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Industry: An unapologetic take on the world of high finance

Murtaza Ali Khan

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Industry, the new HBO / BBC series, takes us to the heart of London’s trading floors and exposes us to the high-stakes battles, chaos, debauchery, and moral decline that govern them. The eight-part series follows a diverse group of young graduates as they vie for a limited number of permanent positions at a fictional London investment bank Pierpoint & Co. The show is penned by first-time creators Mickey Down and Konrad Kay who draw heavily from their own experiences while working in the world of international banking. While Mickey worked as an analyst at a British investment bank, Konrad was associated with an American investment bank as an equity salesman. So far only two episodes of the show are officially out and so the bingeing option isn’t available. Each week a new episode is being released. Viewers in India can access them on Disney+ Hotstar. This assessment of the series is on the basis of the first four episodes that have been made available to critics by HBO as part of a special press preview.

Without wasting even a moment, Industry’s taut narrative immediately cuts to the chase. The first episode of the series aptly titled ‘Induction’, directed by Lena Dunham, brings us face-to-face with the trainees giving job interviews. We meet Harper (essayed by Myha’la Herrold), a singularly talented graduate trainee from New York; Gus (played by David Jonsson), a highly qualified trainee who went to both Eton and Oxford; Robert (portrayed by Harry Lawtey), a fitness-conscious graduate trainee in awe of banking; Yasmine (essayed by Marisa), an attention- hungry graduate trainee with an uber-rich family background and Hari (portrayed by Nabhaan Rizwan), a trainee suffering from performance anxiety.

Other than the trainees, we also meet the enterprising men and women who are meant to groom them into competent banking professionals. Interestingly, they are nothing like Gordon Gekko or Jordan Belfort. For, these are grounded and pragmatic people who know well that longevity in trading is all about consistency. Anyone can have a good day or a bad day at the office but the key to success lies in striking a fine balance between instinct and reason.

Immediately after they are hired, the trainees are informed by the top management that only half of them will be absorbed into permanent roles. Even as they spend a stressful first month, striving to make a lasting impression on their mentors, they must deal with the tragic death of Hari whose anxiety eventually gets the better of him. He is so keen to impress his seniors that he resorts to sleeping at the office. He even takes pills in order to push himself harder and harder but ultimately his body breaks down. But hardly any tears are shed. If anything, Hari’s death inspires other trainees to perform even better, reminding us that there is no place for losers in the cutthroat world of high finance.

Pierpoint & Co. isn’t exactly a friendly place but that doesn’t mean that everyone working here is cold and heartless. The key is to keep a balance between the personal and the professional. Harper and Yasmine, for example, share a healthy personal equation, but there is a constant fear of their friendship getting in the way of their professional goals. They are constantly reminded of their priorities by their superiors. The hegemonic authority that the seniors enjoy over their juniors at Pierpoint & Co. makes one wonder, how can a place promise meritocracy when it is the hierarchy that ultimately reigns supreme?

Industry endeavours to offer an insider’s view of what goes inside the world of high finance and it does it so unapologetically. The creators are clearly unfazed by the excesses, whether it comes to sex or drugs. Parts of the series can certainly be gratifying for some, but, to its credit, it doesn’t back down from presenting equally repelling moments. If there is a scene wherein a girl records an intimate moment that she shares with her lover, there also is a scene wherein a trainee, to her great shock, gets touched inappropriately by her powerful female client on their very first meeting. There is also a sequence, wherein a trainee treats herself with a burger in a luxurious pent- house after she is able to close her first deal. Also, there is a scene wherein we see a stressed-out trainee fall dead in the restroom. So there is misery and ecstasy in equal measures here.

The show is heavy on jargons but apparently it is not on the writers’ agenda to explain them. So if one is not accustomed to the world of high finance then there is a high possibility that many of the technical terms will befuddle them. But, how the characters behave while using these jargons certainly helps one read between the lines. Also, as one watches them in their workspace, day after day, one slowly begins to get a hang of what excites them and what scares them. Moreover, what the show lacks in terms of writing, it more than makes up for it thanks to the brilliant performances on offer. Mind it, Industry isn’t meant for casual viewing.

