Films Lite Blogs

A Tribute to Bravery

‘The Attacks of 26/11’: Directed by Ram Gopal Varma, the movie despite its very positive reception by audiences and critics alike is also notorious for going into meticulous bloody details about the carnage that unfolded…reports Asian Lite News

The horrifying incident of the 2008 Mumbai attacks which is well known as 26/11 was a tragic incident which has gone down in history as one of the worst and biggest terrorist attacks to ever take place.It has been 15 years now, and while India is moving on from that nightmare it has left scars that have never fully healed. Carried out by 10 Pakistani terrorists, the attacks went on for three days with the Taj Hotel, Oberoi Hotel and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus being the biggest targets.Over 175 people were killed in this attack and over 300 injured.

Over the years many storytellers have presented the story of these attacks from different aspects. Some have presented the story from the victims’ point of view, some from the medical fraternity, the NSG commandos to the planning of the attacks.

1. ‘Major’: Directed by Sashi Kiran Tikka and written by its lead actor Adivi Shesh, this tri-lingual film from 2022 is a must watch. Telling the story of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, a soldier in the Indian Army and later the team commander of the NSG (National Security Guard) commandos who participated in taking down the terrorists, the movie tells the gut-wrenching story of how the great soldier laid down his life fighting the terrorists.The film apart from Adivi Sesh stars Prakash Raj, Sobhita Dhulipala, Murali Sharma, Saiee Manjrekar, and Revathi among others.

2. ‘The Attacks of 26/11’: Directed by Ram Gopal Varma, the movie despite its very positive reception by audiences and critics alike is also notorious for going into meticulous bloody details about the carnage that unfolded. Playing partially like a documentary, the movie did not have any filmy appeal as such but told the story very accurately to the point that it almost scratched the old wounds. Starring Nana Patekar, Sanjeev Jaiswal, Atul Kulkarni, and Jitendra Joshi, among others, the 2013 film is a very dark and realistically grisly watch, but one worth watching.

3. ‘Hotel Mumbai’: The Hollywood film directed by Anthony Maras tells the story of the Taj hotel staff and how they risked their lives selflessly to ensure the survivors of the guests. Though it does take some liberties with the details, the film is largely on-point and strikes at the heartstrings. One of the biggest heroes of this whole tragedy is General Manager Karambir Kang who lost his family, but continued with his duties. The 2018 film stars Dev Patel, Armie Hammer, Anupam Kher, Nazanin Boniadi, Tilda Cobham Hervey, Jason Isaacs, Suhail Nayyar, and Vipoin Sharma in the lead roles.

4. ‘Mumbai Diaries’: This engaging thriller series created and co-directed by Nikkhil Advani alongside Nikhil Gonsalves, tells the story of the attacks from a different angle in its first season.A medical-thriller-drama so to speak, the first season narrates the story of the medical staff of Mumbai General Hospital, as well as the journalists who reported these events.The series stars Mohit Raina, Konkona Sen Sharma, Mrunmayee Deshpande, Satyajeey Dubey, Shreya Dhnwanthary, Natasha Bharadwaj, and Tine Desai in pivotal roles.

5. ‘Taj Mahal’: This 2015 French-Belgian thriller film may perhaps be the most unknown film to be based on the attacks. Narrating a more fictionalised, but nonetheless realistic tale, the story follows a French teenage girl staying at the hotel when the attacks happened. A story of survival against horrifically unfavourable odds, this finds its protagonist Stacy trying to stay alive until the NSG squad and the Mumbai police are able to handle the situation.While the movie was critiqued for its neo-realistic and non-serious tone, the claustrophobic environment of the production, as well as the acting received praise, leading to mixed reception.Directed, written by Nicolas Saada, the film stars Stacy Martin, Louis-Do de Lencquesaing, Gina McKee, Alba Rohrwacher, Fred Epaud, Praveena Vivekananthan in lead roles.

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Bollywood Films Lite Blogs

Weekend box office filled with senior star power

Coming back to ‘Gadar 2’, though the sequel comes after a gap of 22 years, the fact is, the film would have done well even if it was not a sequel. Quite a few of the generation today may not have watched ‘Gadar: Ek Prem Katha’ and for those who did, the gap is too huge…reports Vinod Mirani

The Independence Day weekend has been hogged by the veterans of the Indian screen. Be it on Hindi, Tamil or Telugu screens.

This weekend is one of the specials few in a year that filmmakers seek for the release of a new film. The other sought-after weekends are Republic Day (January 26), Diwali, Eid and Christmas.

Some of the biggest hits were released during one of these periods and it is universal knowledge that Hindi cinema’s historical blockbuster, ‘Sholay’, was released on August 15, 1975.

Actors have their favourite release slots like the Eid week is Salman Khan’s. Shah Rukh Khan chose January 26 this year for ‘Pathaan’.

If the holiday for any of these special days falls on a Friday, it assures a film of a decent opening and the rest depends on its merits. But for any film, if the holiday for one of these occasions comes mid-week, it works as a booster dose adding to its weekend collections.

