Netflixhas dropped actor Meghan Markle’s animated series for children, tentatively titled Pearl, along with other projects in its animation slate. The step comes after the streaming platform recently revealed that it lost over 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2022.
Pearl was announced in 2021, and was meant to be a collaboration between Netflix and Archewell Productions, the production banner of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
According to Archewell Productions, the animated series “centres around the heroic adventures of a 12-year-old girl, who is inspired by influential women from history.”
“Like many girls her age, our heroine Pearl is on a journey of self-discovery, as she tries to overcome life’s daily challenges,” the Duchess of Sussex had said in a statement, adding that the show would “celebrate extraordinary women throughout history.”
The animated series was under development before being scrapped. It was supposed to be the first animated series produced by the couple’s banner, and was a part of a multi-year deal they had signed with Netflix.
In addition to creating the show, Markle was also serving as an executive producer, alongside Netflix’s David Furnish, Carolyn Soper and Emmy-winning filmmakers Liz Garbus and Dan Cogan.
Aside from Pearl, Netflix scrapped two other animated children’s series last week, namely Dino Daycare and the South-Asian inspired adventure Boons and Curses.
The cuts to the streaming platform’s content slate come as part of Netflix’s cost-cutting measures aimed at using its resources in a judicious manner.
While the organisation’s executives mentioned that the platform will continue to invest in new content during the last financial meeting, they added that Netflix would pull back on some investments.
With the loss of a significant chunk of its subscriber base and a forecast of an additional loss of 2 million users in the next quarter, Netflix has also started eliminating some positions and laying off its staff. The platform recently made cuts to its editorial staff, including those associated with the fan-focused site TUDUM, and laid off 25 people from its global marketing team as well.
Korean dramas have gained immense popularity, owing to several releases in the last few months that have been well-received worldwide. K-dramas such as Twenty-Five, Twenty-One, Business Proposal, All of Us are Dead, and Again My Life, have taken audiences across the world by a storm.
On Netflix, K-dramas like Business Proposal and All of us Are Dead, have been trending in the Top 10 most watched TV shows in India for weeks.
On that note, Silverscreen India brings you a list of Korean dramas premiering in the month of May.
Bloody Heart is a period drama, which talks about the romance between King Lee-tae, who is forced to abandon the woman he loves, and Yoo-jeong, who has to become a queen in order to survive.
2. There Is No Goo Pil-Soo (May 4) – MBC
There is no Goo Pil-soofocuses on the bromance between 40-year-old breadwinner Goo Pil Soo, who dreams for success, and 20-year-old genius Jung Seok, who aspires to own a start-up. The drama will portray stories, depicting recent social and educational problems in society. At the same time, it will also bridge generational gaps between the protagonists.
Starring Ji Chang-wook, The Sound of Magicnarrates the story of a magician living in an abandoned theme park, “who makes troubles disappear, and hope reappear, for a disenchanted teen enduring harsh realities.”
4. O’PENing (May 2) – TVN
O’PENing tells the story of a high school student, who was born as with both sex chromosomes – XX and XY. The series looks into the protagonist’s life, as they pave their own future against all odds.
In Eve, Lee Ra-el’s (Seo Ye Ji) family crumbles when forces beyond their control cause her father’s death. She vows revenge on the super-rich people, who orchestrated this terrible tragedy. Her weapon of choice is divorce. By placing herself at the centre of a legal battle she hopes to bring down those responsible for her father’s death. In order to do so, she will need to wage a bitter legal struggle and fight powerful forces both inside and outside the courtroom.
6. Woori The Virgin (May 9) – SBS
A remake of the 2014 American TV show Jane the Virgin, this drama revolves around Oh Woori, an assistant writer of a popular drama series. She has vowed to remain a virgin until she marries, and has shied away from romantic relationships. When she attends a routine medical exam, a terrible mix-up takes place and she is accidentally artificially inseminated. After discovering her pregnancy, she demands the hospital gets to the bottom of the case.
7. Kiss Sixth Sense (May 25) – Disney Plus
In this drama, protagonist Yesul Hong has a secret; when she kisses someone, she can see flashes of their future. She doesn’t get much use out of her ability until one day, when she accidentally kisses her evil boss, Minhu Cha. To her shock, she sees a vision of a romantic relationship between them.
8. Doctor Lawyer (May 27) – MBC In the drama Doctor Lawyer, a genius surgeon who became a lawyer specialising in medical litigation, after losing everything through a rigged operation, and a prosecutor in charge of medical crimes, meet. The show is a heartwarming and exhilarating medical suspense court drama that comforts victims of unfairness.
Amazon Prime Video, on Thursday, announced its upcoming content slate of 40 new titles among series and films in Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu, which will be released over the next two years.
The streaming platform, during an event that marked its fifth year in the Indian market, unveiled its new multi-year licensing deals, co-productions with Indian studios, and its intentions to explore original film production in India with films in Hindi and Telugu to be released directly on the service, as per a statement released by the platform.
Gaurav Gandhi, country head of Amazon Prime Video India said, “Prime Video India sees viewership from 99% of the country’s pin-codes, today. In tune with our vision to become the most-loved entertainment hub, we have steadily innovated in the way we offer movies to our consumers, from offering films in a post-theatrical early-window to direct-to-service premieres bringing the most anticipated movies to consumers’ living rooms and preferred devices.” The platform also launched itstransactional video-on-demand (TVOD) movie rental service in India. Now, viewers can get early access to the latest Indian and international films, on a transactional (per-movie) basis.
The upcoming content line-up is set to include a variety of genres, including thrillers, action, dramas, comedy, romance, horror, biographies, true-crime, and investigative docudramas. The slate consists of Tamil, Telugu, and Hindi language content that includes a new season of The Family Man, and the maiden series debut of Naga Chaitanya, titled Dhootha, among others.
First up is Modern Love Chennai, the Tamil edition of the US original anthology series, Modern Love. The anthology is set to explore six diverse stories of different shades, facets and moods of love, all set within the city. Produced by Tyler Durden And Kino Fist, filmmaker Thiagarajan Kumararaja will serve as the creative producer and also as one of the writers, along with Balaji Tharaneetharan, Rajumurugan, Reshma Ghatala, Pratheep Kumar. The anthology will be helmed by Bharathi Raja, Balaji Sakthivel, Raju Murugan, Krishnakumar Ramakumar, and Akshay Sundher. It will feature actors Kishore, Ramya Nambeesan, Ashok Selvan and Ritu Varma, among others.
Suzhal – The Vortex will feature Aishwarya Rajesh, Kathir and R Parthiban. Created and written by Pushkar and Gayatri, Suzhal is set to be an investigation drama that delves into a missing person case that “unravels and rips the intricate social fabric of a small town.”
Sweet Kaaram Coffee a serious about how three generations of women belonging to the same family, set off on an “epic road trip.” Directed by Bejoy Nambiar, Krishna Marimuthu, and Swathi Raghuraaman, the cast comprises Lakshmi, Madhoo, and Santhy Balachandran.
Announced to be India’s first show based on a graphic novel, The Village will feature Arya under Milind Rau’s directorial. The show follows a family on a road trip that falls prey to a clan of mutants. Aside from Arya, other cast members include Divya Pillai, Aadukalam Naren, Thalaivasal Vijay, George M and John Kokken, among others.
The streaming service also announced Vadhandhi: The Fable of Velonie marking SJ Suryah’s debut in the OTT space. Termed a “dramatic noir thriller” the series is about the murder of a young girl, seen from the “Rashomon-esque perspectives of an unrelenting obsessed cop, a novelist captivated by her grace and an opportunistic news editor.” Pushkar and Gayatri will serve as creative producers with Andrew Louis writing and directing the series. Actor Laila will also be seen, alongside Suryah.
Naga Chaitanya’s OTT debut series Dhootha, deals with possessed inanimate objects wreaking havoc on people who have committed sins. Vikram K Kumar will be serving as director and executive producer of the series that will also star Parvathy Thiruvothu, Priya Bhavani Shankar and Tharun Bhascker.
The platform will also stream Aishwarya Lekshmi-starrer Ammu. The film revolves around the titular character and her attempts to get her abusive husband suspended from police duty. It is directed by Charukesh Sekar and also features Naveen Chandra and Bobby Simha.
Farzi, created and directed by Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK, will feature Shahid Kapoor, Vijay Sethupathi, Raashii Khanna and Regina Cassandra among others. According to the streaming platform, the series revolves around, “A small-time artist working out of his grandfather’s printing press has designed the ultimate con job – a crime uniquely suited to him – and gets pulled into the murky, high stakes world of all that it demands. A fiery, unorthodox task force officer has made it his mission to rid the country of the menace this poses in this fast-paced, edgy one-of-a-kind thriller.”
Aside from Farzi, Raj and DK will be collaborating on two more projects with Prime Video. While one will be the third season of The Family Man, another is titled Gulkanda Tales. Helmed by Rahi Anil Barve, it will star Pankaj Tripathi.
