The internet is the new TV. At least for those of us who had long ditched the television set and turned to the many weird and wonderful foreign shows available on the web. The arrival of international video-on-demand services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in India — both launched in 2016 — has changed the game. Other Indian channels such as Hotstar and ALTBalaji have followed. Within a short span, there has been an explosion of web series’; films, of different languages, can now be viewed on these platforms, soon after their theatrical release. We watch everything so that you don’t have to, and recommend a list of shows, feature films and documentaries available online.
At the time of the release of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960), when Janet Leigh, the heroine, got into the shower of her motel room, and was brutally stabbed and murdered, only 30 minutes of the run-time had passed. And the movies had changed forever. Alexandre O. Philippe’s one-and-a-half-hour documentary 78/52 — 78 shots, 52 cuts — is about this moment in movie history. With voices from Peter Bogdanovich, Guillermo del Toro and Jamie Lee Curtis among others, the film is shot in ominous black-and-white, like the scene itself.
Love Per Square Foot, Feature Film
Anand Tiwari’s frothy, warm film has a likeable couple — Vicky Kaushal and Angira Dhar — at its centre, and is grounded in real problems of housing in Mumbai. But what makes this Netflix Original more than your average rom-com are the portrayal of the parents, played by the excellent Ratna Pathak Shah, Supriya Pathak and Raghuvir Yadav.
Queen of Katwe, Feature Film
Mira Nair’s film from 2017 is about Ugandan chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi (Madina Nalwanga). Mutesi’s journey began in a slum called Katwe in Kampala, from where she went on to represent her country in 4 Olympiads. Nair, who has made the city her home for past 28 years, tells the story with a personal touch. The film features Lupita Nyong’o as Mutesi’s mother, and Robert Katende, Mutesi’s real-life coach.
Breathe, TV series
R. Madhavan‘s Danny Mascarenhas, a loving, single father, and a football coach, becomes a hoodie-wearing vigilante when he learns that his 6-year-old son will die if he doesn’t undergo a lung transplant. His paths cross with Amit Sadh’s Kabir Sawant, the hard-drinking, unorthodox police inspector, with a dead daughter and a divorced wife. Prime Original’s second outing after Inside Edge has a sincere performance by Madhavan and makes for a decent watch.