83 : A Feel Good Satisfying Experience

Kabir Khan was very clear what he wanted to achieve with 83. The proceedings are kept simplistic by design, back stories of individual players or melodrama outside cricket is kept minimalistic by design, the screenplay unabashedly plays to the gallery by design, all the emotional buttons are manipulated by design, and we can see and feel all of it. But no one cares, because all of that works by design too! It is the perfect feel good, nostalgia ride one would want to take this holiday season and come out all smiling and teary eyed from it.

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AARYA Season 2 : The Mother Who Dares.. And Cares…

In Aarya Season 1, which brilliantly told the story of The Rise of The Phoenix, one thing was very firmly established. Aarya was Sushmita Sen, and Sushmita Sen was Aarya. Her career defining performance, Sushmita was Sen-sational the way she arrived. At one go, she nailed down the complex emotions of a wailing wife, a super protective mother, and vulnerable helpless human being who would do anything to protect the dignity of her immediate family, and fiercely guard her exposed children and self from anything that comes and harms them. And there was enough and more of evil engulfing her from all around waiting for any opportunity to get them, destroy them. By the end of Season 1, Aarya had won some battles, but those transient wins had given rise to more harmful antagonists and Aarya, with all her might, had thought that going away from all that would keep her family safe, give them the much needed peace they deserved and craved for. Aarya Season 2 picks up right from that point.

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JAI BHIM : Not An Outright Winner

The stories about police brutality on the marginalized, about the atrocities of the people in power on the weak, on the ostracized need to come up and need to told with all the gutsy fierceness. And the makers of Jai Bhim should definitely be applauded for that. That they brought forward the real life incident so that it could reach out to a much larger audience through the power of cinema. But is that enough to call it great cinema?

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SARDAR UDHAM : Say it like Shoojit Sircar

Shoojit Sircar is a man of quiet depth and restrained emotions. Even when he makes his lighter films, there is a unique elegance and classy charm attached to them, them studded with precious gem like moments, deeply layered subtlety, and an inexplicable repeat watch quality where you keep discovering a new something with every repeat watch. When the news first started flowing around that my most favourite hindi filmmaker of today’s times was going to make a biopic on Sardar Udham Singh and had the incredible Irrfan on his mind to play the titular role, it was naturally very exciting. While there were apprehensions about Shoojit also jumping into the biopic bandwagon, and also indulging in a genre that was outside his comfort zone, I also had the confidence that Shoojit, with his research , detailing, aesthetics and restraint, will lend the right amount of depth and gravitas to the forgotten story of this valiant revolutionary who took all his time but never lost focus on seeking justice on possibly the single most heinous crime and the darkest event of blood bath that marred India’s struggle for independence.

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LITTLE THINGS Season 4 : Maine Socha Na Tha

For all those who have been following Little Things for 3 seasons now know that it is a series that traces the little things and sweet nothings that Dhruv and Kavya share, a committed couple who have been in love and in a live in relationship for about 6 years now. The progression of the series, just like their journey, has been a sweet and bumpy ride of mixed bag moments. At times we get to know them as a couple deeply in love who are far more committed and caring than possibly what they would have been if married. At other times they come across as unsettled, unsure, scared of commitments, and way too distracted with what their own personal problems are, sometimes pulling them away from each other. Add to it the challenges of a long distance relationship, the issues surfacing with unhappy jobs, bruised egos, and fear of losing each other over distance, and the journey becomes even more tentative but very relatable. In a way we moved along with the ups and downs of Dhruv and Kavya over multiple seasons, and where we were left at the end of Season 3 left enough curiosity in us and enough flame alive in them to see where Season 4 and their final journey takes them to.

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BHRAMAM : The Insipid Remake

Bhramam is a scene by scene remake of Andhadhun, minus the eye catching performances of Ayushmann Khurrana and Tabu, the scintillating music of Amit Trivedi, and the eclectic charm of Shriram Raghavan’s masterful direction!

Prithviraj, Mamta Mohandas and a Wild Boar are not a patch on the original show stealers, and even a ‘Drishyam’ joke falls flat while painting the make believe worlds of the blind-foldeds! In an attempt to notch up the commercial tonality of the film, KA Ravichandran lets go off the subtle, intelligent black comedy treatment of the original and makes way for a louder, banal comedy that’s rather uninspiring!

Shit happens!

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The Colliding Worlds of AARKKARIYAM and KAANEKKAANE

2021 is possibly going to be remembered as one of the strongest years for Malayalam cinema. At three quarters of the year milestone, it may very well happen that if we sit down to list the top 10 or top 15 Best Indian Films of the year now, three quarters or at least half the spots will be occupied by Malayalam films. Two films that will most definitively occupy some of the top billings in those lists (alongside Joji and Malik) will be Sanu John Varughese‘s underrated quiet gem Aarkkariyam and the most recent addition to the Malayalam cine bouquet of 2021, Manu Ashokan‘s touching human drama Kaanekkaane. It is important to dive a little deeper into both these films together because there are some striking similarities and colliding dissimilarities between the two when looked through the unified lens.

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BINISUTOY : Without Strings – The Uncanny Loneliness of the Privileged Lives

Mon… Mon er bhetor mon…. Tar o gobhire mon…..

In Binisutoy : Without Strings, filmmaker Atanu Ghosh is interested in exploring these buried complexities of the lonely heart of two complicated individuals, and takes us on a journey along with them where we start identifying with their privileges, eccentricities, their crisis and their escape routes to win the tricky games of life.

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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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MODERN LOVE – Season 2 : Has 3 Beautiful Stories to Tell

“Here’s to healing… In all its forms…”

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