7 Workplace Rom-Com K-Dramas to Binge on if You Can’t Get Over Netflix’s ‘Business Proposal’

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.

The Korean drama revolves around Ha-ri, who, in disguise as her friend, shows up to a blind date to scare the guy away. Her plans, however, go awry when he turns out to be her CEO and makes a proposal. The show has been featured in Netflix’s top 10 most watched TV shows in India for five weeks now.

 

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’ is a Hyperlinked Series That Deals with the Navarasas, Says Director Priya about ZEE5 Original

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, Anantham revolves 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.

“We’re Not Growing as Fast as We’d Like,” Says Netflix as It Loses 200,000 Subscribers

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.”

Moreover, Netflix’s boycott of Russia alone led to the loss of 700,000 subscribers in March, the company said. Netflix had announced the suspension of its service and the pause of all current and future projects and acquisitions in the country, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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.

‘Oh My Dog’ is Purely a Film for Children, Says Director of 2D-Amazon Movie Premiering Tomorrow

Oh My Dog, the upcoming Tamil film and the last of the four-film deal of actor Suriya’s 2D Entertainment production banner with Amazon Prime Video, is set to release on the platform on Thursday. “It is purely a film for children,” says director Sarov Shanmugam in conversation with Silverscreen India.

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.”

From ‘Mai’ to ‘Bloody Mary’: 8 OTT Releases This Week

Despite theatres seeing big releases this week in the form of actor Vijay‘s Beast and director Prashanth Neel‘s KGF: Chapter 2, the OTT content engine keeps chugging along.

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.

1. Mai (April 15) – Netflix 

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.

 

2. Bachchhan Paandey (April 15) – Amazon Prime Video 

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.

 

3. James (April 14) – SonyLIV

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.

 

4. Bloody Mary (April 15) – Aha Video

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.

 

5. Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom (April 15) – Amazon Prime Video

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 Begins Work on Web Series He’s Directing for Red Chillies Entertainment

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.

However, he was eventually granted bail in November, though still required to make weekly appearances before the NCB. In December, the Bombay High Court relaxed Aryan Khan’s bail conditions and ruled that he need not appear before the NCB every Friday.

Two months later, in February, it was reported that Aryan Khan was working on potential ideas for a web series and a feature film for Red Chillies, with Bilal Siddiqi as his co-writer on the projects.

WarnerMedia & Discovery Complete Merger, Named Warner Bros. Discovery

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+.

Taanakkaran Review: A Gritty Tale of a Nursery for Cops

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 Taanakkaranstreaming 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.

Taanakkaran is a good example of a casting director who has done their job well. Is it a film that headlines Vikram Prabhu? It could be, but it is also as much Lal’s film as it is MS Bhaskar’s or Madhusudhan Rao’s. Not one person in the lovely cast, which includes Pavel Navageethan, Bose Venkat and Anjali Nair, really sticks out. They are just a part of Tamizh’s storyscape.

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.

Whoopi Goldberg to Play ‘Bird Woman’ in Screen Adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s ‘Anansi Boys’

Whoopi Goldberg has been roped in to play ‘Bird Woman’ in the screen adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel Anansi Boys. The series was greenlit by Amazon Studios in 2021.

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.

It is currently being filmed at Scotland, and will stream on Amazon Prime Video.

From ‘Dasvi’ to ‘Gullak’ Season 3: 9 OTT Releases This Week

With theatres raking in audiences for SS Rajamouli‘s RRR and Vivek Agnihotri‘s The Kashmir Files, they are awaiting other big-budget films such as Vijay‘s Beast and Yash‘s KGF: Chapter 2

However, the OTT platforms aren’t far behind and are streaming engaging content such as Sharmaji Namkeen, the last film of late actor Rishi Kapoor and the Prabhas-starrer, Radhe Shyam

On that note, Silverscreen India has curated a list of nine films and series that are set to release this week.

Dasvi (April 7) – Netflix

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.

 

Gullak Season 3 (April 7) –  Sony LIV

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.”

 

Naaradan (April 8)- Amazon Prime Video

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.

 

Moon Knight – Episode 3 (April 13)- 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, who is a mercenary with dissociative identity disorder.

ZEE5 Announces New Tamil Content, Including Web Series by Vetri Maaran, Kiruthiga Udhayanidhi

The OTT platform ZEE5 unveiled its upcoming Tamil slate, including web series by filmmakers such as Vetri Maaran and Kiruthiga Udhayanidhi, at an event titled Oru Awesome Thodakkam on Tuesday.

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 Fingertip for 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 films Malaysia to Amnesia and 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.

Review Roundup: Small Releases Like ‘Mishan Impossible’ And ‘Selfie’ Keep The Box Office Afloat As ‘RRR’ Continues To Break Records

Both RRR and The Kashmir Files continue their onslaught on the box office, as new releases keep coming in.

