk for years to come. Like the typical Chinese mentality which is to knock off better products and make cheaper replacements, the Chinese Communist Government has been encouraging propaganda films. There is no harm in it, the Nazis and Russians did it too and it worked for them. Propaganda films can be interesting if it is engaging otherwise it just is another press release from the Government which no one bothers to read but mainstream media is forced to carry out due to the pressure from higher-ups. Continue reading “Vanguard (2020): Another Wolf Warrior Propaganda film”

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AK vs AK (2020 Netflix Film): Bas Kar Bey

The world has moved on but clearly Anurag Kashyap and his coterie have not. Way before one of our most influential leaders (whose followers are known to be bhakts), Kashyap cracked the formula on Twitter by abusing everyone and he could do better, but when it came to delivering Kashyap does not have a great record. Testimony to this fact is this movie (AK vs AK) where talks more about Allwyn Kalicharan, his shelved film than the films that he made. Continue reading “AK vs AK (2020 Netflix Film): Bas Kar Bey”

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Coolie No 1 (2020- Amazon Original): The Curse of Nepotism in Bollywood

A good part of the 90s was a golden time for David Dhawan and Govinda most of which were remakes of Tamil and Telugu films. For example Coolie No 1 is a remake of the Tamizh film Chinna Mapillai. 

David Dhawan is now on a quest to position his son as the next Superstar of Bollywood remaking his own remakes, but then this time it flatters to deceive. Coolie No 1 (1995) itself is a problematic film if you look at it. There is a person who catfishes a female to marry her and the film does not show any remorse on his part and justifies it by saying that as her father wanted her to have a secure life, the daughter deserves to be cheated. Continue reading “Coolie No 1 (2020- Amazon Original): The Curse of Nepotism in Bollywood”

New Short Films under the “Introspect” Segment at the Bandra Film Festival

Bandra Film Festival (BFF), a digital film festival presented by Filmkaravan in collaboration with YouTube is currently streaming four poignantly introspective drama shorts on its platform. These shorts are based on day-to-day life experiences that invoke ideas of identity and the self and being showcased under the theme ‘Introspect’ on the BFF Youtube Channel.

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Pankaj Soni receives his Dr. Abdul Kalam award 2021 (best designer) from Actor Jasleen matharu

Dr. Abdul Kalam Awards 2021 were hosted at Mayor Hall, Juhu on 2nd September, 2021 ! The award show witnessed the presence of Dabboo Ratnani, Payal Ghosh, Palak Mucchal, Nikki Tamboli, Payal Ghosh, and many more.

The very famous fashion icon and Bollywood designer cum stylist, Pankaj Soni, bagged the “Designer Of the Year Award” for the year 2021. He is known to own PS-The Designing Studio in Mumbai and Bengaluru and has an exquisite clientele base including Sonu Sood, Dabboo Ratnani, Irfan Pathan, Yuvraj Singh, Arman Malik, Sonu Nigam, Ayushmann Khurrana, Darshan Rawal, Vikrant Massey, etc. who seem to have just amazing things to say about Pankaj’s craft ! He excels in designing luxury wedding ensembles, super formal tuxedos, balanced casuals and uber contemporary silhouettes ! There is something for every type of personality and we bet, you are sure to get your clothing needs met under one roof at his studio !

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Ankur Rathee’s shoot of Undekhi S02’s Professional Perks ranges from Diving into Waterfalls to Meditating on Mountains

Sony LIV’s Undekhi released last year and received a great response for its interesting storyline.  Actor Ankur Rathee who played an ensemble lead role (Daman) is back on sets for the shoot of Undekhi Season 2. The first season of the show was based on true incidents and depicted two opposing classes of society- the power-drunk influential people who think they can get away with anything and the oppressed, subjected to years of torture, who finally decide to fight for justice.

Continue reading “Ankur Rathee’s shoot of Undekhi S02’s Professional Perks ranges from Diving into Waterfalls to Meditating on Mountains”

On the “Bin Tere” experience & more: In Conversation with singer/musician Raahul Jatin

Singer and musician Raahul Jatin, the son of veteran composer Jatin Pandit is currently receiving a lot of attention for his son “Bin Tere”. Here’s an excerpt from a conversation that we had with him recently.

