ott this weekend

OTT: Search for Lord Krishna's anklet, and a male's tale on Marilyn Monroe

Blockbuster Karthikeya 2, a film rooted in Hindu mythology, Vikram's romantic comedy Cobra, a misogynistic take on Marilyn Monroe's life and a climate change expose on MUBI are all streaming this weekend

Is it a coincidence that a number of movies of late seem to be brimming with Hindu symbols and Vedic chants? The latest blockbuster Telugu film, writer-director Chandoo Mondeti’s Karthikeya 2, too falls in this ‘Hindoo’ genre, which will start streaming on Zee5 from October 5.

Touted as an action-adventure saga, this sequel to the highly successful 2017 Karthikeya, the film has collected ₹120 crore at the box-office (according to Zee5). Based on Hindu mythology, it has members of a secret society trying to unravel codes, symbols, racing to get to ancient excavations sites in the pursuit of truth – and the tatva (reality) of Lord Krishna.

Well, if all this sounds too esoteric, reviewers have called this film Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code set in the Indian context. That is the trend today, is it not? A Marvel universe reimagined in India, a mystery thriller set against the backdrop of Hindu religion and so on and so forth.

No ordinary anklet

While the first film had the hero Nikhil Siddhartha trying to solve the murders at a temple refusing to believe in superstitions and supernatural power, here, he’s after an anklet of Lord Krishna, which is safely hidden in a corner of the earth. It is no ordinary anklet, it has the answers to the world’s problems. 

An archaeologist first learns about these historical truths and Nikhil, on a visit to Dwaraka, gets roped into the chase. The archaeologist’s daughter Anupama Parameswaran and he embark on an adventurous journey across Beyt Dwarka, Mathura, Radha Kund, Bundelkhand and Himachal Pradesh, with a secret society at their heels.

Sounds like fun, but reviewers despite giving a thumbs up to the film, say that it tries to blend religion and the thriller elements and that does not work (much like what happened in Brahmastra too). In Karthikeya, there are other agendas at work too. The story keeps hitting a pause button to sermonise and extol ideologies and the thriller loses its sting.

That’s not surprising since the film is backed by the producers of The Kashmir Files. And, there’s Anupam Kher, their mascot, in the film as well. Watch it to know where the Indian film industry is headed.

Also read: Netflix unveils action footage from Alia Bhatt’s Hollywood debut ‘Heart of Stone’

Catch me if you can

Vikram’s films have not been doing well in cinemas. But Cobra, about a globetrotting assassin, Vikram (Madhi), who kills a Scottish prince while he is getting married in a church, seems to be a more bizarre ride than most. Vikram also bumps off an Indian chief minister, a prince, a French mayor, and a Russian defence minister and still runs around scot free. Aslan, (Irfan Pathan), who’s given the task of nabbing the killer, seems completely ineffectual. Besides Interpol, he is also chased by a lover (Srinidhi Shetty) wanting him to marry her.

But director Ajay Gnanamuthu, with his fertile imagination, still has to answer questions as to why this mathematical genius became an assassin. Why is he not agreeing to marry his lady love? There’s also a rich baddie (played by Roshan Mathew) who struts around in bathrobes and suits, and a handler (played by KS Ravikumar) who doubles up as Madhi’s mentor.

A review says Cobra falls somewhere between watchable and could-have-been-better. Another review is more kinder, and points out, “after ramping up the initial excitement, the film sinks. And it sinks further post-interval and it never recovers its ground even in the climax.” If you are a Vikram fan and like to be tortured with a bad screenplay, check out this film on SonyLiv.

Plan A Plan B

You have probably seen countless films where the couple start off as enemies and then the hormones take over and they fall into bed. A divorce lawyer with a secret agenda moves into the office next to a matchmaker. The two are from opposite worlds and they have to collide with dirty jokes and silly one liners. If the trailer of Plan A Plan B, landing on Netflix this weekend, is any indication this face-off between divorce lawyer (Riteish Deshmukh) and matchmaker Tamannaah Bhatia, journeys down the usual trope of farcical comedies. They hate each other, curse and rant and then fall in love. If there’s Deshmukh around there is bound to be a lot of sexual innuendos, flying around.

The director Shashanka Ghosh  (who made the female bonding film Veere di Wedding and his debut film was none other than the cult movie Quick Gun Murugun) calls Plan A Plan B as a “ sweet romantic comedy” that is light-hearted and fun.

It may not be soul-stirring stuff for sure, but the Netflix original may just brighten up a dull weekend. But you can always turn to Plan B and move on to another film in another channel if it is just not funny.

Also read: OTT: Binge-worthy Emmy baggers, a horror tale, and a dreamy romance

An ugly exploitative film: Blonde

Here’s a film that is causing a lot of angst among film reviewers, especially women. This is the film adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates’s contentious 2000 novel Blonde, an fictionalised biography of Marilyn Monroe. Like Princess Diana, this Hollywood sex symbol continues to be the subject of study and speculation years after she died of an accidental overdose of barbiturates in 1962.

The film follows a bleakly familiar trajectory that begins with Monroe’s unhappy childhood, a mentally unstable mother, her depressingly abusive relationships, her dazzling fame and her catastrophic downward spiral. But the problem with the film, say reviewers, is the horribly exploitative male gaze.

Monroe is shown as a perpetual victim of both uncaring men as she drifts and stumbles through a life that never feels like her own. Blonde not only has copious nudity and graphic sex scenes but also an overly lengthy sequence shot from all possible angles of Marilyn’s dress flying upwards for a scene in The Seven Year Itch (1955). It becomes a tawdry tabloid account of fallen movie stars.

Blonde denies Monroe any agency. One reviewer brutally brushed it aside as “necrophiliac entertainment”. The director has not bothered to take into account Monroe’s personality and inner life, her intelligence, her wit and tenacity; her interest in — and knowledge of — politics; the work that she put in as an actress and the true depth of her professional ambitions, says another reviewer. 

Her films, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire, Some Like It Hot, The Misfits, and her abilities as an actress are never touched upon. Those looking for a biopic about a brilliant actress of yesteryear, are sure to be disappointed and outraged. The film, which is going to raise a lot of hackles, is already streaming on Netflix.

Climate change expose on MUBI

Award-winning filmmaker Rahul Jain (Machines) directs this climate change exposé Invisible Demons – streaming exclusively on MUBI from October 4. This docu was part of the Official Selection in Cannes Film Festival 2021. In the film, Jain returns to Delhi and explores the dramatic consequences of India’s growing economy through stunning visuals, capturing not only a city in crisis but magnifying our collective climate realities.

Told through striking images and eye-opening accounts from everyday citizens, Invisible Demons delivers a visceral and immersive journey through the stories of just a few of Delhi’s 30 million inhabitants fighting to survive. Jain engages the senses by directly stimulating our desire to live in a world with equitable access to clean air and water. Is it possible to imagine this future in Delhi, in India, or anywhere in the modern world?

Read More
Next Story