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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.

Jogi

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.

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Bollywood Films Lite Blogs

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.

Jogi


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.

Blonde

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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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.

Khufiya

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.

Class


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.

Scoop

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.

Qala.

Qala

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.

Kathal

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.

Soup

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.

CAT

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

Nayanthara.

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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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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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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Pooja Hedge awaits her busy 2022

All the love that ‘Most Eligible Bachelor’ got in theatres was overwhelming. It made me feel like a newcomer.”…reports Asian Lite News

Actress Pooja Hegde, who dabbles in different film industries, will have a busy 2022 as she has five films lined up for release.

Her upcoming films for this year include Vijay Thalapathy’s ‘Beast’, ‘Cirkus’ opposite Ranveer Singh, ‘Acharya’ with Chiranjeevi and Ram Charan, ‘Radhe Shyam’ opposite Prabhas and a yet-untitled film opposite Mahesh Babu.

Thrilled about launching into a happening year, Pooja shares, “Despite the challenges, last year has been so giving and inspiring for me. All the love that ‘Most Eligible Bachelor’ got in theatres was overwhelming. It made me feel like a newcomer.”

Her goal for 2022 is to work with people with a knack for brilliant storytelling, “As for 2022, I’m more determined to jam with brilliant minds and give the audience cinema that is worth remembering. I want to explore spaces of my craft that excite the audience, makers and me.”

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Rajesh Khanna: The natural legacy continues for generations

This was only to be expected from an actor showered with love by a generation of fans who had grown up on three immensely poignant songs from his movie ‘Anand’: “Zindagi Kaise Hai Paheli”, “Kahin Door Jab Din Dhal Jaaye” and “Maine Tere Liye Hi Saat Rang Ke Sapne Chune”….writes Vishnu Makhijani

Rajesh Khanna was a natural. His biographer Gautam Chintamani recalls the director-writer-actor Rumi Jaffery saying how he can “never forget how Rajesh Khanna prided himself on never using aids like glycerine to evoke tears while acting”.

Jaffery recalled in a conversation with Chintamani: “He would ask you, ‘How many tears do you need?’, and just turn around for a moment or two; and when he turned back, there would be tears in his eyes. You could wake him up in the middle of the night and he would just stand and deliver when it came to tears.”

Chintamani will be collaborating with director Farah Khan on the script, based on his book, ‘Dark Star: The Loneliness Of Being Rajesh Khanna’, for a biopic on India’s first superstar.

“Once, Jaffery and (cinematographer) Sameer Arya instructed Rajesh Khanna to randomly shed a few tears in a hotel’s lift lobby and Khanna readily dispelled a few before the lift emerged,” Chintamani writes in the book.

And, there was no end to his ire when aroused.

“There were times when rumours of his sudden death flooded the Internet and saw his fans paying rich tributes on social media sites. Once, an infuriated Khanna walked to the main gate of Aashirwad in his favourite silk lungi-kurta with a cigarette and drink in tow only to prove to a journalist that, contrary to rumours, he was still alive,” Chintamai writes.

It was this strength of character that prompted Rajesh Khanna to appear in his first TV commercial — perhaps to the horror of some, but to the immense delight of a legion of admirers — and boldly declaim: “Fans kya hote hain mujhse poochho. Pyaar ka woh toofan … mohabbat ki woh aandhi .. woh jazbaa … woh junoon. Hawaa badal sakti hai lekin fans hamesha mere rahenge. Babumoshai, mere fans mujhse koi nahin chheen sakta (I will tell you what fans are. That storm of love … that passion … that madness. The direction of the wind may change, but my fans will always stay with me. Babumoshai, no one can steal my fans from me).”

This was only to be expected from an actor showered with love by a generation of fans who had grown up on three immensely poignant songs from his movie ‘Anand’: “Zindagi Kaise Hai Paheli”, “Kahin Door Jab Din Dhal Jaaye” and “Maine Tere Liye Hi Saat Rang Ke Sapne Chune”.

Sure, there were a procession of hit songs from his 17 consecutive hit films as the lead hero from 1969 to 1971, which included 15 solo-hero films and two non-solo-hero films. “Zindagi Ek Safar Hai Suhana” and “Yeh Shaam Mastani” are just two, but listen carefully to the lyrics from ‘Anand’ and you will get a measure of what Rajesh Khanna’s guiding philosophy was all about.

