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Media News Digest June 23, 2021

admin   June 23, 2021

Indian Trio at Cannes Film Festival 2021

Three Indian films will be at Cannes Film Festival this year. While Rahul Jain’s Invisible Dreams will be present at Official Selection – Cinema for the Climate, Payal Kapadia’s A Night of Knowing Nothing will be at Directors’ Fortnight and Suman Sen’s Eka (Solo) at La FabriqueCinema 2021. Rahul Jain’s Invisible Dreams, filmed entirely in Delhi, where Jain was born and raised, looks at the impact of pollution and climate change on the residents of India’s Capital city. Payal Kapadia’s film A Night of Knowing Nothing unfolds as a flower blossoms in the course of an afternoon in a house where a 60-year-old widow lives with a Nepali maid. Suman Sen’s Eka (Solo), an Indo-Bangladeshi venture backed by Arifur Rahman of Goopy Bagha Productions, is one of ten projects selected for the La Fabrique mentoring programme of the Institut Francais.

Times Now Promises to Not Air Anything Against Bollywood

The Times Network has said that its news channel, Times Now, will not publish or air anything defamatory to the Hindi film industry. This comes after four film industry associations and 34 producers filed a lawsuit in October against Republic TV and Times Now and a few of their anchors, alleging ‘irresponsible reporting’. In a joint statement issued with The Producers Guild of India, which is one of the plaintiffs, Times Network said that they have settled the matter. According to the statement, “The application for settlement along with the consent terms is pending for acceptance before the Delhi High Court.”

Google Apps in Smart TVs: CCI Orders Fresh Investigation

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has launched an antitrust probe against tech giant Google over the alleged dominance of its Android Operating System in the Smart TV market in India. In an order dated 22 June, CCI said it found Google “prima facie” in violation of India’s antitrust regulations and asked its director general (DG) to further investigate the matter. Google’s Android OS has a 90 per cent market share in the smart TV segment, which according to the watchdog violates the country’s competition laws. The complaint filed by antitrust lawyers Kshitiz Arya and Purushottam Anand in May last year alleges that Google bars any company that acquired the licence for its AndroidTV platform from working with its competitors.

Google Faces EU Antitrust Probe

The European Commission opened a new investigation into Google to assess whether the tech giant has favored its own online display ad technology services. The investigation will also explore whether Google is unfairly limiting access to user data to its competitors. In a statement, Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission’s executive vice president in charge of competition policy said: “We are concerned that Google has made it harder for rival online advertising services to compete in the so-called ad tech stack. A level playing field is of the essence for everyone in the supply chain.” Google is one of the world’s largest companies with a market value of more than $1.6 trillion.

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Big Tech, Big Worry. It’s a Global Trend

US lawmakers recently announced huge bipartisan bills aimed at huge tech companies. At a time when such developments are being witnessed across the world, many outlets reported that Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google were directly targeted in the new set of bills that would put more restrictions on corporations’ monopolistic tactics such as acquiring competitors. Naturally, these corporations are widely against the new bills and have begun executing their lobbying campaigns against the bills. Following this, thirteen organizations, many allied with high-tech companies, wrote to the US House Judiciary Committee on Monday urging lawmakers to vote against two of the most far-reaching antitrust bills that the committee will discuss this week. The two bills – one introduced by Representative David Cicilline, chair of the antitrust subcommittee, and the other by Representative Pramila Jayapal – address the issue of giant companies, such as Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google, creating a platform for other businesses and then competing against those same businesses.

One Good News For Google, YouTube Wins Copyright Fight in Europe Court

YouTube has won its latest copyright-infringement challenge after Europe’s top court said online platforms are not liable for users uploading unauthorised works unless the platforms failed to take quick action to remove or block access to the content. The European Court of Justice ruled that YouTube and other online platforms shouldn’t be held liable for copyright-infringing uploads in some cases. They could, however, be held liable if they are aware copyrighted content is available illegally and refrain from ‘expeditiously deleting it,’ the ECJ said. This development marks a win for YouTube and other platforms, which have long tussled with artists and musicians over compensation for work that gets shared online. This has come at a time when India is also looking for an answer on who is responsible — uploader or platform — for the content. One has to wait and watch to know whether this ruling will have some reprieve for YouTube in India.