Independence Day was on a Tuesday this past week and one can’t ask for a better weekend than this. Because, out of the four films released on August 11, three have opened well, though OMG2 was a slow starter. The four films are Sunny Deol’s ‘Gadar 2’, Akshay Kumar’s ‘OMG 2’, Rajinikanth’s ‘Jailor’ and Chiranjeevi’s ‘Bholaa Shankar’.

As the week progressed, as ‘OMG 2’ picked up pace, ‘Bhola Shankar’ started dropping.

I call this a week of the seniors because three of the four stars credited for these films are senior citizens. Sunny Deol is 66, Rajinikanth 72 and Chiranjeevi 68. Akshay Kumar at 55 isn’t a senior citizen yet, but is a senior-enough artiste who has been doing films for almost 33 years.

What these four have done this past week is set the box office on fire all over. These films were released on August 11 and Independence Day, which fell on the fifth day of their release, only added to their glory. It may have also helped to have the Parsi New Year, an optional holiday in certain parts of India, fall on August 16.

As far as the initial draw went, Akshay Kumar’s ‘OMG 2’ suffered because of the whimsical ways of the Censor Board. The exhibitors felt the film’s release was uncertain because the Censors had raised some silly issues about the film’s content. So, rather than not having a new release for the Independence Day week, most halls opted for ‘Gadar 2’, leaving fewer cinemas for ‘OMG 2’ than the film merited.

Worst still was that this film, dealing with the sensitive issue of sex and young adults on the verge of entering the teens, was granted an Adult only certificate! Imagine, at age 12, a boy is going through his initial urges and seeking a solution, and the film can be seen only by an 18-plus. That 12-year-old and million such young adults needed to watch this movie!

With such setbacks, the film still managed to open with Rs 10 crore but the headlines were hogged by ‘Gadar 2’ grossing Rs 41 crore. It is worth seeking a legal opinion on whether the Censor Board can be sued for damages on the grounds of its nil understanding of the facts of life, whimsical ratings of films, and causing huge economic losses to films and filmmakers.

‘OMG 2’ picked up as the week progressed and it looks like it has overcome the initial setback.

Coming back to ‘Gadar 2’, though the sequel comes after a gap of 22 years, the fact is, the film would have done well even if it was not a sequel. Quite a few of the generation today may not have watched ‘Gadar: Ek Prem Katha’ and for those who did, the gap is too huge.

The reason is, the theme in the original and the sequel is the same, the cause is just incidental. And Sunny Deol’s one-man army running roughshod over the Pakistanis and whatever represents power there.

What is more, for those who are familiar with the original, ‘Gadar: Ek Prem Katha’, it was a nostalgia trip with Sunny and Ameesha Patel still continuing their romance like a couple freshly in love and, best of all, this gives the makers an opportunity to replay old melodies from the original. Today, when music and melody in films are extinct, that is an inherent advantage the film enjoys.

‘Gadar 2’ has the advantage of complying with the national mood today. The nation exudes patriotism and nationalism with Indians being deeply immersed in these sentiments. In such a situation, no better villain to humiliate than the neighbouring country.

‘Gadar 2’ had shown a drop after bountiful first three days, but the film still had the Independence Day holiday and Parsi New Year the following day to regain its ground. The film ended its first week scoring Rs 284.6 crore.

My column has been advocating the return to traditional Indian themes. Drama, melodrama, romance, music and all that.

The approach of course can be in keeping with the times we live in. If the story has a mother, sister, sahelis and other such familiar elements around, the more the fun.

Now, all we need is a few writers with ideas and a few music composers to match the melodies of the bygone era. I know it is asking for too much in today’s scenario, but it is not impossible.

Meanwhile, folks on social media are having a field day going ga-ga over ‘Gadar 2’. Most are predicting the film’s collections will go beyond the figures claimed by ‘Pathaan’! Juggling of figures and tall claims despite empty cinema theatres has been a practice much in use by filmmakers. But, in the age of social media, people know what the real picture is. You may throw up big figures, but people don’t counter you. They only take them with a pinch of salt, or a bagful of salt, depending on the claims.

Not saying that this is done by all filmmakers, but when two out of three do it, people become sceptical.

While of the subject of the box-office race between ‘Pathaan’ and ‘Gadar 2’, and of inflated figures, this does not seem to be happening in the Hindi film industry alone.

The same thing has been happening in other countries too. In South Korea, for instance, the Seoul Police has found the practice of inflating box-office figures being rampant. The numbers issued by the police are astonishing: box-office figures of 323 films were found to have been inflated over the past five years.

The Seoul Police has probed the business of 462 movies and 98 film distributors from 2018 till June this year. As a follow-up, it has referred 69 exhibitors and 24 film distributors to prosecutors, who will now decide on the action to be taken.

Now, this is a serious business. This amounts to cheating and misleading the masses and your other business associates such as the satellite and OTT rights buyers. Is this due to the GST to be paid on the amounts claimed to be collected?

How is it that when you check an online ticket booking portal, the charts show no seats available. But, if you go to the cinema theatre, there are as many available and as many as you wish to buy! Are the GST commissioners missing out on something?