The Hindi version of SS Rajamouli‘s period drama film even witnessed a jump of 30% during its second week, and collected over Rs 162 crore as its nett income.

Silverscreen India brings to you, a compilation of reviews of films that have released both online as well as in cinemas:

Mishan Impossible

 

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.

According to Sankeertana of Silverscreen India, calls the viewing experience confusing.

“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 film has an IMDb rating of 6.5.

Kaun Pravin Tambe? (Disney+ Hotstar)

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).

The film has an IMDb rating of 9.2.

Selfie

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.”

Selfie has an IMDb rating of 8.7.

Apart from the aforementioned films, late actor Rishi Kapoor‘s last project, Sharmaji Namkeen, also bowed on Amazon Prime Video. Ashok Selvan‘s Manmatha Leelai, and John Abraham‘s Attack are also running in cinemas.

From ‘Sharmaji Namkeen’ to ‘Kaun Pravin Tambe?’: 7 OTT Releases This Week

With SS Rajamouli’s RRR and The Kashmir Files bringing in larger numbers of audiences back to the theatres and breaking collection records, theatres have revived from losses incurred, owing to the pandemic situation. The month of April also has a line-up of big-budget theatrical releases such as Vijay’s Beast and the eagerly-awaited KGF Chapter 2.

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 Namkeen (March 31) – Amazon Prime Video 

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.

 

Kaun Pravin Tambe? (April 1) – Disney+ Hotstar

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.

 

Drive My Car (April 1) – Mubi

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.

 

Slow Horses (April 1) – Apple TV+

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.

 

Hey Sinamika (March 31) – Netflix and Jio Cinema

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.

 

Radhe Shyam (Apil 1) – Amazon Prime Video

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.

Oscars 2022: Viewership Improves by 56%, but 94th Edition Remains Second-Least Watched Show

The viewership of the 94th Academy Awards was up by 56% as compared to the 2021 Oscars. However, it still remains the second-lowest rated show behind last year’s event.

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.

Unlike the 2021 show, which witnessed a lower turnout of stars owing to pandemic-induced regulations and travel restrictions, this year’s Oscars was attended by the likes of Jason Momoa, Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jacob Elordi, and Lady Gaga, among others.

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.

While Smith’s act of slapping comedian and presenter Chris Rock for the latter’s joke on Smith’s wife went viral on social media, it is unlikely to have influenced the viewership of this year’s live telecast.

Oscars 2022 also featured the historic wins of actors Ariana DeBose and Troy Kotsur in the supporting roles categories, as well as the Best Picture award for CODA.

Review Roundup: ‘RRR’ Brings Back Audiences To Theatres, Slows Down The Pace of ‘The Kasmir Files’

After a sporadic release of both large and small films, it can be safely said that the audience has been brought back to the cinemas with SS Rajamouli’s pan-India film RRR.

The period drama has collected massive numbers worldwide on its first day and slowed down the box-office pace of The Kashmir Files.

Silverscreen India brings to you, a compilation of reviews of films that released both offline and online:

RRR

SS Rajamouli’s RRR (Roudhram Ranam Rudhiram) is one of the most anticipated Indian films, and features a cast comprising actors Ram Charan, Junior NTR, Alia Bhatt, Ajay Devgn, Irish actor Alison DoodyShriya SaranRay Stevenson, and Olivia Morris among others.

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).

The film also collected Rs 223 crore at the worldwide box office on day one, surpassing the director’s own previous record with Baahubali 2: The Conclusion.

Achcham Madam Naanam Payirrpu [Amazon Prime Video]

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.

Achcham Madam Naanam Payirppu Review: An Insipid Movie Led by an Inadequate Akshara Haasan

Filmmaker Raja Ramamurthy takes a potentially interesting and, for Tamil cinema, rather novel premise and churns out a most uninspiring movie. Achcham Madam Naanam Payirrpu, streaming on Amazon Prime Video, revolves around 19-year-old Pavithra (Akshara Haasan), who decides to have sex with her boyfriend Harish, whom her conservative brahmin family doesn’t know about. She has two friends with opposing views on this – one who believes that premarital sex is immoral and the other who is sex positive. The latter helps her with details such as obtaining condoms and generally preparing her for the big night (picking out a dress, waxing, and so forth), while the former keeps repeating that it is a “kevalamana” (disgusting) idea.

While it is refreshing to see a topic like this handled lightly, that’s about all that can be said in favour of the film. A subject like this could have yielded a lot of comedy and drama, but the writer-director treads too lightly to make for engaging viewing. 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. Adding to the effect is the curious choice to use a very sparing background score. Large portions of the film are completely bereft of music. Now, silence can be a powerful tool when used right, but here it only serves to highlight how boring the proceedings are and how unequal Akshara Haasan is to carrying this film.