Actor Sonakshi Sinha will also appear in her OTT debut with Dahaad. The series is set in a small town and follows Sinha as a female cop, trying to track down a serial killer. Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar are the creators of the show.
Amazon Prime announced Jee Karda, a coming of an age series. It will revolve around the lives of a close-knit group of seven childhood friends, trying to steer their way through adulthood. It is produced by Maddock Films under Arunima Sharma’s direction. It stars Tamannaah, Suhail Nayyar and Hussain Dalal, among others.
In terms of co-producing, Prime Video is also backing two Hindi films, Neeyat and Ram Setu, starring Vidya Balan and Akshay Kumar, respectively. A poster from Ram Setu was also released, which will stream, after its theatrical release.
Other titles, including series and films announced by the streaming platform; Adhura, Bambai Meri Jaan, Call Me Bae, Crash Course, Happy Family Conditions Apply, Hush Hush, Indian Police Force, Modern Love Mumbai, PI Meena, Shekar-Lakhot, This is AP Dhillon, Cinema Marte Dum Tak, Dancing on The Grave, India Love Project, Mumbai Diaries, Panchayat, Aye Watan Mere Watan, Maja Maa, and Tiku Weds Sheru.
Several Netflix employees took to social media after they were laid-off by the streamer, on Thursday. The lay-offs come as a cost-cutting measure after the platform recently revealed the loss of over 200,000 subscribers in its first quarter of 2022.
Although the exact number of lay-offs is still unclear, a lot of those asked to leave belonged to Netflix’s fan-focused platform TUDUM, which was introduced in December, 2021. Most people were writers who are now seeking editorial opportunities elsewhere.
“Netflix recruited me seven months ago only to lay me and a bunch of other talented people off today. I’m going to take time off to just exist, so please get in touch if you’ll have editing and content strategy opportunities open after August,” wrote Evette Dionne, another ex-employee at Netflix.
Dionne, who has an upcoming book Weightless in December, added, “But companies doing this shit to writers really, really, really gets under my skin. They deserve better than callousness and cowardice.”
Some other employees mentioned that they were laid-off along with their entire department.
“If anyone is hiring let me know. Netflix just laid off me and my brilliant team members. Continue to cancel your subscriptions!” wrote a writer who worked with TUDUM.
“Hey y’all! I was one of the writers who got laid off at Netflix today. So, I am available! Please send any assignments my way. I’m quick, my copy is clean, I get along with editors. I can do short, I can do long, reported features, essays, you name it,” wrote Max Cea, who also worked as a writer at netflix.
Netflix’s move has been criticised by netizens.
A user wrote, “Intriguing Netflix editorial strategy to hire some of the best entertainment/culture minds in the biz, very specifically court a ton of non-white women with the offer of a truly life-changing amount of money, only to shitcan everyone mere months later. God damn.”
In addition to the cuts in the editorial staff, Netflix has also eliminated 25 people from its global marketing team, according to a Varietyreport.
With the loss of a significant chunk of its subscriber base and a forecast of an additional loss of 2 million members in the next quarter, it is clear that Netflix is aiming for damage control by letting go of its employees and eliminating positions.
The platform could also be facing a shift in priorities.
While creating in-roads into the Indian consumer market was one of the streamer’s main priorities, the last quarterly meeting saw hardly any discussion on the country.
It is to be noted that Netflix had earlier slashed prices in India in an effort to promote growth in the country, while increasing the prices of plans in the US. However, Chief Product Officer Greg Peters said that revised plans have not had any significant impact in India.
Netflix is also busy clamping down on the menace of password-sharing among households, and has launched tests for the same.
While the leadership mentioned during the financial meeting that the platform will continue to grow content spends in relative to prior years, it added that Netflix would pull back on some of the spend owing to the low acquisition.
On that note, Silverscreen India brings to you a list of seven films and series releasing on various OTT platforms this week, that you can watch from the comfort of your homes.
Bang Bang Baby Season 1 (April 28) – Amazon Prime Video
Set in the 1980s, this Italian crime drama series revolves around 16-year-old Alice living in a small town in the North of Italy. The story unfolds the sudden changes in her life, when she finds out her long-deceased father is still alive. The teenager eventually begins to get involved with Milan’s criminal underbelly, diving into the dangerous world of the ‘ndrangheta out of love for her father and in the end, it might be too late to get out.
The Offer(April 28) – Voot
This English drama narrates the behind-the-scenes story of the making of the 1972 film The Godfather. The 10-episode series reveals a fascinating story about the journey to bring forth the iconic mob drama to the big screens.
Ozark Season 4 Part 2 (April 29)- Netflix
This American crime drama series is based on a big money laundering operation set up in the Lake of the Ozarks region of central Missouri, offered by a Mexican drug cartel’s financial advisor Marty Byrde, who proposes to make amends after a money-laundering scheme for the former goes wrong.
Never Kiss Your Best Friend 2 (April 29) – Zee5
This Hindi drama web series was written by Durjoy Dutta and it first premiered in 2020. The series revolves around the relationship among three best friends, two of which become co-workers, in the upcoming series.
Montu Pilot Season 2 (April 29) – Hoichoi
This Bengali drama series starring Saurav Das, which first premiered in December 2019, narrates the story of Montu, who always wished to be a pilot since his childhood. His mother, who worked at the red-light area of Neelkuthi, tries everything to make sure he leaves his life behind there but failed to do so and met a terrible end. Eventually, Montu becomes a pimp, a transporter of escorts, and he does not understand love and lacks sensitivity, until he meets Bhromor.
Moon Knight- Episode 5 (May 4) – Disney+ Hotstar
This Marvel mini-series featuring the titular character Moon Knight from the Marvel comics is the sixth television series under the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The series stars Oscar Isaac as Marc Spector, otherwise known as Moon Knight, is a mercenary who suffers from dissociative identity disorder.
Hold Your Breath: The Ice Dive (May 3) – Netflix
This upcoming documentary follows free diver Johanna Norblad, as she attempts to break the world record for distance travelled under ice in a single breath.
The makers of the upcoming Tamil film Payanigal Gavanikkavumwere sent a legal notice by late Tamil author Balakumaran’s son, on Saturday, asking them to desist from using the title, citing that the rights to it rest with him. However, the issue was amicably resolved on Monday and the film will release with the same title.
The legal notice was issued to Arha Media & Broadcasting Private Limited, the parent company of Aha Tamil, and producer T Vijaya Raghavendra, days before the film’s scheduled release. Payanigal Gavanikkavum is set to premiere on the streaming platform on Friday.
Payanigal Gavanikkavum is an adaptation of the Malayalam film Vikruthi (2019), which was based on real incidents that took place at the Kochi metro. The adaptation is directed by SP Sakthivel and revolves around an incident, where the picture of a sleeping hearing/speech-impaired man was taken by a co-passenger in the metro and was shared online along with a caption that stated that he was drunk. The film’s title is derived from the recurring phrase used in train announcements, the director had said to Silverscreen India earlier.
The legal notice dated Saturday, which was sent by B Venkataramanan alias Surya Balakumaran, stated that his father was a prominent dialogue and screenplay writer who worked on 23 films and also the author of over 294 books and short stories, including one with the title Payanigal Gavanikkavum. After Balakumaran’s demise, Surya had “sole and absolute” rights to all of his father’s works, the notice stated, adding that Surya had acquired the rights not only to all of his father’s books and short stories, but also their titles.
Moreover, on July 14, 2021, Surya had issued a public notice in the newspapers Makkal Kural (Tamil) and Trinity Mirror (English), announcing that he was the “sole and absolute” title and copyright holder of all the works created by his father, including novels, dialogues, screenplay, work titles, short stories, etc.
The legal notice stated that anyone who adopts or makes any film or web series based on his rights would invite civil-criminal proceedings for the same. “Titles, scripts, screenplays, storylines, characters, sketches, the interplay of characters or sequences of events, titles either in Tamil, Hindi or any other languages in the world, which would constitute an infringement of my client’s right,” the notice read. The same was conveyed to the Tamil Film Producers Council, Writer Association, and Tamil Film Active Producers Association, the notice added, and they were asked not to approve any of the 294 titles for any upcoming film or web series.
Surya stated that his father Balakumaran’s book titled Payanigal Gavanikkavum was published in Anantha Vikudan as a weekly series in 1993. The author’s son claimed that the makers of the film Payanigal Gavanikkavum had not obtained consent from him to use that title and had thus infringed upon his rights. Surya also added that the book had won awards and garnered attention, both in Tamil Nadu and internationally, and the distinctive title was “bound to cause confusion” among film enthusiasts and the public, who would be under the impression that he was associated with the Aha Original film.
The legal notice further stated that Surya was an aspiring director, who had planned on directing a film based on his father’s book, and had even written the screenplay and dialogues for the same.
The notice therefore directed the makers of the film to stop using the title, remove posters and public announcements shared on social media within 24 hours, and provide written confirmation about changing the title. Failure to do so would lead to Surya initiating legal proceedings, seeking injunctive relief at court, and claiming monetary damages, it further added.