Sharmila Tagore, his co-star in ‘Aradhana’, which began his journey to superstardom, sums this up the best in the foreword to Chintamani’s book: “If ever a life was meant to be a book, few could stake a stronger claim. Like a shooting star doomed to darkness after a glorious run, Rajesh Khanna spent the better half of his career in the shadow of his own stardom. Yet, 40 years after his last monstrous hit, Khanna continues to be the yardstick by which every single Bollywood star is measured.”

She recalls: “At a time when film stars were truly larger than life, Khanna was even more: the one for whom the term ‘superstar’ was coined. Born Jatin Khanna to middle-class parents, the actor was adopted by rich relatives who brought him up like a prince.

“By the time he won the Filmfare-United Producers Combine Talent Hunt, he was already famous for being the struggler who drove an imported sports car.

“With 17 blockbuster hits in succession and mass adulation rarely seen before or since, the world was at Khanna’s feet. Everything he touched turned to gold. The hysteria he generated — women writing him letters in blood, marrying his photograph and donning white when he married Dimple Kapadia, people bringing sick children for his ‘healing’ touch after ‘Haathi Mere Saathi’ — was unparalleled.

“Then, in a matter of months, it all changed. Khanna’s career hit a downward spiral, as spectacular as his meteoric rise just three years after ‘Aradhana’ (1969) and never really recovered.”

Adman-filmmaker R. Balki, who directed Rajesh Khanna in the TV commercial, roundly deprecates the criticism that the actor had been depicted in poor light in the 35-second spot, saying it only points to his strength of character.

“My response to it (the criticism) is simple,” he said in an interview after the commercial was aired. “If a man is great enough to laugh at himself, why should anyone have a problem? When he wasn’t doing anything on screen all these years, people were making all kinds of jokes about it. When a legend chooses to laugh at himself, then some people start getting uncomfortable. I don’t even think that they are Rajesh Khanna fans in the first place. … He’s the one who is cracking a joke at himself, he is sporting enough to say, ‘Yes, I am not what I used to be. But so what!'”

Legendary script-writer Salim Khan, who in tandem with Javed Akhtar, has penned some of Bollywood’s most memorable films, provides a balanced perspective in his foreword to an earlier biography, ‘Rajesh Khanna: The Untold Story of India’s First Superstar’, by journalist-author Yaseer Usman.

Salim Khan writes in the Foreword: “Today, my son Salman Khan is a big star. Crowds cluster daily in front of our house to catch a glimpse of him. People often come to me and say that they haven’t seen such a craze for any star before this.

“But I tell these people that just a small distance away from here, on Carter Road, I have witnessed many such sights in front of Aashirwad. And I have never seen that kind of mass adulation for any other star after Rajesh Khanna.”

Salim Khan concludes: “We often forget when we talk about film stars or public figures that they are also human beings who also make mistakes, face failure and are scared of losing their successful run professionally, like everyone else.”

One thing is for sure: It has been a decade since Rajesh Khanna departed from this world, but his legacy will continue to live for generations to come.

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Akshay wants to do films with simplicity

I don’t have any burden… I don’t think about it. There is no pressure. I don’t want think about it also… I just want to think about what kind of films I am doing in the future…says Akshay Kumar

In his over a three-decade-long journey in Hindi cinema, superstar Akshay Kumar has been a part of many blockbusters and has given several iconic characters.

However, the National-Award winning actor does not think about burdening himself with the thought of competing with himself and says that he wants to do films with simplicity and not in complications.

Akshay has given some unforgettable characters to cinema such as Raju from ‘Hera Pheri’, Raj Malhotra in ‘Aitraaz’, Makrand “Mac” Godbhole from ‘Garam Masala’, Happy Singh from ‘Singh is Kinng’, DCP Veer Sooryavanshi from ‘Sooryavanshi’ and Sajjad Ali Khan from his latest release ‘Atrangi Re’ to name a few from a bag full of blockbuster hits.

Does it get pressurising to taking up the game higher every time he comes on screen?

