TheThe Gray Man, Dhanush, OTT
Besides the Netflix film, The Gray Man, there's a documentary on a serial killer in Delhi, a Telugu comedy and a Meryl Streep starrer, Let Them All Talk streaming from this weekend

OTT: Dhanush's 'The Gray Man', stalking a serial killer, mindless comedies

Indians cannot wait to check out Tamil actor Dhanush in the Russo brothers' directorial 'The Gray Man' landing on Netflix this weekend

The highly-anticipated action thriller, the Russo brothers directorial, The Gray Man, a Netflix film, is landing on the platform this weekend. Based on a book by Mark Greaney, the expensive venture is believed to have cost the platform $200 million.

This “frenetic caper” is all set to be lapped up by fans of the Russo brothers’ style of film-making, which is high-octane action and drama. The Russo brothers, who are masters at crafting action movies are the duo behind Marvel Studios’ highest grossing movies. They have done four Marvel movies in five years.

As well as the concluding Avengers Endgame and Infinity War, the Russos directed Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) and Captain America: Civil War (2016) and are credited for introducing an “extremely grounded naturalism and palpable gravitas” never been seen in the infamously populist Marvel Cinematic Universe. They are clearly no arthouse auteurs but talk about injecting their political beliefs of a world going terribly grey into mainstream movies.

Apparently, it took nine years for the Russo brothers to make The Gray Man. Inspired by 70s thrillers, The Gray Man is about Sierra Six aka the Gray Man (played by Ryan Gosling), who is a trained assassin and part of CIA’s top secret Sierra programme recruited from a federal prison. He has been assigned the task to kill someone who he knows is innocent. And, soon he becomes the target of a global manhunt by the CIA…and so on.

Indians, however, will watch with bated breath when Tamil superstar Dhanush will make his appearance in the film. (Remember the time Indians went delirious with joy when the nifty Indian tennis star, Vijay Amritraj helped to spirit James Bond away from the bad guys in Octopussy?)

Dhanush with the Russo brothers and Vicky Kaushal at the gala premiere of ‘The Gray Man’ in Mumbai

Also read: Koffee with Karan, Season 7 takes off to a lame start with ‘nepo’ jibes

In this film, Dhanush plays Avik San, an assassin, who is an evil fellow who Gosling has to battle with. Dhanush reportedly was so shell-shocked that he was picked for the role that he would keep asking everyone in the crew, about how the Russo brothers had heard of him. The directors finally revealed at a press conference that they had been watching fight videos for reference and one happened to be of Dhanush from one of his films. They liked his action sequences so much (imagine that, kudos to our stunt directors), they decided to go ahead and cast him.

This is not to overlook the ‘inclusivity’ factor that is big in Hollywood today, what with a new Jane Austen adaptation like Persuasion (currently streaming on Netflix), which has a mixed racial cast causing many Austen fans to reach for their smelling salts.

Well, despite all the hype about Russo’s non-Marvel Netflix film, reviewers abroad have slammed it. Starting with mocking agent Six (Ryan Gosling), wearing a snazzy red suit with matching fingernail polish to his first onscreen assassination. But, here’s something that will lift the heart of Indian film buffs and Dhanush fans as the New York Times review states: “The best brawl is one of the smallest: It centers on two supporting players (Ana de Armas and Dhanush, a star of Tamil cinema), who strangle each other with a single cable at the same time.” But, who knows, the film may turn out to be a “feast (as Dhanush promised) and the response in India may not be so tepid.

Incidentally, talking about Indians making a mark in Hollywood films, the Russo brothers are all set to direct their new spy series Citadel with no less than Priyanka Chopra.

Also read: Nagesh Kukunoor on love, sway of OTT and not chasing box-office hits

A serial killer and Delhi police

For people who love to watch true crime, Netflix brings another documentary in this genre. Earlier attempts by this OTT platform on this front have been House of Secrets: The Burari Deaths; A big little murder (on the shocking murder of a schoolboy in a Delhi school); and Crime Stories: Indian Detective (trailing Bengaluru cops as they try to solve murders).

The Indian Predator: The Butcher of Delhi, meanwhile, is set in New Delhi and revolves around a serial killer, who harbours a deep grudge against the police for arresting him in false cases and torturing him. So, Chandrakant Jha, a Bihari migrant strangles young men, dismembers their bodies, and then scatters the body parts all around Delhi or leaves them outside Tihar jail. He then taunts the police to find him and leaves behind notes filled with the choicest abuses.

The three-episode series, directed by Ayesha Sood, however, is not picking up great reviews because of its poor narrative style, ham-handed psychoanalysis of the killer and the slow pace. But, what sets one thinking is that this man would never have been caught if he had not left cocky notes for the police challenging them to catch him.

At the beginning of the show, a journalist points out that if not for the media blowing up the story, the police would have quietly cremated the dead body if no one came forward to claim it within 72 hours. It would have gone down as an unsolved crime. Incidentally, Jha committed his first murder in 1998, he only caught the attention of the Delhi Police between 2003 and 2007, when he killed six people in that period. It is not great filmmaking but can throw some light on how the police functions…at a slow pace!

Fun, frolic and frustration 

For some mindless, can-this-be-for-real kind of entertainment, Telugu film F3: Fun and Frustration directed by Anil Ravipudi, lands on Netflix this weekend. This film, which is a sequel to the hit film, F2, embarks on another fun ride with the same characters but employs a different storyline.

Quite simply, it is about greedy people running after money. One of the protagonists, Venky (Venkatesh), can get anything done for a price from registering marriages to vehicles. Varun (Varun Tej) is a scamster who dons fake identities to make a quick buck. Harika (Tamannaah Bhatia) and Honey (Mehreen Pirzada) have their own tricks up their sleeve. To ramp up the glamour quotient, Pooja Hegde has been roped in for a party song.

For more laughs of a different kind, there’s Dr Arora – Gupt Rog Visheshaga streaming on Sony Liv from July 22. Created by Jab We Met director Imtiaz Ali, the series sees Kumud Mishra (another talented actor who remains unacknowledged) plays the titular role of a sexologist. The light-hearted series sheds light on the stigma men face when they try to consult someone about their sexual problems. The series is directed by Sajid Ali and Archit Kumar.

Also read: Rocketry review: Madhavan’s film dazzles, but veers off course now and then

A writer on a cruise

Here’s a film that comes with a sensational cast. Let Them All Talk is a comedy-drama on a celebrated author who goes on a cruise trip to get over her troubled past, available on Amazon Prime. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, the movie boasts a formidable lineup of actors such as Meryl Streep, Candice Bergen, Dianne Wiest, Lucas Hedges, and Gemma Chan. It is a drama that takes place mostly on the Queen Mary 2 cruise.

Alice Hughes (played by Streep), a famous New York novelist who is struggling to write her new novel travels on a cruise to go to England to collect an award. Alice invites her longtime friend Roberta (Bergen), on whose life she had based her first novel on much to the latter’s discomfort; Susan (Wiest), a lawyer in Seattle representing victims of domestic violence, along with her nephew Tyler (Lucas Hedges) to join her. Her new agent, Karen (Chan) too gets on board the ship.

As the journey progresses, Alice has to face some uncomfortable truths about herself. If you are a Soderberg fan, and loved his films such as Magic Mike, Sex Lies and Videotape, Erin Brokovich, Behind the Candelabra, High Flying Bird etc., you can safely try this one out.

The Next Big film on OTT: On July 26, Amazon Prime video will stream the much talked about directorial of actor R Madhavan, Rocketry: The Nambi effect. Those who missed catching the film in the theatres (which by the way is fast becoming an elitist thing), check it out.

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