Friday releases this week comes with a huge vacuum at theatres – no new Tamil films are releasing owing to the ongoing film theatre strike. While new Telugu, Malayalam, and Hindi films are releasing today, there will be no new Tamil releases apart from a few old hits that would still get people coming to the theatres like Rajinikanth’s Baasha, MGR’s Kumari Kottam and Enga Veetu Pillai, and Vijay’s Theri. Some theatres continue to screen releases from the last few weeks like Naachiyaar and Kalakalappu 2.
At a time when online streaming platforms such as Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hotstar put out movies merely months (or weeks) since its release, things don’t look so bad for film buffs. Here’s a quick list of what’s new on some of India’s streaming platforms:
Wild Wild Country (English) [Netflix]
This six-part Netflix documentary series, which premieres today, examines one of the strangest episodes in USA’s Oregon, when Indian religious leader Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, later known as Osho opened a commune in the early 1980s. Conflicts arose when Osho took over the government of the nearby town of Antelope and attempted to gain control of Wasco County.
Rajneeshpuram was briefly incorporated as a city in the 1980s, which was populated with followers of the spiritual teacher. Antelope became a focal point of several issues including voter fraud, a hotel bombing, illegal immigration, automatic weapons, and a bioterrorist attack of salmonella poisoning in the Dalles.
Wild Wild Country will include first-hand accounts of several of Rajneesh’s followers, particularly Swami Prem Niren, Rajneesh’s lawyer; Jane Stork, a.k.a Ma Shanti Bhadra, who was involved in an attempt to assassinate a US attorney; and, Ma Anand Sheela, Rajneesh’s secretary and de facto leader of the commune.
Veronica (Spanish) [Netflix]
This film is regarded as Spain’s answer to The Conjuring. A horror film, it is available with subtitles and plenty of jump scares. Veronica is a 15-year-old girl with three siblings and a busy mother. She and her friends participate in seance during a Solar Eclipse. Strange things begin to happen later, when Veronica is haunted by a spirit latched on to her and her family.
The film was screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. The film has since received positive reviews, including being dubbed “the scariest horror film ever”.
Oru Nalla Naal Paathu Solren (Tamil) [Amazon Prime]
Directed by Arumugakumar, the film has Vijay Sethupathi sporting several looks, including that of an afro and a mythical overlord. The film also features Gautham Karthik, Niharika Konidela, and Gayathrie.
Sethupathi plays a tribal leader in this comedy-fantasy film, which was mostly shot in the forests of Andhra Pradesh. While many have slammed the film, there are some who liked the slightly confusing humour.
Solo (Tamil/Malayalam) [Netflix]
The film was released in October last year, but was added to Netflix recently.
Directed by Bejoy Nambiar and starring Dulquer Salmaan in four roles, Solo is an anthology that delves into the lives of four characters — Siva, Rudra, Shekhar, and Trilok. The female leads include Neha Sharma, Sai Dhanshika, Sruthi Hariharan, and Arthi Venkatesh, along with other actors in the anthology including, Suhasini Maniratnam, Nasser, Dino Morea, Anson Paul, Soubhin Shahir, Sai Tamhankar, Q, and more.
The film has music by Prashant Pillai, Thaikkudam Bridge, Masala Coffee, Gaurav Godkhindi, Agam, Filter Coffee, Brodha V, TaalAtma, Abhinav Bhansal, Sooraj Kurup and Sez.
Love Per Square Foot (Hindi) [Netflix]
This romantic-comedy was released on Netflix on Valentine’s Day and continues to be fairly popular.
Infusing some real struggle involving the want of space in an already packed and notoriously unaffordable city, Love Per Square Foot is that slice-of-life romantic comedy with the two protagonists, who for once, are in a quandary that is very relatable.
Directed by Anand Tiwari, the cast includes Vicky Kaushal and Angira Dhar as a couple whose story begins in reverse. Unlike most couples, this one starts off with buying a house in Mumbai, getting married, and then falling in love. The film also stars Ratna Pathak Shah, Supriya Pathak, Alankrita Sahai, and Raghuvir Yadav in supporting roles.
Baywatch (English) [Amazon Prime]
An action-comedy directed by Seth Gordon, this film features A-listers like Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario, and Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra. The plot follows lifeguard Mitch Buchannon and his team, who in an effort to save their beach have to take down a drug lord.
The film, despite grossing $177 million, was subjected to a lot of negative criticisms, with most praising the cast but not the story.
Kalki (Tamil) [Netflix]
Technically a short film, this thriller is around 40 minutes and makes a good, speedy watch. Focusing on a physicist (Kishore) and his young girlfriend (Yasmin Ponnappa) with time travel as the backdrop, the film is directed by Dhilip Kumar and written by film critic Baradwaj Rangan.
Ladies First (Hindi/English) [Netflix]
A 39-minute documentary, Ladies First focuses on Deepika Kumari, an Indian archer who became World Number One at the age of 18.
Born into a poor family, Deepika enrolled in an archery academy from a young age, leaving behind her family and rural life. She had represented India at the Olympics twice, first on the world stage in London in 2012 and then in Rio in 2016. But the documentary, apart from focusing on her achievements, also focuses on how things take a toll on her, especially when she is constantly scrutinised by the media.
Feature Image: YouTube screen grabs