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OTT Gems You Might Have Missed



OTT Series

OTT Gems You Might Have Missed

Bandish Bandits(Amazon Prime)

Indian classical singer Radhe and pop star Tamanna. Despite their contrasting personalities, the two set-out together on a journey of self-discovery to see if opposites, though they might attract, can also adapt and go the long haul.

 OTT Review: Somewhere in  the third  or fourth episode  of this well-intended  thoughtful;  series on  the age-old tussle between  classical and  popular  styles  of singing,a ‘bipolar’ joke shows up when the film’s hero Radhe(Ritwick Bhowmick)  a repressed  victim of borderline  abuse ftom his guru Radhe Mohan Rahod(Naseruddin Shah) is being forced  into marrying  a girl he doesn’t love.She wonders if he is gay. “No,I’m bi-polar”, answers Radhe, as if  the two were afflictions in the same  line of vision to fob off unwanted attention.

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The awkwardly titled Bandish Bandits means well. It wants  to  bring out  the  dynamics of the  conflict between Hindustani  classical music and  contemporary  auto-tune  kind of  singing…In other words the  raging  war between the raw –refined and  the studio-defined.

With due respects, Guruji needs  to be spanked. As played by the  indomitable Naseeruddin Shah he is a stubborn cruel unforgiving  unrelenting  cranky old man who treats his  sons(Rajesh TailangAmit Mistry) like shit and his grandson Radhe like super-shit. Honestly  the treatment that  Radhe gets from his guru-grandfather qualifies as serious abuse. Here in the world  of  classical  discipline, we are supposed to believe it is an exercise in self-discipline and in line with  the pursuit of  classical  excellence.

The series peddles age-old  prejudices and ‘cultural’ values  as  yardsticks  of  ‘traditional’ behaviour. Radhe is  supposed to blindly do his grandfather’s bidding  because well, you can’t say no to Naseeruddin Shah even if  he behaves like an empowered  infantile ,  a n infinitely more  convention-clad version  of Vikram Gokhale  in  Sanjay Bhansali’s Hum…Dil De Chuke Sanam.

Newcomer Shreya Chaudhary as  Radhe’s  auto-corrected  singer -beloved smokes and  fumes  to show the dilemma of  a newcomer in a hurry to  get somewhere in  life.  In the end she  swears,  ‘No short cuts  and no auto-correction,’ as  she heads to  a music  school. The series  too required some serious  revision  in its  vision of a  changing world were rigid adherence  to  tradition only engenders  catastrophe.

While stalwarts like Naseeruddin Shah and Atul Kulkarni are brilliant  in underwritten  parts there is way too much of  the  young  romantic lead who try hard to  bring forth the intricacies  of  the drama that are sadly lost in translation. The  lead pair and the intricacies.For me the saving grace were the  performances by Sheeba Chadha and Kunal Roy Kapur. The one  can say so much without a word. The  other just can’t stop talking. Between the two extremities lies the  world  of  creative  conflicts that this series attempts to explore.

Breathe  2(Amazon Prime)

Created By
A 6-year old girl is kidnapped by a mysterious masked man, who demands an unusual ransom. To save his daughter, Dr. Avinash Sabharwal must kill someone! Meanwhile, Kabir Sawant’s journey continues in the hostile environment of the Delhi Crime branch. Lies, deceit and mind games begin when Kabir is given charge of the investigation, and meets Avinash

 OTT Review: In  Mani Ratnam’s  Raavan Abhishek Bachchan  played Raavan. In  Breathe 2, Raavan plays Abhishek. There are  mindgames based on the expression of each one of Raavan’s ten heads, manoeuvring Abhishek’s character  through a series of clumsy  capital crimes . So mindless are these  mindgames  that one is grateful Raavan  had only 10 heads.If there were more, this series may have extended  itself  into  some more episodes. And Breathe  would have killed  us all with  the sheer  lack of  breathing space  in the  plot.

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Abhishek Bachchan infuses  an incommensurate  degree  of  honesty  into his messed-up role. Breathe 2 opens with  a teenage girl at  a jagran in Delhi being kidnapped  by a masked marauder.

We are quickly introduced  to  our psychiatrist-hero  Avinash Savarwal(Bachchan) and his chef-wife Abha. Together  the Shrink and  the Cook couple should have given us food for  thought(chef, shrink…food for  thought,get it?).  But  the writers have no patience to let relationships and feelings grow in the plot.These are  people in a  hurry, though it’s  never clear where  they are heading.In  Episode 1  itself the Savarval’s  cute  little daughter  Siya(Ivana Kaur) is kidnapped.

Though Abhishek’s  Avinash has  one big meltdown sequence in  the first  episode , I  didn’t feel the  couple to be  majorly  traumatized.  Quite  often  you get  the feeling that the couple believes  itself  itself to be  in  a   find-your-missing-child video game where the players(sure that their  kidnapped child would be  returned  to them)  go from task to task like obedient  team players.

Saiyami Kher as  a practical unrepentant  hooker makes intermittent  appearances  reminding us  that sex is  a  reality  just out of the reach  of the artificial characters  of this series. These  people  belong to a soap opera that has long winded  up its shooting. The  happy hooker  finally gets  Abhishek into her  bedroom and asks if he would like to eat something.I waited for a  naughty answer.

“Agar aap banaake khilayengi,” mumbles  our saintly hero coyly reminding us rudely that by this  point, the script has  all but forgotten Avinash’s chef wife. Food for thought, forgotten.

Masaba Masaba(Netflix)

Created By
Inspired by real events from Masaba Gupta’s life, “Masaba Masaba” follows the designer’s atypical journey through heterogeneous universes ranging from fashion to family, and documents her return to the singles market.

 OTT Review: This  oddball  series  marks the acting debut  of dress designer Masaba Gupta, seems  to be  a new voice in an  old jukebox. I  hate to say  ‘old wine in a new bottle’ because  the main character  that’s Masaba as Masaba  is shown  emptying  out a booze  bottle  all  alone in her room  pretending to party at the start  of  the trailer.

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This little  self-generated tamasha  sets the  mood for Masaba Masaba…Why the  title twice? We may well ask .Is it because the series  offers  twice  the  entertainment quotient  of  other series? Masaba x 2   does  have a  slightly  sweaty glam-glitz look and feel to it. The last  time I saw  this  look and feel on the streaming platform was  in  the very watchable Four More Shots Please.There is  no  need  to be  apologetic about being  part of the jetsetting  crowd. At  this time when they have nowhere  to jet to  Masaba Masaba seems a wee wistful a bit nostalgic,  celebrating the times when  women and men battled it out  in chic  hotel lobbies in outfits to match.

The drinks  flowed  and  so did  the repartees. Now we have disheveled  women and men  speaking in disembodies voices on Zoom.Besides Masaba who plays herself,  Neena  Gupta plays her mother.  They are seen to be  squabbling a  lot and I wonder   how  much of  their real relationship  is put on film?Is this   a faithful bio-pic or a flight  of fancy version of reality with the emphasis  on  ‘fancy’? The  latter, I  suspect.Besides Masaba  & Mom  I also  saw some other talented actors hovering around for attention.

Among them the talented and always neglected  Neil Bhoopalam and Satyadeep Mishra. They play  strong men  pretending to be props. The men are clearly  dispensable here. Masaba Masaba is  a chic flick,  not to be mistaken with a chick flick. It is about dressing up your dreams in  the  outfit  of  opulent  conceit. Let’s see how far this conceit , so  palpable in the trailer, takes  the series when it  streams  later  this month.

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