Akshay in a chat said: “No, I don’t have any kind of thing which… For me, I don’t have any burden… I don’t think about it. There is no pressure. I don’t want think about it also… I just want to think about what kind of films I am doing in the future, tomorrow what shooting I have to go for, what role am I doing. I just want to think that. I want to do films with simplicity and not in complications.”

Akshay has his diaries full or next year. The 54-year-old star has several back-to-back releases such as ‘Prithviraj’, ‘Bachchan Pandey’, ‘Raksha Bandhan’, ‘Ram Setu’ and ‘OMG 2: Oh My God! 2’.

“I feel good I have around 5-6 films next year and I don’t know how would I do it,” Akshay said.

‘Atrangi Re’ has released digitally on Disney+ Hostar.

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Regional contents transcend boundaries through OTT

Commenting on the same, Manish says, “With deeper and wider penetration of Internet and mobiles in India, consumption of OTT content is no longer a metro phenomenon.”…writes Akshay Acharya

The astronomical rise of OTT has triggered a paradigm shift in the content consumption pattern of the audience. The audience today is more open to a wide range of content given the ease of access at their disposal.

As the brim of consolidated content buckets from across platforms overflows with each passing day, the average consumer is spoilt for choices.

The democratisation of the content production, distribution and exhibition courtesy of the OTT, has enabled storytellers to find their audience, make brave choices and push the envelope for the stories in the pursuit of brilliance.

For instance, filmmakers from Marathi cinema, ably supported by the Planet Marathi OTT’s game changing innovations and content solutions, have been crafting ground-breaking stories that resonate with people not just in India but also globally.

Akshay Bardapurkar, Founder, Planet Marathi, says, “Regional content is demanded globally by viewers who speak Marathi, who are familiar with the language and even those who simply enjoy the content irrespective of the language. Language is no longer the barrier in the OTT age. Audiences seek meaningful entertainment. Marathi filmmakers have demonstrated the potential to make ground-breaking content in the past.”

A good story is something that connects with people on a subconscious level and brings them together under one roof from a wide spectrum of demographics, regions and cultural differences. As Netflix India spokesperson says, “All the best stories in the world are authentic to their local context and origins of their characters, yet evoke universal emotions. And this is why this is an exciting time for stories in any language to be successful anywhere.”

Manish Kalra, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 India says, “On ZEE5, almost 50 per cent viewership comes from regional language content. We currently house regional original content in 6 languages i.e. Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Bengali and very recently Punjabi. For the rest, we have a series of dubbed content available on the platform. Overall, we have content and UI & UX in all 12 languages.”

With changes in the socio-economic sphere of the country, data and smartphones have become an integral part of modern life. Today, the Internet has spread to the most remote places in India which has naturally opened an oracle of new territories for storytellers.

Commenting on the same, Manish says, “With deeper and wider penetration of Internet and mobiles in India, consumption of OTT content is no longer a metro phenomenon.”

He adds, “At an industry level, as per E-marketer, Ericsson, BCG Research Report, Indian language Internet users are expected to grow to 536 million with 9 out of 10 new Internet users in the country likely to be Indian language users, paving way for rapid user growth on OTTs with strong language content offering.”

It’s not just the deepest corners of India that the regional content is reaching out to, it’s making inroads on the fertile grounds outside India as well.

Sharing an insight about how regional content on Netflix is transcending boundaries, Netflix India spokesperson states, “We are seeing tremendous success for films, across languages, on Netflix. Our Tamil anthology film ‘Navarasa’, helmed by Mani Ratnam and Jayendra Panchapakesan was in the Top 10 in 10 countries including India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka. In its first week on Netflix, more than 40 per cent of the viewers for the film were from outside India.”

Quoting another example, the spokesperson adds, “Likewise, in its first week alone, the Dhanush-starrer ‘Jagame Thandhiram’ drew an equal share of audience from outside India as it did within the country. The film was subtitled and dubbed in multiple Indian languages as well as English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese, enabling wider access for our members around the world. ‘Jagame Thandhiram’ has been in the Top 10 in 12 countries outside India and has been No. 1 in 7 countries, including India, Malaysia, and the UAE.”

