PAANCH PHORON : Spices of Life

Paanch Phoron (Five spice blend) is the latest offering in the bangla web series world of the Hoi Choi platform. 5 different directors tell 5 different stories to explore 5 different aspects of love, in a compact Season 1 of 5 episodes, each episode running between 30 to 45 minutes.

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It may be good to acknowledge it outright that the trailer of the series practically does no justice to the series, I had almost rejected it through the trailer itself, but a few interesting casting choices led me to explore a couple of episodes, and given that I quite liked one of them, I decided to watch it all. Overall, its a mixed bag, but is still much more watchable than the average wannabe content of the bangla web series that we see on some of these platforms.

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Photograph – Official Trailer

Photograph is the much awaited next release from Ritesh Batra, and looks sprinkled with the same minimalistic charm of Batra that we have seen in his earlier films like The Lunchbox or Our Souls at Night amongst others. Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Sanya Malhotra ‘play strangers turned couple’ in the film, and seem perfectly cast as ordinary flesh and blood people we could actually meet on the streets. Batra had directed Nawaz brilliantly in their earlier outing together and we hope to see the magic returning. The film choices of Sanya is becoming interesting day by day and should take her along a long way ahead.

Photograph releases on March 15th in India and is a first major theatrical release of Amazon Studios for the region. The film has also been screened at Sundance and Berlinale film festivals to pretty good reviews. We cannot wait.

GULLY BOY : Simmering Symphony of Rousing Rage and Dazzling Desires

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“Kalakaar main, kal ko aakaar doon…
Yehi hai mera dharm.. Meri doosri koi jaat na…”

Nothing else can possibly better describe Zoya Akhtar and her relentless passion for narrating the most heartfelt and moving tales of life. And that she does that through wholesome entertainment without compromising one bit on art, is what elevates the experience of her films. She sucks you in to the worlds she creates however alien they are to you, and makes you a part of them – whether they are the elitist cruise lines or the dingiest ghettos of Dharavi. With Gully Boy, she only raises the bar of her craft even higher to possibly create her most complete and near perfect film. It has an unadulterated beating heart at its core, daring to dream and rousing with rage, that wants to break away from all societal norms and harsh realities of life which often limits one’s desires (murad) to attain their potential.

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Made in Heaven – Official Trailer

The AnazAm Prime Web Series Made in Heaven is a creation of Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti and has been directed by a team of Zoya Akhtar, Nitya Mehra, Prashant Nair and Alankrita Srivastava. The cast is extremely promising as well with names like Kalki Koechlin, Shashank Arora, Jim Sarbh, Arjun Mathur, Shobhita Dhulipala and Shivani Raghuvanshi. The show deals with the theme of weddings, relationships and dysfunctional families in the very urban and posh setup, and certainly seems like high pitch entertaining show that uses sarcasm as its primary language.

The show premiers on March 8th. Looking forward.

Badla – Official Trailer

Badla is Sujoy Ghosh‘s official remake of The Invisible Guest, with genders swapped of the protagonists from the original film. The trailer is intriguing, and given the name and the tagline of the film, it appears that it will be treated more as a thriller than a suspense drama, with the ‘twist’ revealed early and the rest of the film playing out on a more psychological mode to expose human complexities.

Amitabh Bachhan owns the trailer and looks in excellent form after long. I am not sure if the trailer was cut a certain way but Taapsee Pannu seemed to be somewhat low on energy. Amrita Singh‘s quick look is impressive. Overall, we will have to wait to see how Sujoy Ghosh pulls this up, for now the overall trailer is lukewarm.

Badla releases on March 8th, 2019.

FOOL FOR LOVE : Illusions of Life

Satarupa Sanyal wants to tell the ever relevant story of illusions of love or loneliness in life in her new short film Fool For Love. 

Bittu (Ritabhari Chakraborty) is stuck in love of her childhood sweetheart Allen (Anurag Kashyap), however life’s script written for them doesn’t allow them to spend enough time together, and Allen is gone for months at a stretch. And at the same time, there is something in that relationship that doesn’t allow her to move forward with anything else in life, and every time she tries, he comes back (in form or in spirit?)

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Mahalaya – Official Trailer

Directed by Soumik Sen, Mahalaya is the story of attempting to replace the legendary Birendra Krishna Bhadra with Uttam Kumar, which is still being talked out as the momentous blunder. Not convinced with the hindi voice over of Prosenjit Chatterjee, there are major diction issues there. Jisshu Sengupta is a good pick to play Uttam Kumar, as is  Subhashish Mukherjee for the icon. The film releases on March 1st, and is certainly likely to attract audience because of its subject. Hope the treatment is good as well.

The Rebels of SONCHIRIYA are all Powerful !

Abhishek Chaubey and his team of Rebels are going to arrive on March 1st now with Sonchiriya and the tale of Chambal! If the promos so far are anything to go with, this film is going to be high octane power! Eagerly looking forward…

Here is the new trailer that dropped today…

EK LADKI KO DEKHA TOH AISA LAGA : Returns a Blank

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In one of the very important scenes of Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga, Sahil Mirza, a struggling playwright by profession says – Humara jo yeh natak hain na, aap dimag se nahi dil se dekhiye. In a way, Sahil is impersonating the writers of the film here, because just like him, even they are rather lackluster writers through and through, and write a half hearted drama sans soul jisme woh true love wali feel nahi aati. Yes it stays fairly superficial, simplistic and ornamental all along. Which is sort of sad because the story is written by trans-woman Gazal Dhaliwal and writer director Shelly Chopra Dhar, who should have treated it with far more maturity to actually realize the intent of breaking barriers and #SetLoveFree.

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MARY POPPINS RETURNS : With Her Life Lessons

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That Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins Returns was the same witty, magical, assertive and lovable nanny to a bunch of beautiful children is not a topic of focus for this write-up. That Emily Blunt was absolutely fantastic as that superpower charmer, and completely blended into the nostalgic character isn’t either. But in the garb of the mystically charismatic world that this beautiful film takes us into, it also imparts us with some of the most useful life lessons to be nurtured for a life time. That I think is the biggest plus of this film – its a treasure trove of inspiration to live life in the most magically magnificent ways. Here are some of the best life lessons that the film leaves us with:

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