Despite the misses, Abhay’s JL50 holds promise for the future of Indian sci-fi films - The Daily Guardian
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Despite the misses, Abhay’s JL50 holds promise for the future of Indian sci-fi films

Murtaza Ali Khan

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JL50, the new Sony LIV series created and directed by Shailender Vyas, was originally meant to be a science fiction movie but now it has been released as a four-part miniseries with each episode clocking roughly 30 minutes. The sci-fi thriller series revolves around a CBI investigation of a flight crash in the hill town of Lava situated in West Bengal. The investigation takes a shocking turn when it is discovered that JL50 which crashed a week ago is the same aeroplane that had mysteriously disappeared after taking off from Kolkata (erstwhile Calcutta) 35 years ago.

JL50 stars Abhay Deol, Pankaj Kapur, Piyush Mishra, Rajesh Sharma, Amrita Chattopadhyay, and Ritika Anand who is also one of the producers on the series. While Deol plays a CBI officer named Shantanu, Kapur plays a professor of quantum physics who holds the key to the mystery surrounding the crashed aeroplane.

Now, as evident from the aforementioned storyline, the theme of time travel is central to the series. According to Wikipedia, the concept of time travel involves “movement between certain points in time”.

It is widely accepted that even though time travel may be theoretically possible, it is beyond our current technological capabilities. But that hasn’t stopped the science fiction writers from exploring the
different aspects of time travel. If we talk of cinema, film franchises including Star Trek, Back to the Future, X-Men and Avengers have depicted humans arrive in the past or future, almost at will. Each time a new time travel theory is put into effect. Generally, the most popular means of time travel involves a time machine— originally made famous by H. G. Wells’ 1895 novel The Time Machine.

Over the years, we have become more sophisticated when it comes to time travel. Take, for example, the concept of wormhole (aka Einstein–Rosen bridge). A wormhole can be visualised as a tunnel that links disparate points in spacetime. So, if we enter the tunnel which is connected to the present at its opening we can effectively travel into the past or the future connected to its other end. It’s like taking a shortcut in time.

JL50 too relies on the wormhole concept to explore the possibilities of time travel. It is heartening to see serious sci-fi finally working out reason- ably well in India. In the past, we have seen the concept of time travel used ludicrously in films like Fun2shh and Action Replayy, but JL50 finally brings some dignity to time travel. Credit goes to creator-director Shailender Vyas and actor-producer Ritika Anand for the belief and commitment to their vision. Abhay Deol and Pankaj Kapur also need to be commended for backing a project like this.

The series has all the right ingredients and yet it falls short of attaining brilliance. And it’s mainly because of two reasons. Firstly, it lacks the deep exploration that the long-form narrative requires. The ending is too quick and slick. While it may have worked for a movie, it leaves a lot to be desired within the construct of a miniseries. Secondly, the makers appear to take the viewers for granted when they choose to go easy on science and the concept of time travel. Gone are those days when the Indian audiences weren’t exposed to international films and series. Viewers of today, especially those on the web, are well-accustomed to watching sci-fi films and series. For example, a viewer who has seen Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar is bound to feel a bit let down by JL50. Why stick to the elementary stuff when the audiences have an appetite for more?

Despite the misses, JL50 holds a great promise for the future of sci-fi films and series in India. Pankaj Kapur’s riveting performance is the strongest point of the series followed by Abhay Deol’s long-awaited return to form. Kapur is right up there with the very best actors in the country. He plays a Bengali professor specialising in quantum physics with such effortless ease that one can seldom associate with a non- Bengali actor essaying a Bengali part. And he makes the character delectable to watch. Every time he is on the screen the show attains a different level of brilliance.

As for Deol, he finally brings his A-game to the fore ever since he lost his mojo during the 2010s. He did essay some truly amazing characters during the 2000s but then the last decade wasn’t so productive for him. One hopes to see his best work yet during the 2020s. And this series is certainly a good start.

Also, the performances of Ritika Anand and Rajesh Sharma are solid. Amrita Chattopadhyay also makes her presence felt during her short but memorable appearance. The couple of scenes she shares with Deol are quite intense. If you are a sci-fi lover then JL50 will certainly not disappoint you as long as you don’t approach it with very high expectations.

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Lifestyle & Entertainment

AS ‘TADAP’ TEASER UNVEILED, SUNIEL ROOTS FOR HIS SON AHAN’S DEBUT

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MUMBAI: Suniel Shetty’s son Ahan Shetty is all set to make his acting debut opposite Tara Sutaria in the film ‘Tadap’.

On Tuesday, the makers unveiled the teaser of the film. The teaser gives us a sneak peek into the world of Ishana and Ramisa, portrayed by Ahan and Tara respectively and establishes their characters well. While Ramisa is seen at the picturesque location of snow-clad mountains, Ishana, on the contrary, is spotted in a rugged macho avatar with his bike.

Sharing the teaser of his son, Suniel took to Instagram and wrote, “A glimpse of my heart for the world. A teaser of what I’ve loved. A humble tease of what is to come #Tadap – a little at a time. So excited for my son @ahan.shetty & his teaser of #Tadap. Give him as much love as you gave me.”

Produced by Sajid Nadiadwala and directed by Milan Luthria, ‘Tadap’ will be out in cinemas on 3 December.

