Going by the current global climate and the pause a virus has made on our daily busy lives has made us been cautious and lead to the wise decision of staying at home – many still wondering how use this period in attempts of being productive or to make use of this time creditable. But there is nothing like staying at home and catching up on all of them flicks we had either missed at the cinemas when we were busy or just didn’t find spending X amount on a flick was really worth it. Now that you have the time – here is a way you can use it wisely – catch up!
Many films recently have passed our eyes either because of the overflow of films, lack of publicity or thanks to many fellow critics who now tend to feel their opinion is our decision of rather watching the film or not, tend to trash the film on Day one. Sadly, the efforts behind such filmmakers misses the spectator’s eye and we tend not to hear about these films till the power of word of mouth.
So now we have time – here are bunch of films recommended by myself which you can see on most major streaming platforms (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Zee 5 etc) to sure let you pass your time efficiently!
Jawaani Jaaneman (2020)
Firstly, the entire recommendations are not all parallel cinema/Indie Based or even as many of our audience would say in India ‘Oscar deserving cinema’, there are all a mixed bag especially the entertainment/commercial based cinema. This Saif Ali Khan starrer released earlier this year and was rubbed off maybe due to being lost in the stampede of releases. Saif also not having the greatest run on recent at the box office, this was the bounce back to what he plays best – the playboy. JJ is actually an extension of Saif’s character from Yeh Dillagi where now he’s a 40 something-old-man still trying his way not coming to terms with his age – finally finds out he has pregnant 21 year old daughter and his denial in growing up. The film is indeed entertaining, filled with laughs with no over the top humour and of course – Saif shines.
Vodka Diaries (2018)
A small town murder mystery, set in the snow glad area of Manali is about a bunch murders that connect to one party ‘Vodka Diaries’ where one after the other the murders have a connection in between. Kay Kay Menon – playing a cop who is traumatised by his ‘vodka’ based past sets out to unravel the mystery but later taking over his mental stability. Fitted in the ‘mind-messing’ genre which makes the audience a little unbalanced between the real world and the idea of illusion – the on-going events make it clear it’s more psychological to the protagonist which makes one wonder – what is actually happening. The film boast a great performance by Kay Kay Menon who after a long time goes solo.
Made in China (2019)
A recent film which also got lost in the stampede of releases, released on Diwali with big commercial releases like Housefull 4 and Sandh Ki Aankh, this film somewhere got lost – in the eyes of the public and of course screens in cinemas. This Rajkummar Rao starrer is a witty comedy about entrepreneurship, where a failed entrepreneur goes to China only to find a cure for the needy husbands in India with the help of sexologist Boman Irani – they touch the soft corner which makes them huge but the trouble begins when the Indian moral police get involved. Witty, funny and indeed an interesting watch. Don’t expect a Rocket Singh but yes – this one is one to look out for.
Very many are not aware of the issue in Kashmir of ‘half-widows’, well it’s about the political issue that stood during a period of time (to some extent still exists) where husbands have not arrived home in years in which gave the tag to their wives as ‘half-widows’. In this sweet simple story about a young Hamid, who tries to get in contact with Allah by his phone number (786) which leads him to contact a frustrated, tired-of-the-system Army Soldier who plays along with the child’s wish. The plot develops to the faith one has in each other and how the innocence of trust in god improves the way we live in a society. Hamid went on to where the lead actor won the National award for best actor but sadly the film is still unseen by many.
Laal Kaptaan (2019)
Navdeep Singh who earlier has helmed critical acclaimed films like Manorama Six Feet Under and NH10 teamed up with Saif Ali Khan which ended being his least successful film – critically and commercially. The film is about a bounty hunter in a form of a Naga Sadhu played by Saif during the British Raj who gets the bounty who always was looking for. Many misjudged and didn’t actually get the film – the film lies in a world possibly never created by a Hindi film director before – a world that is non-existent but living in a non-fictional world. Many criticised the film for its length and its pace – which is subtly of the film. It’s not loud, it’s not daunting yet the pace builds the establishment of the characters. The uncertainty of Saif’s character and who he stands for – is he the righteous or the wrong is not clear till the end which the one of the standing pillars of the film. One has to the see film without any comparison as its thriller of its own kind and a possible wave of new genre.