Arnab Goswami Chargesheeted in TRP Manipulation Case

The Mumbi crime branch probing the Television Rating Points (TRP) manipulation scam has named Republic TV chief Arnab Goswami (added as 19th accused),four employees of the channel and two others in its second supplementary chargesheet submitted in the 37th metropolitan magistrate court on Tuesday. Goswami has been named along with Shivendu Mulekar, chief operating officer Priya Mukherjee and chief financial officer Shiva Sundaram in the 1,800-page chargesheet. This development has come nine months after the police registered an FIR in the case and former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh named the channel as being involved in the scam.

TN govt’s Kalvi TV Grabs Attention

At a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has hit education sector hard, Tamil Nadu government has found a solution to bridge the gap- Kalvi TV. The television channel, which has become a hit among students and parents, is offering online classes. The model can be emulated by other states and private players as well. Since schools remained shut owing to the Covid-19, video lessons began on Kalvi TV for the 2020-21 academic year. Following this, bridge course programmes were telecast over the summer as well, after the academic year to address learning gaps. For this purpose, students were given workbooks. Says P A Naresh, Joint Director of the School Education Department, and special officer, Kalvi TV, “this year, we have added lessons for Classes 1 and 12 as well. Last year, Class 12 students had recorded video lessons on their laptops, which they had used to study.”

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20 Films That Make us Believe Freedom is Priceless

admin   August 10, 2020

Saibal Chatterjee

Freedom is nothing if it does not make a difference to the lives of the people who make up a nation. In the manner in which politics and the power dynamic often pan out, ordinary voices are barely heard above the din of rhetoric and empty bluster. As India, the world’s largest democracy, completes 74 years as an independent nation, we draw up a list of 20 films from around the country that celebrate people power in the face of daunting challenges. These films remind us that independence isn’t just about the rulers; it also draws meaning from those who build the nation with their toiling hands and throbbing souls, and from the change agents and activists who are on the frontline of the battle to protect our liberties and rights as citizens.

HirakRajarDeshe (Bengali, 1980)

The film was a celebration of free thinking, people’s power and the healing quality inherent in music

Director: Satyajit Ray
Starring: Tapen Chatterjee, Rabi Ghosh, Utpal Dutt, Soumitra Chatterjee,
Santosh Dutta, Ajoy Banerjee

Streaming ON airtelXstream, hoichoi

Satyajit Ray’s sequel to his 1969 children’s musical fantasy Goopy GyneBaghaByne, three years after the end of Indira Gandhi’s Emergency, painted an alarming portrait of the ways of a despot. The protagonists, the magical musicians Goopy and Bagha, reach the kingdom called Hirak, where they find great suffering and starvation among the people even as the heartless tyrant hoards enormous wealth. The king’s ministers are yes-men, all dissent is ruthlessly crushed, and rebels are captured and put through a brain-washing machine. A teacher, the only character in the film who does not deliver dialoguesin rhyme, enlists the support of Goopy and Bagha in a rebellion against the authoritarian ruler. The film was a celebration of free thinking, people’s power and the healing quality inherent in music.

Kathapurushan (Malayalam, 1995)

The freedom struggle, the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, the advent of the world’s first democratically elected Communist government in Kerala and the declaration of Emergency provide the backdrop for the drama

Director: Adoor Gopalakrishnan
Starring: Vishwanathan, Mini Nair, Aranmula Ponnamma, Narendra Prasad, Urmila Unni

Streaming ON Youtube (unofficial)

The protagonist of Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s masterly film,which probes the indomitability of the human spirit in the face of attempts to chain it through the means of regimentation and political conditioning, is a man who values his freedom more than anything else. Kunjunni is born with a stammer but he is endowed with an inner strength that helps him turn every experience into a new beginning. He falls in loves with the maid’s daughter but is forced to separate from her as political changes rob the family of its wealth, his mother and grandmother pass away, he is disillusioned with party politics, and strays into Naxalism and is arrested and tortured by the police. Through his experiences, Kathapurushan explores the history of post-Independence Kerala. The film moves back and forth between the particular and the universal. The freedom struggle, the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, the advent of the world’s first democratically-elected Communist government in Kerala, the Naxalite uprising, the declaration of Emergency and the Left’s return to popular favour provide the backdrop for the drama.