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Bollywood Films Lite Blogs

Unmissable week of captivating OTT contents

Genelia Deshmukh and Manav Kaul starrer ‘Trial Period’ is the slice-of-life drama, showcasing an endearing tale of unconventional family bond…reports Asian Lite News

This week OTT platforms have lined up a must-watch array of multi-genre content from a war love story to a slice-of-life drama to sci-fi mystery and more, giving viewers an opportunity to get immersed in captivating narratives.

From Varun-Janhvi’s ‘Bawaal’ to Genelia Deshmukh and Manav Kaul’s ‘Trial Period’, to Vijay Varma’s ‘Kaalkoot’,  OTT has caught the pulse of its audience and is delivering– raw, resonant and moving content.  Here’s a list of this week’s unmissable titles:

1) Bawaal

Varun Dhawan and Janhvi Kapoor starrer touches upon the themes and events surrounding World War 2. 

It’s an extraordinary love story set in the backdrop of WW2, powered by brilliant performances by Varun and Jahnvi. Set in the heartland of India, the gripping narrative takes viewers on a never-seen-before journey through Europe. 

Directed and co-written by Nitesh Tiwari, it is produced by Nadiadwala Grandsons. It will be released on July 21 on Prime Video.

2) Trial Period

Genelia Deshmukh and Manav Kaul starrer ‘Trial Period’ is the slice-of-life drama, showcasing an endearing tale of unconventional family bond.

Written and directed by Aleya Sen, the film is an emotional rollercoaster, and unravels the love and complexities of modern imperfect families.

The film follows the journey of a single mother Ana, played by Genelia, whose world turns upside down when her inquisitive son demands a father on a trial period of 30 days. The innocent coercion leads to the arrival of a disciplined Prajapati Dwivedi from Ujjain, fondly known as PD, played by Manav– who is in complete contradiction to the expectations of the mother and the son. 

What follows is an adorable tale of love and friendship, as they navigate through the challenges of an unconventional family dynamic, personality clashes, blossoming into unexpected bonds. 
It will premiere on July 21 on JioCinema.

3) Sweet Magnolias Season 3 

Starring JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Heather Headley, and Brooke Elliott, it centres around three best friends (Maddie, Helen, and Dana Sue) born and raised in Serenity, South Carolina, a small southern town where everybody knows everybody and everybody knows everybody’s business.

Following the brawl at Sullivan’s, Maddie wrestles with the best way to help Cal and works to clear her own emotional path. Helen faces difficult decisions about the men in her life. And Dana Sue searches for a way to use Miss Frances’ check to help the community, without upending her family. 

The identity of the tire slasher sends shockwaves through Serenity, the recall causes unexpected consequences, and there are romantic surprises in every generation. Throughout the season, the ladies tackle these problems — and all the complications they cause — with their trademark warmth, humor, and devotion to each other and those they love.

It will premiere on July 20 on Netflix.

4) They Cloned Tyron

A series of eerie events thrusts an unlikely trio (Boyega, Foxx and Parris) onto the trail of a nefarious government conspiracy in this pulpy mystery caper.

The sci-fi mystery film directed by Juel Taylor, stars John Boyega, Teyonah Parris, and Jamie Foxx. David Alan Grier and Kiefer Sutherland will be seen in pivotal roles.

It will air on July 21 on Netflix.

5) Kaalkoot

Vijay Varma starrer shows him as a cop battling social challenges and marital pressure. He constantly faces bullying and pressure from his superiors while also dealing with the expectations from his mother and society to get married.

However, the world around them is filled with dark secrets, as hinted in the first look that ends with the revelation that the girl chosen for him by his mother is portrayed by Shweta Tripathi.

Directed by Sumit Saxena, ‘Kaalkoot’ is set to stream on Jio Cinema from July 27.

6) Good Omens Season 2

Originally based on Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s international best-selling novel, ‘Good Omens 2’ explores storylines that go beyond the original source material to illuminate the ineffable friendship between Aziraphale (Michael Sheen), a fussy angel and rare-book dealer, and the fast-living demon Crowley (David Tennant). 

Having been on Earth since The Beginning, and with the Apocalypse thwarted, the duo are getting back to easy living amongst mortals in London’s Soho. That is, until the archangel Gabriel (Jon Hamm) turns up unexpectedly at the door of Aziraphale’s bookshop with no memory of who he is or how he got there. While Crowley is leery as to why the archangel has come to the bookshop, Aziraphale is keen to solve the mystery behind Gabriel’s condition. 

However, hiding the archangel from both Heaven and Hell quickly disrupts their lives in unforeseen ways. To solve this mystery and thwart Heaven and Hell in the process, the duo will need more than a miracle; they’ll need to once again rely on each other.

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Films Lite Blogs

South Indian voyage  to the  global ‘Oscars’ stage

The song ‘Naatu Naatu’ probably reminded dance lovers of the Fred Astaire days. This one was kind of a tap dance at a fast pace with much more energy in keeping with the times!…writes Vinod Mirani

This is the time to juxtapose the various regional film industries with those in South India. Especially at a time when South Indian films not only feed Hindi films through remakes or dubbed films, but when even globally acclaimed Hollywood filmmakers are acknowledging their importance.