Rounding up the content year 2021 for the platform, the Netflix spokesperson presents an assorted collection of content pieces available on the platform and also the upcoming release, “In the last one year, Martin Prakkat’s ‘Nayattu’ (Malayalam), V. Vignarajan’s ‘Andhaghaaram’ (Tamil), our local anthologies ‘Pitta Kathalu’ (Telugu) and ‘Paava Kadhaigal’ (Tamil), Praveen Kandregula’s ‘Cinema Bandi’ (Telugu) and Mandonne Ashwin’s ‘Mandela’ (Tamil) were also widely loved by our members and featured in the Top 10 in India. We can’t wait to bring ‘Minnal Murali’ (Malayalam) to our members on December 24.”

In the same vein, Manish Kalra outlines ZEE5’s 2021 content line-up, “We had a strong 2021 content line-up of 50+ theatricals and 40+ Originals across diverse languages, making our language play one of the strongest in the industry”.

With growing engagement and awareness towards regional content, the content industry is going through its golden period.

ZEE5’s Manish Kalra leads us into a glimpse of their content strategy to leverage the growing engagement, “With a concerted focus on ‘Deeper Regionalisation’, ZEE5 has always stood for empowering Indians to consume entertainment anytime and anywhere. Our primary objective is to drive ‘Entertainment Inclusion’, by onboarding millions of digital consumers and democratising access to bespoke Indian entertainment for all, especially for markets which are new/underserved”.

Akshay Bardapurkar of Planet Marathi shares the platform’s strategy to capitalise on the boom, as he says, “All we lacked as an industry was the financial backing to make this content larger than life. We at Planet Marathi have connected Marathi talent reservoir with an internationally funded platform. Vistas Media Capital has joined hands in making Marathi regional content global with Planet Marathi.”

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Bollywood always in love with Goa

A remake of the 1966 Tamil film, ‘Madras to Pondicherry’, it was shot in Goa and neighbouring Belgaum (Belgavi) in Karnataka, apart from studios in Chennai…writes Sourish Bhattacharyya and Akshay Acharya

In the popular imagination, ‘Bobby’ was the original ‘Goan’ film, but it was filmed everywhere but Goa — from Gulmarg to Raj Kapoor’s farmhouse on the Pune-Solapur highway.

India’s smallest state, and comedy-action director Rohit Shetty’s favourite shooting location, made its maiden appearance in a Bollywood film with Amitabh Bachchan’s 1969 debut movie, ‘Saat Hindustani’.

The low-budget film (Big B reportedly was paid a lordly sum of Rs 5,000 for it!) was about six Indians from different parts of the country who joined a Goan freedom fighter and roused nationalist sentiments in the colony by hoisting the Indian Tricolour on Portuguese forts and police stations. Loosely based on ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ (1943), the film was directed by the writer-auteur Khwaja Ahmed Abbas, who, incidentally, wrote ‘Bobby’ and a number of other Raj Kapoor movies.

Utpal Dutt, the Malayalam cinema veteran Madhu, A.K. Hangal and Jalal Agha played the lead roles in ‘Saat Hindustani’, but it didn’t quite set the box-office registers ringing. It did, however, pick up a couple of awards, including the National Awards for Most Promising Newcomer for the Big B, who, in the film, famously declares under a Portuguese soldier’s bayonet, “Hum Hindustani rengte nahin hain” (“We Indians don’t crawl”).

Goa’s liberation struggle forms the central narrative of the yet another Bollywood film (‘Pukar’, 1983), starring Bachchan in the lead role along with Randhir Kapoor, Zeenat Aman, Prem Chopra (who plays another Goan, Jack Braganza, in ‘Bobby’) and Tina Munim, but, again, it struggled in the box-office. And it was shot in Daman and Diu.

Now a no-brainer film shoot location, Goa made its first substantive appearance in a Bollywood movie in the superhit road film ‘Bombay to Goa’ (1972), another Bachchan-starrer, where the lead role was played by the comedian Mehmood.

A remake of the 1966 Tamil film, ‘Madras to Pondicherry’, it was shot in Goa and neighbouring Belgaum (Belgavi) in Karnataka, apart from studios in Chennai.

In a blog post, Bachchan said the fight scene in it with Shatrughan Sinha got him his iconic role in Prakash Mehra’s 1973 film ‘Zanjeer’. He also remembered how the film’s crew had to struggle to make him get his dance steps right, especially for his famous ‘Dekha Na Hai Re’ number with Aruna Irani.