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Lifestyle & Entertainment

‘Delhi crime’ is born out of Sadness, anger: Richie Mehta

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Delhi crime

Indo-Canadian filmmaker Richie Mehta is humbled by the International Emmy win for ‘Delhi Crime’, and says it is the culmination of years of work by hundreds of people. Mehta, director and screenwriter of the series, said: “I never anticipated getting here, it’s the culmination of years of work by hundreds of people, sometimes in total isolation and defiance.” ‘Delhi Crime’ is a complete labour of love, born out of sadness, anger, frustration, and compassion. The entire team from start to finish should take a bow for giving their all to this vision,” he added. The web series has won the Best Drama Series award at the 48th International Emmy Awards. The Netflix series is fictionalised version based on the horrific December 2012 Delhi bus gangrape case and follows the investigation by the Delhi Police. Over six years of research went into the making of the series, which was shot on location in New Delhi. It stars Shefali Shah, Rajesh Tailang, Rasika Dugal and Adil Hussain.

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INDIAN IDOL 12 TO USHER IN AWESOME CHANGE OF ‘MAUSAM’

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INDIAN IDOL 12

From the enormous pool of talent that auditioned for ‘Indian Idol 12’, this year’s judging panel, Vishal Dadlani, Neha Kakkar and Himesh Reshammiya, have narrowed down the voices for theatre rounds.

 The competition among the top 15 will intensify as the audience and judges root and vote for their favourite contestants’ week after week, till the nation finds its next Indian Idol! Suave and sureela Aditya Narayan will be seen as the show’s host. Himesh says, “I am happy and proud to be again judging the new season of ‘Indian Idol’, which is not just India’s longest-running singing reality show but also has a wonderful legacy of finding and nurturing some of the best vocal talents. I’m confident that each of the chosen contestants is out to do something original and big in India’s flourishing music scenario.”

 Vishal states, “As a platform that addresses the aspirations of young India, ‘Indian Idol’ is a show that is hugely anticipated by aspirants and viewers alike. Season after season, it serves to showcase the diversity and limitless talent that exists in our beautiful country. As judges, we have the incredibly tough job of choosing the best. I’m hoping ‘Indian Idol 12’ brings an “awesome change of mausam” and mood for one and all. ” Neha who is not only judging the ‘Indian Idol’ seasons but had also been a part of the show as a participant shares,“To me, the emotional connect with brand Indian Idol is very strong, given that it showcases the talent that cuts across all geographical and demographic boundaries. My own journey from contestant to judge on this show is one that represents the possibilities that exist in the world, and the opportunity that it gives the common man. As a judge, being honest and forthright with my feedback to the contestants is of paramount importance to me, to guide them right.”

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KATIE HOLMES SPILLS THE BEANS ABOUT ‘THE SECRET: DARE TO DREAM’

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KATIE HOLMES

Katie Holmes has spoken of what attracted her to the script of her upcoming romantic drama, ‘The Secret: Dare To Dream’. Directed by veteran Andy Tennant, the film revolves around the story of a hardworking young widow (played by Holmes), who is struggling to raise three children on her own, and how her life changes when she meets Bray Johnson (Josh Lucas). The film based on Rhonda Byrne’s 2006 self-help book, ‘The Secret’. “This project felt like such a great opportunity because the book means so much to so many people. I think that Tennant crafted a beautiful story that fulfils the themes of the book, but the characters are also very much alive on their own,” said Holmes. The cast also features Celia Weston and Jerry O’Connell. Connell shared how he reacted when he got the offer to be a part of the project. “When I first heard that they were doing a ‘Secret’ movie, I was like, I read that book! I practice those principles! And so then I actually secreted getting the role in this movie… and Boom, here I am. It works,” he said. The film will release in India on 27 November.

