Theatres are slowly but gradually opening up in a few parts of the world, but for most of us, streaming services remain the best option to get our daily entertainment fix. Fortunately, the supply of content on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar, Zee5, SonyLIV and others remains uninterrupted right now. We will probably have shortage of new TV shows and movies by the end of the year, but for now, there’s plenty of new content to enjoy.
One of the popular recent releases is Prakash Jha’s Pareeksha. Starring Adil Hussain, Priyanka Bose, Sanjay Suri and Shubham Jha, it is a commentary on India’s education system. It follows the story of a rickshaw puller in Bihar who dreams of providing quality education to his son and the challenges that come his way. Jha, known for critically-acclaimed films like Apaharan, Gangaajal, Raajneeti, Mrityudand and Damul, made his digital debut with Pareeksha. The film was earlier going to be released theatrically.
Jha earlier told Indianexpress.com, “The core of the story has been with me since childhood. I also used to travel to a convent school via a rickshaw, and I would always wonder about the kid of that rickshaw puller and even the peon in the school. Then Abhayanand once told me the story of the time he was posted in Jahanabad, which is a Naxal-afflicted area. Sometimes, when they would raid, they wouldn’t find the Naxals but would come across their children. These kids, once they overcame the fear of speaking to a police officer, would turn out to be so expressive. There were many success stories that came from there, when they were provided with the right education. That’s how the story came into being. There have been so many real-life stories of people who have faced several hurdles to give their kids basic education.”
Created by Amritpal Singh Bindra (known for Bang Baaja Baaraat) and directed by Anand Tiwari (who made his feature directing debut with Netflix’s Love Per Square Foot), Bandish Bandits is a romantic musical drama series. It juxtaposes two forms of music which are extremely different from each other.
Shubhra Gupta wrote in her review of the series, “Shah towers over the show, showing us how silence can convey so much, his expressions ranging, with a slight flicker, from outright disgust, to disapproval, to faint praise: last seen toying with ragas in Sarfarosh (1999), he fills his role completely. You wish though that the writers hadn’t chosen to reveal a few dark secrets which have deeply impacted his family, especially his daughter-in-law, so late into the ten episodes. It’s done with the intention of cracking the façade of the guru who can do no wrong, and by implication, stating that the old is not always the best, but it’s all done in too much of a hurry.”
In Hollywood, films continue to be delayed. Warner Bros’ epic espionage thriller Tenet, helmed by one of Hollywood’s hottest directors Christopher Nolan, has been delayed thrice now. In September, it will hit Chinese theatres. There is no word yet on its release in the US, India and other countries. China has long been a hugely important market for would-be Hollywood blockbusters. Nolan realises this and treated his fans in the Middle Kingdom with a video message and new footage from the film.
He says in the video, “Hello, audiences in China. My name is Christopher Nolan. I’m the director of Tenet, which is a film we’ve made very much for the big screen. As a huge fan of cinema, I like nothing more than escaping to another world through the power of movies. And Tenet is our attempt to make as big a film as possible. With as immersive action as possible for the big screen. We’re extremely excited to show it to the Chinese audiences.”
Meanwhile, Disney surprised many when it announced that its upcoming live-action version of animated classic Mulan will be released on its streaming service, Disney+. But to watch it, subscribers will have to pay a fee of 29.99 dollars. Set in China during the Han dynasty, Mulan follows Hua Mulan, a rebellious young woman who disguises herself as a man and enlists in the Imperial Army to fight off the Huns, invaders from the north, so that her ailing father would not have to go as part of conscription.