Mansi Bagla & renowned film-maker G. Ashok have collaborated together under the banner of Mini Films and have purchased rights of three superhit South Indian films for Hindi Remakes. These films have already had a proven track record in the South markets and will now be remade into Hindi features. As per sources, the preparation has begun and these films will be on floor as soon as possible. This news comes as a pleasant surprise for the Industry as the ongoing pandemic has pushed the entertainment into a lull.Continue reading “Mansi Bagla & renowned film-maker G.Ashok under the banner ‘Mini Films’ purchase rights of three superhit South films for Bollywood Remake”
Netflix India has garnered a reputation for churning out one after another boring series and films, I am sure that their recent original film, Class Of ’83 can firmly get a place in the walk of shame. And with this being the of the third collaboration of Netflix with Red Chilies Entertainment after Bard of Blood and Betaal, should lead them to introspect on the quality of their output. Or may be there is an aim to get the audience to unsubscribe from Netflix, if that is the aim they are on their path.Continue reading “Class of ’83 Movie Review: A Misfired Shot!”
I have been watching a lot of old Hindi films on Amazon Prime of late, given the lockdown it is strange that Bollywood is giving me solace, it is my comfort zone. I must say that I was surprised by Ghar, a pleasant departure for a film that talks about rape and rape victims and the people close to them. After the horrific Nirbhaya Delhi case there have been many films where rape has been a pivotal point only to take the narrative arc of having a male hero or even films like MOM where the only retribution is the killing of the preparators of crime.Continue reading “GHAR (1978): Finding Home”
Serena Walia is an Indian film actor and stage actor best known for her unconventional character choices. After graduating, Serena took up a corporate job but quickly realized that it was her calling to be a performer. She worked as an intern with Manav Kaul’s group for one and a half years, going on to then start playing parts in Mamtaz Bhai Patangwale, Swanand Kirkire’s Ao Saathi Sapna Dekhein, Akvarious’ Peter Pan and many other noted plays. sold out theatre productions including A Kind Of True Story with Actor’s Cult and Unselfed with The Company Theatre, Orphans by Dennis Kelly, Open Cast with Kumud Mishra’s D for Drama. Continue reading “The more I read the script, the more I came to love her: In Conversation with Actor Serena Walia”
The three short films within QSQT are named Essentials, Extension and Losing it, stars Vijay Maurya, Sanjay Dadhich, Vishal Capoor, Muskaan Khubchandani, Akashdeep Arora, Chirag Malhotra and Kunal Malhotra respectively. All the three films were scripted, shot, produced remotely and on a skeletal crew at home observing all social distancing norms laid down by the government. Karan Kulkarni has created the title track and casting has been done by Casting Bay.
Ayyappan, Co-Founder, The Script Room says, “This is our latest, jolly project. It’s titled QSQT (Quarantine Stories of Quarantine Times). Thanks to our friend Tushar (Coconut Films) for calling and saying that his brain is getting fried and can we do something exciting. We got the entire team together on Zoom and immediately started jamming on stories. We had a lot of ideas, thoughts and we shortlisted three plots what will be easily executable, given the lockdown constraints. And we clearly stayed away from very serious, social-purpose kind of narratives and chose light-hearted, insightful stories of the lockdown, more true to our personality as The Script Room.”
Ramsam Co-Founder, The Script Room, says, “We thought we’ll write something that can be shot from home. And instead of writing general stories and shooting during lockdown, we thought we’ll write stories about the lockdown itself. The execution in itself has its own share of ridiculously hilarious stories. Like to begin with casting, it meant not just the cast, but also their house, their willingness to direct themselves, the kind of equipment they have, the speed of their internet to transfer the files. Everything had to be considered. They had to shoot each other, and situations where both of them had to be in the same frame, the camera was placed on a chair, bed, cupboard, books or whatever was available and shoot. And the director was miles away only listening to them talk, and figuring out if it’s ok. It is the shoddiest, crude, organic way of narrating a story, the shaky camera, the bad lighting, the odd angles…it had its own charm. The same reflects in the titling and the music. We kept it raw and intuitive. These may be the stories told with the highest level of restrictions. But we’ve never had greater fun than this.”
He added, “It’s time and we should be grateful that virtual production and filmmaking has become an indirect proponent of social distancing, allowing filmmakers to create full scopes of movies without ever having to cram people onto a production set.”