However, speaking to us on Monday, Surya said that the issue had been resolved. “After we sent the notice, they responded to it immediately. The director and producer met my mother and me this morning at our home. After speaking with us, they also gave us a written apology. We made a few confidential requests and they obliged. We have thus resolved the issues and the film is going to release with the same title since it is ready for release. I am also a filmmaker and I understand the efforts that go into making films.”
Modern Love is an American romantic comedy anthology series developed by John Carney, based on the weekly column of the same name published by The New York Times. It premiered on Amazon Prime Video in October 2019.
The Indian spin-off was first announced in January. Three upcoming adaptations, with the same title, will be released in three different languages: Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. The first of these, set in Mumbai and titled Modern Love: Mumbai, is releasing on May 13. This will be followed by Modern Love: Chennai and Modern Love: Hyderabad.
Theseries will feature stories that deal with topics ranging from love and romance to self-love, familial love, love towards ones’ friends, and love that emerges out of kindness, as per the press release issued by the streaming platform.
Daniel Jones, editor of Modern Love at The New York Times, said, “India is a country where love in its various forms is at the centre of its cultural fabric. It is exciting and an honour to see these stories of love being adapted for the Indian versions of the show. These Indian adaptions are in our own way, a little love letter to India, as well as a testament to the universal appeal of love as an emotion.”
Even with the release of Shahid Kapoor‘s Jersey in cinemas, the Yash-starrer KGF: Chapter 2 continues to shine at the box office. The pan-Indian action drama has been inching towards collecting close to Rs 300 crores and has successfully raked in audiences, much like recently-released commercial entertainers like Sooryavanshiand RRR.
As most films continue to release in cinemas, others have chosen to premiere directly on OTT platforms, such as the Tamil film Oh My Dog.
Silverscreen India brings to you, a compilation of reviews of films, which have released theatrically and online, this week.
The story revolves around 36-year-old Arjun (Kapoor), who returns to cricket after ten years.
Aswathy Gopalakrishnan of Silverscreen India, calls the film melodramatic and writes, “Tinnanuri’s film, like an Instagram travel influencer, looks down on those leading a quiet (and uneventful) domestic life.”
She furthers her statement and cites Vidya’s example, who is essayed by Thakur, and explains her transition from the head-turner, to “the humourless matron of the house the son and father tiptoe around,” ten years after.
Gopalakrishnan also notes that the portrayal of Arjun surrounded by friends, as Vidya comes to be regarded as someone lonely, is borrowed from South Indian cinema and mindlessly makes its way into Hindi cinema.
For her, Jersey comes with an uneven narrative. “The implausibilities aside, the situation is poorly staged, loud like a television soap opera.”
Anupama Chopra of Film Companion, questions the need for a remake, which she notes is also directed by Tinnauri.
“But he doesn’t enlarge or significantly alter the story. He merely transplants it from Hyderabad to Chandigarh. The original and the remake are almost identical, including dialogue, situations and even frames – like the aerial shot of Arjun at the interval, declaring his intention to play cricket again and stepping out into the cricket field. The relocation of city, language and culture isn’t explored in any deeper way,” she writes.
Chopra also notes that the cricket matches in Jersey take one back to those in 83, and adds that Anirudh Ravichander‘s music and Sachet-Parampara’s songs help to heighten the drama and lift the storytelling.
According to Devansh Sharma of Firstpost, the film finds “great comfort in the familiar, in the nostalgic, and in the mundane,” and notes, “The sightings of an old Rs 100 note, the old Dairy Milk packaging, and glass Pepsi bottles at cricket stadiums are nice touches to a film that wants to celebrate the less-is-more times.”
“But Tinnanuri’s direction only fleetingly adheres to this less-is-more school. While his writing doesn’t take convenient, crowd-pleasing full swings, it also doesn’t make every single count. Effort has gone into detailing here, from Arjun crushing an unfinished cigarette under his foot to Vidya’s eyes that well up because of exhaustion and sacrifice, but that effort often shows,” he writes.
For Sharma, the love story between Kapoor and Thakur’s characters could have been fleshed out more.
He also notes the film’s dearth of any nuance in the depiction of Punjab or specifically, Chandigarh, due to the director’s unfamiliarity with the same.
“The director is unfamiliar with that turf, but even the dialogue writers Siddharth-Garima (who penned dialogues for Kabir Singh) only perpetuate the Punjabi cliches that riddle the Hindi film industry,” Sharma adds, and highlights the performance of child actor Ronit Kamra, who took on the role of Arjun and Vidya’s son.
Talking about the film, Sarov had earlier toldSilverscreen India, “The film follows the relationship between a blind dog and an eight-year-old boy. The story has an element of sports as well. It is about how one should not be discriminated against on the basis of their disability and how, given a chance, anyone can make it. But there is no preaching.”
According to Vishal Menon of Film Companion, the film is a genuine effort towards making a children’s movie.
He writes, “This is also reflective in the way the film never appears to be patronising. It doesn’t have a lot to say but there’s an amount of honesty in Oh My Dog that makes you want to give credit to its intentions, although it’s not conveyed in an engaging manner.”
Menon also notes the topics that the film highlights, namely, “good parenting, compassion and love towards all animals.”
However, he writes that the writing is flat. “With one half of the film being about the dog’s blindness only to switch later into the aforementioned sports drama, it doesn’t have the focus to make the film about one big issue.”
Ashameera Aiyappan of Firstpost, writes that the film is an addition to “the long list of films bogged down by commercial platitudes and predictable writing.”
However, despite the familiarities in the plotlines, she notes that the film comes with potential. Aiyappan cites the example of the father-son relationship between Arun and Arnav, and draws a parallel to The Pursuit Of Happyness.
“It is a pity that the writing does not mine any of this. There is no set-up for the emotional conflicts which feel very superficial. We hear a lot about Shankar’s (Arun) strained relationship with his dad, but we do not see much of it, except for one misplaced argument,” she adds.
Payanigal Gavanikkavum, the upcoming Tamil film starring actors Vidharth and Karunakaran, departs significantly from the Malayalam movie it is based on, says director SP Sakthivel. “It is definitely not a frame-by-frame remake,” he adds.
The film is an adaptation of the Malayalam film Vikruthi (2019), which itself was based on the real incidents that took place on Kochi metro. Starring Suraj Venjaramoodu and Soubin Shahir, it revolved around an incident where the picture of a sleeping hearing/speech-impaired man was taken by a co-passenger in the metro and shared online with a caption stating that he was drunk. Ajeesh P Thomas had written the story, screenplay and dialogues of the film.
The first look poster of Payanigal Gavanikkavum was released on social media on Thursday. The film is set to stream on Aha Tamil from April 29.
The Tamil adaptation is helmed by Sakthivel, who has previously directed Urumeen (2015), and is produced by T Vijaya Raghavendra.
Speaking about Payanigal Gavanikkavum, Sakthivel says, “It is essentially a social drama that will have a message on cell phone and social media use. We share a lot of information using a mobile phone these days. While it is good in a way, sometimes the things we post are fake. What one person’s actions can cause and how it affects another person is what this story is essentially about. The beauty of this film is that no one is a bad character.”
Vidharth plays a school librarian and Vallalar devotee, who is deaf, while Lakshmi Priya Chandramouli essays his wife, who is also deaf. Karunakaran plays a man from a Christian family residing at St Thomas Mount, Chennai, who is the one who puts up the post. “Both the characters are travellers on the metro and it is a key point. The title also comes from the recurring phrase used in train announcements,” the director adds.
Speaking about adapting the film, Sakthivel says, “The original writer, Ajeesh, had written an article on the real incident. Taking that, we have changed certain sections of the story to match our local sensibilities. Geographically itself, the story is different and we have changed the backgrounds of the major characters. We have shown Vidharth as a Vallavar devotee and Karukaran as a Christian. There are about 12 scenes which are new and tailored to our sensibilities; the beginning scene is different too. A few characters have been added and some removed.”
The film went on floors around July-August 2021 and was wrapped up later that year. It has been shot by cinematographer P Pandikumar and edited by RS Sathish Kumar. The music is composed by Shamnath Nag and the film features three songs, including an adaptation of Subramania Bharati’s Pagaivanuku Arulvai poem.
After Payanigal Gavanikkavum, Sakthivel says that he will be working on the biopic of a weightlifter from Tamil Nadu and an adventure drama.
Last week’s big theatrical releases like Vijay-starrer Beast andKGF Chapter 2 have been faring well at the box office. Tamil Nadu theatre owners noted that Beast has been a profitable venture, collecting around Rs 34-36 Crore in Tamil Nadu on its opening day. KGF Chapter 2 has globally earned Rs 546 crores (gross) within four days of release.