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Sachin Pilgaonkar is all praises for Shriyam Bhagnani

Shriyam Bhagnani is basking in all the glory for the amazing feedback she is receiving for her character Tanya Mehta in Nagesh Kukunoor’s City of Dreams Season 2. The actress has previously worked in films like Baaghi 2 and Batti Gul Meter Chalu and her current series City of Dreams 2 starring Atul Kulkarni, Sachin Pilagaonkar, Priya Bapat, Ejaiz Khan and Ankur Rathee is streaming on Disney+Hotstar.

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Director Ram Alladi’s period drama ‘Ra’s- Metanoia’ on Mahatma Gandhi’s life looks every bit the director’s promise

Depicting history in a period movie is honestly not an easy feat. While the filmmakers often add a slice of fiction and their imagination to the story, they still go to be authentic about the era they’re bringing live on the big screen and director Ram Alladi’s Ra’s Metanoia is one of them. Premiered last year on several international film festivals it is based on Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s life and most significantly, his memoir, Magic Spell Of A Book. The film is shot entirely in the USA and it combines vintage film styling with state of the art computer-generated sets to create this spellbinding non-linear story of Gandhiji. A periodic drama with historically accurate elements, Ra’s Metanoia takes the audience through the key moments in Gandhi’s life; from childhood to his untimely death in 1948 in New Delhi.

Ra’s Metanoia has won major critical acclaim with 9.5 IMDb ratings it has been praised for its accurate portrayal of the life of Gandhi, his love for Music and also for Mr.Srinivasa Rao’s (who played Bapu character) superlative performance, production values and theme, not only Ram has won the Best Director award at the Dada Saheb Phalke film festival but the film listed in the best short film category in the ReelHeART International Film and Screenplay Festival in Toronto and has been recognized by both the European and New York Cinematography Awards, as well as London’s Gold Movie Awards, Venice Shorts, JellyFilm Fest, Los Angeles, and the Amsterdam World International Film Festival. It has won trophies for best biographical film and best screenplay at the Oniros Film Awards in New York, best visual effects and best short film at the Cult Critic Movie Awards and best editing, best score and best short film at Virgin Spring Cinefest.

Talking about the film and Gandhi, Director Ram Said , “Ra’s Metanoia is a period drama film with fictional elements it chronicles Gandhi’s extraordinary life with a combination of fact and fiction whilst encapsulating scientific concepts such as quantum mechanics, Einstein Rosenberg bridge and rare space elements. The film seamlessly weaves a tapestry of a richly narrated story with Gandhi principles and is based on true events of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s life, which starts from the first hours of his last day. I started writing the plot in my mind when I saw Gandhi’s blood stained shawl in a showcase in Gandhi Museum, New Delhi, where I had gone for my high school educational tour and so it took me nearly 30 years to make this film and I personally feel it is such an amazing experience to have write the story and direct it.”

Ram Alladi’s next film titled “Nabhamsi”, a feature-length film entirely in Sanskrit is set to release soon.

The journey of any artist is generally never easy: In Conversation with Actress Shriyam Bhagnani

After being noticed in small but significant parts in films like Batti Gul Meter Chalu and Baaghi 2, actress Shriyam Bhagnani makes her OTT debut with Season 2 of the popular Disney+ Hotstar original series, City of Dreams. We caught up with her recently for a fun conversation & here are excerpts from the same.

Continue reading “The journey of any artist is generally never easy: In Conversation with Actress Shriyam Bhagnani”

Ankur Rathee & Shriyam Bhagnani paired up in Nagesh Kukunoor’s City of Dreams

Nagesh Kukunoor’s City of Dreams season 2 releases on 30th July and Actors Ankur Rathee and Sriyam Bhagnani will be seen starring opposite each other. Kukunoor’s political drama series, scheduled to premiere on Disney+ Hotstar, has already received great feedback on its trailer, which captures glimpses of a power struggle between a father and daughter.

Continue reading “Ankur Rathee & Shriyam Bhagnani paired up in Nagesh Kukunoor’s City of Dreams”