Editorial Notes: –
Short Film 1 – Essentials
Cast – • Vijay Maurya – Known for Gully Boy. (Instagram Followers – 6276, Twitter Followers – 1868)
• Sanjay Dadhich – Featured in MS – Dhoni as Satya Prakash, in Sacred Games as Gaston, In Made in Heaven as Ali. Also had a role in Taare Zameen Par.Upcoming – Amriki Pandit (based on life of R. Madhavan) – (Instagram Followers – 1219)
• Vishal Capoor Crew:-
• Long Distance Director – Ujjwal Kabra
• On location direction – Vijay Maurya
Short Film 2 – Extension
Cast – • Muskaan Khubchandani – Was in Telugu film George Reddy. A failry known face in commercials – Lakme, Wotta Girl. Was last seen in Veere Di Wedding as Young Avni – Upcoming Movie – Laxxmi Bomb starring Akshay Kumar. (Instagram – 59.1K, Twitter – 1690)
• Akashdeep Arora – Was in Movie Uri – The Surgical Strike as the Drone Operator. Played a small role in Amazon Series Mirzapur. Was seen in Inside Edge – As Tanay a team analyst for the Mavericks. (Instagram – 14K, Twitter – 143)
Crew: • Long Distance Director – Indrasish Mukherjee
Short Film 3 – Losing It
Cast – • Chirag Malhotra – Was last seen in movie Helicopter Eela as Yash.( Instagram – 18.6K )
• Kunal Malhotra
• Long Distance Director – Ramsam
For all three films
• Music- Karan Kulkarni (Title Track)- Composed music for films such as Shahid, Peddlers, Happy Journey. Composed background score for movies like Tumhari Sulu, Aligarh and & Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota, for which he also got a nomination at Filmfare Award for Best Background Score in 2020. (Instagram – 1093 Followers, Twitter- 455 Followers)
• Co-Producer-Suraj Shetty
• Executive Producers- Tushar Raut & Nupur Guha
• Concept, Story, Script, Dialogues Production- The Script Room (Rajesh Ramaswamy & Ayyappan Raj)
Cast: Sidhu Jonnalegadda, Shradda Srinath, Shalini Vadnikatti, Seerat Kapoor , Jhansi and Sampath Raj
Directed by Ravikanth Perepu
Music by Sricharan Pakala
Streaming now on Netflix
Krishna and his Leela, the latest Telugu OTT offering, presented by Rana Daggubati, is a breezy rom com that is a essentially an update on the age-old ‘one guy-two women’ staple . Though there is certainly no reinventing of the wheel here, director Ravikanth Perepu does put in a neat little job of giving some relatability and rootedness to the whole tricky subject.
Sidhu Jonnalegadda, who is also a co-writer on the film, is introduced in one of those typical cinematic ‘jilted lover boy’ fashions – with the trademark unshaven beard, pondering over life in some picturesque corners of the country. And knowing Telugu cinema, we may easily write offthe rest of the film as one suffering from the Arjun Reddy hangover. But breaking the fourth wall, Sidhu’s character Krishna assures us this could be lighter by asking us not to laugh at his emotional tales. And we pretty get the mood of the film from thereon.
Krishna does not waste time and gets to the heartbreak instantly. We are immediately told how his girlfriend Satya dumps him when she believes the relationship is not going anywhere. The breakup leaves Krishna completely broken, spending the rest of the days crying and sobbing away. It takes a few good time before he decides he is over all these girls and relationship dramas.
But Krishna cannot be kept away from his Leelas for long, and it is no surprise when he ends up immediately falling head over heels over a junior he meets at college, Radha.
As Radha claims, Krishna does not tick off any of her boyfriend material lists. But she still ends up liking the guy and Krishna would believe everything is finally smooth sailing in his love life. However then comes the hurdle, with a job offering in Bangalore. Having to move out from Vizag, he assures an unsure Radha that they will get this long-distance working.
But things take an interesting turn when in Bangalore, where he runs into his ex-girlfriend Satya. If that is not spice enough, add an attractive roommate (Seerat Kapoor) to the mix. And you know you are getting a perfect recipe for trouble in Sidhu’s paradise. The rest of the film has Sidhu trying to figure out the Dos and Donts of relationships. The only question is will it be too late by the time he does the figuring out.
The biggest strength of the movie undoubtedly lies in its restrained writing. At several instances, there is an opportunity to go too melodramatic or score some each cheap laughs, except for a few initial portions involving Viva Harsha. But the writing holds back and avoids falling into the usual easy trappings of Telegu commercial cinema. The characters are certainly well written, especially the women and therefore keeps the proceedings refreshingly relatable and real.