This Tamil film is the last of the four-film deal of actor Suriya’s 2D Entertainment production banner with the streaming platform. Written and directed by the debutant Sarov Shanmugam, Oh My Dog stars actor Arun Vijay, alongside his son Arnav Vijay, in his acting debut and his father, veteran actor Vijayakumar. It also features Mahima Nambiar and Vinay Rai among others. In an earlier conversation with Silverscreen India, the director said that Oh My Dog is purely a film for children. “The film follows the relationship between a blind dog and an eight-year-old boy. The story has an element of sports, as well. It talks about how one should not be discriminated due to their disability and how, given a chance, anyone can make it big. But there is no preaching,” he added.
Starring actors Shriya Pilgaonkar and Varun Mitra, this series is directed by Shefali Bhushan and Jayant Digambar Somalkar.
As per the streaming platform, the series’s logline reads, “The protagonists; friends from law college, almost but never quite lovers, Kashaf Quaze and Deepak Rana usually find themselves on opposite sides of the law. Idealistic Kashaf is into public interest litigation, while Deepak, a ruthlessly ambitious rising star, is a partner at a top law firm that represents big corporations. Deepak’s new junior Shubhangi Khanna, the heiress to the firm is attracted to him, adding fuel to the fire. Shubhangi’s insecure and competitive cousin, Shubhrat Khanna, wants Deepak out of the firm.”
This Tamil web series marks the directorial debut of Priya V Kamakshi in the OTT space. Priya, who has previously helmed films like Kannamoochi Yenada (2007) and Kanda Naal Mudhal (2005), calls it a “hyperlinked series.” It will consist of eight parts, with a runtime of about 45 minutes each. The series features an ensemble cast that includes actors Prakash Raj,Ananth Nag, Vivek Prasanna, Amrutha Srinivasan, Anjali Rao, Arjunan Nandakumar, and Sampath Raj. Produced by V Murali Raaman, Ananthamrevolves around a house through the years 1964 to 2015, shown via the memories of its various occupants.
Directed by Vipin Das, this Malayalam film stars Shaiju Kurup, Priyanka Nair and Vijay Babu, among several others. According to the streaming platform, the logline reads, “A game that makes you reminisce the good old days of your life suddenly takes a turn. Will it depend on a mere game of Antakshari?”
Led by Alia Bhatt and directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, this film had its theatrical release on February 25 this year. The Hindi biographical crime drama, is loosely based on one of the chapters in Hussain Zaidi and Jane Borges’ book, Mafia Queens of Mumbai, a collection of stories about women who were part of Mumbai’s underworld. Bhatt plays Gangubai Kathiawadi, who was one of the most influential women in Kamathipura, a red-light district in Mumbai, and the owner of many brothels in that area.
Heart Stopper (April 22) – Netflix
This series is based on the bestselling graphic novel by Alice Oseman. As per the streaming platform’s synopsis,”Teens Charlie and Nick discover their unlikely friendship might be something more as they navigate school and young love in this coming-of-age series.”
This four-part documentary takes an illuminating, holistic look into the life and career of one of the world’s most iconic figures, Earvin “Magic” Johnson. According to the streaming platform, the documentary explores the journey of Johnson “from being the face of the Los Angeles Lakers and cementing himself as an all-time NBA legend, to changing the conversation around HIV and transforming into a successful entrepreneur and community activist.”
Netflix has been releasing a wide range of Korean shows, which have been received well by audiences across the globe. In 2021, Squid Game took the world by storm. The show became the platform’s biggest launch ever, amassing over 142 million household views in just four weeks.
This year, the Korean rom-com drama Business Proposal, starring Ahn Hyo-seop and Kim Se-jeong, has been dominating viewership on Netflix for the last few weeks.
Who does not love a good workplace romantic-comedy show though? While clichés and romance tropes, including fake-relationships-turn-real and rich-man-falls-in-love-with-poor-woman, have been portrayed countless times in TV shows and films, a little fluff, now and then, is always welcome.
If you enjoyed Business Proposal, Silverscreen India brings you a list of seven other workspace Korean rom-com dramas to binge on.
1. What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim (Netflix)
When it comes to the boss-and-employee romance trope, What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim does it best. Lee Young-joon (Park Seo Joon) might be the vice-president of his family’s massively successful company, but that doesn’t mean he has what it takes to do a good job. His talented secretary Kim Mi So (Park Min Young), who has been working for him for nine years, has been making him look like the shining star that Young-joon believes he is. However, after Mi So suddenly decides to quit, her arrogant boss comes to realise that he cannot get on without her.
2. Suspicious Partner (Netflix)
Suspicious Partner pits the relationship of the lead couple against their careers. Noh Ji-wook is a passionate public prosecutor, while Eun Bong-hee is a rookie justice department intern, who always seems to find herself in the most unfortunate situations. When Bong-hee is falsely accused of murdering her ex-boyfriend, Ji-wook has to risk his career and reputation to save her.
3. Coffee Prince (Netflix)
Dubbed as a classic, Coffee Prince is a great workplace romance show. Han-gyeol (Gong Yoo) is an irresponsible heir to a conglomerate, who pretends to be gay so as to escape the blind dates set up by his grandmother. Soon, he receives an ultimatum from his grandmother to turn their rundown family café into a profitable venture. Hoping to attract female customers, Han-gyeol decides to hire all-male waiters. He also ends up hiring Eun-chan, a licensed taekwondo instructor, who works part time as a delivery woman, after mistaking her for a boy. Han-gyeol soon finds himself falling for Eun-chan and begins questioning his sexuality and the confusion it puts him in.
4. Her Private Life (Netflix)
Similar to Business Proposal, Her Private Life is also based on a webtoon, one titled Noona Fan Dot Com. A dedicated professional, Sung Deok-mi (Park Min-young) is an art gallery curator. However, beneath that cool, professional facade, Deok-mi carries a secret she desperately wants to keep from the world – her enthusiasm for K-pop. As her relationship with the gallery’s new art director evolves, she has to keep her fanaticism a secret from him.
5. Crazy Love (Disney+ Hotstar)
This series revolves around No Go-jin, the most popular mathematics instructor in the private education sector and the CEO of GOTOP Education, who feigns having amnesia after receiving death threats. Lee Shin-ah, a diligent and introverted employee, works as Go-jin’s secretary. When she learns that she does not have much time left to live, she pretends to be Go-jin’s fiancée.
6. Strong Woman Do Bong Soon (Netflix)
The show is about Do Bong-soon (Park Bo-young), a woman who possesses monumental strength, which can only be used for good. Her one true desire is to create a video game where she appears as the main character. While she struggles to find employment as a developer, Bong-soon’s abilities help her secure a position as a bodyguard for Ahn Min-hyuk (Park Hyung-sik), the heir and the CEO of the gaming company, Ainsoft. As Bong-soon begins to help her new boss track down someone making dangerous threats against him, she finds romance and humour along the way.
7. Touch Your Heart (Netflix)
This series follows Oh Yoon-seo (Yoo In-na), a famous actress who gets caught up in a scandal with a man from a rich family. With her career declining quickly, she looks for one last hope to get back on the screen and lands a role playing a secretary in a drama written by a famous screenwriter. In order to get into character, Yoon Seo starts working as a secretary for six months under Kwon Jung-rok (Lee Dong-wook), a lawyer who is notorious for being a perfectionist.
Anantham, the upcoming Tamil web series which is set to premiere on ZEE5 Tamil on Friday, marks the debut of director Priya V Kamakshi in the OTT space. Priya, who has previously helmed films like Kannamoochi Yenada (2007) and Kanda Naal Mudhal (2005), calls it a “hyperlinked series.”
Produced by V Murali Raaman, Ananthamrevolves around a house through the years 1964 to 2015, shown via the memories of its various occupants.
Speaking to Silverscreen India, Priya says, “The house I was born in and still live at is called Anantham and I have dealt with so many emotions in that house. I just thought, what if several, different people lived at the house, at different times. That is how the idea came up.”
“It is a series that deals with different emotions. There are eight stories in all, of which one story will serve as a link to the rest, making it a hyperlinked series. It is like an anthology, but the main characters will also recur at some points. It deals with all the emotions, which can be broadly called the navarasas (nine emotions). Anantham deals with sorrow, laughter, inspiration, as well as issues such as cruelty, child abuse, and a little bit of the unknown and horror,” she adds.
Priya, who has also written the story, says she came up with the idea sometime in 2014-15 and continued to develop it while working on her Kannada film, Aadi Lakshmi Puraana (2018). “I started to pitch the project around 2017-18 and then, I met Murali Raaman. When he heard about it, he was very excited about it. But, the project got delayed due to the pandemic. Later, he connected me with ZEE5.”
Anantham will consist of eight parts, with a runtime of about 45 minutes each. The series features an ensemble cast that includes actors Prakash Raj,Ananth Nag, Vivek Prasanna, Amrutha Srinivasan, Anjali Rao, Arjunan Nandakumar, and Sampath Raj.
It was shot on location at Aachi House in T Nagar, Chennai by cinematographer Bagath, in late 2021. Surya Rajeevan worked on production design, which Priya says was “exciting because [they] had to show differences in the same location.”