Haasan tries her best, seemingly, but it’s just no use. Pavithra isn’t a particularly interesting person – her leading characteristic is that she’s confused and this Haasan conveys with a perpetual deer-in-headlights look. 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. Instead, we get one scene between Pavithra and her grandmother that essentially spells all this out and the film’s message (‘be true to yourself’) into the bargain. This should have been a heartwarming scene, but Haasan tries too hard, and fails. I was mentally seconding her grandmother’s “please stop crying,” though with very different feelings.

The comedy too largely falls flat. I can only remember one amusing instance from the whole film – where Pavithra’s friendly neighbourhood annachi (shopkeeper) mistakes her embarrassedly pointing at a box of condoms as a request for a pack of sanitary napkins instead. And this is in no small part due to seasoned actor George Maryan playing the store owner. He and fellow theatre-film actor Kalairani (as the silent, seemingly-judgmental neighbour aunty) make more of an impression with their minor appearances than all the rest of the cast.

All told, this is perhaps a story that would have worked better as a short film. At under 80 minutes, Achcham Madam Naanam Payirrpu isn’t a particularly long movie but feels like it is. A shorter format would have forced the makers to tighten things up (maybe not give us a whole half a minute of Haasan badly pretending to wake up from sleep!) and perhaps yielded better results. In an interview with Silverscreen India before the film’s release, the actor said that whenever they felt something didn’t work when shooting, they would try it a different way. Maybe they should have kept trying.

*****

This Achcham Madam Naanam Payirppu 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.

Oscars 2022: Where To Watch This Year’s Best Picture Nominees

With the 94th edition of the Academy Awards set to take place on Sunday, Silverscreen India brings to you this handy guide of where you can watch the 10 Best Picture nominees of Oscars 2022.

The Power of the Dog [Netflix]

The Jane Campion-directorial features actors Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Kodi Smit-McPhee, and Jesse Plemmons. The film is a commentry on toxic masculinity and revolves around a rancher (Cumberbatch) and his treatment towards his brother’s new wife and son. While all four actors have managed to earn nominations for their performances, Campion is a nominee of the Best Director category.

Dune [Amazon Prime Video]

Directed by Denis Villeneuve, Dune is a science fiction film based on Frank Herbert’s book of the same name. It tells the story of Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet), who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his people. The ensemble cast of actors also includes, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa, Stellan Skarsgard, and Dave Bautista. Aside from Best Picture, Dune is also a strong contender in almost all technical categories. It is currently available on Amazon Prime Video India.

West Side Story [Disney+ Hotstar]

Steven Spielberg‘s West Side Story is nominated in seven categories at the upcoming Oscars, including Best Picture. Featuring Rachel Zegler, Ansel Elgort, Ariana DeBose, and David Alvarez, Mike Faist, and Rita Moreno, the film is the second adaptation of the 1957 musical of the same name. The story is a modern retelling of William Shakespeare’s classic Romeo and Juliet.

CODA [Apple TV India] 

Sian Heder’s CODA, or Children of Deaf Adults, revolves around Emilia Jones’ character Ruby Rossi, who is the only hearing member of a deaf family. Troy Kotsur became the first actor from the deaf community to win a SAG award in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Film category, for his portrayal of Frank Rossi in the film. He is also the first deaf male actor to earn an Oscar nomination. Kotsur and Jones feature alongside actors Marlee Maitlin and Daniel Durant.

Don’t Look Up [Netflix]

The apocalyptic black comedy tells the story of two astronomers who try to warn the world about an approaching comet that is assumed to destroy human civilization. Directed by Adam McKay, the film features an ensemble cast of Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Jonah Hill, Rob Morgan, Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep, Timothee Chalamet and Ariana Grande.

Drive My Car [To stream on MUBI from April 1]

It is based on Haruki Murakami’s short story of the same name from his 2014 collection Men Without Women. Directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, the film revolves around the life of a stage actor and director who receives an offer to direct a production, two years after his wife’s death. It features actors Hidetoshi Nishijima, Toko Miura, Masaki Okada, and Reika Kirishima. Drive My Car is nominated for both Best Picture as well as the Best International Feature Film.

King Richard [Released in Indian cinemas on March 25]

The Reinaldo Marcus Green-directorial tells the story Richard Williams, father of tennis players and sisters Serena and Venus Williams. Will Smith appears in the titular role alongside Aunjanue Ellis, Saniyya Sidney, and Demi Singleton. Both Smith and Ellis are nominees under the performance categories for their respective roles. The biographical drama is currently running in Indian cinemas.

Nightmare Alley [HBO Max and Hulu] – Currently Unavailable in India

Guillermo del Toro‘s thriller drama is based on William Lindsay Gresham’s 1946 novel of the same name. It features actors Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, and Rooney Mara in prominent roles. The story revolves around a carnival worker (Cooper), who has a mysterious past and takes big risks to boost his career.