‘RRR’ has struck a chord with foreign audiences and its song, ‘Naatu Naatu’, with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, which awards the Oscars. Wish there was a category for choreography as well at the Oscars, for, I think, that has created the magic that ‘Naatu Naatu’ has become known for.

We had Richard Attenborough’s ‘Gandhi’ and, later, Danny Boyle’s ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, both of which made it big at the Oscars. We were thrilled about it. But they were not the products of any of the Indian film industries. They merely had India-related stories.

Quite a few other filmmakers tried for nominations at the Oscars

The earlier one was Mehboob Khan’s ‘Mother India’. They probably did not identify with a woman refusing to compromise even while her kids were starving. It was the post-World War II era and there were stories about women known to compromise for as little as a pack of cigarettes!

The film ‘RRR’ and its music, especially ‘Naatu Naatu’ and the way it is choreographed, caught the fancy of people all over the world. The song became a new anthem for dance lovers. Hollywood dance-based musicals with the likes of Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers and Gene Kelly and later films such as ‘Sound Of Music’, ‘Fiddler On The Roof’, ‘Cabaret’, ‘Grease’, ‘Saturday Night Fever’ and ‘Chicago’ are rare now.

The song ‘Naatu Naatu’ probably reminded dance lovers of the Fred Astaire days. This one was kind of a tap dance at a fast pace with much more energy in keeping with the times!

So, if the regional films from the South — in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam — have sustained over the decades and, at many times, their themes are also loved by the audience when remade or dubbed in Hindi, why have the other regional language films not been able to penetrate the audience in other regions, let alone foreign shores?

Take for example, Punjabi films. Earlier, the few Punjabi films that were produced from time to time were made by mostly regular Hindi filmmakers. From the biggest hit of the 1970s, ‘Nanak Naam Jahaj Hai’, to the recent hit, ‘Char Sahibzaade’ (animated) were produced, for instance, by Pannalal Maheshwari (he made Hindi films such as ‘Neel Kamal’ and ‘Kaajal’) and Harry Baweja (‘Dilwale’, ‘Diljalle’, etc), respectively.

Now the scene is totally different. Many producers have made Hindi films with a heavy bent towards the usage of Punjabi dialogue and Punjabi music, but they don’t make films especially for the Punjabi-speaking audience.

Punjabi films are mostly backed by NRI moneybags from Canada and the UK. The dollar-to-rupee exchange rate is the major lure here. Rest of the fringe benefits are the same all over: pictures in local media, friendship with stars and the urge to make a name. There is no dearth of financiers, but there is little Punjab in these films except the language. Presently, there are as many as 40 films ready for release, but there are no buyers.

The Gujarati film industry always belonged, save for a rare few, to the non-Gujarati filmmakers from Mumbai. Even the sole film processing laboratory set up in Gujarat belonged to a Mumbai lab owner who had transferred all his old machinery to set up a lab in Gujarat; laws were devised so that it was mandatory to work with a Gujarat lab!

They picked mostly Kathiawadi folklore from the Saurashtra region for both the stories and the songs of these films. What these films drew was only the lowest strata of the audience. No middle class family ever entered the cinemas screening these films. To top it all, the films enjoyed entertainment tax exemption as a rule and was not merit based.The industry survived for some years.

With the new generation and technical advances, the Gujarati films are in the process of reviving. Films such as ‘Chhello Show’ (The Last Show, India’s official entry for the 95th Academy Awards) and ‘Hellaro’ (The Outburst) won National Awards and with the success of some early releases, it looked like the Gujarati film industry was on the revival path.

India’s Entry to Oscars ‘Last Film Show’ to compete at 2022 Red Sea International Film Festival in Saudi Arabia!.

Some new investors were roped in. So far so good, but the roping in of a backer has now turned into a racket. The nouveau riche and glamour struck are shown rosy pictures all the way till a film’s release.

Once a film is complete, a five-screen premiere is organised in Mumbai, instead of Ahmedabad, followed by a party. Some Rs 25 lakh goes into these premature celebrations. When the film releases, it fails to cover these costs spent on making the investor feel good.

Now the Gujarati industry is delivering flops on a regular basis.

Coming to Marathi films, they did well in the era of Ashok Saraf, Laxmikant Berde, Mahesh Kothare, Sachin, Nilu Phule and Dada Kondke, who did mostly romantic comedies. Before that, the films were based on feudal themes. As of now, there is no set trend.

A formula love story, ‘Sairat’, went on to become the biggest hit in 2016 (a rare Marahi film to cross Rs 100 crore) and it took six more years for another film, Riteish Deshmukh’s ‘Ved’, to come somewhere close with around Rs 75 crore. The major problem with Marathi films is that the producer has to also distribute the film as there are no regular distributors.

The Bhojpuri film industry has somewhat similar stories as Gujarati and Punjabi films. The backers of these films are mostly prospect hunters.

