NETFLIX’S ANTHOLOGY SERIES BASED ON SATYAJIT RAY’S SHORT STORIES HAS ITS SHARE OF HIGHS AND LOWS - The Daily Guardian
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NETFLIX’S ANTHOLOGY SERIES BASED ON SATYAJIT RAY’S SHORT STORIES HAS ITS SHARE OF HIGHS AND LOWS

Murtaza Ali Khan

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Since the grand success of the opening season of Sacred Games back in 2018, Netflix India has been struggling to produce something of the same pedigree. On one hand, Netflix has emerged as one of the forerunners at the leading international forums, including the Oscars and the Emmys, but its Indian catalog is nowhere near in comparison. That, however, isn’t due to a lack of trying as it’s evident from offerings such as Delhi Crime, Bulbbul, Paava Kadhaigal, Taj Mahal 1989, and Bombay Begums. But, for some reason, Netflix India has not managed to keep up the same level of consistency as their major OTT rival Amazon Prime Video whose Indian catalog is easily their strongest bet in the global race for digital content supremacy. Post Sacred Games, Netflix India is still looking for something to hold on to—a bankable title that can become their Mirzapur or The Family Man. The new anthology series Ray, therefore, holds a lot of promise for Netflix India, which must be hoping that it becomes something like Black Mirror for the Indian audiences. After all, the celebrated Indian auteur and writer Satyajit Ray, just like his cinema, exhibited a remarkable variety in his short stories as well, ranging from comedy to satire to psychological thriller to science fiction.

Naturally all of Satyajit Ray’s short stories cannot be accommodated in a single season and so it is safe to assume that Ray is going to be a multi-season anthology series. The fact that Netflix seems heavily invested in the idea only confirms how dearly the OTT giant is looking for something that can become the centerpiece of its future strategy in India. Now, the first season of Ray which recently premiered consists of four segments: Forget Me Not (based on Ray’s short story Bipin Chowdhury’r Smritibhrom), Bahrupiya (based on a short story titled Bahurupi), Hungama Hai Kyon Barpa (based on Barin Bhowmik-er Byaram), and Spotlight (based on a short story of the same name). As one would expect these segments are not the exact adaptations of Ray’s stories. The screenwriters Siraj Ahmed (Forget Me Not and Bahrupiya) and Niren Bhatt (Hungama Hai Kyon Barpa and Spotlight) have found a middle ground of sorts while reworking with Ray’s original short stories. Ray’s Bipin Chowdhury’r Smritibhrom, for example, has no female character. Forget Me Not (directed by Srijit Mukherjee), on the other hand, has a bunch of very interesting female characters. Also, it’s been set in the contemporary times. Similar liberties have been with the other stories as well.

Abhishek Chaubey’s directorial Hungama Hai Kyon Barpa, starring Manoj Bajpayee as a singer named Musafir Ali and Gajraj Rao as a wrestler turned sports journalist Beg aka Genja, is perhaps the best example of how a fascinating literary story can be remodeled and embellished decades later to suit the needs of a different medium. Chaubey has got a rare talent when it comes to handling Urdu Adab as a subject matter. If Dedh Ishqiya served as a testament to Chaubey’s penchant for Urdu poetry then Hungama Hai Kyon Barpa succeeds in quelling any nagging doubts that among the current crop of filmmakers it is Chaubey who understands the nuances of Urdu Adab the best. Laced with timeless poetry of Mirza Ghalib and evergreen ghazals of Ghulam Ali, Ray’s Barin Bhowmik-er Byaram attains a new high in the hands of Chaubey who also succeeds in eliciting masterful performances from Bajpayee, whose command over Urdu is exemplary, and Rao, who just seems to get better with each new performance.

STORY

While Ray’s original story is far more believable, Forget Me Not operates in a zone that requires the viewer to suspend the disbelief again and again. As someone who is capable of remaking a fascinating film like Rajkahini as a snoozefest like Begum Jaan, Srijit Mukherjee’s work as a director is always very interesting. The best part about Forget Me Not is Anindita Bose’s mystery woman character. Also, Ali Fazal shines in the role of a cut-throat corporate shark who prides himself on his vivid memory and his accolades until a chance encounter with a beautiful woman sends him down a vortex of self-doubt as he fails to remember her.