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HERE’S WHY SUMEET WAS SCEPTICAL ABOUT HIS ‘DARK7WHITE’ LOOK

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Sumeet Vyas

With his amazing acting skills and path-breaking roles, Sumeet Vyas has owned the digital space in the true sense, and he is now once again ready to rule the web world with his portrayal of Yudhveer Singh in ALTBalaji and ZEE5’s ‘Dark7White’. Seen in a never-seen-before avatar in the series, Sumeet was a little skeptical about his look when he took up the project. After all, this is the very first time where he will be seen with a full-grown beard and long hair. But he has nothing to worry about, as fans are already in awe of his look.

 Speaking about his look in the series, Sumeet quipped, “I was running away from the look as I’ve never kept long hair or a full-grown beard till date. Our director Satwik Mohanty was very keen that I should have this look. I was trying to convince him that please don’t do this as it will be very difficult for me to maintain it. He told me that I can put on a wig along with a fake moustache and beard, it might not look convincing. I told him that I will go in with his conviction, and I am glad that I did that as it’s a very interesting look and had to come out naturally.” Streaming on ALTBalaji and ZEE5 from 24 November, ‘Dark 7 White’ is a youth-oriented political murder mystery that’s narrated in a quirky storytelling style laced with dark humour.

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FEW FILMMAKERS ENVISION WOMEN CHARACTERS WITH EQUAL FOOTING: MRUNAL

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Mrunal Thakur

Mrunal Thakur feels that very few filmmakers give equal footing to women characters in their movies. According to her, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra is one of those filmmakers who treats female characters in fheir films well. “There are very few filmmakers who envision a story that gives its women characters an equal footing. In the best of Rakeysh’s works, one can see how beautifully he layers his women. Be it Soha Ali Khan’s Sonia in ‘Rang De Basanti’ or the female characters in ‘Delhi 6’ or ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’, his women are memorable,” said Mrunal. 

She will be seen in Mehra’s next film ‘Toofan’ alongside Farhan Akhtar. “In ‘Toofan’ my character is an anchor to the narrative despite not being the driving force of the plot. It was a beautiful experience working with Farhan and Rakeysh. They subconsciously help you push yourself to explore things you haven’t tried. The little nuances they bring to their work teaches you so much,” she said. “I have learnt so much from ‘Toofan’, most importantly (the fact) that women in new-age narratives aren’t ornamental. They have a solid ground to stand on and the male actors like Farhan facilitate that,” said Mrunal.

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SPORTS TAUGHT ME HOW TO BOUNCE BACK AFTER A FALL: ABHISHEK BACHCHAN

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sons-of-the-soil

Amazon Prime Video presented the official trailer of ‘Sons Of The Soil’ recently. It is a gripping documentary web series that goes behind the scenes to follow one of India’s most celebrated Pro Kabaddi league team the Jaipur Pink Panthers. The series talks about the struggles, pain, and the ultimate journey towards success. It also shows, the journey of the players, their motivations, and how a team collectively builds a plan towards achieving success.

 The trailer showcases the journey of the team Jaipur Pink Panthers in the Pro Kabaddi League. The video of the trailer begins with a visual of Abhishek Bachchan, who owns the Kabaddi team, motivating the players. He establishes his motto in a sentence – “I like to celebrate a victory and I really don’t like losing.” There’s also a glimpse of Abhishek’s father and Bollywood veteran Amitabh Bachchan in the video. Jaipur Pink Panthers’ official page shared the video on social media and wrote: “The Panthers are all set to leave their mark beyond the mat.”

Abhishek, who seems very excited for the sports documentary, says, “It is a historical moment for me to launch the web series ‘Sons Of The Soil’. It is a journey of what happens in the back of the team. The series showcases a microscopic view of success and failure of a team and people associated with the team.”

 Captain of Jaipur Pink Panther Deepak Hooda, who shares a brotherly bond with Abhishek, says, “Abhishek is like a big brother and a friend who always motivates the team. It never felt like he is the owner of the team.”

Abhishek concluded by saying “I have never been this excited in my life. Sports has taught me character building, the never say die attitude, how to bounce back after a fall. Failure has a nasty way of dealing with you.”

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