TURNING POINT: 9/11 and The War on Terror – Is a Must Watch

TURNING POINT: 9/11 and The War on Terror is a 5 part docu-series directed by Brian Knappenberger currently showing on Netflix and is a Must Watch. Tracing the entire journey from what led to 9/11 till the timeline of August 2021 when US Forces withdrew from Afghanistan with the country immediately falling to the Taliban regime, the series delves deep into the US War against Terror and where it went wrong with its approach of mixing Terrorism with Terror that led to giving unforeseen authority to the government for uncontrolled use of US brute force across countries and their people who had no apparent links with 9/11. The docu-series also keeps its spine upright and does not take any sides of Democrat vs. Republican and points unhinged fingers equally at the Bush, Obama, Trump or Biden administrations and where they all went wrong.

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Dil Dhoondhta Hai : Gulzar, the Humanist Poet, and his Women of Strength

Gulzar was a toddler of one when his mother, Sujaan Kaur, passed away. As there were no photographs of the lady to fall back upon, he does not even know what she looked like. That unseen face of a woman who brought him into the world is, in a very crucial way, probably the reason why the busy poet-filmmaker has never forgotten that otherwise little known, nondescript village which now lies on the Pakistani side of India’s northwestern border. It is a village that, in his mind, is associated with the mother whose visage he does not remember. So he clings on to whatever is remotely reminiscent of that tiny hamlet of his childhood.

………

His friends and associates often allude to his feminine disposition: it enables him to see relationships invariably from the standpoint of women. For a boy who attained manhood without the benison of maternal love, the feminist slant of his work is almost a dire necessity, an act of coming to terms with a chasm that has existed in the very center of his life ever since he can remember.

– Excerpts from ECHOES and ELOQUENCES, The Life and Cinema of Gulzar – By Saibal Chatterjee

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The Best Performances of Fahadh Faasil – Ranked

Fahadh Faasil is the name that resonates pan India now as the Best Lead Actor working in Indian cinema today, and that coming from a place where Fahadh has still not worked in a single Hindi film (the language of films which has had the most pan India acceptance to date) makes it extra sweet. It is however not so suprising since the Malayalam film industry now makes the best cinema in the country for a while, and its realistic, lived in, matter of fact world perfectly complements the natural, understated and layered performance competency of Fahadh Faasil. The actor excels in non physical communication since he has the best expressive eyes in the country today, and wonderfully uses them and his charming persona to infuse all his characters with shades of grey, quirk, and natural believability with an effortless conviction, never coming across as trying too hard or ‘act’.

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Top 12 Indian Films of 2021 – Mid Year Check Point

So just like that, six months of 2021 are already gone. And while we had hoped at the beginning of the year that 2021 would be the year of life opening up again including our regular visits back to the cinemas, sadly that was not to happen. The six months went by with us locked up in the corners of our homes, and watching a lot of cinema that saw their releases across digital platforms – big and small, across languages, genres and themes. There has been a lot to appreciate in what we consumed, quite a bit to feel disappointed, but the overall feeling has been of hope because cinema is becoming far more universal crossing the boundaries of languages and geographies and speaking to our sensibilities with their global human themes. As we are at the mid year checkpoint of 2021, here is then looking at a dozen films that stood out at the top, appealing the most to my sensibilities and making a very strong mark. As always, this is a very subjective list and may not match up with your favorites for the year, but it would be wonderful to know what were your favorite films of the year so far, so that I can also catch up on anything that I would have missed out.

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Sahir Ludhianvi : When every Verse was Magic – 10 Gems

Enough and more has been said about the depth, passion and finnesse of Sahir Ludhianvi and his poetry, and how he weaved magic into every word of his verses. Arguably the finest lyricist of hindi films ever, Sahir wrote for every mood, and every beat; and worked for a multitude of composers to create gems across decades. His collaboration with Sachin Dev Burman though stands out, especially the soulful melancholic songs they created together, most of which still echo as evergreen classics.

As the world gets ready to celebrate the centenary birth anniversary of Sahir Saab, here’s celebrating the terrific poet by remembering 10 of his best songs across films over years. There are of course multiple bunches of such tens that one can easily pick up from his amazing treasure of songs, but we restricted ourselves to ten and picked a max of one per film though it goes without saying that a Pyaasa or a Hum Dono or a Kabhi Kabhie would potentially feature all their songs in the Best of Sahir Ludhianvi list.