There came a phase when the Hindi films that Mumbai produced were beyond the comprehension of the audience in other states, especially in Eastern UP, Bihar and Chhattisgarh, which had their own vibant culture.

There was a time when the Hindi filmmakers tried to imitate the Western culture and even took to shooting their films abroad. This phase sort of revived some regional industries, notably Punjabi and Bhojpuri.

Then there are Bengali films. They have their own audience and rarely, if ever, go beyond the state. Yes, there was a time when a lot many Bengali producers and actors were active in Mumbai and often remade Bengali films in Hindi when not making a Hindi-Bengali bilingual. Not to forget, Bengali makers were also the favourites of the givers of National Awards!

The major drawbacks with these regional films is that they have no or limited market outside of their own state. Also, while the budgets for making a film has grown into crores, there is little support from the overseas, satellite and OTT markets.

55 years, 3 nods: Why India’s official entries rarely get an Oscar nomination

The other factor that works against them is that people in these states understand and follow Hindi films as much as their own regional films. As such, they end up competing with Hindi films.

In the South, the exploitation of movie goers is controlled as there is a restriction on admission rates charged. In other regions, they pay as much as they would for Hindi mainstream films.

The main reason is that when one regional film works, the scene gets crowded and production activities mushroom suddenly leading to oversupply much beyond demand.

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India has not really explored horror in its truest potential

The festival programmers include Shelagh Rowan-Legg and Heidi Honeycutt, who runs her own women’s genre fest in the US — Etheria…writes Sukant Deepak

As the third Wench Film Festival, India’s first horror film festival founded by celebrity hairstylist-turned-filmmaker, Sapna Bhavnani, is set to take place physically for the first time in Mumbai from March 17-20, it will also showcase films inclusive of BIWOC, LGBTQ+ women, and non-binary filmmakers.

When Bhavnani first wrote a horror story ‘Bearlike Man’ that was selected at BIFAN (Korea), the largest genre festival in Asia, she found herself to be the first Indian woman director to be on the platform ever.

“We were practically non-existent in that space. Over the three decades I looked at, 9.9 per cent of directors were women. Horror comes with just 5.9 per cent of directors being women and Sci-fi – 2.8 per cent. I find this statistic offensive. Wench 2022 showcased 47 horror /sci-fi/fantasy films — 43 of them directed by women,” she tells.

Believing that India has not really explored horror in its truest potential or form, the filmmaker feels there is no better medium to highlight social change than this genre.

“And there are so many different ways to make them instead of the cliche knee-jerk horror that we all know of,” she asserts.

Talk to her about the fact that most horror movies from India tend to make the audience laugh, and she says it is high time that we move beyond.

“‘Tumbbad’ changed the game, but no one followed after that. We have a lot to grow and hope that in the next few years, we can be on the whole platform since our background lends to this format so naturally. India is a country of many religions and each has its own superstitions and rituals. When I hear Indians saying they do not like horror, I laugh as we are the land of spirituality which starts with spirit.”

The festival programmers include Shelagh Rowan-Legg and Heidi Honeycutt, who runs her own women’s genre fest in the US — Etheria.

Wench will open with the award-winning Mexican film ‘Huesera: The Bone Woman’, directed by Michelle Garza Cerver, and close with ‘The Nightmare’, directed by Alice Wadding.

It will screen 23 Indian and international films in competition, including Aarti Kadav’s sci-fi feature, ‘The Astronaut and His Parrot’, starring Ali Fazal, and Megha Ramaswami’s Short ‘Lalanna’s Song’ starring Parvathy Thiruvothu and Rima Kallingal.

Apart from a special screening of the award-winning cult horror film, ‘Tumbbad’, there will be panel discussions with Vishal Furia (‘Chhori’, ‘Lapachhapi’), Vikram Bhatt (‘Ghost’, ‘1920’, ‘Creature’), Anvita Dutt (‘Qala’, ‘Bulbbul’), Gauri Shinde, Kaizad Gustad.

While the festival did have films like ‘My Dog is Sick’ (directed by Bhavnani) and ‘Bodies Of Desire’ (Varsha Panikar) last year, since it was mainly online, they did not publicise the BIWOC, LGBTQ+Woman, and Non-Binary angle.

However, this time, besides having a diverse team — Gaysi Family has been roped in as their community outreach partner.

“This is super for any festival that is attempting to be inclusive — to have community outreach partners who share your commitment to diversity. A diverse selection committee is also crucial in curating films and stories,” concludes Bhavnani

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OTT releases to watch with family

This one marks the on-screen debut of popular fictional character, Detective Boomrah, who takes up cases that are beyond the realm of reality…reports Asian Lite News

Not many films are worth watching in a theatre, and more often than not, television too has nothing out-of-the-box playing on. However, it is a different world out there when you talk about Over-The-Top or OTT platforms. While you would often come across niche content and those with abusive or crass language, there are a few films and shows that can ensure wholesome entertainment for the whole family. Here are some gems that you can start with.