They also got to play around with the music because the series spans from 1964 to 2015, she adds. The music has been composed by AS Ram, and Priya says they have adopted the styles of iconic musicians of each time period. “For example, for the 70s, we used MS Viswanathan sir’s style; for the 80s, we incorporated Ilaiyaraaja sir’s style; 2000s was more like AR Rahman. Every episode has a song, and all the lyrics are from Mahakavi Subramania Bharati’s poems. That was very exciting and I hope people enjoy it,” she adds.
Thanking her producer Murali and the team of Anantham for helping her put together this “honest attempt” of a series, she particularly credits the team that worked with her on the screenplay, Preetha Jayaraman, Reema Ravichander, and Rakav Mirdath.
Priya feels that OTT platforms are “great and fantastic” for filmmakers who make content outside of the commercial space. “I can explore so many agendas through the OTT space, and it is a great thing for people like me,” she says.
After Anantham, the director will be working on a Tamil feature film that is yet to be announced.
Netflix has lost 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2022, according to the streaming platform’s latest financial earnings report, in which it also admitted that the company is “not growing as fast as [they] would like.”
“Covid-19 clouded the picture by significantly increasing our growth in 2020, leading us to believe that most of our slowing growth in 2021 was due to the Covid-19 pull forward,” stated Netflix in the letter to its shareholders.
“It’s increasingly clear that the pace of growth into our underlying addressable market (broadband homes) is partly dependent on factors we don’t directly control, like the uptake of connected TVs (since the majority of our viewing is on TVs), the adoption of on-demand entertainment, and data costs,” it noted.
Other factors out of Netflix’s control, the streamer said, included “sluggish economic growth, increasing inflation, geopolitical events such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and some continued disruption from Covid-19.”
In its letter to shareholders, the streamer also said that increasing competition from traditional entertainment companies has also dwindled Netflix’s growth.
The focus at present, however, is on the menace of password sharing that Netflix has been working on for almost two years, said Chief Product Officer Greg Peters during a video conference call.
In addition to its subscriber base of 222 million households, Netflix has estimated that 100 million additional households, including over 30 million in the US – Canada region, are using the service through the means of shared passwords.
While password sharing did not top the company’s priority list, earlier, it has now become a major concern for the streaming platform. As a result, in March, Netflix had rolled out tests in Costa Rica, Chile, and Peru to find out if users would be willing to pay extra to share their accounts with non-subscribers, or people beyond their households.
In 2021, the platform had started cracking down on the password-sharing trend by prompting users for authorisation via one-time passwords (OTPs).
As of Tuesday, Netflix’s leadership confirmed that while the current account-sharing tests will be extended to other countries, including the US, the actual implementation might take a year, or more.
It is to be noted that Netflix had earlier slashed prices in India in an effort to promote growth in the country. However, Peters said that revised plans have not have any significant impact in India.
Netflix is also considering introducing low-priced ad-supported plans in the next couple of years, along the lines of other platforms like Hulu, Disney Plus, and HBO Max.
The streamer also plans to continue with its content creation, given the hit of recent shows and films like season 2 of Bridgerton, Inventing Anna, and The Adam Project.
The second quarter of 2022 is expected to see a spike in revenue for Netflix as well, with the return of popular shows like Stranger Things, Elite, and Ozark.
Written and directed by the debutant, Oh My Dog stars actor Arun Vijay alongside his son Arnav Vijay (in his acting debut) and his father, veteran actor Vijayakumar. It also features Mahima Nambiar, Vinay Rai, and others.
Sarov, who has previously assisted filmmakers Vasanthabalan and Suseenthiran, says, “The film follows the relationship between a blind dog and an eight-year-old boy. The story has an element of sports as well. It is about how one should not be discriminated against on the basis of their disability and how, given a chance, anyone can make it. But there is no preaching.”
“It will be like going to a Walt Disney film, watching and coming out happy,” adds Sarov, who is himself a big fan of Disney movies. He says he wanted to tap into the market here for children’s films. “I had conceived the idea about five years back and took about 50-60 days to write it. I wanted to pitch it to the right production house and had the chance to meet Rajasekhar (co-producer) of 2D in 2018. He liked it and the project eventually took off. Suriya sir suggested Arnav Vijay and things fell into place.”
Vijaykumar, Arun, and Arnav play their real-life roles, of grandfather, son, and grandson, in the film too. Sarov says this helps add authenticity to the film. “The original script had a good portion of the grandfather-grandson relationship. After Arun Vijay sir also liked it, I wanted to make a three-generation story. While all three of them have prominent roles, the story is primarily told from the viewpoint of the grandson.” He adds that the film became what it is now after Arun Vijay stepped in. “I am thankful for that. In fact, the entire family cooperated. Even Arnav’s mother helped off-screen.”
The filmmaker reveals that casting for the dog was a tedious process since the team wanted three of them that looked alike, but at different stages of growth, from a pup to an adult dog. “Since there are sports involved, we had to train the dogs as well and it took nearly a year to train them. It was a laborious job,” he adds.
Oh My Dog was shot in Ooty in 2021, with cinematographer Gopinath helming the camera. At the shooting stage too, the dogs were what made things difficult. “The toughest part of shooting was working with the animals. I am good with kids, so I did not worry so much about that aspect of making a kid’s film. I was mainly concerned about filming with the puppy. Adult dogs can be trained and will stay in place for at least three minutes, that’s not the case with puppies. Luckily, Arnav and the puppy shared a good chemistry and we managed to get through that part without too much trouble. It was the adult dogs, which I was very confident about, that were hard to manage. We had to handle multiple dogs on sets and it was difficult,” says Sarov.
The technical crew of Oh My Dog includes editor Meghanathan and composer Nivas K Prasanna. The film features three songs and some musical bits, notes the director.
Speaking about releasing his film on an OTT platform, Sarov says that it is a “positive evolution.” He adds, “Life of films on OTT platforms is longer than on the big screen. Over 200 countries get to watch it, which would otherwise not be possible for small films. Amazon is a reputed platform and this is a blessing. The big-screen experience, the laughter of the audience while watching it, will definitely be missed, but that’s just the trade off for such a wide release.”
Beast, which hit the screen on Wednesday, has reportedly collected around Rs 34 to 36 crore (gross) at the Tamil Nadu box office on its first day. Thursday release KGF Chapter 2, on the other hand, had excellent advance bookings and the Hindi version of the film had earned around Rs 10 crore from pre-bookings alone.
While theatres are buzzing with those two films, for those of you who want to watch something from the comfort of your homes, Silverscreen India brings this list of series and films arriving on OTT platforms in the coming week.
Mai is a Hindi series revolving around Sheel, a grieving mother who discovers the criminals behind her daughter’s tragic death. She must transform from meek to merciless to get the real story. The series is filled with white collar crimes and ugly politics.
Akshay Kumar-starrer Bachchhan Paandey released in theatres on March 18 and is now set to have its digital premiere. A remake of the 2014 Tamil film Jigarthanda, this Hindi film revolves around an aspiring director given the task to come up with a gripping gangster biopic. She decides to make a biopic on a real life gangster, the one eyed ‘Bachchhan Paandey’ of Baghwa. When she finally gets the chance to gain an insight into Bachchhan’s life, she ends up getting caught by him.
Starring late Puneeth Rajkumar, this Kannada film originally hit the big screens on March 17. The story revolves around James aka Santhosh Kumar, who works as a manager at ‘J – WINGS ‘, a security company. He enters into a dark market, where he meets power brokers and businessmen.
According to the official synopsis of this Aha Original film, actor Nivetha Pethuraj plays Mary, an orphan who works as a nurse in a hospital. The survival thriller also features an investigative cop trying to dig deep into a case. In an earlier interview with us, the director mentioned that there is no specific antagonist in the film.
Directed by Pawo Choyning Dorji, Lunana became the first-ever film from Bhutan to earn an Oscar nomination earlier this year. The film follows a young Bhutanese man named Ugyen, who aspires to move to Australia to establish his singing career. However, he is assigned to teaching duty in a remote mountain village named Lunana. The film explores his growth as a person, the life of the villagers, the idea of happiness, and more. In an exclusive interview with Silverscreen India, director Dorji said Lunana is a story of Bhutan.
6. Anatomy of a Scandal (April 15) – Netflix
Based on the novel of the same name by Sarah Vaughan, Anatomy of a Scandal is a limited series revolving around Sophie. Her privileged life as the wife of powerful politician James unravels when scandalous secrets surface and he stands accused of a shocking crime.
7. Choose or Die (April 15) – Netflix
In this film, two friends, who are tempted by the chance to win unclaimed prize money, reboot a mysterious 1980s video game. They soon find themselves stepping into a surreal world of next-level terror.
8. Outer Range (April 15) – Amazon Prime Video
According to the official synopsis, Outer Range is centred around Royal Abbott, a rancher fighting for his land and family, who discovers an unfathomable mystery at the edge of Wyoming’s wilderness. The series examines how we grapple with the unknown.
Aryan Khan has reportedly started work on the web series he is writing and directing for his father Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment banner.