Licorice Pizza [Currently Unavailable in India]

Paul Thomas Anderson’s slice-of-life film, Licorice Pizza is the story of a budding actor and a photographer’s assistant falling in love, in San Fernando Valley of 1973. It features actors Alana Haim, Cooper Hoffman, Sean Penn, and Bradley Cooper, in prominent roles. While the film is unavailable on any of the OTT platforms, it had released in India, on February 25.

Belfast [Currently Unavailable in India]

The Kenneth Branagh-directorial features actors Jamie Dornan, Caitriona Balfe, Judi Dench, Ciaran Hinds, and Jude Hill in prominent roles. Belfast is a coming-of-age film and revolves around a working-class family and the childhood of Buddy (Hill) set in the 1960s, in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Was Empowering To Be on a Women-Driven Set, Says Akshara Haasan on ‘Achcham Madam Naanam Payirppu’

Actor Akshara Haasan, who was last seen in the web series Fingertip (2019), stars as a 19-year-old girl named Pavithra in her latest film Achcham Madam Naanam Payirppu that released on Amazon Prime Video on Friday.

The dramedy borrows its title from the Tamil adage, which defines the ideal qualities of a girl as: achcham (fear), madam (innocence), naanam (coyness), and payirppu (chastity). The film revolves around Pavithra, who comes from a conservative background. She is in that awkward stage between being a curious teenager and a smart woman and struggles to strike a balance between societal expectations and personal desires.

Speaking to Silverscreen India, 30-year-old Haasan says, “Pavithra is very different from me, not just her age, but her personality as well. It was quite interesting playing her because I had to shed myself as a person to become that character. What really helped the process was that the entire character’s personality was on the paper. It was very easy for me to lift from there. There were a lot of rehearsals and discussions that happened on sets, which really helped to develop the character further.”

 

She notes that the sets were overwhelmingly composed of women. Besides Haasan, the film also features Usha Uthup, Malgudi Subha, Anjana Jayaprakash, Shalini Vijayakumar, Janaki Sabesh, Kalairani, among others.

Not just on screen, the film’s technical crew too consisted mostly of women. Achcham Madam Naanam Payirppu is shot by cinematographer Shreya Dev Dube and has music composed by Susha. Other women in the team included editor Keerthana Murali, production designer Shanoo Muralidharan, costume designer Themis Vanessa, creative producer Vidhya Sukumaran, colourist Mahak Gupta, and makeup artist Abhirami Sivakuma.

Haasan says that it was “empowering to be on a women-driven set” because it “does not happen often.” She adds that she would like to think that it is result of people being “seen for their talent and not gender.”

However, the film is written and directed by a man, Raja Ramamurthy. Haasan tells us the director took pains to understand the female perspective. “He did it very beautifully. He always made it a point to understand each woman’s (character) perspective. When he had questions, he would come and ask us, the women on sets, which was 90% of the cast and crew. He took the effort to understand the psyche of women and dealt with sensitivity.”

This is the first time Haasan has tried comedy and she says she found it “very interesting.” She adds, “The comedy in this film is very innocent, sweet, and simple. When we have a lot of stress in real life, we find ways to lighten the situation, to make ourselves laugh. We used that concept to oscillate between comedy and drama here. Sometimes, if it did not work, we’d do it again in a different way.”

Achcham Madam Naanam Payirppu explores the still largely taboo topic of sexuality and Haasan says they have approached it with a sense of “innocence and purity,” and hope people watch it with an open mind so conversations can be initiated.

When asked if she drew on any real-life inspirations from our patriarchal world to play a young woman struggling to balance societal expectations and personal desires, the actor says, “There were instances when I felt that I have been through that, but dealt with it differently as compared to another girl of my age. However, while I do derive some inspiration from my own experiences, I always try to stay true to the character, to get into that person’s mindset.”

This film also marks Haasan’s return to the screen after three years, following Fingertip and Kadaram Kondan in 2019. She notes that much has changed in the entertainment industry during this time, and the rise of OTT platforms has opened up a “larger audience” than before.

It has been seven years since her debut with Shamitabh (2015), and Haasan feels that the mindset is changing with respect to female characters, in particular.

Achcham Madam Naanam Payirppu is her first female-led script and the actor is glad to note that filmmakers and audiences are more welcoming of such stories. “It definitely brings a different dimension and I am happy to be part of this change.”

As for future plans, Haasan mentions that she would like to try out a psychological thriller or a sci-fi project. “I also have a Tamil and a Hindi feature coming out soon, but I am not at liberty to talk about them at the moment,” she adds.

From ‘Valimai’ to ‘Bridgerton Season 2’: 7 OTT Releases This Week

With filmmaker SS Rajamouli’s highly-anticipated period drama RRR, set to hit theatres on Friday, theatres are looking at a busy weekend, ahead. The film has already made approximately Rs 750 crore from pre-release business, worldwide.