Iruvar (Tamil, 1997)

Iruvar tracks the intense intertwining of cinema and politics in Tamil Nadu through the account of the life and times of two friendsturned-foes

Director: Mani Ratnam
Starring: Mohanlal, Prakash Raj, Aishwarya Rai

Streaming ON airtelXstream, hoichoi

Mani Ratnam’s 1997 political drama (which, presumably under pressure, was pitched as “not a true story”) traced the rise of three Tamil Nadu chief ministers (M. Karunanidhi, MG Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa) via a series of crucial state elections. The film, starring Mohanlal, Prakash Raj, Aishwarya Rai (in her first big screen appearance), Revathi and Tabu, tracks the intense intertwining of cinema and politics in Tamil Nadu through the account of the life and times of two friends-turned-foes who went on to becoming towering figures both in the world of entertainment and in guiding the destiny of the state. Iruvar, which won several international accolades, ranks among the Chennai filmmaker’s most accomplished works, marked by impressive technical skill.

Mudhalvan (Tamil, 1999)

A chief minister, under constant fire from a truculent television journalist who thrives on asking hard questions, dares the former to run the state for 24 hours

Director: S. Shankar
Starring: Arjun, Manisha Koirala, Raghuvaran, Vadivelu, Manivannan

Streaming ON Voot

S. Shankar’s Tamil potboiler, which the director himself turned into the Bollywood film Nayak (2001) with the Hindi dialogue penned by Anurag Kashyap and Anil Kapoor playing the role essayed by Arjun in the original production, delved in a hyper-dramatic fashion into the popular disillusionment with the political class and conjured up a story aimed at collective wish fulfilment. A chief minister, under constant fire from a truculent television journalist who thrives on asking hard questions, dares the former to run the state for 24 hours. The hero accepts the challenge. Although he faces many pitfalls in his way, the protagonist does such a wonderful job that his popularity shoots through the roof and he sweeps the next polls.  

Sarkar (Tamil, 2018)

A story about electoral malpractices and create awareness about the rights of the people in a functioning democracy

Director: A. R. Murugadoss
Starring: Vijay, Keerthy Suresh, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Radha Ravi

Streaming ON Netflix, SUNNXT

The Tamil film written and directed by A.R. Murugadoss, taps lead actor Vijay’s cult status to tell a story about electoral malpractices and create awareness about the rights of the people in a functioning democracy. The star plays an NRI businessman Sundar Ramaswamy who returns from the US to cast his vote in the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections only to find that his vote has been fraudulently cast by someone else. He launches a fight against an electoral system that allows voting frauds. But that isn’t the only front on which the hero has to wage a war. Two powerful and corrupt politicians, the state chief minister and his brother, are opposed to the crusader. The latter enters the electoral fray himself to stop the politicians from getting away with their misdeeds. Sarkar makes a strong case for electoral reforms in the country. 

HazaaronKhwaisheinAisi (Hindi, 2003)

It is a rare Hindi film dealing with the eventful Emergency years during which many young people jumped into the bruising battle for the creation of a more just society

Director: Sudhir Mishra
Starring: Kay Kay Menon, Shiney Ahuja, Chitrangda Singh

Streaming ON Netflix

Set in the 1970s, in the years before and after the Emergency promulgated during the reign of Indira Gandhi, Sudhir Mishra’s evocation of a turbulent period in Indian political history revolves around three Delhi college students, two boys and a girl, who go their own ways after completing their education. One of the boys, driven by revolutionary zeal, becomes an ant-caste activist, the other sets up an office in Delhi to pursue his business goals. The girl leaves for Oxford for higher studies. A few years later, their paths crossagain in the cauldron of a people’s movement that severely tests their idealism as the nation witnesses sweeping political and social changes. HazaaronKhwaisheinAisi– the title comes from a poem by Mirza Ghalib – is a rare Hindi film dealing with the eventful Emergency years during which many young people jumped into the bruising battle for the creation of a more just society – a movement that is still on even as it comes up against ever stiffening resistance from the powers that be.