Since then, Goa, which is now also the permanent venue of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), has featured regularly in Hindi cinema, from Shyam Benegal’s Trikal (1985), which was shot in the late cartoonist Mario Miranda’s ancestral home in Loutolim, to most famously Rohit Shetty’s laugh-a-minute ‘Golmaal’ series (2006-10), Singham (2011) and Drishyam (2015).

Here’s our pick of just some of the memorable Bollywood films which have been filmed in locations across Goa:

Ek Duje Ke Liye (1981): Scenes of South-North love story starring Kamal Haasan-Rati Agnihotri were shot at the old Patto bridge, Dona Paula jetty, Shantadurga temple and Hervalem waterfalls, according to a listing in Goa’s ‘Herald’ newspaper. Kamal Haasan was cast in yet another Goa-themed film, ‘Saagar’ (1985) by Ramesh Sippy, which also featured the older ‘Bobby’ duo, Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia, who was returning to films after marriage.

Kabhi Haan Kabhi Nahin (1994): One of Shah Rukh Khan’s most memorable movies directed by Kundan Shah, it was filmed at Colva beach, Fort Aguada and the ruins of St Augustine.

Khamoshi – The Musical (1996): Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s debut film with Nana Patekar, Seema Biswas and Manisha Koirala was shot in parts at Anjuna, Old Goa and the Saligao church. Bhansali’s 2011 film ‘Guzaarish’, where Hrithik Roshan plays a famous magician crippled by an accident, is also a visual ode to Goa.

Dil Chahta Hai (2001): Farhan Akhtar’s coming-of-age cult hit starring Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan and Akshaye Khanna put Goa on the map of a new generation of Indian travellers and made Chapora Fort a go-to destination.

Golmaal Series (2006-17): The four films of this series revolving around the comic capers of four friends infamously getting into trouble, played by Ajay Devgn, Tusshar Kapoor, Arshad Warsi and Shreyas Talpade (Sharman Joshi in the first film), have been shot mainly at Panjim, Dona Paula and Fort Aguada. And Goa, we’re told, will feature yet again (along with Devgn) in Shetty’s fifth ‘Golmaal’ film — ‘Phir Golmaal’ (scheduled for a December 2023 release).

Honeymoon Travel Pvt. Ltd. (2007): Reema Katgi’s critically acclaimed film, apart from being shot in popular locations such as Dona Paula and Fort Aguada, also showcases Our Lady of Mount Chapel and Corjuem fort.

Singham (2011): Rohit Shetty’s cop drama is another Goa-centric film, which is still remembered for the action sequence where Bajirao Singham (Ajay Devgn) beats up the villain Jaikant Shikre’s goons at Dona Paula Jetty. It turned the location into a major tourist attraction. Another Shetty-Devgn collaboration, the 2015 action film ‘Drishyam’, also had Goa as its backdrop, notably Panaji, the state capital.

Dum Maaro Dum (2011): Rohan Sippy’s crime drama may not have been commercial success, but it is remembered for its shots of the crowded Arpora market as it is.

Go Goa Gone (2013): The 2013 comedy, directed by the Family Man duo — Krishna D.K. and Raj Nidimoni — and starring Saif Ali Khan, Kunal Khemu, Vir Das, Puja Gupta and Anand Tiwari, narrates the story of three friends whose Goa vacation goes horribly wrong as a zombie apocalypse breaks loose.

Finding Fanny (2014): Directed by Homi Adjania, the film, starring Naseeruddin Shah, Dimple Kapadia, Deepika Padukone and Arjun Kapoor, moves away from popular locations and explores the lesser-known Parra, Cortalim, Aldona, Assagao, Saligao and Socorro as it follows five dysfunctional friends who set out on a road trip in search of Fanny, the love interest of the character played by Shah.

Dear Zindagi (2016): The film with a young Alia Bhatt and Shah Rukh Khan is set against stunning backdrops, such as the Parra road flanked on both sides by coconut trees, the village Salvador do Mundo in Bardez, which is much visited for its eponymous 16th-century church, whose Portuguese name means ‘Saviour of the World’) and Morjim beach.

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