Saturday, September 21, 2019

The Family Man: Ep 3, 4 and 5 Review - The Narrative Starts to Appear

When I started watching this series, I did not want it to bash anti-nationals or support so called right wing etc and the two episodes were just fine. But from the third episode, which is itself named Anti-National, a narrative started to present itself. This is the problem - the narrative. Why can't be a web series or movie based on facts and known truths and not on narratives? The reason maybe because truth is not that simple to see, understand and most of all, accept.

Let me give you an example of what I am talking about. In one of the episodes 3, 4, 5 (maybe 3rd), it shows gau rakshaks lynching two people who were transporting mutton by mistaking it as beef. I thought showing this is okay, let's not judge this series based on this. This might have happened in few cases.  Therefore, so far so good. But now, in coming episodes, it shows the videos of hate speeches given by gau rakshaks and right wingers. And it shows that the potential terrorists are getting 'hurt' and motivated by that. But the plot never touches upon the hate speeches or propaganda by Islamic fundamentalists?  Why? Maybe they will do it in coming episodes, I am still not judging the creators.

Then comes the third and decisive incident which made me raise this point on otherwise fantastic web series.
The protagonist, Srikant Tiwari is transferred to Srinagar, Kashmir to track a terrorist of sleeper cell who has also moved there at the same time. They in-fact are seen together at the pick-up point waiting for their respective pickups.

When they start the journey from Airport, they (terrorist and Srikant, in different scenes) see the surroundings and ask the same question to people in car - 'how is Kashmir'. Those with terrorist tells him that agencies have made a mess of it, they call it crown of India but does not care about Kashmir or Kashmiri. This was acceptable. What else would a terrorist say. But when Srikanth asks the same question, the security person proudly says that everything is in our control (like they have hijacked Kashmir) and Srikant adds to it that he has heard the number of tourists have increased in Kashmir but what he can see around is only tourists in the uniform. 

Now tell me one thing dear creators and writers, if you can show the narrative of terrorists, why can't you properly state the narrative of security forces and Govt. The activities which they claim to be done to end extremism. And about the situations and hate they face each passing minute? The stone pelting and ISIS flag. Is that not a narrative worth showing? 

This is not done. For me, this brings down the credibility of the work you have done. But I am still hoping the next episodes do prove me wrong.

They say this is based on real news stories, I am just wondering if the news stories they have picked up are only from NDTV?
On to episode 6.

The Family Man: Episode 1 - Fresh breath of air

This was a series for which I was waiting since its trailer came out on social media. Manoj Bajpai is one of the finest actors we have and I don't know why he was missing from the scene since quite some time. But I can comfortably say that he is back now and with the big bang.

A very important characteristic of a good series or movie is that most of the characters in it should be strong and it should have stories into the main story. Same is true with this series. Even the character of kids is very good and they leave an impression from the very first episode.

The topic is more relevant, more interesting and more meaningful than the other popular web series that we have seen in the past on these platforms.

I can't wait to continue watching it but really want to share my thought after each episode!!  

From Amazon Prime
Aa raha hoon bhen****, g***d mein ghus jao insaan ke!! 
This made me laugh out so loud... before this moment in the episode, the character of Manoj Bajpai was so mannered and innocent. 

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Review: Criminal Justice - Episode 1 - Once Upon a Night


Screen grab from Hotstar

This first episode of the new series Criminal Justice that is being widely promoted these days by Hotstar is an intense one. But even with it’s intensity, the character of Pankaj Tripathi brings a fresh air of calmness and also lightness in the setup towards the very end of the episode. This for me was the highlight of the episode as I believe the show is going to evolve around this character a lot.
Overall, this is a promising first episode of the series and if we compare it with other popular series that came on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, this is also less violent and less abusive. Though the right remains with the creator, as a viewer I don’t know what makes the makers think that we are in love with crude violence.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Review: The Accidental Prime Minister (2019)

In the context of this movie, it won't be an exaggeration to say that history has repeated itself. First, it happened in 2014 when the book, The Accidental Prime Minister by Sanjaya Baru was released. Baru was the media advisor to Dr. Manmohan Singh and also was someone very close to him. The decision to write a book to let the Nation know certain truth about the PMO and Dr. Singh from 2004 to 2008 wouldn't have been an easy one. It has brought a huge backlash various groups and more importantly has cost Baru the relation he had with Dr. Singh1. Now, with the release of this movie, the history is repeating itself. This nation has seen many movies with politics in it but how many movies we have seen which talks about a real political situation of the Nation; which has characters that actually name and depicts real people? It is heartening to see that the makers of this film had guts enough for this. Surely, this movie has ticked many firsts in Indian cinema boxes.

Many 'eminent' reviewers are calling this a politically motivated and propaganda driven movie but they fail to understand that it is a depiction of a book written by someone who held a very important position in PMO and is not created out of nowhere.

Taking about the movie itself, it shows the events that occurred in the country and especially in the PMO during the first term of Dr. Manmohan Singh which is also called UPA-1. Narrated by Sanjaya Baru, the Media Advisor played by Akshaye Khanna,  it takes you through the events that might feel abstract at times and lack continuity of a drama movie but at the same time, they are very engaging and takes the viewer very close to the real decision making place of the country. To be fair to the movie, there are many ways this story could have been told the makers have chosen this one.

Overall, this movie is a very nice attempt towards showing a part of Indian Political History to the Nation and it should set a trend for more such movies. There is nothing controversial in this and what is shown is already known by the public. But what's different is the portrayal of Dr. Manmohan Singh and good, weak in some sense, strong in some other, but an incorruptible man. This should make people feel good about Dr. Singh as a person. Mr. Anupam Kher, who played Dr. Singh has rightly said in all the interviews that if Dr. Singh's family choose to watch this movie, they will feel happy about it.

1. As evident from the interview post book release and this movie. Interview link -

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Review : Ramoji Film City (3/5)

Yes, it is one of the most popular places in Hyderabad and it is also something for which Hyderabad is known to many people outside. This is the reason why I have been to Ramoji Film City numerous times. Every time someone comes to visit Hyderabad, this by default becomes one of the top things-to-do among the various attractions in Hyderabad.

Then why 3 on 5 and not 5 on 5? Consider the following points:

Bang for the buck? 
User Experience?

I have seen the prices increase from 800 to 1200+ in the past few years. Though price increase is inevitable with time, the facilities increase should also be made inevitable. The facilities are okay for the youth and one time visitors who would have more to see and experience than to complain.
But for the repeat visitors, those who want to see value for thousands of rupees they would be spending for their family trip to Ramoji and especially for the elderly/people who cannot walk or stand for too long, Ramoji does not do complete justice.

For instance, you have to stand in long queues with considerable wait times for many shows. If it is sunny, you have no other option but to do a lot of walking in the sun. The tour buses are good looking but you have to get down and climb up several times (at many spots). Imagine if you have a kid and a stroller. Nothing considerable has been done in these years to make the user experience better is the point I am putting forward.

From the Set of Bahubali

This being said, it is still a good place for an outing if not the best. The shows are getting updated periodically and every time I visit, I get to see new performances. The performances in themselves are well rehearsed and professional. Especially the Spirit of Ramoji Show and the Stunt Show stands out.

They keep on adding new things and on my last visit, I have visited the Bird Park for the very first time. It is very well maintained and a great add-on.

Ramoji is a jewel in Hyderabad's crown and I just hope it is made better for everyone.

From the new Bird Park