Hostages(Disney Hotstar): Adapted from an Israeli series, the desi avatar of this dramatic thriller boasts of some strong performances. The power of the actors is considerably enhanced by the plot which in spite of the aberrations, thrills.B R Chopra’s long-forgotten kitschy feature film 36 Ghante could be the inspiration for this thriller bolstered by the most inconceivable motivations for crime imagined for the screen in the longest time. While the ever-dependable Ronit Roy deals with his private army of masked hostage takers, each nursing his own grudge(and one of them even carrying the grudge to bed right in the midst of hostage situation) Parvin Dabas is the patriarch of the family held hostage. He seems to play an even more vile character than the criminals, an educationist with financial misdemeanours to deal with.Dabas does his best to wrap his head around a character who revels in thoughtless decisions.
Tisca Arora is the surgeon whose hands, like Lady MacBeth, are tainted with blood. She’s asked to finish off the Chief Minister on the operation table(the Oath, I swear, be damned) or else her family will be gunned down.
Incredibly the ‘family’ moves around the house filled with communication gadgets and still doesn’t send out an SOS message to the cops or friends. Maybe they never watched Desperate Hours. But there is hope: a young army man shows up and here there is a pause for some genuine thrills.
Old-hand director Sudhir Mishra is known to be raw visceral and authentic in his cinema.
At one point the son of the captive family sarcastically asks one of the on-guard masked marauders if it’s his fantasy to see the boy naked.Some such voyeuristic instinct seems to have triggered off this actorly actioner. The actors survive the setback. And we have a fighting chance of staying glued to their attempts at beating the hostage situation.
Mind The Malhotras (Amazon Prime Video):There is undeniable crackling chemistry between the two very talented actors who play the Malhotra couple.There are mother-in-law jokes, the discipline-the-child jokes, control-the-domestic help jokes, love-thy-insufferable-neighbours jokes, incorrect-angrezi-pronunciation jokes, wife’s weight jokes.
Weight…there is more. There is even a Basanti-seduces-Thakur joke which I am pretty sure won’t amuse Ramesh Sippy.I am sure originally, the writing adapted from the Israeli series “La Familigia” must have made the team for the desi adaptation roll off their chairs in sheer glee. Most of the humour shared by the lead pair is generated more from their innate talent to liven up proceedings than organically from the content.
Mini Mathur and Cyrus Sahukar are no spring chickens when it comes to creating a climate of comicality. They are bang-on as a slightly off-beam couple trying to find reasons to be unhappy in a fairly tranquil marriage.The main cause for wit in their marriage is their firm, if completely misplaced belief that they are going through a mid-marriage crisis when they are not. The script devises long therapy sessions with Denzil Smith as the streaming platform where Rishab and Shefali unwind.The shrink sessions work to a point as clearly, Cyrus and Mini have a terrific kinship worked out between them and an intelligent command over the content.
There are some interesting incidental characters such as the family’s ‘cool’ Man Friday who is also the patriarch’s best friend. One gag involves the song “Tamma tamma loge”. The Malhotras don’t seem aware of where to stop their mutual whining and cribbing and start enjoying their marriage again. Their hard luck.We enjoy their bickering to a point.