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.
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”
Netflix’s Delhi Crime produced by Golden Karavan, SK Global Entertainment and FilmKaravan which is based on the 2012 gangrape-murder case, won an International Emmy in the ‘Best Drama Series’ category, making it the first ever EMMY for India. Delhi Crime, directed by Richie Mehta, starring Shefali Shah, Rasika Duggal, Adil Hussain, Yashaswani Dayama and Rajesh Tailang is a fictionalised crime drama. The story is based on the painstaking investigation into the 2012 Delhi gang-rape which dives into DCP Vartika Chaturvedi’s search for the culprits, as India’s capital city reels in the aftermath of the brutal gangrape.Continue reading “Netflix India’s Delhi Crime bags ‘Best Drama Series’ at the 48th International Emmy Awards 2020”
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!”
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
Choked is Anurag Kashyap bringing his trademark styles into more relatable scenarios. The normal Kashyap fans might be disappointed that there are no bodies falling here, gaalis thrown around, or with the auteur hardly going into the dark gritty side of things that he is usually known to indulge in.
But that does not mean you do not see Kashyap at all in his latest Netflix exclusive.
Fine example is this fabulous scene where the couple is fighting over who said what as they wind down for the day. The husband and wife decide to let their respective ego take over the situation, with both not willing to back down on their version of the ‘truth’. And in between the two is their young son who is having a sound sleep. So, it starts off on that note, with the two whispering not wanting to wake up the kid.
But not for long. Because soon, the parents decide that it is best to drag their sleeping child into this tussle. And they keep arguing, whispers now turned to full blown shouting, and amidst all this a child that keeps screaming that he wants to go back to sleep!
This scene is Kashyap at his best, except now he is exploring it in a relatable middle-class family setting. New territories for the maker, but fresher perspectives for the audience. This time it is a middle-class Marathi residential area where their lives are closely interwoven.
And that is what Kashyap ventures into – part thriller, part satire territory. Choked, is Anurag Kashyap’s exploration into a bad marriage and an equally troublesome drainage, political or otherwise.
Written by Nihit Bhave, the film introduces us to the lives of a regular middle class lady Sarita (Saiyami Kher) who is the breadwinner to her family. Her husband Sushant (Roshan Mathews) is a musician who struggles to stick onto any job and spends his days almost doing nothing. She literally must slog it out and it does take the toll on the relationship. While Sarita she struggles out to make the ends meet, all her slacker husband welcomes her is with “why do we still have potatoes for dinner?”
Sarita, we find also dealing simultaneously with a trauma of a past event. One where the aspiring talent in her finds her wings of desire clipped thanks to a choke up at a talent show audition. The incident still haunts her to this day.
However, it all changes with the arrival of an unexpected night guest. Bundles of cash, rolled up and packed up, pops out of the clogged kitchen pipes much to the surprise of Sarita. She seems to have struck jackpot when the money keeps coming and she thankfully accepts them as a solution to the problems of her life. But she does not go on any spending spree. She uses it wisely and sparsely, saving up most of it for later.
Little does she know Modiji has other plans for her!
This is also where the structural shift happens. Kashyap brings the demonetisation into the mix and the movie halts down to make a social commentary on the ordinary lives and the immediate effects of the landmark decision on them. The woman who was too busy struggling to make a life to be bothered with politics until then, advises an aged customer at the bank much later that she should be seeking help and answers to all the troubles from the people who were voted into power.
You can’t help but laugh at the situation on how the demonetisation decision is received. On one hand, the husband, jobless and always shrugging his responsibilities at home, applaud the great leadership and the decision and the foresight of how the rich and corrupt will be affected oblivious to the faces of horror from his wife and neighbor whose lives and plans are crumbling down overnight.
The whole thing is structured right from the word go as a thriller, drawing you immediately into the narrative.
Kashyap uses music wonderfully to ramp up the scenes. It starts off adventurously with the ‘The Mark of Torro’ orchestral piece promising us an intriguing ride as we see the money being hidden intricately. This is followed with more jazzy percussion from Karsh Kale giving the sequences a distinct feel. Not much scope for songs , except for the chaos of the demonetisation set against a Nucleya-Benny Dayal tamil dance track ‘Nerungi’ and a ‘Achhe Din’ observation set to nursery rhymes in the track “500-1000”.
However, keeping the shift from thriller to social satire going on, Kashyap is unable to finally wrap it up with a convincing finale. For the free-wheeling, money dealing story fails to come with a fitting pay-off. It plays out more as one of convenience and makes the earlier issues we dealt with until then all seem irrelevant. Even the whole ‘Reddy’ angle all fails to contribute much to the final outcome.
So yes, as much as one has reasons to have some disappointments with the finale, there is still a lot this movie has going for it. Like the screenplay and the acting that keeps you firmly engaged with the proceedings. And also some fine work by cinematographer Sylvester Fonseca with the framing of the tight interiors.
Saiyami Kher holds the fort with a wonderful performance in the lead role of Sarita. She embodies the character and sells it well. Roshan Mathews, making his Hindi debut, does a decent job given the character that he was handed out to play. But the real scene stealer here is Amruta Subhash who hits it out of the park with her portrayal of the neighbor. Rajshri Deshpande chips in with a short role.
On a side note, it is surprising that it took until now for a movie to talk about demonetisation on celluloid in Bollywood. While other regional industries were bold enough to comment, joke or deal with this issue from 2016, big brother Bollywood has only finally managed to even acknowledge the event. Thankfully, Kashyap is restrained and does not hijack the story to make it a propaganda film and is happy with the sly jabs every now and then. But still again, it goes about to show how filmmakers are ‘choked’ into putting out their voices more freely out there.
As far as the film is concerned, Choked is more a film that deals with the strangles more than merely the struggles. It talks about the strangles money has on relationships, the strangles the government has on the lives of ordinary people, the strangles the corrupt few have on the general majority as the money flows from the top to the lower levels. Unfortunately, no plumber is going to fix the issue. Neither will eating mushrooms. Unless of course, your idea of a leader is…Super Mario!
Cast: Saiyami Kher, Roshan Mathews, Amruta Subhash
Directed by Anurag Kashyap
Music score by Karsh Kale
Streaming now on NETFLIX
Bunty – well, we will get to that later!
Bubbly, however is Vivek. The leading lady of this tale. Yes, that is right, Vivek is a ‘SHE’. And we have this freewheeling, socially awkward schoolgirl deciding to bunk her scholarship exam when we first meet her. However, her misadventures also cost the head boy Ashwin (Karanvir) to miss his exam as well.Continue reading “WHAT ARE THE ODDS? Movie Review: Bunty Aur Bubbly!”
Trivikram Srinivas is considered to one of the star writer-directors in the Telugu film industry, he has an impeccable filmography. I was excited to watch his new Sankranthi outing, Ala Vaikunthapurramloo, like many others. It is his return to his territory of film making. The movie begins on a dark note, with an exchange of 2 new born kids. But the twist here is that the kids are not exchanged for the reason of their safety but out of jealousy and greed. Trivikram continues with his favourite theme of sourcing from mythology and including the idea of justice and revenge.Continue reading “Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo (2020) Telugu Movie Review: A Trivikram Mythology”