Wholesome entertainers to watch with family on OTT.(photo:IANSLIFE)

Detective Boomrah

This one marks the on-screen debut of popular fictional character, Detective Boomrah, who takes up cases that are beyond the realm of reality. The detective is out to solve a case in a heritage hotel where a man mysteriously appears in a locked room, and then jumps off the terrace to disappear. When the detective and his partner try to solve the case, another resident of the haveli, Amtim, jumps off in a similar way, only to be followed by the detective this time. The Case of the Missing, based on the concept of time travel, is streaming on Disney+ Hotstar and is a must watch.

Babli Bouncer

This heart tugging tale is that of a girl who lives in a village that is known for producing body builders and bouncers. Her father, who is a trainer, trains her and she becomes the uncrowned queen who cannot be messed with. Babli decides to go to the city and become a professional bouncer when the opportunity arises. Will she be able to make a mark in this male dominated society. This one teaches about feminism without shouting from the rooftops, watch it on Disney +Hotstar.

Pinocchio: A True Story

We have all heard the story of Pinocchio, the boy made of wood, whose nose grew every time he told a lie. This animated film is a different take on the same concept, where Jepetto, the genius creator builds a wooden boy, who comes alive with magic. Accompanied by the talking horse, Tibalt, Pinocchio sets out to see the world. He joins a traveling circus where he falls in love with the ringmaster’s daughter and now he wants to become human. This intriguing tale of emotions will be loved by all in the family. It is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Chintaa Mani

This film, streaming on Disney+ Hotstar, is a quirky take on people who feel they can mess with the future. It is a modern interpretation of the times when mani (precious stones) had magical powers and they could either grant our wishes or reveal the future. Three friends find themselves with a mani and as it reveals the future, they realise that the future isn’t too great. They try to change it through their cunning ways, and what follows is mayhem. With an interesting lesson, this one will be loved by people of all age groups.


It is set against the backdrop of the unfortunate riots that took place in 1984 in Delhi. It tells the story of how an ordinary day turned into the longest day for a few, as Sikhs were targeted, and killed by mobs. How Jogi and his friends save many people from coming under the fire of the riots is how this tale unfolds. Directed by Ali Abbas Zafar, Jogi is streaming on Netflix, and is being loved by the viewers.

ALSO READ-Latest shows and films to binge watch on OTT

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Latest shows and films to binge watch on OTT

We’re excited to see Ana de Armas transform into the iconic star on screen after she received a 14-minute standing ovation for her performance at the Venice Film Festival…reports Olivia Sarkar

The second half of September has brought a good mix of genres, ranging from horror fantasies to teen dramas to long-awaited biopics. We’ve compiled a list of new shows and films to round out your October binge-watching marathon.

Do Revenge

Drea, a popular girl, has the perfect high school life until her boyfriend ruins it by leaking her sex tape to the entire school, and now she wants vengeance! When she meets Eleanor, an exchange student who is haunted by a rumour spread by one of her classmates, the two form a team to take down their respective nemesis. They even joke about murdering their tormentors, but will they go so far? You’ll have to watch to find out what this crazy teen revenge drama is all about.


When two Sikh men assassinated Indira Gandhi, public sentiment toward the entire Sikh community shifted overnight, and people became hostile toward them. Jogi, a Diljit Dosanjh-starrer set during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, tells the story of a Sikh man determined to save his family, friends, and fellow members from a massacre that killed thousands of Sikhs.


The much-anticipated biopic follows the rise to fame and tragic demise of one of the world’s most famous people, Marilyn Monroe. We’re excited to see Ana de Armas transform into the iconic star on screen after she received a 14-minute standing ovation for her performance at the Venice Film Festival.

The Good Doctor Season 5

If you’re a fan of the hit medical drama and haven’t seen the most recent season yet, there’s no need to wait any longer. Dr. Shaun is available on Netflix. And here’s how The Good Doctor Season 5’s plot synopsis reads: “Shaun and Lea make a major life decision and are pleasantly surprised by the outpouring of support from their hospital friends.”

Hush Hush

In the upcoming crime drama, Juhi Chawla, Ayesha Jhulkha, Soha Ali Khan Pataudi, Kritika Kamra, Shahna Goswami, and Karishma Tanna star. “Hush Hush revolves around a group of women whose picture-perfect lives unravel when an unexpected event brings to light secrets from their past and threatens everything, they hold dear.” The story “explores the storm that brews behind the seemingly quiet fade of these women’s privileged lives, knitted in a web of lies, deceit, and fighting patriarchy,” according to the synopsis.

Hocus Pocus 2

If you grew up in the 1990s, we’re sure you’ve been waiting for this one. After nearly 30 years, your favourite trio of witches has returned to spook you. In Hocus Pocus 2, Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker reprise their roles as the Sanders sisters. What is the plot? Three teenagers bring the Sanderson Sisters back from the dead to modern-day Salem and must figure out how to stop the child-hungry witches from destroying the entire town.

Plan A Plan B

Tamannaah Bhatia works as a matchmaker and believes that marriage is for everyone except herself. Riteish Deshmukh is a successful divorce attorney who harbours a dark secret. Will they fall in love when they meet?

