As the lockdown is extended for the month of August, too in most of the States in India, there is again a huge demand for content on the OTT platforms. Last week’s scene-stealer was certainly the Vidya Balan starrer Shakuntala Devi on Amazon Prime. Admittedly, this week we don’t have such a heavy-duty offering, but what is on view, to be sure, is interesting and fascinating.
One of the things about India with its myriad languages and cultures is that you are assured of a mind-boggling variety in films and web series. And as subtitles keep getting better in India, these movies in multiple languages are now accessible to anyone who can read the subtitles in English on the screen.
So without much ado, we will plunge into the five releases on OTT platforms this week that we feel are worth your time.
Director: Digpal Lanjekar
Cast: Chinmay Mandlekar, Mrinal Kulkarni, Harish Dudhade, Ankit Mohan, Sameer Dharmadhikari
Synopsis: Historical dramas are tailor-made for movies, as they seamlessly offer both visual heft and emotional heave for the script. Fatteshikast deals with an encounter between a Mughal army chief and one of India’s bravest kings, Chatrapathi Shivaji. It is a story that is part of the legend’s gallery in Marathi. And when this gets made into a film, it sure promises plenty of excitement and entertainment. And Marathi movies, after being in the shadows of big-brother Bollywood, are now slowly making a mark for themselves on the national consciousness.
Release date: August 7, 2020.
Director: Anwar Rasheed
Cast: Fahadh Faasil, Nazriya Nazim, Gautham Menon, Chemban Vinod Jose
Synopsis: This Malayalam original was fantastic, and pushed the envelope, as it were, for tackling the subject of religion as a business. It was remarkable that a film with such a content was actually made and released without much incident in modern-day India is in itself a matter of surprise. Fahad Fasil was outstanding as the motivational speaker turned religious discourser. Fahad’s performance in this movie marks him out as among the top five actors currently in the country. Though some of the nuances of Malayalam may be lost in translation in Telugu, Trance is still worthy of being taken into other languages in India.
Release date: August 7, 2020.
Director: Prakash Jha
Cast: Adil Hussain, Priyanka Bose, Sanjay Suri
Synopsis: This film, by the veteran Prakash Jha, casts a critical but warm look at the state of education system, especially the one that is supposed to serve the really poor in India. It deals with the life of a rickshaw puller who dreams big for his son as he puts him in an English medium school that is out of their league. This story is adapted from a real-life IPS officer in Bihar who teaches young boys who aspire to become engineers. The story is suffused with kindness but brings with it the typical Jha’s rasping edge for deep politics.
Release date: August 6, 2020.
Director: Akash Srivatsa
Cast: Ramesh Aravind, Radhika Narayan, Aarohi Narayan
Synopsis: Ramesh Aravind, if he were operating in a more flamboyant industry like Hindi, would have been a popular middle level actor. But because much of what he works is confined to Kannada and Tamil, his talent is visible only to south Indians. This film though rides on the mystery element and Ramesh Aravind plays a cop. This murder investigative story is less an edge of the seat kind but more a slow-boil thriller. But it is a gritty movie that ticks all the right boxes for this genre.
Release date: Aug 7, 2020.
Director: Anand Tiwari
Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Atul Kulkarni, Rajesh Tailang, Aditya Roy Kapur, Sheeba Chaddha, Amit Mistry, Ritwik Bhowmik, Shreya Chaudhry, Tridha Choudhary, Rahul Kumar
Synopsis: India has a rich cultural history of traditional music that is both unique and elevating. The Hindustani music, which is popular in North India, forms a rich tapestry of the web series. A classical singer and a pop star set out on a voyage of musical discovery, but one that ends up as a journey into the self. As a series headlined on music, Bandish Bandits is well serviced by the work of Shankar-Ehsan-Loy, And watch out for the acting of Naseerudin Shah, the veteran has not lost any of his charm or ability.
Platform: Amazon Prime
Release date: August 4, 2020.
All in all, it is a week of exciting and edgy offerings. If you are looking for variety in your entertainment package, this week will be a good one.