Bahrupiya, the second segment directed by Srijit Mukherjee, follows a prosthetics artist who uses his skills to get back at people who he feels wronged him in life. Kay Kay Menon yet again proves why he is one of the best actors in the country. Some of the scenes that he shares with Bidita Bag (a completely turnaround from her light-hearted performance in Teen Do Paanch) who plays his muse in the segment are exhilarating to watch. The fourth and final segment titled Spotlight, directed by Vasan Bala, is also the weakest of the lot. As an intended critique on stardom and self-styled godman/godwoman, Spotlight only works in parts. But Bala’s quirky storytelling style with all its flair and shenanigans makes it a fun watch. Radhika Madan yet again proves to be a scene stealer. Fortunately for Bala, the odd casting choice of Harshvarrdhan Kapoor doesn’t prove to be destructive. Chandan Roy Sanyal is solid as ever. Overall, the anthology series has its share of lows. But, despite its inconsistencies, it is not without merit.

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ADITYA TREATS FANS WITH AN IMPROMPTU MUSIC PERFORMANCE

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NEW DELHI: Aditya Roy Kapur made impressed his fans with his solo guitar performance.

Well, there’s not an ounce of doubt that Aditya happens to be one of the most loved stars. Now that the actor is shooting for his upcoming actioner ‘Thadam’ remake in Delhi, fans are thronging to catch a glimpse of him. Much to their excitement, the handsome and endearing actor decided to treat them with his magical voice.

Aditya’s impromptu show has elevated the excitement for his upcoming music album. For the unversed, just recently, the speculation around his music venture did rounds on social media. Meanwhile, the action hero is making noise for headlining the much anticipated ‘Thadam’ remake and essaying a double role for the first time. Aditya will also star in another out-and-out action drama ‘OM’.

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TAMANNAAHA MONG TOP 10 INFLUENTIAL SOCIAL MEDIA STARS IN SOUTH

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MUMBAI: The lines between regional cinema and mainstream films are blurring day by day. With the influx of more regional content pan-India, South Indian actors boast a massive fan following across the nation. Calculating their Instagram Influence using various metrics, Forbes India has released the Top 30 Most Influential South Actors on social media.

Touted as the rare combination of a superstar and a fine artist, Tamannaah has bagged the 10th spot on the list. With more than nine million followers on Instagram, the superstar is easily the most influential celebrity on the internet.

While talking about the same, Tamannaah said, “social media has become an integral part of all our lives, and it is a great platform to have an interaction with all my fans who have supported me in my journey. It is a special feeling to be listed as the Most Influential Social Media Star because it is a space that I share with my fans and followers.”

The top ten list also features Rashmika Mandanna, Vijay Deverakonda, Yash, Samantha, Allu Arjun, Dulquer Salmaan, Pooja Hegde, Prabhas, and Suriya.

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AYUSHMANN’SSOCIO-POLITICAL THRILLER ‘ANEK’S’ RELEASE DATE ANNOUNCED

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MUMBAI: 31 March 2022 has been locked as the release date for Ayushmann Khurrana’s film ‘Anek’.

Directed by Anubhav Sinha, ‘Anek’ is set against the geopolitical backdrop of Northeast India. It’s the second collaboration of Ayushmann with Sinha after ‘Article 15’. Giving a few details about his movie, Ayushmann said, “It’s only once in a while that an actor comes across a story that makes him jump out of his comfort zone. While I have always backed novel stories, Anek pushed me to perform with a renewed zest.”

He added, “It’s the kind of script that drives a person to give it your all. I am so proud that we’ve made a film like this and even more fortunate that I got the chance to headline it. It’s the kind of new-age cinema that I believe in and I am thankful to Anubhav Sir for choosing me to tell this special story.”

