Thursday, June 30, 2022

End of June 2022 saw a rainfall of good Hindi content on assorted OTT platforms 😊

The movie & series enthusiast in me kickstarted June 2022 with engaging series like - 9 Hours, Code M Season 2 and Aashram Season 3.

She Season 2 was enough to keep me occupied during the middle of the month.

Towards the month's end, I was fultu spoilt with the following 2 new series and 2 movie releases (originally released in theatres) on OTT -

- New Series -

* Avrodh 2 (24 Jun 2022) on Sony Liv:

An extremely engaging plot regarding modular (read micro) workology of terrorist forces attempting to bring down a nation and collective efforts of able politicians, military, intelligence officers and police who detect abnormalities at assorted locations and brainstorm vividly to attach myriad loose strings to identify the mega terrorist plots and nab them on time !!

The series is engaging but not sleek. Casting and direction is good but it could have been much better.

* Forensic (24 Jun 2022) on ZEE5:

Like the ongoing trend, it's a hilly region based serial murders mystery.

Vikrant Messey clearly shines through the series both in wardrobe and presence, well supported by Radhika Apte. They able save the series from being broody.

- Theatre Movies On OTT -

* Runway 34 (29 Apr 2022) on Amazon Prime Video:

Most of it is a courtroom drama concerning an emergency flight landing. 

Both the lead actors - Ajay Devgn and Amitabh Bachchan are expectantly effective, the former in his silence & nonchalance and the latter in his aggression & chaste Hindi.

But after seeing Top Gun: Maverick (27 May 2022), you do miss that sense of easy understanding of technicality of the flying machine involved.

* Anek (27 May 2022) on Netflix:

A thought provoking movie about civil unrest aka demand of a separate nation by two major groups in the north-east, their internal clashes plus clashes with the government forces, spy network and central government's effort to successfully derive a peaceful understanding sans any division.

The wound is much deeper and complex than it seems. The healers do want to bandage the surface to limit the contagion but don't actually care about the cure !!

Tricky situation, eh? 

So, what happens? Everybody acts as per their personal understanding of the situation and power to solve it !!

This is prone to create a mess and abundance of collateral damage.

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Get Sweetly Reacquainted With The Vagaries Of Rural Life 😊

 

Web Series: Nirmal Pathak Ki Ghar Wapsi 

Release Date: 26 May 2022

Channel: SonyLiv

Genre: Drama

Language: Hindi

Season: 1

No. of Episodes: 5

Running Time: 34-44 minutes

Director: Rahul Pandey

Cast: Rahul Tatwawaadi, Alka Amin, Garima Vikrant, Akash Makhija, Pankaj Jha, Vineet Kumar, Kumar Saurabh, Ishita Ganguly

After enjoying the recently released Panchayat Season 2 on Amazon Prime Video, watching Nirmal Pathak Ki Ghar Wapsi on SonyLiv is like reading earlier from the safe and feel good worlds of Pinki & Chacha Chaudhary and now shifting to equally fair and good but complex and closer to real life world of Panchtantra !!

'Nirmal Pathak Ki Ghar Wapsi is a story of a young man who is on a journey to find his roots.'

He returns to his native village Buxar in Bihar, 24 years after his father took his 3 years old self with himself to a city life.

His return is not only to his ultra old fashioned but beautiful roots, but also to his silent and dutiful mother who is leading a life away from her husband and kid with silent remorse but pride of being the 'woman of the house'.

Watch the series for rustic craziness and humor. Also, watch it to get re-introduced to open and accepted violation of human rights and law & order in the non developed villages of our country.

But most of all, watch it for the superb, strong and silent acting of Alka Amin, the aforementioned mother. Her eyes speak volumes.

The series will appear slow at times. But it's desi dialect and lovely cinematography of lush green fields will keep you entertained.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Absolutely Loved Panchayat Season 2 on Amazon Prime Video 😊

Release Date: 20 May 2022

Genre: Comedy Drama

Language: Hindi

Season: 2

No. of Episodes: 8

Running Time: 29-46 minutes

Writer: Chandan Kumar

Director: Deepak Kumar Mishra

Cast: Raghubir Yadav, Neena Gupta, Jitendra Kumar, Chandan Roy, Faisal Malik

If you like rustic India, desi humour and an entangle of simple & funny problems and solutions, then Panchayat Season 2 is your series to watch.