Performances also immensely helps here. After all, it is vital that the audience needs to develop a rooting interest in the characters for this set up to work. And to the credit of the writing team and the trio of Sidhu, Shradda and Shalini, the manage to nail that factor.Even the fourth wall breaking which may seem gimmicky at first, works well in opening frank one way conversation between the audience and the main character.
Lead man Sidhu masterfully steers his complicated character convincingly through the whole messy deal. Shradda as usual impresses effortlessly, while Shalini Vadnikatti though good, finds herself a little short when it comes to the emotionally heavy sequences. Seerat Kapoor chips in just fine with Rukhsar, a very interestingly written character that in my opinion, deserved a little more space and voice in the screenplay. Sampath and Jhansi plays the roles of Sidhu’s parents in graceful, convincing manner, with a delicately written scene showing their dynamics in a mature, no-frills manner. It was also an appreciable gesture of having the dubbing artists names alongside the actresses in the title credits.
The movie just about loses steam even with its mere 120-minute mark as the screenplay goes back and forth between the Leelas of this Krishna’s life, constantly shuffling between Vizag and Bangalore with a little Coorg detour. But Ravikanth keeps things light and constantly moving. And though the performance manages to sell the lead character’s predicament, the final speech disappointingly falls flat sticking out like a weak excuse. And also time writers realise that this lazy act of transforming their characters into overnight authors is getting a little too stale.
But these are minor quibbles in what is essentially a welcome addition to an otherwise ‘done-to-death’ romcom formula. Refreshing and sure-footed, it is worth spending a couple of hours checking out Krishna and his Leela, for an easy OTT watch.
– Joxily John
Malayalam , 2020
Cast: Anna Ben, Roshan Mathews, Sreentha Bhasi, Sudhi Koppa,
Music Sushin Shyam
Written and directed by Muhammed Musthafa
streaming on NETFLIX
Continuing the golden run in recent years, Malayalam movie industry dived into 2020 with a bang! Right up in January the thriller Anjaam Pathira took the box-office by storm, and the next month saw the arrival of the widely appreciated Ayyapanum Koshiyum. And in the month of March, a small little film titled Kappela quietly came to the big screens and instantly impressed audiences. It was unfortunate though that the movie did not get its due cause of the immediate lockdown measures put in place.
Kappela (meaning Chapel) is a neatly packaged movie from actor Muhammed Musthafa who is making his directorial debut with this venture. Musthafa, who over a decade has become a familiar face in Malayalam movies shows that he has some tricks up his sleeve when it comes to writing as well. Because his sharp and creative screenplay is what works for this, otherwise simple looking film.
Much of the credit goes to the smart casting and leading from the front is Anna Ben. This actress after the highly impressive roles in Kumbalangi Nights and Helen, once again charms literally carrying the entire movie on her petite shoulders. In Kappela, she plays Jessy, a a simple naive girl from an orthodox Christian, residing in a high range village in Wayanad, Kerala. Having flunked her exams, she really haven’t any high ambitions set for herself in life, and goes about her routine life, with rather modest desires. Like something as simple as a visit to a beach.
Jessy’s life gets interesting when she ends up dialing a wrong number one day. The voice at the other end belongs to a Vishnu (Roshan Mathews), an autorickshaw driver. Soon it leads to more calls between the two, and before you know it, a romantic relationship brews between the duo over these regular phone calls.
The two decide eventually to meet each other in the city of Kozhikode. But what should have been a simple rendezvous gets complicated when in walks a third character, Roy (Sreenath Bhasi) into the equation and the lives of this couple will never remain the same.
Telling anything more would be spoilers because the strength is in the screenplay taking you places which you do not expect it to and Musthafa the writer makes the job easy for the director in him. He shows how an ordinary tale can be spun to effective results, without going all flashy or in-your-face. It also holds back from being preachy or taking any moralistic high stand when it comes to dealing with its characters and situations. For a minute, you would even think this is going the way of last year’s Shane Nigam starrer Ishq and we are going to get yet another round of the clash of male egos.
Sreenath Bhasi and Roshan Mathews does a good job in their respective roles, going at each other’s throats. Having to walk on this fine thin line of characterization, the two pulls it off with aplomb. But as mentioned the real heart and soul is Anna Ben and she emerges extremely confident in her craft, adding this one too as yet another feather to her short but impressive filmography. She gives the needed relatability to the character of Jessy, grounding her in earnestness. Able support also comes from the rest of the cast that includes Sudhi Koppa, James Elia, Nisha Sarang and Tanvi Ram.
Sushin Shyam’s delightfully wonderful score and Jimshi Khalid’s captivating frames enhances the movie, enriching the experience, supporting Mustafa’s vision.