According to Sinha, it’s quite a challenge to make ‘Anek’. “It was a challenging film to write and a difficult one to make. We shot it in rough terrain but what makes it special is that the takeaway was so gratifying. It was a delight to work with Ayushmann again who with his depiction of Joshua breathed life into the story,” he said.

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NEW FILTER UNVEILED ON PRABHAS’ BIRTHDAY

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MUMBAI: Prabhas’ fandom knows no boundaries. The star is a global icon and enjoys a massive fan base. It’s that time of the year when the craze and love for him exceed any and every parameter, it’s Prabhas’ birthday. His fans do all sorts of surprising stuff to celebrate him and this year is no different. Ahead of his birthday, a new filter on Instagram has been unveiled. The filter has the words, ‘Global Prabhas Day’ written and plays a piece of soft and mellow music which is from the teaser of ‘Radhe Shyam’, as a portrait design comes on the screen and a little snowfall accompanies the same.

From Baahubali thalis to gigantic posters, to getting tattoos of Prabhas and more, his fans have always shown their love for the star. His Vikram Aditya from ‘Radhe Shyam’ got a new poster unveiled recently and a teaser of his character intro is all set to be released on his birthday. He will star in ‘AdiPurush’, ‘Salaar’, and Deepika Padukone starrer ‘K’.

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A CURTAIN RAISER TO ITALIAN EMBASSY CULTURAL CENTRE’S FELLINI RETROSPECTIVE

Murtaza Ali Khan

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Italian Embassy Cultural Centre is hosting a week-long Federico Fellini retrospective in collaboration with the India Habitat Centre. As part of the retrospective, eight of Fellini’s best-known films will be screened starting with his 1973 Academy Award-winning masterpiece ‘Amarcord’ on 23 October 2021. Along with introducing each of the eight films ahead of their respective screenings at the India Habitat Centre, I will also be introducing Fellini to the audiences while touching upon the importance of his films in India.

The legendary master Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini is not just recognised as one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers of all time but also as a great humanist whose lifelong work stands as a testament to his love for telling universally relevant stories about common people and life in Italy. Despite his origins in Italian Neorealism as a screenwriter for the luminary Italian director Roberto Rossellini, Fellini gradually emerged out of his shadows to carve a niche for herself with films like ‘The White Sheik’ (1952), ‘I Vitelloni’ (1953), ‘La Strada’ (1954), ‘Il Bidone’ (1955), and ‘Nights of Cabiria’ (1957). And then he took a huge leap with ‘La Dolce Vita’ (1960). Not many filmmakers in the world have succeeded in taking such a gigantic leap between films like the one Fellini took with ‘La Dolce Vita’.

But what did he do after it? He made ‘8½’ which is another major leap (it’s something that is unheard of except when maybe Ingmar Bergman made Persona). With ‘8½’, Fellini catapulted himself to an entirely different level of stardom altogether. The film in many ways also perpetuated the wide usage of the term ‘Felliniesque’ which would become synonymous with any kind of extravagant, fanciful, even baroque imagery in cinema—a sort of a superimposed dreamlike or hallucinatory imagery upon ordinary situations. Contemporary filmmakers like Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam, Emir Kusturica, and David Lynch have cited Fellini’s influence on their work. Fellini’s influence on Indian cinema is most evident in the works of Indian filmmakers like Mani Kaul (director of films like ‘Duvidha’, ‘Uski Roti’, ‘Nazar’, ‘The Cloud Door’, etc) and Kumar Shahani (the director of films like ‘Maya Darpan’, ‘Tarang’, and other movies)

‘Amarcord’, the first film to be screened as part of the retrospective, tells the story about Titta, an adolescent boy growing up among an eccentric cast of characters in a village near the ancient walls of Rimini in 1930s Fascist Italy (Rimini was where Fellini was born and the political turmoil during the rule of the Fascist regime in Italy also had a profound influence on Fellini’s life and work). The title basically translates to “I Remember” and aptly so. For, like many films of Fellini’s, ‘Amarcord’ is autobiographical in nature at so many levels. In fact, the character of Titta is based on Fellini’s childhood friend from Rimini who went on to become a lawyer. The two remained good friends all their lives. It is perhaps the last of Fellini’s undisputed masterworks. Even though Fellini would continue to make important films but ‘Amarcord’ in many ways is the last of his films to receive universal acclaim. It is also the last Fellini film to win the Oscar for the Best Foreign Language Film. The film is particularly noted for its criticism of Fascism as well as the Catholic Church but its comical tone cuts Fellini the slack to unleash a strong critique.

