Browsing All Posts filed under »Television / Online«

Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl on Netflix, with Janhvi Kapoor: A rousing biopic that honours its subject while also humanising her

August 10, 2020

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Pankaj Tripathi and Janhvi Kapoor form a terrific father-daughter team that becomes the emotional core of a beautifully written drama. Spoilers ahead… Flight Lieutenant Gunjan Saxena is the first woman IAF officer to go to war, the only woman to be part of the Kargil War, the first woman to be awarded the Shaurya Chakra… […]

Shivaji Surathkal on ZEE5, with Ramesh Aravind: Despite an interesting premise, an underwhelming murder mystery

August 10, 2020

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The real killers are the mood and tone, which waver between full-throttle horror and suspense and gruesomeness and romance and “comedy”. Spoilers ahead… In Akash Srivatsa’s Shivaji Surathkal, Ramesh Aravind stars as a famous detective who shares the film’s name. He is known to solve cases with his “imagination”. No, no. This doesn’t mean he […]

Shakuntala Devi on Amazon Prime Video, with Vidya Balan and Sanya Malhotra: A biopic whose conceits sound better on paper than they play out on screen

August 7, 2020

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But inside these feminist milestones, what was this female really like? The characters cry out for flesh and blood, dimension and depth. Spoilers ahead… Shakuntala Devi was a Maths whiz who beat the world’s fastest computer. This is a fact most people know, but her personal life is a bit of a mystery. I don’t […]

The music of Bandish Bandits on Amazon Prime Video: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy go all out in a magnificent East-meets-West soundtrack

August 3, 2020

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Over the years, our film music has become increasingly Western. But listening to the stunningly classical “Garaj Garaj”, you wonder: Is OTT poised to change the OST? Here’s the description for Bandish Bandits on the Amazon Prime Video site: “Radhe a singing prodigy from a classical background & Tamanna, a pop sensation on the rise […]

Raat Akeli Hai on Netflix, with Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Radhika Apte: A classy murder mystery that works well despite some stumbles

August 1, 2020

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Smita Singh’s screenplay takes on a lot, which is probably a good thing because the layers remain interesting even when the whodunit begins to sag. Spoilers ahead… This is the season of casting directors turned film directors. After Mukesh Chhabra’s Dil Bechara, we get Honey Trehan’s Raat Akeli Hai. The title took me back to […]

Uma Maheswara Ugra Roopasya on Netflix, with Satyadev Kancharana: ‘Maheshinte Prathikaaram’ gets a sincere, funny, rooted Telugu remake

July 30, 2020

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When filmmakers move from a micro-budget indie like C/o Kancharapalem to something more high-profile, they sometimes lose themselves in trying to gain a bigger audience. That doesn’t happen with director Venkatesh Maha. Spoilers ahead… Given that a lot of Malayalam cinema would practically pass for “art cinema” in the bigger, brasher neighbouring industries that speak […]

Kalla Nottam at New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF): Rahul Riji Nair’s interesting, immersive drama sees only what a GoPro camera sees

July 30, 2020

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A regular film tells us a story that has been recorded on a camera, and then edited in a way that (usually) gives the audience knowledge that the characters themselves may not have. Here, we travel only with the camera. Spoilers ahead… This film can be viewed at: https://nyiff.moviesaints.com/bundle/nyiff2020 The owner of a small provisions […]

Readers Write In #232: A near perfect family drama

July 29, 2020

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(by Vikram MN) In fact, its perfect family drama if you negate the fact that it happens in Coonoor but you can’t see a single south Indian or a single person who talks Tamil properly. If you gonna make a film sans authenticity why chose a place where none speak Hindi. It could have been […]

Run Kalyani at New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF): J Geetha’s Malayalam drama transforms the unremarkable life of a cook into everyday poetry

July 28, 2020

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The music is like a bolero, where a theme is endlessly repeated. The tiny variations in each repetition mirror the tiny variations in each day Kalyani wakes up to face. Spoilers ahead… This film can be viewed at: https://nyiff.moviesaints.com/bundle/nyiff2020 In the morning, before leaving for work, Kalyani (Garggi Ananthan) tends to her aged, bedridden aunt. […]

Little Fires Everywhere, on Disney+Hotstar… A fascinating drama about two very different, yet two very similar mothers

July 27, 2020

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One of my favourite sub-genres in the television/streaming space is “whatever has Reese Witherspoon in it”. She’s done the most amazing thing actresses who are no longer the It Thing can do: she’s become a producer and has begun making things that are far more interesting and satisfying than the things she made when she […]

