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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.

Continue reading “The place where you have a tune as your name…”

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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”

On ‘Warriors’ and More: Shayan Italia in a Candid Mood

Singer-song writer Shayan Italia’s latest single, Warriors has been well received by people so far, being noticed for its theme, music and lyrics. In a recent conversation with us Shayan spoke to us about his experience on coming up with Warriors and a few other things. Here’s an excerpt from that conversation-

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Bandra Film Festival’s latest set ‘The Quirky Collection’ includes Renee Sen’s debut film Suttabaazi

Also watch Shabana Azmi’s A Decent Arrangement and Fried Fish, Chicken Soup And A Premier Show directed by Mamta Murthy in this category.

Sushmita Sen’s daughter Renee Sen, who made her acting debut in January 2021 with Kabeer Khurana’s short film Suttabaazi, is excited to see her film getting a lot of praise. The film will be screened at the Bandra Film Festivals Youtube Channel on 2nd June 2021. The 14 mins short film will be showcased under the ‘Quirky’ category. The film revolves around a 19-year-old social media star stuck at home with online classes and nagging parents in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. The only respite is Diya’s (Renee’s) newly acquired habit of smoking on the sly. Apart from Renee Sen, the film also stars Komal Chhabria and Rahul Vohra. 

Talking about her debut film and BFF Renee said,  “I am so happy with all the love this poignant short film has received. We shot this during the last lockdown, I am glad to see so many platforms acknowledging our hard work and showcasing the film. Bandra Film Festival is said to have a good  line up of films and I feel  humbled to be a part of this film festival. Suttabaazi will always be special to me, I enjoyed every bit of playing Diya. The film has taught me a lot, both at personal and professional levels. No matter what the situation is – whether it’s a good day or there are mess ups on the set — I have to be able to give the perfect shot, it has made me a lot more goal oriented. Working on this film has been very fulfilling. I am very happy it happened.”

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Casting Director Shubham Mathur wishes nothing but to give more opportunities to new faces

From starting off as an independent casting director and working with a startup company to working with Bollywood industry Shubham Mathur has come a long way, through his creative strategies he has worked for Netflix as well as snapchat.

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Yashaswini Dayama & Karanvir Malhotra celebrate one year of their feature film ‘What Are The Odds’

Netflix’s feature film What Are The Odds, a sweet slice of a film about the lives of two school kids from Mumbai. Vivek (Yashaswini Dayama) and Ashwin (Karanvir Malhotra) turned exactly one year today. What are the Odds? a lockdown release feature film, which saw Abhay Deol donning the producer’s hat in collaboration with the makers of Delhi Crime- FilmKaravan Originals is celebrating one year of release today on 20th May, directed by Megha Ramaswamy the film also featured Monica Dogra, Priyanka Bose, Manurishi and Sulbha Arya. The story revolves around two unintentional teenage friends who end-up spending an entire day together. The movie not only did wonders for the audience but also has etched deeply in our hearts.

Reminiscing about the film’s journey, Director Megha Ramaswamy said,  “One Year since our bundle of many joys saw the light of day! It has really been a year full of odd squadding. I cherish every message song and work of art that has poured in from all over. If there was something that kept us hopeful, it was love. Everyday the outpour  of many people/artists creating their piece of art using stills from the film, writing poems, singing covers… it still feels surreal! We are all such a close knit community of friends now. I am thankful I got an opportunity to work with a wonderful cast and crew! This is the start of something special. I hope everyone is home and safe! Thank you for preserving us so endearingly in your kind hearts.”

Adding to the director’s quote, Yashaswani said “Time really flies and how, imagine even in a lockdown. It just feels like yesterday that we were promoting this film, recording bytes, doing our press rounds and adapting to Work From Home.  And here we are, one year to release but still at home. These are very challenging times and we are all trying to get by. I hope and pray that we get back to normal as we know and come out of this in good health. Happy to be celebrating the One year anniversary of What are the Odds. You can now watch it on Netflix India”

Talking about the same, Karanvir said,  “The times are really tough for our country. Having some sort of a silver lining always brings a gentle smile during a crisis, this a catastrophe though so looking at the bright side is extremely hard. Anyway, the silver lining in this case is that my first Independent film  ‘What Are The Odds?’ celebrates its first anniversary. Well there obviously isn’t any celebration as such but it feels good to know that our colourful little film brought some cheer and inspired plenty to dream out loud!(DOL! Is that a term yet?)”

The film was released during the 1st lockdown last year and is celebrating its anniversary in the 2nd. I really hope this cycle doesn’t continue further. The biggest highlight for me after the release has been the artwork people have created and tagged us in. The love people showered through creating doodles, poems, videos etc is special. Feels good to see that two school kids crouching and staring at a fishbowl with a gold fish talking to them miraculously has caught people’s eye and has been recreated the most. Well, it’s kind of symbolic as we’re all staring at the future in the same way hoping for some miracle to unfold.

Talking about the same,  Producer Pooja Kohli said, ” What are the odds? It is a very special film for us. We learnt the art of work from home and it was just the start of the pandemic. Despite the challenges and crises, we sailed through. I really hope that we tide over the second wave soon , to get back on ground & experience human connection once again . Safe & Healthy wishes for everyone.”

What Are The Odds is streaming right now on Netflix.