The romantic comedy ‘The White Sheik’, which will be screened on 24 October, follows Ivan and Wanda who visit Rome for their honeymoon. However, when Wanda suddenly disappears to find the White Sheik, the hero of a soap opera, Ivan struggles to hide it from his family who wants to meet his missing bride.

The third film to be screened as part of the retrospective on 27 October is ‘I Vitelloni’ which presents a character study of five young men at crucial turning points in their lives in a small town in Italy. One of the Italian maestro’s most imitated films, ‘I Vitelloni’ is said to have inspired directors like Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, Phillip Kaufman, Barry Levinson, Joel Schumacher, Juan Antonio Bardem, Marco Ferreri, and Lina Wertmüller, among others.

The next film on the lineup is ‘Il Bidone’ which follows a group of swindlers who dress up as clerics and con poor farmers out of their savings. It will be screened on the 28 October followed by ‘Nights of Cabiria’ on 29 October and ‘La Dolce Vita’ on 30 October. On the final day of Retrospective, not one but two films will be screened: ‘8½’ and ‘Fellini Satyricon’.

The Federico Fellini retrospective was originally scheduled to take place last year, marking the centenary celebrations of the master filmmaker, who was born in Rimini, Italy in 1920. But, the retrospective had to be delayed by a year owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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NEW STRATEGIES TO AMP UP YOUR INTERIORS IN THE NEW NORMAL

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The Coronavirus pandemic has created a new normal which has merged work with the living space. In these times, adding that extra ‘oomph’ can provide that change of environment you were looking for within your walls! Kshitij Mirania of Mirania Luxury Living shares those eye-catching strategies to amp up your interior game:

KINDLE WITH KITCHEN

Kitchen interiors are full of possibilities from hardwood to those modern cabinets. Replace or refinish those worn-out ones for a simply a new look and if modernising is the goal, bring in those glass doors and show off the shelving your nicest pieces!

CHANGE OF CURTAINS

Curtains has been named the underdog by many designers and for all the right reasons! It has the power to change the tone of the room, from stopping that extra heat to enter the room while lighting it up with colour to providing it the quick and colour it was missing. Finding the right curtains which match with the aesthetics of the room will surely be the easiest way to create a new environment without changing much.

ASTOUND WITH CARPETING

Room seems bigger with added warmth and texture? Well, the secret ingredient is that new carpet. Warm ones for the winter while lightweight is summer, carpet is an all-year accessory which will lift up your area. Since it is easy to store, think of it as an investment while purchasing as it will be something which can last you for many years to come.

STYLE-UP SURFACES

Flat, vertical and organic: the unbeatable arrangement for your coffee table. Add a stack of books with those gorgeous vases or sculptures and give it the finishing touches with flowers and plants and the work is done! All you have to do now is simply watch as those three ingredients come together to give your table that extra zing!

LIVEN UP THOSE WALLS

It is time to take out those old family photos and introduce them to the empty spaces on your walls! It will take you down the memory lane of those good-old-days while also providing a new look for the entire space with much ease. A two for one deal!

REPAINT-RENEW

Sometimes all you need is a small bottle white lacquer paint to change the colour palette of your living space. It will do miracles for those shabby, chipped out furniture you don’t know what to do with. Add that with PU paint for metals and watch your interiors come to life!

OLD COUCH, NEW LOOK

Why buy a new sofa when you can give the old one a makeover! The intention to change the colour can simply be satisfied with a slipcover and if the desire is to give it that extra colour then look no further from pillows and some knit throws. These small things will give you the effect you have wanted without cutting a hole in your pocket.

Kshitij Mirania is Partner and Head of Mirania Luxury Living (MLL).

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