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Lite Blogs

Netflix India unveils busy calendar

Based on ex-spy Amar Bhushan’s espionage thriller ‘Escape to Nowhere’, Vishal Bhardwaj’s much-awaited film ‘Khufiya’ has a formidable star cast that includes Tabu, Ali Fazal, Wamiqa Gabbi and Ashish Vidyarthi.

From ‘The Family Man’ hitmakers Raj Nidimoru and Krishna D.K. unspooling the small-town dark comedy ‘Guns & Gulabs’ set in the 1990s, starring Dulquer Salmaan and Rajkummar Rao, to a soup-slurping Manoj Bajpayee in ‘Soup’, to Nayanthara’s fairytale wedding and the uncle-nephew duo Venkatesh and Rana Daggubati uniting on screen as father and son in ‘Rana Naidu’, Netflix unveiled quite a formidable lineup for its Indian subscribers at a global fan event on Saturday.

Presented by comedian Zakir Khan and popular actress Prajakta Koli, Tudum India showcased the series and films lined up for release in the coming weeks and months. These included:

Monica, O My Darling

With a title that pays tribute to the unforgettable R.D. Burman-Asha Bhosale number picturised on a unctuous Helen (‘Piya Tu Ab to Aja’ from ‘Caravan’, 1971), the Vasant Bala-directed neo-noir movie with Huma Qureshi and Rajkummar Rao is a whodunit that wades through lust, blackmail, betrayal, blood, and “some robots crushing human skulls”.

Rana Naidu

Uncle-nephew duo Venkatesh and Rana Daggubati appear as father and son in the series ‘Rana Naidu’, which is set in Mumbai. The story is about a fixer who does the dirty work for the city’s most powerful people, but the drama unfolds when his father is unexpectedly released from prison, setting off a chain of events that could change everything. The series also features Surveen Chawla, Sushant Singh, Abhishek Banerjee, Suchitra Pillai, Gaurav Chopra and Ashish Vidyarthi.


Based on ex-spy Amar Bhushan’s espionage thriller ‘Escape to Nowhere’, Vishal Bhardwaj’s much-awaited film ‘Khufiya’ has a formidable star cast that includes Tabu, Ali Fazal, Wamiqa Gabbi and Ashish Vidyarthi.


The show follows a sudden change in dynamics at the upscale Hampton International, when three new students from starkly different backgrounds enroll for a new term and shake up the status quo. The high-school drama, which may seem like an Indian version of ‘Euphoria’, stars Gurfateh Pirzada, Anjali Sivaraman, Ayesha Kanga, Cyaawal Singh, Chintan Rach, Chayan Chopra, Madhyama Segal, Moses Koul, Naina Bhan, Piyush Khati and Zeyn Shaw.


Based on ‘Behind The Bars In Byculla: My Days In Prison’, a book by journalist Jigna Vora, who was charged with abetting the daylight murder of a crime journalist that shook Mumbai, ‘Scoop’ traces the journey of Jagruti Pathak, a fictional character based on the writer. An ambitious crime journalist, Jagruti’s world comes crashing down when she’s charged with the murder of a fellow journalist, and the truth is quietly buried as she waits out a trial. Directed by Hansal Mehta, ‘Scoop’ will see Karishma Tanna, Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub, Harman Baweja, Deven Bhojani, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Tejasvini Kolhapure, Shikha Talsania, Tanmay Dhanania and Inayat Sood in key roles.



Haunting, powerful and also rich with excellent music, Qala, set in the 1930s and late 1940s, is the story of the young eponymous playback singer. It’s about her tragic past and how it catches up with her, causing her to unravel at the peak of her hard-won success. Directed by Anvitaa Dutt, ‘Qala’ stars Triptii Dimri, Swastika Mukherjee, Babil Khan and Amit Sial.


Of course, not all true crime involves murder. A light-hearted film based on a true incident, it starts with a local politician’s prized jackfruits (kathal) going missing. The bizarre case falls into the lap of a young and earnest police officer, played by Sanya Malhotra. ‘Kathal’ marks the directorial debut of Yashowardhan Mishra.


Billed as “a one-of-a-kind thriller” directed by Abhishek Chaubey, ‘Soup’ follows chef Swathi Shetty as she cooks up a master plan to replace her husband with her lover. But when a bumbling local inspector and a squad of villainous meddlers get involved, her plans could go cold before she knows it. ‘Soup’ stars Manoj Bajpayee, Konkona Sensharma, and South Indian actors Nasser, Sayaji Shinde and Lal.


After ‘Jogi’, here’s a web series that takes viewers back to the days of militancy in Punjab and its aftermath. ‘CAT’ is about a former civilian informant, played by Randeep Hooda, who is forced to become one again to save the life of his brother, which forces him to come to terms with his dark past. Bringing together a powerful trio, ‘CAT’ has been directed by Balwinder Singh Janjua, Rupinder Chahal and Jimmy Singh.

Chor Nikal Ke Bhaga

Starring Yami Gautam, Sunny Kaushal and Sharad Kelkar, this adrenaline-loaded film is about a flight attendant and her business partner on a mission to steal diamonds and free themselves from the clutches of a loan shark. At 40,000 feet in the air, the heist goes horribly wrong and turns into a hostage situation. Chaos ensues.