While Panchayat's first season made a straight entry to audience's heart, it's second season has given it a firm hold therein. 

Now, they actually want to visit Panchayat's Phulera village and spend time with all of it's aforementioned 5 main protagonists!

These characters are extremely well penned and enacted. A tight and well researched screenplay and effective direction doubles the entertainment quotient of the viewers.

The series takes you back to your grassroots, soothes your rattled nerves and re-establishes the fact that an excellent series can be made sans any unnecessary skin show and vulgarity.

My personal favourite amongst all the actors is Raghubir Yadav. His easy portrayal of the role of Pradhan ji, a worldly wise, tradition and prosperous man of the old world who - loves and provides generously to his small family, is hands-on involved in all the issues of his village, gels in with his team but still maintains the aura of a senior leader and is shrewd while dealing with the local politicians, is bang on.

Very few actors can successfully introduce layers to such a simple role!

Sunday, March 6, 2022

2 Best Family Drama Based Comedy Web Series In Hindi 😊

If you are from the era, when during your childhood and/or growing up years, you were hooked to family drama based comedy TV series like -

- Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi (1984-85)

- Dekh Bhai Dekh (1993-94)

And if currently you miss such content or look forward to a bout of nostalgia and relaxation, then switch on and enjoy the following web series -

- Yeh Meri Family ... Season 1 Episodes 7 (12 Jul 2018)

In the summer of 1998, 12 years old middle child Harshu balances school, family, friendship and other challenges of growing up in Jaipur, Rajasthan.

The series revolves around a family comprising of a father, a mother and three kids.

Watch it on TVFPlay and Netflix.

- Gullak ...  Season 1 Episodes 5 (27 Jun 2019)


- Gullak ... Season 2  Episodes 5 (15 Jan 2021)


Set in quaint by-lanes in the heart of India, Gullak is a collection of disarming and relatable tales of the Mishra family, mostly from inside but also from outside their house.

The family comprises of a mother, a father, a grown up son and his younger brother who is still a student.

Watch Season 1 on TVFPlay and SonyLiv. Watch Season 2 on SonyLiv.

Yeh Meri Family depicts urban life of the late 90s. I could relate a lot with it. Watching this series was quite nostalgic.

Gullak depicts the current period in a not so advanced town. The characters herein rarely talk straight. The satire, taunt, show-off, and frustration ridden dialogues are quite interesting to hear.

Both the series are well penned and extremely well made. Their castings are perfect and all the characters appear natural and in sync with their respective roles.

Personally, I loved both the series.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

The Fame Game (25 Feb 2022)








Channel: Netflix

Genre: Suspense Thriller Drama 

Language: Hindi

No. of Episodes: 8

Average Duration: 45 minutes

Director: Bejoy Nambiar, Karishma Kohli, Sri Rao

Cast: Madhuri Dixit, Sanjay Kapoor, Manav Kaul, Suhasini Mulay, Lakshvir Saran, Rajshri Deshpande, Muskkaan Jaferi, Makrand Deshpande, Gagan Arora, Subhangi Latkar

Music: Andrew Orkin, Harini Raghavan

Editing: Monisha R Baldawa

Introduction: 

The Fame Game is the OTT debut of cine world stalwart Madhuri Dixit, the superstar of the late 80's and full 90's & a cine diva forever with Dharmatic Entertainment, the digital content company by Dharma Productions which is owned by Karan Johar.

It was bound to be impactful and it is. But it is more of a nostalgic ride of Madhuri's dazzling cinematic presence and good acting, rather than a content rich and crisp suspense thriller, that it intends to be.

Plot:

Anamika Anand (Madhuri Dixit), a top actress goes missing post an award event which kick-starts an investigation by no-nonsense and methodical police officer Shobha (Rajshri Deshpande).