This week, the makers of Beast, starring actor Vijay in the lead, announced that the film is set to hit the big screens on April 13. Even with more films releasing in theatres, streaming platforms are still bringing in more content, everyday.

On that note, Silverscreen India brings you a list of series and films that you can watch from the comfort of your homes, this weekend.

1. Valimai (March 25) – Zee5

Directed by H Vinoth, the Ajith Kumar-starrer revolves around an IPS officer, who sets out on a mission to hunt down illegal bikers involved in theft and murder. The film also stars Huma Qureshi and Kartikeya.

 

2. Bheemla Nayak (March 25) – Disney+ Hotstar

Bheemla Nayak, the official Telugu remake of the hit Malayalam film Ayyappanum Koshiyum, is a film based on the fight between ego and self-esteem. The film follows Bheemla Nayak, played by Pawan Kalyan, a sub-inspector and Danial Shekar essayed by Rana Daggubati, an ex-Hawaldar in the Indian army.

 

3. Bridgerton Season 2 (March 25) – Netflix

Bridgerton is a romantic period drama series, based on Julia Quinn’s novels of the same. The first season followed Daphne Bridgerton, the eldest daughter of the elite Bridgerton family, as she makes her debut into Regency-era London’s competitive marriage market. The second season will revolve around Viscount Anthony Bridgerton, the eldest Bridgerton sibling. He decides to marry, but ends up meeting his match in his intended bride’s headstrong, older sister.

 

4. Dune (March 25) – Amazon Prime Video

According to the official synopsis, Dune tells the story of Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet), a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny, beyond his understanding. He must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence, only those who can conquer their fear will survive.

 

5. HALO (March 24) – Voot

Based on the science fiction video game, the series narrates a 26th-century conflict between humanity and an alien threat known as the Covenant. HALO will weave deeply drawn personal stories with action, adventure and a richly imagined vision of the future.

 

6. Baba Baby O (March 27) – Hoichoi

In Baba Baby O, 40-year-old Megh decides to have children through surrogacy. However, he is in for a surprise, when he meets Brishti. The film tries to highlight that love can happen anywhere and at anytime.

 

7. Lizzo’s Watch Out For The Big Grrrls Season 1 (March 25) – Amazon Prime Video

In this new series, global superstar Lizzo is on the hunt for the ‘next big thing.’ She is looking for confident women to join her world tour, and only the most talented dancers will have what it takes to dance it out on world stages with her and join in the ranks of the elite BIG GRRRLS.

Review Roundup: ‘Jalsa’ And ‘Salute’ Release Online, ‘The Kashmir Files’ Dampens ‘Bachchan Pandey’ Collections

Vivek Agnihotri‘s The Kashmir Files emerged as a sleeper hit and collected over Rs 100 crores at the box office in two weeks. The film continues its run in theatres and is Bachchan Pandey‘s biggest competitor at the box office.

Jalsa featuring actors Vidya Balan and Shefali Shah and Salute featuring actor Dulquer Salmaan both released on OTT platforms last week.

Silverscreen India brings to you, a compilation of reviews of films that released both online as well as offline last week:

Jalsa (Amazon Prime Video)

Suresh Triveni’s Jalsa features actors Vidya Balan and Shefali Shah in lead roles. The film also stars actor Surya Kasibhatla as Balan’s son with special needs. Born with cerebral palsy, Kasibhatla’s casting is one of the rare instances of actors with special needs essaying the characters as well.

Maya Menon, played by Balan, is a well-respected journalist while Ruksana Mohammad, played by Shah, is a cook and caretaker to Maya’s son. “A fateful accident makes it so that Maya cannot look Ruksana or herself in the eye.  Jalsa follows the trajectory of her fall.” 

For Sankeertana of Silverscreen India, the casting of Balan and Shah as two mothers is genius.

About the film, she writes, “Jalsa  isn’t just interested in the economic disparity. It also wants to see how disparate thought is based on where one comes from. The rich can afford to be indifferent, charitable, angry, and vengeful, but those less fortunate have to choose the path of forgiveness and compromise, even if unwillingly. Even if begrudgingly. ”

For Anupama Chopra of Film Companion, while the film explores the familiar territories of class, religion, power, co-screenplay writer Prajwal Chandrashekar and dialogue writers Abbas Dalal and Hussain Dalal create a more intimate drama.

Chopra reflects similar sentiments as Silverscreen India‘s Sankeertana in terms of the portrayal of differences, and writes, “The film isn’t shrill in calling our attention to the difference between Maya and Ruksana’s circumstances. Instead, every interaction underlines how disparate their worlds are.”

Anna MM Vetticad of Firstpost, calls the film “unslottable” – “that is not specifically about anything yet is about everything, ranging from class differences to happenstance and the call of the human conscience – in short, it is about life itself.”