Nayanthara: Beyond the Fairy Tale


There’s nothing fictional about this one. This special is about one of the most intensely private but wildly popular superstars, Nayanthara, who recently got married in a fairytale wedding to filmmaker Vignesh Shivan. It gives viewers an all-access peek into their lives, marriage and beyond. Ace filmmaker Gautam Vasudevan dons the role of director for the special.

Guns & Gulaabs

Directed by Raj & DK, it’s a genre-bending dark comedy set in a small town in the 1090s. It promises to deliver a heady mix of “love, crime and a ton of mid-’90s nostalgia”. ‘Guns & Gulaabs’ stars Dulquer Salman, Rajkummar Rao, Adarsh Gourav, TJ Bhanu and Gulshan Devaiah.

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Bollywood Lite Blogs

Five Indian films featured on Netflix’s global top 10 lists

Other titles showcased during Films Day included: ‘Chakda Express’, inspired by the life of cricketer Jhulan Goswami, starring Anushka Sharma…reports Asian Lite News

Netflix India’s Vice-President (Content) Monika Shergill has said five Indian titles have featured on Netflix’s global top 10 lists so far this year. Viewership of Indian films on the streaming service has gone up by 50 per cent from last year, reports ‘Variety’.

Hits for the service include Alia Bhatt’s ‘Gangubai Kathiyawadi’, pan-India blockbuster ‘RRR’ and ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2’, starring Kartik Aaryan and Tabu.

Shergill also pointed out in an interview with ‘Variety’, coinciding with the streamer’s Films Day on Monday, that Indian movies featured in the Netflix non-English charts for 31 of the last 34 weeks.

Another hit Alia film has been ‘Darlings’, whose story revolving around domestic abuse, which debuted as the biggest non-English language original film opener for the service worldwide. The movie, co-produced by Alia with Red Chillies Entertainment, also features powerful performances by Shefali Shah and Vijay Verma.

Other titles showcased during Films Day included: ‘Chakda Express’, inspired by the life of cricketer Jhulan Goswami, starring Anushka Sharma; heist thriller ‘Chor Nikal Ke Bhaga’, starring Yami Gautam and Sunny Kaushal; ‘Jogi’, which is set against the backdrop of the 1984 Delhi anti-Sikh riots, starring Diljit Dosanjh and directed by Ali Abbas Zafar; the satire ‘Kathal’, starring Sanya Malhotra; Vishal Bhardwaj’s spy thriller ‘Khufiya’ featuring Tabu, Ali Fazal, and Azmeri Haque Badhon; and Anurag Kashyap acolyte Vasan Bala’s whodunnit ‘Monica O My Darling’, with Rajkummar Rao, Huma Qureshi and Radhika Apte.

Also a part of the showcase were Shashanka Ghosh’s romantic comedy ‘Plan A Plan B’, starring Riteish Deshmukh and Tamannaah Bhatia; the intense drama ‘Qala’, directed by Anvita Dutt, which will see Irrfan Khan’s son Balih making his film debut; Zoya Akhtar’s comic book adaptation ‘The Archies’; and the Indian version of Keigo Higashino’s Detective Galileo novel, ‘The Devotion of Suspect X’, headlined by Kareena Kapoor Khan and directed by Sujoy Ghosh (“Kahaani”).

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Hollywood Lite Blogs

Berlin Film Festival showcases Ukrainian history, calls for peace

The statement pointed out that the festival has, through its history, showcased films relating to Ukrainian history and culture…reports Asian Lite News

The Berlin Film Festival has called for peace over the situation in Ukraine, which is currently in a state of military conflict after Russian forces launched operations on Thursday morning.

“We — festival workers, artists, filmmakers — think fondly of our friends in Ukraine and we are by their side in a call for peace,” the festival said in a statement.

“One week ago, the Berlin International Film Festival was celebrating a complicated yet successful edition. Filmmakers, artists and journalists from all over the world gathered in Berlin to enjoy a collective and joyful experience. The feeling of being together again, with no distinctions of nationality, religion, or culture, transported us in a way that film festivals can accomplish,” the statement added.

“While these memories remain fresh, other images have broken into our lives, bringing a darker perspective. The world is on a verge of a huge crisis. As a showcase of the free world, the Berlinale has always put at its centre the notion of freedom and the will to bridge East and West.”

The statement pointed out that the festival has, through its history, showcased films relating to Ukrainian history and culture.

This included the 2022 selection, Maryna El Gorbach’s ‘Klondike’, set in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, where fighting is taking place on the nearby Russian-Ukrainian border in 2014.

The festival also showed ‘Terykony’ by Taras Tomenko, Oleg Sentsov’s “Numbers” in 2020, the films of Kira Muratova and the early short films of Myroslav Slaboshpytsky.

“Films cannot change the society and the course of history, but they can help in changing the minds of people. Films are telling us that the world is already in a too precarious condition to add even more suffering and destruction,” the statement concluded.

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