The young filmmaker apparently carried out a test shoot for the project, over the weekend, at a studio in Mumbai. While this test shoot took place on Friday and Saturday, the dates for the actual shooting of the series are yet to be decided. An official announcement on the project is also yet to be made.
A source told Pinkvilla, “Aryan wanted to bring everyone together to understand the project, before they started shooting for it, as a part of prep for him and the crew. He is very passionate about this (yet-to-be-titled) show, and has already begun work on the pre-production. They will finalise the actual shooting dates soon.”
Aryan Khan is also said to be working on a feature film for Red Chillies.
Earlier, in an interview with DNA, Shah Rukh Khan had spoken about his son’s ambition of becoming a filmmaker and also revealed that his daughter Suhana Khan intends to become an actor. “He’s writing, directing and has been learning stuff for four years. Becoming a filmmaker is one of the highest levels of studies at the University of Southern California. My daughter wants to act. She also has to attend a four-year course in theatre. I think both of them should study.”
Suhana Khan is reportedly set to make her acting debut with filmmaker Zoya Akhtar’s web series based on the Archie comics.
Aryan Khan made the headlines last year after he was arrested in October by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) following a drug bust aboard a cruise ship. His bail was rejected multiple times as the agency claimed that he had played a role in the illicit procurement and consumption of drugs. The NCB had also alleged that Aryan Khan was part of a larger conspiracy and was in contact with an international drug network.
Discovery has completed its acquisition of WarnerMedia from AT&T on Friday. The combined organisation named Warner Bros. Discovery Inc, will start trading on the Nasdaq on Monday, under a new ticker symbol ‘WBD’.
In May last year, the companies announced their plans to merge and become a standalone media organisation. AT&T is an American multinational telecommunications company that includes the acquisition of Warner Media in 2018 and its subsequent network groups such as Adult Swim, Boomerang, TBS, TNT, DC Comics, Turner Classic Movies, and TruTv, among other key assets. While, Discovery, which is backed by John Malone, controls networks like TLC and Animal Planet.
“With the close of this transaction, we expect to invest at record levels in our growth areas of 5G and fiber, where we have strong momentum,” stated John Stankey, AT&T Chief Executive Officer John.
Warner Bros. Discovery’s portfolio includes Discovery Channel, Warner Bros. Entertainment, CNN, HBO, Cartoon Network, the streaming services Discovery+ and HBO Max and franchises like Batman and Harry Potter.
“With our collective assets and diversified business model, Warner Bros. Discovery offers the most differentiated and complete portfolio of content across film, television and streaming. We are confident that we can bring more choice to consumers around the globe, while fostering creativity and creating value for shareholders. I can’t wait for both teams to come together to make Warner Bros. Discovery the best place for impactful storytelling,” said David Zaslav, Warner Bros. Discovery’s Chief Executive Officer.
In 2021, it was reported that the merged organisation will be worth $130 billion including debt, based on WarnerMedia’s estimated enterprise value of more than $90 billion. AT&T will receive $43 billion in cash, debt securities, and debt retention, with its shareholders receiving stock representing 71% of the new company. The deal is structured as a tax-friendly Reverse Morris Trust.
The new platform is set to compete with other streaming giants like Netflix and Disney+.
If you’ve grown up in any big city, you’d remember the mandatory bus stop that is referred to as PRS. Peer inside and you’d see vast grounds, some greenery and the odd person walking in khakhi or doing some exercise. It was a space you knew nothing about, but passed by every single day.
What director Tamizh does in Taanakkaran, streaming on Disney+ Hotstar, is take you inside that very same PRS (Police Recruit School) for nearly 150 minutes, to experience the hope and crushing disappointment of the recruits and witness spirits and bodies being broken. But, some sort of hope floats too.
Arivu is one of the many police recruits, including a batch of 100 people selected for the force in the 80s, but sent for their training in 1998, who enters the PRS with the hope of wearing the uniform one day and fulfilling his father’s dream. He’s an MA in Criminology and has a very clear idea about what is right and what is wrong, and what a PRS ought to be doing. He’s the nurturing kind who helps along those who are slow, and he naturally veers towards those older in age and struggling. He cannot stand injustice.
Is a PRS the place to train people for the parade and help them win a contest or a place where young recruits are brought up to date with the requirements of their job? Is it a place where values are instilled or one where they are taught that if they don’t pay a bribe, they’ll suffer? Is the PRS a place where training follows a logic or one where a lone cop is still guarding a former sapling that is now a tree, only because no one really struck down that order? Is it a place where you travel together and grow as a group, or one where the weak ones are dropped out to strengthen the others?
Tamizh yanks you into this set-up, and thanks to Madhesh Manickam’s camera work, Raghavan’s art direction and Philomin Raj’s editing, the relentless monotony of the testosterone-filled world gets to you.
Arivu is trying to make sense of a world where the ‘system’ overrules all logic. Where the commandant openly says that if his son were to win over one of the trainers, he’d still award the trainer, because the trainer is the system. Where the trainers can overrule a commandant who wants more toilets opened for the recruits. Where you are asked to speak up, but punished for exercising that choice.
Two people – the trainer played by MS Bhaskar, who is punished and remains one for decades after he hit a batchmate for calling him names, and Bose Venkat’s Madhi (ironically, the person named after the mind is the only one with heart) – are the only sources of oxygen in Arivu’s life. They help him surmount every challenge and help him see the bigger picture.
In a set up like the PRS, how does the system deal with a person like Arivu, who rarely loses his cool and possesses both physical endurance and largeness of heart? That is what troubles Eswaramoorthy (a brilliant Lal in a one-note character), who is the face of the system. They want obedience, Arivu thinks. And thought threatens custodians of the system.
The dialogues are nuanced, even inspirational at times (especially Madhi’s lines) in their simplicity. Ghibran’s music is unobtrusive, but the songs stick out in a stark film that could have done without them.
Everyone’s been raving about Vikram Prabhu’s portrayal of Arivu, and rightly so. Over the years, we’ve seen the actor struggle to find roles that suit his gentle face, flaring nostrils and general air of dignity. Arivu needs all three to work, and Vikram gives the role his all.
Anjali Nair is good as the cop who takes a shine to Arivu, but her character does not really have a purpose. MS Bhaskar is wonderful as always, a treasure the industry discovers off and on. Lal lends life to Eswaramoorthy, written as a character you’d love to hate. But, it would have been more than just that had some nuance gone into why he’d become what he is. Money does not seem to drive him, only abject discipline. You see the human in him only towards the end when he slips and falters and knows that he’s been given something he does not deserve.
Is Taanakkaran perfect? Not quite. But, is it a necessary film? Yes, in a film world that celebrates violence and encounters and super cops, you need a Writer (directed by Franklin Jacob, starring Samuthirakani) and a Taanakkaran to show you how deep the rot is, and how, even in the sludge, some flowers do bloom.
This Taanakkaran review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.
Goldberg, one of only 16 EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony) winners, will be seen essaying the character considered as the God of Birds in Anansi Boys. One of the key antagonists, the streaming platform describes Bird Woman as “the embodiment of birds; not just beautiful stately birds in flight but the dangerous ones as well.”
“Bird Woman is the most dangerous of them all. Long ago Anansi did her wrong. Now may be her chance to turn the tables,” the press release from Amazon adds.
Published in 2005, Anansi Boys is about “a dead god and his two sons, about birds and ghosts and beasts and cops, based in Caribbean and African tales,” according to Gaiman. The author added that the idea was conceived during a 1996 conversation he had had with Sir Lenny Henry, who had later narrated the audio book. It was Gaiman’s first number one title in the New York Times Bestseller list.
Speaking about being cast in the series, Goldberg said, “I have been a fan of this book for a very long time and when Neil Gaiman told me it was being brought to the screen, I did everything I could to be part of it to help make people aware of Anansi and all his magic.”
Aside from Goldberg, the series will feature actors Malachi Kirby, Delroy Lindo, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Emmanuel Ighodaro, Cecilia Noble, Ayanna Whitter-Johnson, and Don Gilet, among others.
Anansi Boys follows Charlie Nancy (Kirby), a young man who is used to being embarrassed by his estranged father. But when his father dies, Charlie discovers that his father was Anansi: the trickster god of stories (Lindo). He further learns that he has a brother, Spider (also played by Kirby), who is determined to make Charlie’s life more interesting but makes it a lot more dangerous.
The series is set against the backdrop of contemporary London, and extends from the UK to Florida in the US, the Caribbean, and the mythical World Before Time.
The Abhishek Bachchan, Yami Gautam and Nimrat Kaur starrer is a feel-good Hindi comedy-drama directed by Tushar Jalota and written by Suresh Nair and Ritesh Shah. The story revolves around an uneducated politician, who decides to spend his time studying for high school when he was jailed under a tough cop, while his scheming wife has plans for her own.
Return to Space (April 7) – Netflix
Featuring the wealthiest man in the world, Elon Musk, this American science and nature documentary is directed by Oscar Award-winning documentary filmmakers Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin. The story follows the Musk’s and SpaceX engineers’ two decade-long risky journey to send American astronauts to space, who become the first to reach the Earth’s orbit in a private spacecraft.