She also credited Chandrashekar and Triveni’s screenplay, Hussain and Abbas Dalal’d dialogues, Shiv Kumar Panicker’s editing, Saurabh Goswami’s cinematography, Anthony B Jayaruban’s sound designing, and Gaurav Chatterji’s background score make the film worth every moment.

However, it is “the casting of Surya is just one of multiple reasons why Jalsa is an unusual Hindi film worth celebrating,” Vetticad adds.

Jalsa has an IMDb rating of 6.8.

Salute (SonyLIV)

The Rosshan Andrews directorial is the tale of a young and zealous cop who goes against his amoral colleagues to save an innocent man from spending a lifetime in prison. It features actors Dulquer Salmaan, Manoj K Jayan, and Diana Penty in prominent roles.

For Aswathy Gopalakrishnan of Silverscreen India, even though Salute is a good-hearted film, it comes with a “sly exterior – a slogan on a banner – that tries to cover up the flaws of an utterly lazy screenplay.”

She writes, “In Salute, Andrews and his writers, Sanjay-Bobby, do not map out the background of this conflict but direct their energy to launch a regular cat-and-mouse chase between Aravind and the anonymous killer. As a result, you never learn about Aravind’s inspirations or the emotional details of his relationship with the people around him.”

Vishal Menon of Film Companion, writes that the film’s ambitions are two-fold. “What this does is keep one part of the film interesting because it’s also about a faceless, nameless criminal who needs to be found. Yet on the other side, we get flat, pointless scenes about faceless, nameless family members to pursue an emotional depth to Arvind’s crisis.”

According to Anna MM Vetticad of Firstpost, the film does not adhere to the conventions of the Malayalam filmverse. “It is neither loud nor flashy as commercial cop films from this industry often are. It is not preoccupied with the hero’s swag, which is particularly commendable because that hero is played by the producer.”

Despite its missteps such as the stretched screenplay, Salute works for Vetticad because of “Jakes Bejoy’s music and DoP Aslam K Purayil’s frames that smoothly shift from the personal to the panoramic and back when the need arises,” in addition to Salmaan’s performance.

Salute has an IMDb rating of 7.3.

Oruthee

VK Prakash’s Oruthee features Navya Nair in the lead role and revolves around Radhamani and her fight against a corporate company.

Aswathy Gopalakrishnan of Silverscreen India, calls the film “the tale of a woman surviving urban misery”.

Oruthee is a film that doesn’t aspire much. There is no real in-depth analysis of the life of women in a big city or an ending that puts forth a grand worldview,” she writes, and notes that it is Nair’s performance that really charges up the film.

According to Vishal Menon of Film Companion, the film “has an easy pace that takes its time to set up Radhamani’s everyday routine and although it contributes to creating a realistic connect with her situation, it postpones important events until much later, when it begins to feel hurried.”

He also credits Nair’s performance along with Vinayakan’s that keeps the audience invested in the film.

Oruthee has an IMDb rating of 9.4.

Bachchan Pandey

The Farhad Samji-directorial features actors Kriti Sanon, Akshay Kumar, Arshad Warsi, Pankaj Tripathi, and Jacqueline Fernandez, in prominent roles. The Hindi remake of Karthik Subbaraj‘s 2014 film Jigarthanda, Bachchan Pandey revolves around budding filmmaker Myra Devekar (played by Sanon) who is tasked with creating a film on a gangster, and the events that transpire after she crosses paths with him.

As Anupama Chopra of Film Companion, draws a parallel between the two films throughout, she notes that Bobby Simha‘s performance in the Tamil original had won him a National Award.

“Akshay unfortunately is saddled with a sloppy script that is too afraid to take chances with him,” she writes.

Chopra also notes the age differences between the female characters in the film. While Seema Biswas plays the role Kumar’s mother despite an age gap of four years, Sanon essays his romantic interest with a jarring difference of 16 years.

For Monika Rawal Kukreja of Hindustan Times, the film somewhat works in blending the “two genres that Akshay seems to have mastered — action and comedy.”

While the film opened with Rs 12 crores, its earnings on the second day dropped to Rs 11 crores, thus taking the collections to stand at a little over Rs 23 crores.

Bachchan Pandey has an IMDb rating of 7.0.

Prince Harry & Meghan Markle to Continue with Spotify Deal Despite COVID-Misinformation Row

A couple months after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had voiced concerns about the COVID-19 misinformation being spread via Spotify, their production banner has confirmed that it will go ahead with its deal with the platform.

The couple’s production company Archewell Audio had announced a collaboration with Spotify in 2020, after they had stepped down from their royal duties. As part of the partnership, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are set to produce and host shows on the platform.

Meanwhile, Joe Rogan had released an anti-vaccination episode on his podcast The Joe Rogan Experience, on December 31, 2021. The show was heavily criticised and 270 doctors, scientists and healthcare professionals had signed an open letter requesting Spotify to remove the episode to stop the spread of Covid-19 misinformation.