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EMRAAN OPENS UP ABOUT PARALLEL LOVE STORY WITH HORROR GENRE

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MUMBAI: Ahead of the release of his horror film ‘Dybbuk’, Emraan Hashmi opened up about his connection with the particular genre. “I feel I have a parallel love story with this genre. I personally like horror films and hence starring in ‘Raaz 2’ and ‘Ek thi Dayaan’ was like a dream come true for me. A wave of horror films will always be there in the industry and Horror should be consumed like this (‘Dybbuk’),” he said. Emraan also urged filmmakers and actors to come forward to create more horror films in the industry.

“I feel yet in our country and industry, this genre hasn’t been completely explored yet. Not many films are made. I really wish more and more stars come forward to do horror films. Also because I know the success ratio of this genre is a lot more,” he added.

Talking about ‘Dybbuk’, the film also stars Nikita Dutta and Manav Kaul in prominent roles and is all set to release on 29 October on Amazon Prime Video.

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‘JONAS BROTHERS FAMILY ROAST’ TO STREAM ON NETFLIX

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WASHINGTON: Streaming giant Netflix is all set to come up with a comedy special ‘Jonas Brothers Family Roast’, which features none other than musicians brothers Nick Jonas, Kevin Jonas, and Joe Jonas.

Touted as a celebration of “the universal truth that no one can get under your skin quite like your own family”, ‘Jonas Brothers Family Roast’ will include sketches, songs, games and special guests all meant to tease the brothers about their lives and careers, reported Variety. Pete Davidson, Niall Horan, Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias, John Legend, Lilly Singh, and Jack Whitehall will make special appearances in the special. Also, Saturday Night Live’s Kenan Thompson will host the show.

On Tuesday, Nick took to Instagram and shared a teaser video to announce the launch of the show. “Someone teach @joejonas how this works… The Jonas Brothers Family Roast will be available on @netflix,” he captioned the clip.

 ‘Jonas Brothers Family Roast’ is scheduled to release on 23 November 23.

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WITNESS COP SALMAN AGAINST GANGSTER AAYUSH IN ‘ANTIM’ TRAILER

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MUMBAI : The makers of the Salman Khan, Aayush Sharma-starrer film ‘Antim: The Final Truth’ unveiled the action-packed trailer of the film on Monday.

The film also marks the debut of Mahima Makwana. The trailer comes loaded with pumping action, highoctane background music, and much more. The nearly three-minute-long trailer opens with Salman Khan, who plays the role of a cop, in his first-ever Sardar persona.

The trailer also gives the audience a good peek into the transformation of Aayush’s character, the nemesis of Salman in the movie. Aayush plays the role of an aggressive, dreaded and territorial gangster. Both Salman and Aayush had to undergo significant physical transformation to play their characters in the film, and the trailer shows precisely that. Laden with thrilling action, in the trailer, Salman Khan comes out as a ruthless, no-bars-held cop who will stop at nothing to rout out crime.

‘Antim: The Final Truth’ is directed by Mahesh Manjrekar, produced by Salma Khan and is presented by Salman Khan Films. The film will be globally released in theatres by Zee Studios on 26 November.

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SHARVARI’S PRIYANKA CHOPRA MOMENT

Uday Pratap Singh

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Gorgeous debutant Sharvari, who will be seen in the family entertainer ‘Bunty Aur Babli 2’ playing the role of the new Babli, is over the moon about her Priyanka Chopra moment on the sets of the film. When Sharvari donned a metallic gold bikini and dazzled the crew with her sass and curves on the Abu Dhabi beach, she reminded us of Priyanka’s stunning onepiece bikini sequence in ‘Dostana’ that had stopped the heartbeat of the audience. Sharvari says, “I was the happiest person on set the day I shot this scene. Growing up, the image of Priyanka Chopra walking out of the sea in her golden bikini in ‘Dostana’ was etched in my mind. She is the queen of sass and cool, she looked drop-dead gorgeous.”

She adds, “Ever since I decided to become an actor, I have secretly wished for a sequence like that to be in. And it’s a really sweet coincidence that ‘Bunty Aur Babli 2’ script had a sequence of me coming out of the sea in a stunning bikini. I just couldn’t believe it!”

Sharvari exclaims, “So, on the day of the shoot, I was thrilled and confident to pull this off. I was in good shape and had the best crew to shoot this. I was seeing my wish come true. I hope I have pulled off the scene well because someone like Priyanka Chopra had absolutely nailed it and set benchmarks of how to do a great bikini sequence with so much oomph.”

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ARSHAD TO BE SEEN IN TURBANED LOOK IN NEW FILM ‘BANDA SINGH’

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MUMBAI: Arshad Warsi will be seen donning a turban in his new film ‘Banda Singh’.

On Monday, Arshad took to Twitter and shared the first official poster of the movie. In the image, he can be seen sporting a turbaned look as he poses with actor Meher Vij. “Really excited to become #BandaSingh for you all. All we need is your blessings,” Arshad captioned the poster.

As per a statement, ‘Banda Singh’ is a survival story of a man and his family, set in North India and based on true events. It is helmed by Abhishek Saxena.

Abhishek said, “I have been looking for a script like this to direct since a long time as my earlier two films Phullu and Saroj Ka Rishta were on social issues but Banda Singh is about survival. I am quite thrilled to go on floors and roll the film with Arshad, Meher and rest of the cast.” ‘Banda Singh’ will go on floors in mid-November.

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