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2 OTT Gems From Applause Entertainment You Might Have Missed



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.

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