However, the streaming service refused to remove the podcast and this led to several artists like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell taking their music off the platform in protest. Several other artists and podcasters like Roxane Gay and Ava DuVernay decided to boycott Spotify as well.

While Harry and Markle had also released a statement voicing their concerns over the row, they did not rule out working with the platform. “Hundreds of millions of people are affected by the serious harms of rampant and disinformation every day. Last April, our co-founders began expressing concerns to our partners at Spotify about the all too real consequences of COVID-19 misinformation on its platform,” a spokesperson had said, and added, “We have continued to express our concerns to Spotify to ensure changes to its platform are made to help address this public health crisis. We look to Spotify to meet this moment and are committed to continuing our work together as it does.”

As a result of the backlash, Spotify later removed several of Rogan’s episodes and Rogan too apologised on social media.

A spokesperson for Archewell Audio has now said that following encouraging conversations with the executives of Spotify regarding the platform’s misinformation policies and practices, the production company is going forward with their first-ever podcast series, which is expected to release this summer.

Earlier, the couple had released a single podcast as a holiday special, in December 2020. A number of guests had joined Harry and Markle on that show, including Stacey Abrams, José Andrés, Brené Brown, Deepak Chopra, James Corden, Elton John, Naomi Osaka, and Tyler Perry.

‘Squid Game’ Star Jung Ho-Yeon Joins ‘Disclaimer’ Alfonso Cuaron’s Cate Blanchett-Led Series

Jung Ho-Yeon, who recently won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Squid Game, is the latest addition to Alfonso Cuarón’s upcoming series for Apple TV+, Disclaimer, led by Cate Blanchett.

Announced in December 2021, the thriller series will also feature actors Kevin Kline, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Kodi Smit-McPhee.

Cuarón is set to write, direct, and executive produce the series as a part of an multi-year deal with the streamer. Disclaimer will be the first original series to have all episodes written and directed by the multiple Academy Award-winning filmmaker.

Based on Renee Knight’s novel of the same name, Disclaimer will star Blanchett as Catherine Ravenscroft, a successful and respected television documentary  journalist whose work has been built on revealing the concealed transgressions of long-respected institutions. When an intriguing novel written by a widower (played by Kline) appears on her bedside table, she is horrified to realise she is a key character in a story that she had hoped was long buried in the past.

Jung will reportedly play a character named Kim, who is described as ambitious, hard-working, and eager-to-please.

The South Korean model made her acting debut with Squid Game, the Netflix show about 456 contestants risking their lives in a mysterious survival game for a chance to win 45.6 billion won. Squid Game premiered on September 17, 2021 and became Netflix’s biggest launch ever amassing over 142 million household views in the first four weeks. A second season of the hit show is in the works.

Squid Game also made history by becoming the first-ever non-English language show to win Screen Actors Guild awards, in February, with Jung and co-actor Lee Jung-jae nabbing the lead acting awards.

While accepting her award, Jung had said, “I have sat many a times watching you on the big screen, dreaming of one day becoming an actor. I just want to say thank you so much. Thank you for making me dream and opening the doors for me.”

Netflix to Roll Out Tests For Additional Subscribers in 3 Countries, To Curb Account-Sharing

Netflix is set to launch tests in Costa Rica, Chile, and Peru to find out if users will be willing to pay extra to share their accounts with non-subscribers, or people beyond their households.

“We’ve always made it easy for people who live together to share their Netflix account, with features like separate profiles and multiple streams in our Standard and Premium plans. While these have been hugely popular, they have also created some confusion about when and how Netflix can be shared,” Chengyi Long, Netflix’s Product Innovation Director, noted that the phenomenon of password-sharing of an account impacted the platform’s ability to invest in television and films.

The step follows, after the streaming platform’s decision to deal with the menace of password-sharing more aggresively, since it is competing with the growing OTT market. While the effort to curb password-sharing began in 2019, it wasn’t until last year that Netflix had aggressively pursued an anti-sharing stance.

In 2021, the platform had started a “purge” on the password-sharing trend, by cracking down on non-subscribers using someone else’s password. Instances of non-subscribers receiving a screen prompt that asked for user authorisation via one-time passwords had started doing the rounds.

Apart from password-sharing, there is also subscription-sharing, wherein, an individual creates an account, known as the “account owner” while others, non-family members, pay or pitch-in to avail the services as a collective. This is majorly practised to access premium services or plans with the maximum number of screens. However, the platforms’ payment system accepts and acknowledges only an individual payment.

Thus, the new test will allow users to add more people with a sum in addition to the existing plans. For instance, the basic, standard, and premium plans for Costa Rica are priced at $8.99, $12.99, and $15.99, respectively. An addition of two more subscribers will entail the subscribers to pay an extra $2.99.