Created by Shreyansh Pandey, this Hindi web series is a family drama that first premiered on the streaming platform TVF Play in 2019. Set in the quaint by-lanes in the heart of India, Gullak is a collection of disarming and relatable tales of the Mishra family, as described by the streaming platform.
Elite: Season 5 (April 8) – Netflix
This is a Spanish thriller teen drama that began in 2018, and is set in a fictional, elite secondary school. It revolves around the relationships between three teenage students as well as their heartbreaks and scandals.
The In Between (April 8) – Netflix
This American science fiction romance film directed by Arie Posin from a screenplay by Marc Klein, follows the story of a teenager, who survives a car accident that took her boyfriend’s life, after which she believes that he is trying to reconnect with her from beyond the grave.
Abhay Season 3 (April 8)- Zee 5
This Hindi Zee 5 Original is a crime thriller web series that marks the digital debut of actor Kunal Khemu. The series also stars Elnaaz Norouzi, Sandeepa Dhar and Namit Das in pivotal roles. The synopsis reads, “Inspired by true crime stories, this series revolves around Abhay Pratap Singh, a gutsy cop who can outwit any criminal and solve the most heinous acts of violence.”
This Tovino Thomas and Anna Ben-starrer is a Malayalam political thriller film directed by Aashiq Abu which released in March this year. The film also features Sharafudheen and Vijayaraghavan. The story revolves around an ambitious news anchor and talk-show host named Chandraprakash (Thomas), who is hell-bent on becoming the best journalist that he throws away ethics and morality.
Happiness Season 1 (April 12)- Netflix
This is a Korean thriller drama series that follows the outbreak of an infectious disease, which has become a new norm. It shows the residents of a high-rise building fight for survival during the outbreak and turn into blood-lusting zombies.
This Marvel mini-series featuring the titular character Moon Knight from the Marvel comics is the sixth television series under the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The series stars Oscar Isaac as Marc Spector otherwise known as Moon Knight, who is a mercenary with dissociative identity disorder.
The streaming service, which was launched in India in 2018, offers content in English, Hindi, Bengali, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Oriya, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, and Punjabi.
Its current Tamil content includes Ajith Kumar’s Valimai, which began streaming on ZEE5 post its theatrical run, and the well-received web series Vilangu.
Speaking at the event on Tuesday, Manish Kalra, Chief Business Officer of ZEE5 India, said, “Since the time of our launch, one of our strengths is regional content.” He further added that their upcoming line-up consists of 10-12 original series and between eight and 10 blockbuster films.
Filmmakers Vetri Maaran and Ameer are set to collaborate on the ZEE5 series Nilamellam Ratham, which is written by the former and will star the latter. Vetri Maaran, who has always asserted that OTT has brought about a “golden era for screenwriting,” reiterated this on Tuesday. In addition to writing, he will also be serving as the showrunner of the series, which will have music by Yuvan Shankar Raja.
Kiruthiga Udhayanidhi, meanwhile, will be helming the ZEE5 Original Paper Rocket, starring Kalidas Jayaram and Tanya Ravichandran. The series revolves around the concept of death but takes a lighter approach to the topic. Speaking about the project, Kiruthiga said, “My parents are also aging and the thought of the inevitable loss keeps recurring. The crux of this story came from that.” The team also released the song Kaalai Maalai by Sid Sriram from the musically-heavy show, which is scored by composer Dharan Kumar.
Actor-producer Radhika Sarathkumar is set to star in two thriller web series premiering on ZEE5. The first of these is Kaarmegam (Tamil) aka Gaalivaana (Telugu), which is set in a coastal town and directed by Sharan Koppisetty. The show will premiere on April 14. The actor will also be collaborating with director Vasantha Balan for Thalamai Seyalagam.
Among the first batch of the web series lined up on the platform is Anantham, starring actor Prakash Raj. Set to release on April 22, the show directed by Priya V Kamakshi follows an estranged son who returns to his family home Anantham. The series explores the various emotions of the people who lived in the house between 1964 and 2015. “I lived, and still do, in such a house that is also called Anantham,” said director Priya, noting that wondering what it would have been like if other people had lived there, and what stories the walls would have to tell in that case, led her to making the series.
“Prakash Raj is my mentor and godfather in the industry,” she added. The actor, meanwhile, mentioned that working on a series was a “different space” for him.
The renewal of the series Fingertipfor a second season was also announced at the event. The first season starred Akshara Haasan, Ashwin Kakumanu and Sunainaa, among others, and was directed by Shivakar. The second season of Fingertip will feature actors Prasanna, Aparna Balamurali and Regina Cassandra. Shivakar, who returns to helm the second season, noted that the series talks about technology and social media and how it affects human lives.
Other projects announced were the ZEE5 Original Kolaigara Kairegaigal, starring Kalaiyarasan and Vani Bhojan and directed by SR Prabhakaran; a thriller by director Naga titled Aindham Vedham, produced by Abirami Media Works; and director Vijay’s web series Five Six Seven Eight, set against the backdrop of dance.
The event also honoured the makers of the Tamil filmsMalaysia to Amnesiaand Vinodhaya Sitham, which streamed on the platform. It was also revealed by Ajay Kapoor of Abirami Media Works, the production banner of Vinodhaya Sitham, that Telugu actor Pawan Kalyan is in talks for a remake of the film.
The story of the Swaroop RSJ-directorial revolves around three kids who embark on an adventure to find the underworld don, Dawood Ibrahim. The film also features actor Taapsee Pannu as an investigative journalist.
“In contrast, the kids with their insane ideas plan more thoroughly than the group of adults. Swaroop, too, wins here with his writing of these three distinctive characters. Their characteristics and passions find an organic place in the proceedings and move the story forward,” she writes.
She adds that the narrative feels natural and engaging when the kids take charge, while the weak writing becomes apparent when the narrative shifts to the adults. Sankeertana attributes this to the uneven script.
Mukesh Manjunath of Film Companion, reflects similar sentiments as Sankeertana, and writes, “Swaroop RSJ is most comfortable in the scenes with the children in the first half of the film”.
However, “.. it is the investigation and the message-y part of the film that the director is uncomfortable in staging. Taapsee Pannu as an investigative journalist never feels like she’s in any desperate situation,” he adds.
“Swaroop wants us to laugh at the children, yet believe the threat of child trafficking. Achieving this convincingly needed a quirkier hand,” Manjunath notes, and adds that this makes the audience guilty for laughing at the film.
Latha Srinivasan of Firstpost, notes that Pannu’s role in the film is not really performance-driven, and blames it on poor characterisation.
Srinivasan further compares Mishan Impossible with Swaroop’s debut, Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya (2019), and calls the former extremely disappointing that shows lazy writing.
The Jayprad Desai-directorial narrates the life of Pravin Tambe, a cricketer from Mumbai who made heads turn when he made his debut in professional cricket at the age of 41 in 2013. Actor Shreyas Talpade essays the role of the protagonist.
Aswathy Gopalakrishnan of Silverscreen India, notes that the film takes the road less traveled by, that does not inject the formulaic trope of viewer patriotism.
“It is, at once, an incredible personal story and a portrait of a nation that treats the dreams of those without financial or social capital callously,” she writes.
The most intriguing aspect of the film, according to Gopalakrishnan, comes from the narrator’s space, voiced by Parambrata Chattopadhyay.
She calls Talpade’s portrayal of Tambe’s character as the actor’s resurrection on screen, and notes, “Kaun Pravin Tambe brings the career of Shreyas Talpade full circle. He rose to fame playing a deaf cricketer, Iqbal, in Nagesh Kukunoor’s film in 2005, and wandered in Hindi cinema for 17 years playing negligible, if not humiliating, roles.”
For Rahul Desai of Film Companion, even though the film brings the audience closer to the film, it has its issues.
For starters, he calls the background score and soundtrack unimaginative templates. “The cricket on the field is supposed to be club-level, but still looks unconvincingly shot, choreographed and edited. In terms of writing, Tambe’s last-ditch IPL selection comes out of nowhere. It feels a bit random,” he adds.
Chattopadhyay’s presence, according to Desai, complicates an otherwise easy story with the flashbacks that come as a part of having a narrator.
For him, the film is rooted in the city of Mumbai – where it is based. He writes, “Mumbai defines Tambe, and his dance between conformism and desire.”
Anna MM Vetticad of Firstpost, calls the film “an absorbing, engaging drama with a sense of humour in unexpected places.”
Although she also notes that the tension between the characters of Tambe and Sanyal fell needless.
Vetticad also notes that the film ignores a development in Tambe’s career, which got him disqualified from the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Madhimaaran’s Selfie features actors GV Prakash Kumar and Gautham Vasudev Menon. While Kumar plays a student who gets into the world of selling college seats, illicitly, Menon essays the role of the broker, Ravi Varma.
For Subha J Rao of Silverscreen India, the only fault that he would pick in the film, is the “slightly rushed climax, where it seems like the team was in a hurry to end things because they’ve been on edge for a little over two hours.”