As her investigation proceeds, one by one she interviews family members and associates of Anamika, who may not  divulge in front of her the absolute truth, but we as an audience eventually get to see the not so hunky dory interactions that transpired in the last six months between Anamika and her - husband Nikhil (Sanjay Kapoor), son Avi (Lakshvir Saran), daughter Amara (Muskkaan Jaferi), mother (Suhasini Mulay), house manager, co-actor cum old flame Manish Khanna (Manav Kaul), make up man, a slimy financier and an obsessed fan Madhav (Gagan Arora).

As the series shuffles between present and immediate 6past months, it becomes clear that behind the 1000 watt smile of the middle aged but ultra-popular cine diva with a luxurious bungalow, full family, a train of staff, good work at hand, lies a spirited but tired woman who - was forced to enter the tinsel town at a young age against her wishes, all thanks to her controlling mother; shares an almost loveless relationship with her husband that borders on domestic abuse; constantly bears the ire of inferiority complexes of her almost adult children; just cannot escape the snide comments of her mother passed under the garb of disciplining her family and herself; yearns direly but finds it difficult to give a proper second chance to lost love i.e. Manish Khanna as she is a married woman with kids; is tired of making extra efforts to cling onto her stardom and compete with much younger actresses and their skin show route to top the charts!

In short she is tired of flying solo to make it all work when everyone around her is either coning her or taking her for granted.

Given Anamika's circumstances, almost everyone appears to be a suspect in her kidnapping and/or murder.

Watch the series to see what actually happened to Anamika and how the mystery was solved.

Analysis:

In the series, Madhuri Dixit has the maximum screen time and close shots and she has aced it all with her inherent beauty, dignity and grace. She has well adopted the new style of acting and is expectantly wonderful in dance numbers.

Her wardrobe is fantastic. She adorns it all with perfection sans any skin show or in-your-face botox.

All the other actors have also performed well, but Manav Kaul has clearly scored above all. His acting has well defined layers. His character appears kind of besotted and in love with Anamika, but his real self never looks intimidated by Madhuri. Whether it's exuberance or nervous anticipation or despair, he has portrayed it all beautifully.

Conclusion:

If you are a Madhuri Dixit fan, do watch the series. If you are not, you can still watch it as in spite of the missing thrill, it's engaging. The diva keeps you hooked to the screen.

Friday, February 25, 2022

3 Reasons To Watch And 3 Reasons To Skip The Movie - Love Hostel on ZEE5 😊

 


3 reasons to watch it:

- It's crisp with good editing. You are thoroughly engaged and contemplate what will happen next.

The duration of the movie is just 1 hour 40 minutes.

- Good acting by all the lead characters i.e. Vikrant Massey, Sanya Malhotra and Bobby Deol, the former two play the lovebirds who elope and marry via intercaste registry and the latter plays the hired killer in search of them to perform honour killing.

However, Bobby Deol is more effective with his get-up and body language. The moment he speaks, his familiar glint in the eyes and mild smile takes over and clashes with his role of a cold blooded assassin.

- For such a movie, shifting the backdrop from Uttar Pradesh to not much cinematically explored Haryana seems a fresh change. The dialect, dressing and dialogues are interesting to observe.

This is is the second film of Shanker Raman, the director. Incidentally, his debut movie Gurgaon was also Haryana based.

3 reasons to skip it:

- Mindless bloodshed of one and all and unnecessary collateral damage.

- Glimpse of many things but pursual of none.

The movie depicts - lawlessness in a Haryana based town along with it's corrupt and locally powerful lady MLA and police officers, primitive culture of condemning and honour killing of couples of different castes or same sex, trapping and arresting of a simpleton with false charges of being a terrorist, forcing a youth to do unlawful activity, a government run and police protected safe home for married couples fearing honour killing and a self proclaimed vigilante doing cold blooded honor killing, both at will and upon hiring.

But the movie doesn't probe deep into any of the aforementioned topics. In the movie, things just happen in succession without explaining any why and how behind them.

- Vanilla ending. All that built up yields to nothing!


Thursday, January 20, 2022

4 New Hindi Web Series On 4 Different OTT Platforms πŸ™‚

The year 2022 has kick-started with 4 new Hindi web series - Kaun Banegi Shikharwati, Ranjish Hi Sahi, Human and Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein on ZEE5, Voot, Disney+ Hotstar and Netflix respectively.