In addition to this, Netflix has also announced a second feature that will aid the primary subscribers by enabling them to transfer user profiles to new accounts called ‘Extra Member’ accounts. This would make it easier for dependent users to pay for their own plans.

From ‘Jalsa’ to ‘Bloody Brothers’: 6 New OTT Releases This Week

With films such as Radhe ShyamThe Kashmir FilesGangubai Kathiawadi, and more running successfully in theatres across the country, the HindiTamil, Telugu, and Malayalam film industries are flourishing. Streaming platforms however continue to give cinema halls tough competition with a fresh content slate every week.

Although films such as Bachchan Pandey and RRR, are lined up for release in theatres for Holi this week, films such as Salute and Jalsa will premiere directly on streaming platforms. Silverscreen India brings you a list of series and films that you can watch in the comfort of your home this weekend.

Jalsa (March 18) – Amazon Prime Video 

The film marks Vidya Balan‘s second collaboration with Prime Video after Sherni. Jalsa, directed by Suresh Triveni of Tumhari Sulu fame, also stars Shefali Shah. Jalsa is a tale of conflict, as shown through the life of a top journalist and her cook. The story revolves around a hit-and-run incident that kills an 18-year-old girl and a journalist who pursues the case. Actor Manav Kaul will also feature in a special appearance.

Eternally Confused And Eager For Love (March 18) – Netflix

Termed as a quirky coming-of-age story, this series sees Vihaan Samat, Rahul Bose, Suchitra Pillai, Jim Sarbh and Ankur Rathee playing pivotal roles. Produced by Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti’s Tiger Baby Films and Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani’s Excel Entertainment, this series will take the audience on a journey of an introverted and lonely 20-something in search of love.

Bloody Brothers (March 18) – Zee5

Bloody Brothers, starring Jaideep Ahlawat and Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub, is a six-part series that revolves around the lives of two brothers, Jaggi and Daljeet. The thriller revolves around the hurdles they come across after being involved in a hit-and-run case. It also stars Tina Desai, Shruti Seth, Maya Alagh, Mugdha Godse, Satish Kaushik, and Jitendra Josh.

Deep Water (March 18) – Amazon Prime Video

Based on the 1957 novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith, this psychological thriller delves into the mysterious life of Vic (played by Ben Affleck) and Melinda (played by Ana de Armas) Van Allen. To save a loveless marriage from divorce, the husband and wife agree to some terms which soon become too messed up.

Salute (March 18) – SonyLIV

Directed by Rosshan Andrrews and written by Bobby and Sanjay, the film is a Malayalam-language crime thriller featuring Dulquer Salmaan in the role of a cop.  The film, produced by Salmaan’s Wayfarer Films, also features actors Diana Penty, Manoj K Jayan, Lakshmi Gopalaswamy, and Ganapathi, among several others.

Lalitham Sundaram (March 18) – Disney+ Hotstar

This Biju Menon and Manju Warrier-starrer feel-good family drama is produced by Manju Warrier Productions and Century Films and directed by Madhu Warrier. The film also features actors Saiju KurupDeepti Sati, Anu MohanZarina Wahab, and Raghunath Paleri.

HBO Max & Discovery Plus To Be Merged into One Streaming Platform

The OTT platforms Discovery Plus and HBO Max are set to be combined into one service, owing to the merger of their parent companies, Discovery Inc and AT&T’s WarnerMedia.

The new platform is likely to combine the subscriber base of both Discovery Plus and HBO Max, which is estimated to stand at around 100 million users. It will provide both ad-free and ad-lite products, said Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels, who will also serve as CFO of the newly-formed company, Warner Bros Discovery.

During the Deutsche Bank’s 30th Annual Media, Internet & Telecom Conference, on Monday, Wiedenfels said, “One of the most important items here is that we believe in a combined product, as opposed to a bundle. We believe that the breadth and depth of this content offering is going to be a phenomenal consumer value proposition.”

While AT&T owns WarnerMedia, which is the parent company of HBO, Cartoon Network, and CNN, Discovery Inc’s offerings include Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Science Channel, and TLC.

“We have HBO Max, with a more premium, male-skewing positioning, and then you’ve got the the female-positioning on the Discovery side. You’ve got the daily engagement that people enjoy with Discovery content versus sort of the event-driven nature of the HBO Max content. Take that together, I have no doubt that we will be creating one of the most complete, sort of four quadrant, old-young-male-female products out there,” the CFO added.

While Wiedenfels did not disclose the proposed pricing of the new platform during the conference, he added that since the combined platform will take some time to premiere, the new company will resort to a bundling approach as a temporary solution. The plan is to bring together the platforms under one subscription model. This would be similar to the way telecom providers in India provide bundle subscriptions of popular streaming services like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and Disney+ Hotstar.

The merger deal between the two companies, which was first announced in May 2021, is expected to be closed by the end of April 2022.