With a refreshing take that toys with one’s perspectives, Kapella is another small yet impressive work that once again shows that the Malayalam industry is indeed in promising hands. And this gives us a prime example, how boundaries of storytelling are constantly being pushed despite all the seeming limitations.
– Joxily John
Cast : Keerthy Suresh, Lingaa, Master Advaith, Madhampatty Rangaraja, Mathi, Nithya Kirupa
Written and Directed by Eashvar Karthic
Music by Santosh Narayanan
Another week, and yet another disappointing fare that makes it to the OTT platform as an exclusive prime release. And what you learn from these movies, which follows the earlier tamil release PONMAGAL VANDHAL is that hill stations are no good for children. Here again, while the setting shifts from Ooty to Kodaikanal, the situation remains the same. Kids are being kidnapped from their mothers.
In the movie oddly titled PENGUIN, Keerthy Suresh plays a mother in search of her child. Sticking to the trend of odd naming, she is named Rhythm, that gets sweetly shortened to Ritu on occasions. When we are introduced to Rhythm aka Ritu, she is an expecting mother, seven months pregnant. But she is also one suffering from the trauma of losing her child six years ago. All she has is the crumbles of the past…. the kidnapping of her little son supposedly by a man with a Charlie Chaplin mask and an umbrella. The images keep haunting her to this day.
However, one night, the ghosts of her past reappear. Not only she sees the mystery man, but also out of nowhere, her long-lost son mysteriously reappears.
Where had he been all these years? Who was behind the kidnapping and why? Rhythm finds only more questions as she tries to puzzle it all together, but answers come none whatsoever.
Like all serial killer flicks, the central plot is about the mystery figure behind the scenes of the crime and the clueless protagonist furiously trying to unearth and solve the puzzle. And in such movies, the mood is critical. Technically, debutant director Eeshvar Karthic realizes this and has his finger on that pulse creating the atmosphere fitting for the thriller ride. Skillfully supporting him in this task is music composer Santosh Narayanan and cinematography by Palani Karthik.
But therein ends the good things. Because the writing on this again by Eeshvar is painfully a letdown. I am still not sure exactly what about the writing impressed a filmmaker like Karthik Subbaraj to back a project like this. In fact, I wonder how the writer in Eeshvar was able to convince himself that the ridiculous climax and the motives were good enough to fuel this story.
Even if you leave the final climax aside, the preceding screenplay comes with its share of problems. It seems unsure what it wants to be for most of its running time. Does it want to be an out and out serial killer movie. Or does it seek to be an emotional tale of a mother. Or does it want to be spookier and chiller than it all. The film seems to be eternally stuck in this confusion.
For starters Rhythm ends up losing the things she is to take care of, quite easily. Almost like a habit. You see the scenes play out and you can predict how exactly the scene is going to play out. And again, the screenplay is not exactly rooted in logic. Cops are literally useless. A pregnant woman is left to do all the sleuth work with a trusted dog as partner. The guys are always missing. Too many expositions, chunky dialogues, and cringeworthy acting from the rest of the cast makes this hardly the tense thriller that it seeks to be.
Also, couldn’t help but notice the heavy influence of the Nolan-Batman movies in the way certain things are treated. Like the fear of buzzing insects, or the climax where the lead protagonist must choose between two options on which to save. Or coming to think of it, even the interrogation scene. Not that any of them is pulled off effectively.
Keerthy Suresh surprisingly does well. After spending an eternity being just a prop in most superstar vehicles, and getting that award-winning turn in Mahanati, she certainly seems determined to make the best of her new stature. In Penguin, she does a solid grounded act. The abysmal show from the rest of the cast helps, because it makes her indeed look the Award-winning actress. The cast was so disappointing that literally a dog outshines the rest of the cast here, in both characterization and performance. When you have a dog showing more brains than the humans, you know something is off.
Penguin plods and waddles before falling face down. Barring a sincere Keerthy and a few technical notches as mentioned above, the rest of the film fails to do what it sets out to. Instead the movie is at the receiving end of the cruelest cut of them all – some ridiculous writing. Certainly avoidable!
– Joxily John
Apeejay Institute of Mass Communication (AIMC) New Delhi, held a Live Webinar with the cast & crew of Amazon Prime’s hit show ‘Pataal Lok’ earlier this week (Monday, 15 June) on Zoom.Continue reading “Team ‘Pataal Lok’ addresses Mental Health Issues in a LIVE Webinar organized by Apeejay Institute of Mass Communication”