All of them are overall nice and starkly different in content. So, if you are a Hindi web series enthusiast, then you have much to binge watch and enjoy!

Here is some factual information and my take on these web series -



1. Kaun Banegi Shikharwati (7 Jan 2022)

Channel: ZEE5
Genre: Drama Comedy
No. of Episodes: 10
Average Duration: 30 minutes
Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Lara Dutta Bhupathi, Soha Ali Khan, Kritika Kamra, Anya Singh, Raghubir Yadav, Cyrus Sahukar 

Plot: "When an elderly maharaja (played gamely by Shah) is targeted for tax evasion, he concocts a harebrained scheme with the assistance of his right hand man (Yadav) to reunite his four estranged daughters."

Review: It's one of those series that is beautiful and pleasant in all the frames. Throughout the series the aforementioned four sisters compete against each other in games supposedly designed around 'navras' (nine basic emotions) which mostly appear uninteresting and poorly scripted.

The movie has two acting stalwarts - Naseeruddin Shah and Raghubir Yadav, out of which the latter has definitely scored above the former!

Amongst the sisters, Soha Ali Khan has performed the best.



2. Ranjish Hi Sahi (13 Jan 2022)

Channel: Voot
Genre: Drama
No. of Episodes: 8
Average Duration: 40 minutes
Cast: Tahir Raj Bhasin, Amala Paul, Amrita Puri, Zarina Wahab

Plot: "A maverick film director gets drawn into an extra-marital affair with a superstar changing his life; his marriage with his first love spirals as he's torn between two worlds. Set in 70s Bollywood.

It is reportedly based on the controversial love affair of Parveen Babi and Mahesh Bhatt (who is the creator here)."

Review: Would you discuss the quality of a crop if the method of cultivation is faulty in the first place?

Similarly, is it right on the aforementioned creator's part to portray a mixed character (read mostly grey) of a yesteryear popular heroine but project himself holier than thou, clearly not exposing even the basic widely known truths about his life, like his second marriage?

And that too when the concerned heroine is no more alive to defend herself or give her side of the story!

All one can say is that, though the series has good casting, art direction and vintage feel, it lacks an authentic story.



3. Human (14 Jan 2022)

Channel: Disney+ Hotstar
Genre: Thriller
No. of Episodes: 10
Average Duration: 45 minutes
Cast: Shefali Shah, Kirti Kulhari, Ram Kapoor, Seema Biswas, Indraneil Sengupta, Vishal Jethwa, Aditya Srivastava

Plot: "Shefali Shah and Kirti Kulhari play doctors in this medical thriller which looks at the messy, scary world of drug trials. After a pharmaceutical company tries to “fast-track the development of a new drug despite lethal side effects”, Dr Saira Sabharwal (Kulhari) finds herself at odds with the woman she has idolised, Dr Gauri Nath (Shah)."

Review: It's a well made series portraying in detail the various elements involved in a drug trial scam, both in terms of institutions and people alongwith their respective role, answerability, greed, state of awareness and helplessness.

Shefali Shah and Kirti Kulhari are the lead protagonists and the mentor-protΓ©gΓ© doctor duo of the series. Both have been styled well and have put forward quite good performances.

However, Shefali Shah seems to have overdone it a bit, both in terms of wardrobe and acting, fulfilling more of her desire of becoming a sensuous Bollywood heroine rather than sticking to her character in the series.

Others artists have also performed well.

Further better performance is expected from Ram Kapoor.



4. Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein (14 Jan 2022)

Channel: Netflix
Genre: Thriller
No. of Episodes: 8
Average Duration: 40 minutes
Cast: Tahir Raj Bhasin, Shweta Tripathi Sharma, Anchal Singh, Anant Joshi, Saurabh Shukla, Arunoday Singh, Brijendra Kala

Plot: "Relentlessly pursued by a powerful politician’s daughter who will do anything to make him hers, a man slips down a dark, risky path to reclaim his life."

Review: It's a thriller with beautiful frames and few comic moments, best of which are brought by Anant Joshi who plays the protagonist Tahir Raj Bhasin's best friend.

The series is both innocent and gruesome in it's approach and at times the scenes appear unnecessarily lengthy.