Mentioned in one of my earlier articles – this Akshat Verma film, of Delhi Belly fame who makes his directorial debut, set on a monsoon night in Mumbai, dealing with various characters and plots that brings together a wacky black comedy about greed, lust, love and hope. This being another Saif starrer which went unnoticed was of course due to the mammoth Padmaavat at the time – very few had seen this in the cinema and it gained somewhat life on the OTT platforms. This hilarious black comedy with its individual wacky plots which are almost absolute random surely entertain and do bring a smile to your face – especially Saif’s high and tripping scenes. One is reminded of Delhi Belly during sequences but the highlight of the film boasts of Saif’s comic timing and his various shift of his character during stages of the film.
India’s Most Wanted (2019)
Rajkumar Gupta who was recently riding high on the success of Raid, gave his next outing quite sooner than expected. A smaller budget film yet high on content which he finished in a quick span of time. The film deals with India’s Osama Bin Laden – if many are not aware this is Yasin Bhatkal who was involved with 10 separate blasts in India these include the 2008 Delhi bombings and the 2010 Varanasi blasts. The film is about the small team who went with a zero budget and no arms for protection captured this demon from his own home and how the team till now is still unnamed while other seniors took their credit. The film missed the bus due to two reason – the negativity surrounding Arjun Kapoor and the huge amount releases at the time which was followed by Salman’s Bharat one week later. Surely, the film does guarantee a good thriller with engaging climax.
First premiered at MAMI 2018, the Indie film deals with the issues women police officers in Delhi and how they are treated by the public and their respective seniors in the police department. Delhi for years being known for its unsafe conditions towards women, Soni is a critique towards the issue of how even being in the police force the issue of safety is still existent. The lead character Soni, who has a temper issue tries to deal with the issue and prejudice towards women in her own manner but upsetting her seniors – she is occasionally made aware that it’s not her space, continuously being reminded that it’s a male driven society. Soni works on many levels and proves the strength of storytelling without a commercial set up, Soni is a thought-provoking film neatly packaged boasting performances by both female leads Geetika Vidya Ohlyan and Saloni Batra.
Section 375 (2019)
Going by the recent controversial issue of #MeToo, Section 375 takes a story of a costume assistant being molested by a film director and how it leads to a courtroom drama. Lawyers played by Akshaye Khanna and Richa Chaddha follow a dispute between right and wrong, the issue of consent and the power and the weak. The dispute in this courtroom drama throws away the typical response of who ‘usually’ is in the right but deals more with the idea of the misuse of the law during such circumstances and the idea of ‘justice’ and how it’s can occasionally fail. Khanna says ‘Law is actually our business. To prevail justice is not our job’. The film eye opener of issue of misconduct of the suit of law during such cases but at the same time how such a movement in the public has made and broke prominent careers.
Laila Majnu (2018)
Finally, my topper of the list. It came a shock to me that during the time of the release it bashed by a majority – neither no major film has eclipsed it but neither did anyone back the film. This Imitaz Ali film which is directed by debutant brother Sajid Ali is a contemporary adaption of the Arabian story Majnun Layla, which means ‘Layla’s Lunatic’, the unfortunate infamous story of the separation between Qays and Layla. The Alis have based the film in a modern Kashmir with the same characters just fitted a little more towards the time but with the same emotions, at the same time dealing with the issues raising in Kashmir. The debut couple in the film excel by far and surely leave a lasting impression but the film makes it real mark in the final 45 minutes of the film – where the protagonist actually becomes Majnu. The detail and depth to the character – the unspoken issue and lasting happiness adds such depth to the plot of what actually is the ideal way one sees love – what does one expect? Majnun Layla was a story about loss, grief and love but the Ali’s version elaborates as a story of illusion, madness and hope. One has to hand it to both brother of pulling off such an adaption which lasting in the mind – it would be hard to live up to such an adaption in years to come. Highly recommended.