Ranjani Krishnakumar of Film Companion, reflects similar sentiments and calls the film tiresome.
However, she found the dialogues to be note-worthy. “Not only because so much of it has been muted, presumably on kind advice by the CBFC, but also because the lines that are left aren’t very palatable either.”
The film also lacks emotional beats, according to Krishnakumar.
She writes, “Deaths, funerals and humiliation barely sting, despite there being an elaborate family story. The character arcs are uneven, perhaps deliberately, but it takes away from the emotional impact of a film so dense.”
Aside from this, OTTs continue to entertain audiences at the comfort of their homes, entertained with new releases every weekend and by streaming theatre debuts. With Marvel’s Moon Knight and the late Rishi Kapoor‘s last film Sharmaji Namkeen to have their online premieres this week, there are some interesting titles to look forward to, for the OTT viewers.
On that note, Silverscreen India brings to you, a list of series and films that you can watch at the comfort of your homes, this weekend:
Sharmaji Namekeen will see the late Rishi Kapoor charm audiences with his presence on-screen for the last time. The film also stars Paresh Rawal, who stepped in after Kapoor’s death to complete the film, and Juhi Chawla. Directed by Hitesh Bhatia, the film is produced by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani’s Excel Entertainment in association with casting director-filmmaker Honey Trehan and director Abhishek Chaubey, under their MacGuffin Pictures banner.
The Shreyas Talpade-starrer Kaun Pravin Tambe? is a biopic on cricketer Pravin Tambe and it is directed by Jayprad Desai. The film is backed by Fox Star Studios, along with Friday Filmworks and Bootroom Sports Production. It will be released in Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu. It also features actors Ashish Vidyarthi, Parambrata Chatterjee, and Anjali Patil in pivotal roles.
After winning the Oscar for Best International Film, Drive My Car is set to arrive on Mubi on April 1. It is a 2021 Japanese drama-road film co-written and directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi. It is based on Haruki Murakami’s short story by the same name. The film will be released on the platform in different languages such as Japanese, Indonesian, English, Tagalog, Mandarin, German and Korean.
The Outlaws (April 1) – Amazon Prime Video
The Outlaws is a comedy crime thriller series about seven strangers who begin Community Payback sentences, renovating a derelict building in Bristol. While it was released in the UK in 2021, it is set to premiere on an Indian OTT platform. It stars Stephen James Merchant and Christopher Walken along with Rhianne Barreto, Gamba Cole, Eleanor Tomlinson, Darren Boyd, Clare Perkins, and Jessica Gunning.
Based on Mick Herron’s first novel in the book series Slough House, the six-part show revolves around failed spies, who carry out monotonous daily tasks and dodge offers for after-work drinks. It stars Gary Oldman, Kristen Scott Thomas, Olivia Cooke, and Rosalind Eleazar.
Choreographer-turned-director Brinda Master‘s Hey Sinamika, featuring actors Dulquer Salmaan, Kajal Aggarwal, and Aditi Rao Hydari in the lead, will release on Netflix and Jio Cinema, after a good theatrical run. Govind Vasantha, known for his work in 96, has produced music for thefilm, which has been produced by Jio Studios with Global One Studios as an Associate Producer.
After having a successful run at the big screens since March 11, the Prabhas and Pooja Hegde-starrer is set to premiere on Amazon Prime Video. Produced by UV Creations and T-series, Radhe Shyam is written and directed by Radha Krishna Kumar.
The event on Sunday was viewed by over 15.36 million people in the US. A research study conducted by Nielsen revealed that the overall viewership and target demographic ratings for the 18-49 age group both witnessed an increase as compared to 2021.
The numbers come as a respite for the Academy, which has been grappling with a steady decline in Oscars viewership from 2014. The 2014 edition drew in 43.7 million viewers, which dropped to 37.3 million in 2015, 34.4 million in 2016, 32.9 million in 2017, and 26.5 million in 2018. However, 2019 edition, which took place without a host for the very first time, saw a mild increase in viewership to 29.6. That year, the one in which Green Book won Best Picture, remains the highest-rated Oscars show in the last five years.
The 2022 Oscars was hosted by Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes, and Reginal Hall, and ended the three-year run of emcee-less shows.
In addition to the presence of big names, live performances also made a comeback to the Oscars this year, and likely contributed to an increase in viewership.
The evenings performances included Beyonce with the track Be Alive from King Richard, the biographical drama which earned actor Will Smith the Oscar for Best Actor. Billie Eilish performed the song No Time to Die with brother Finneas O’ Connell. The brother-sister duo won their first Oscar in the Best Original Song category for that same track from the 25th James Bond film No Time to Die.
Also, Adassa, Stephanie Beatriz, Mauro Castillo, and Diane Guerrero, the cast members of Disney’s Encanto, which won the Best Animated Feature Film award, presented the first-ever live performance of the track We Don’t Talk About Bruno alongside Luis Fonsi and Becky G.
The Academy’s last-minute collaboration with Meta, a step aimed at attracting younger audiences, appears to have borne fruit as well. Moreover, 12 content creators and social media influencers walked the Oscars red carpet on Sunday. Rickey Thompson, Tinx, Remi Bader, and Chris Olsen were among those invited, and they all posted content from the event on their social media pages.
The period drama is an ode to India’s freedom fighters [as shown in the credit sccenes], and is a fictional account of freedom fighters Alluri Sitaramaraju and Komaram Bheem.
For Aswathy Gopalakrishnan of Silverscreen India, the film’s emotional foundation, the friendship of Raju and Bheem, appears too contrived, and notes, “..in Rajamouli’s universe, the plausibility of the events matters little.”
“RRR, ultimately, is a film about the nation,” she writes, and adds, “But RRR refuses to be historical fiction as history demands examining the ideological background of the characters.”
Gopalakrishnan cites examples of the characters of Raju, for whom fight for the native land are independent acts, while Bheem is a naive young man entrusted with a single job, of bringing back a kidnapped child. She further notes the traces of the Hindu epic Ramayana, where Raju assumes the form of Lord Rama, and Bheem, the illiterate tribal man, becomes the Hanuman.
Rahul Desai of Film Companion, writes of the director, “Rajamouli is that rare director who has the craft and vision to make a movie without being held accountable for its loopholes.”
Even though the film renders a second-hand status to women, and caricatures British characters, the film works because of its hybrid identity.
“Just as the rival Telugu superstars playing Rama Raju and Bheem unite for a greater cause, the Ramayana and Mahabharata seamlessly join forces to pound history into submission,” Desai writes. “The intensely physical performances – of both Ram Charan and Jr. NTR – go a long way in the merging of fiction, fact and everything in between.”
According to Latha Srinivasan of Firstpost, RRR is Rajamouli’s most audacious one till date, and rests on the shoulders of Charan and NTR.
She concludes, “Some may say it is not Rajamouli’s best work but what RRR shows is that he is possibly India’s only director who can make a lavish, large-scale commercial film with the simplest of storylines and the best of stars.”
RRR has lived up to its expectations as it collected approximately Rs 750 crore in pre-release business worldwide. Apart from the states’ contribution to the theatrical earnings, RRR has also made approximately Rs 275-300 crore of non-theatrical income (music, streaming rights, etc).
Directed by Raja Ramamurthy, the film stars Akshara Haasan as the 19-year-old Pavithra, who decides to have sex with her boyfriend Harish, whom her conservative Brahmin family doesn’t know about.
According to Nithya Gnanpandithan of Silverscreen India, the film can only be credited with how lightly it has handled the topic.
“The movie just plods on without eliciting any sort of response from us, other than the occasional yawn. It is the cinematic equivalent of watching paint dry,” she writes.
Gnanapandithan adds that even though Haasan tries her best, she is unable to carry the film.
“Aside from her conundrum about having sex, Pavithra also lives in the shadow of her famous singer grandmother (Usha Uthup) and her overbearing, never-satisfied mother (Malgudi Subha). That this would make her indecisive and unsure of herself is perfectly understandable. The problem is that Haasan’s performance doesn’t convey this adequately and in a way that makes her sympathetic,” she explains.
For Ashameera Aiyappan of Firstpost, the film “is fascinating, mainly because we do not have many mainstream films that explore female desire. While we have several coming-of-age films with male protagonists, there is hardly any representation of what girls go through.”
However, the film is hardly revolutionary, Aiyappan adds. “Achcham Madam Naanam Payirppu falters in execution. The film is designed to be quirky, but the writing comes across as stilted.”
Vishal Menon of Film Companion also notes that the tone of the film is gentle and light, and writes, “There’s a lot of merit in this because it’s hardly the same tone one gets to see when the film’s from a male’s point of view of the same event.”
He adds that the film covers an event through a short timeline, beacause o which the audience does not get a deeper perspective into the character’s crisis.
Apart from RRR, Will Smith-starrer biographical drama King Richard also hit Indian screens, on Friday. However, the fictional Indian drama seems to have dampened the Oscar frontrunner.