Too much to love. Too much to celebrate. Happy 100 years Sahir Ludhianvi! You are fondly remembered everyday through your ever relevant gems!

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15 Best Performances from Hindi Web Series of 2020

2020 is the year that will be possibly remembered more for its web series content than films. As the world shrinked to the confines of home, people found comfort and engagement in long format story telling, a format that helps the characters to take it slow, breathe and show their complete character arcs. The content creators also upped the game, and created shows with some very interesting characters, and soms excellent performances. The year will be remembered also as a breakout for many industry veterans, who have been here for long, but perhaps were waiting for a 2020 to happen to truly win global hearts. Hope they are here to stay.

Here we look at 15 Best Performances from the Hindi Web Series of 2020. We look at it differently from films, because the scope and span of the two formats makes them distinct with very different arcs of individual or ensemble performances. Also, though we talk about 15 top performances, we list the performances from male and female actors separately. Lastly, we do consider some of the series like A Suitable Boy or Churails whose primary language was not Hindi, but the spirit of the characters or their milieu was very comparable to the rest of the content considered.

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10 Best Hindi Films of 2020

2020 can easily be called the year of the Digital. As the pandemic brought the world to a lockdown state by the end of the first quarter, it was only the content on digital that kept the world sane and going one day at a time. With time, more and more completed films found their direct release on digital, with time new digital content started getting developed with the constraints of social distancing, and the audience were treated with a rather diversified platter of engaging content – human stories of hope, heartbreak, struggles and agency. 2020 was also a very brutal year in the way in which it took away so many artists from the field of Performing Arts and Entertainment, and some of these losses were beyond our comprehension. The films featuring those departed souls also left us teary eyed in their own ways.

So here is our pick of the 10 Best Hindi Films of 2020, films that worked in totality, some of them making a part of our repeat watchlists, and many of them going bold and experimental with themes, narration styles, and challenging the status quo without inhobitions. In spite of many big films pushed out to 2021 as they continue to wait for theatrical releases, 2020 didn’t leave us empty handed and gave us some pretty good films to cherish and celebrate. Here’s to more of that in 2021 and beyond.

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10 Best Performances (Female) from Hindi Films of 2020

2020 wasn’t a very easy year for anyone. But one of the biggest pluses of the year as far as cinema was considered is that as films moved to OTT platforms, it became a sort of level playing field for all kinds of cinema, as all content had equal reach in digital, and audience paused to consume the rich variety of themes in offer. The good news was that women were at the center of some of the strongest hindi films of the year, and gave great opportunities to our leading ladies to rise and shine. And they shined across genres, age groups and character arcs through and through.

Here, we pick the 10 Best Performances from Female Actors from Hindi Films of 2020, and we consider all performances irrespective of the length of the roles. These are performances in films only, and we will consider Web Series separately because the scope available for character development is vastly different in both. But there are some really great performances here, some of them the career-best by the actresses, and we can only hope that they continue to evolve from strength to strength in the coming years as well.

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Best of 2020

Best that Films and Series had to offer in 2020 – the index. Will be updated as new posts keep getting added.

15 Best Performances from Hindi Web Series of 2020

10 Best Hindi Films of 2020

10 Best Performances (Female) from Hindi Films of 2020

10 Best Performances (Male) from Hindi Films of 2020

10 Best Hindi Film Songs of 2020

10 Best Performances (Male) from Hindi Films of 2020

In a very unlikely year for cinemas like many other things, where there weren’t too many releases of films at the theatres past the first quarter, enough and more films found releases through the digital platforms – right from films starring the biggest movie stars, to the really small films, to films trying to find a release for years. In a way, due to the special circumstances, the year also provided a level playing field to all kinds of films, all kinds of performances, with them reaching a wider audience in their homes than any other year. Not that 2020 will be remembered as an extremely strong year for Hindi Films, but there were quite a few performances from these films that left a strong impression, some a lot more than the others.

Here, we pick the 10 Best Performances from Male Actors from Hindi Films of 2020, and we consider all performances irrespective of the length of the roles. They came from actors young and old, playing varried shades of characters, and they all made traversing through 2020 a little more easier. We will consider Web Series separately because it is not fair to compare film performances with series as the scope available is vastly different in both. But here’s wishing that these talented actors continue to give us stronger performances in the days to come.

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