By Joginder Tuteja
Sherni is the newest film to arrive on OTT this week and this is Vidya Balan’s second direct-to-digital release in one year after Shakuntala Devi. The team is also the same as producer Vikram Malhotra’s Abundantia Entertainment brought this one to Amazon Prime.
The film has director’s Amit V Masurkar stamp all over it as the mood and spirit is pretty much similar to that of Newton. If the Rajkummar Rao starrer was about how the downtrodden are exploited, it’s the battle between man and animal in the dense jungles of the country which is explored in Sherni. The film has emerged as a thought provoking film which picks from the newspaper headlines. It’s about whether a beast can be blamed if humans end up invading their space for their own greed.
There are several moments in the film which bring on dry humour in the most uncharacteristic of places (office space, guest house, training halls). As for the outdoors, there is plenty of that as more than half the film has been shot at actual jungles of Madhya Pradesh. While Vidya Balan is truly in character as per the demand of the film, veteran Sharat Saxena is in great form here while Brijendra Kale brings on smiles with his typical acting style.
There are two web series and one anthology which arrive this weekend – Grahan [Disney+Hotstar], Dhoop Ki Deewar [ZEE5] and Ray [Netflix].
Grahan is a drama which features Pavan Malhotra and Zoya Hussain in principle roles. Somehow, not much was heard about the web series when it was being made and hence its announcement came across as a sudden surprise. This one moves back and forth between the present times and the 1984 riots. While one expects the narrative to unfold as a thriller, the core of it is a father-daughter story where Zoya, who is playing an IPS officer, is required to investigate the happenings from 1984, only to realize that her father is in the midst of affairs.
Dhoop Ki Deewar has an India-Pakistan backdrop where a love story develops between an Indian boy and a Pakistani girl in the time of war. They both have lost someone close to them and while their respective families carry the feeling of hate, the youngsters end up falling in love with each other. By the look of things, this one comes across as a heartwarming affair with many sensitive moments. What makes this web series special is the fact that it is a Pakistani production with real life couple Ahad Raza Mir and Sajal Aly playing on-screen lovers.
As for those who love their monthly dose of anthologies, there is Ray which comprises of four short stories written by none other than Satyajit Ray. There are different kind of genres that are explored in Ray which range from a satire to a psychological thriller. Directors like Srijit Mukherji [Begum Jaan], Abhishek Chaubey [Udta Punjab] and Vasan Bala [Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota] have come together to create content for Ray.
The trailer of Ray has given a hint of what to expect and rest assured it should be something striking and never-seen-before with the kind of twists and turns that would keep a viewer engaged. Moreover, it’s a good mix of actors leading charge with youngsters Ali Fazal and Harshvardhan Kapoor leading a story each and veterans Manoj Bajpayee and Kay Kay Menon bringing on their might.
Grahan – Disney + Hotstar – 24th June
Dhoop Ki Deewar – ZEE5 – 25th June
Ray – Netflix – 25th June
(Joginder Tuteja is a trade expert and film critic, and loves to talk and write about anything that is related to films. Views are personal)