Film Companion content creators read your (mean) comments

July 26, 2020

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FC South Short Film 5: The ‘Mopmandai Marthandan’ micro-series

July 26, 2020

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At FC South, we showcase short films, too. Here’s the fifth one. The first one is here: https://baradwajrangan.wordpress.com/2019/12/13/fc-short-film-ullangai-nellikkani-the-gooseberry-in-her-palm/ The second one is here: https://baradwajrangan.wordpress.com/2019/12/13/fc-short-film-blink/ The third one is here: https://baradwajrangan.wordpress.com/2020/04/14/fc-south-short-film-3-adaiyalam/ The fourth one is here: https://baradwajrangan.wordpress.com/2020/07/18/fc-south-short-film-4-silandhi/ For more, subscribe to FILM COMPANION SOUTH: http://bit.ly/2xoNult Synopsis: What if, in a parallel universe, mops had feelings? What […]

Dil Bechara on Disney+ Hotstar, with Sushant Singh Rajput and Sanjana Sanghi: A watchable-enough romance that, at least on screen, offers a sense of closure to a tragedy

July 25, 2020

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I suspect at least parts of ‘Dil Bechara’ play out better than ‘The Fault In Our Stars’, because this corny-sentimental register is something our cinema owns like a pro. (AR Rahman’s delicious soundtrack is icing on the gooey cake.) Spoilers ahead… When an actor leaves us in his prime, the films that release after his […]

Readers Write In #226: OTT platforms can revamp the fragile scaffold of Indian cinema

July 24, 2020

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(by Alex John) So, what was once presumed to be extraordinary is gradually becoming the new-normal in the cine world, like the many other new-normals that came into being in this ill-starred year. I was under the impression that this will be pushed further by the procrastinative Indian system, but to my surprise, a lot […]

Readers Write In #225: Keeping Up With Vanitha Vijaykumar

July 22, 2020

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(by H Prasanna) Vanitha, who began her career as an actress, has cemented herself as a true maverick of reality TV in Tamil Nadu with her new YouTube channel and (now closed) Insta account. This is decidedly not reality television in terms of production and narrative control. It is a gossip column news story elevated […]

Nagarkirtan on Hoichoi, with Riddhi Sen and Ritwick Chakraborty: A tender, sensual, beautifully acted drama about unconventional love

July 22, 2020

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The director equates this “unconventional” love story between two men to the one between Radha and Krishna. They’re both Krishna. And they’re both Radha. Spoilers ahead… Kaushik Ganguly’s Nagarkirtan centres on two people, two states of mind. First, there’s Parimal (Riddhi Sen), a young man who feels he belongs to the opposite gender. He runs […]

Readers Write In #224: Arjun Reddy is a landmark of Telugu Cinema, regardless of its moral incorrectness

July 21, 2020

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(by Ram Venkat Srikar) If you’re a non-Telugu-speaking movie buff who discovered Telugu cinema during the lockdown, relying on the multitude of OTT services, it is highly likely that your cinematic comprehension of Telugu cinema is confined to OTT hits, which mostly represent the good side of the Telugu cinema. For instance, the majority of […]

Mrs. America, on Disney+Hotstar… A riveting story about women fighting for and against the Equal Rights Amendment

July 18, 2020

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T his lockdown has been a very busy time for us at work. I wasn’t actively looking for a new series to watch, because I didn’t know if I had the time and energy to commit to endless episodes. But on Facebook, I stumbled on a small video promo — a snatch of a “conservative” […]

Law on Amazon Prime Video, with Ragini Prajwal: An utterly underwhelming story about a gang-rape survivor with a twisty secret

July 17, 2020

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The film, alas, is terribly written and executed. It’s very hard to stay invested in these drab, borderline-nonsensical proceedings. Spoilers ahead… For a while — just a little while — there’s something intriguing about Law, written and directed by Raghu Samarth. The opening stretch introduces us to Nandini (Ragini Prajwal), who’s been gang-raped by three […]

Virgin Bhanupriya on ZEE 5, with Urvashi Rautela: A delicious treasure trove of delirious badness, with jokes about urinary infections and Rajinikanth’s bones

July 16, 2020

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The heroine wears glasses. That’s movie-speak for “she’s a nerd”. The film’s plot is about her wanting to lose her virginity. (You thought the title referred to a mocktail?) Spoilers ahead… If I didn’t believe in the concept of poetic justice earlier, I do so now, after seeing that a film titled Virgin Bhanupriya exists […]