Bhootnath Returns (Hindi, 2014)

A ghost contests and election and wins

Director: Nitesh Tiwari
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Parth Bhalerao, Boman Irani, Usha Jadhav, Sanjay Mishra, Brijendra Kala

Streaming ON Youtube movies

In Bhootnath Returns, the electoral system is projected in a relatively positive light but the corrupt politician still comes out looking as shady as he has ever been on the big screen. Amitabh Bachchan, playing a benign ghost, takes on a shady politician and wins. The Election Commission, impressed with the film’s messaging, advised state governments to grant it tax exemption. What did Bhootnath Returns suggest? That only a ghost stands a chance in the hurly-burly of fictional poll battles.                                 

Newton (Hindi, 2017)

It revolves around a battle of attrition on the frontline of Indian democracy between an earnest poll official and a security force commander

Director: Amit V. Masurkar
Starring: Rajkummar Rao, Pankaj Tripathi, Anjali Patil, Raghubir Yadav

Streaming ON Amazon prime

Amit V. Masurkar’s political black comedy revolves around a battle of attrition on the frontline of Indian democracy between an earnest poll official and a security force commander, both charged with the same job but driven by contradictory compulsions.Newton is a low-keybut telling exploration of the workings of the electoral process. A newly recruited government official leads a small poll team under paramilitary protection to a remote, violence-prone part of Chhattisgarh that hasn’t voted in years. The man, earnest to a fault, has unwavering faith in the electoral system and is determined to ensure a 100 per cent turnout despite the heavy odds that he is up against.The CRPF commander, in contrast, is more interested in getting out of the jungle with his men before sundown. It is an all-out face-off between earnestness and cynicism.

Court (Hindi/Marathi/Gujarati/English, 2014)

The film lays bare the anomalies of lumbering judicial system that is ill
equipped, if not outright reluctant, to serve the powerless

Director: Chaitanya Tamhane
Starring: Vira Sathidar, Vivek Gomber, Geetanjali Kulkarni, Pradeep Joshi, Usha Bane

Streaming ON youtube

Chaitanya Tamhane’s remarkable debut film is a scalding narrative that lays bare the anomalies of lumbering judicial system that is ill equipped, if not outright reluctant, to serve the powerless. Narayan Kamble (played by real-life activist ViraSathidar), feisty Dalit folk poet, is accused of abetting the suicide of a Mumbai manhole worker found dead in a noxious sewer.He sings of inconvenient truths and exhorts the downtrodden to fight for their rights.He is charged with inciting the impoverished municipal worker to take his own life.Tamhane develops this absurdist plotline into a caustic indictment of how insensitive law enforcement seeks to grind people into submission. The screenplay, marked by impressive acuity,reveals the deeply ingrained prejudices that breed skewed notions of sedition and national interest.

Nirbachana (Odia, 1994)

The film laid bare several bitter truths in one sweep about the connection between rural distress and electoral skulduggery in the world’s largest democracy

Director: Biplab Ray Chaudhuri
Starring: Bhima Singh, Durlav Singh, Bikash Das, Bidyut Prava Patnaik

Not available for streaming

In an Odisha village surrounded by stone quarries, the headman, contesting a state election, announces a bribe of Rs 100 for each vote. An impoverished couple – their son is about to wed and they need every extra rupee – ‘adopts’ a tuberculosis-afflicted beggar, their eyes on the money his vote will fetch. Before polling day, the old man’s condition worsens and he has to be carried through the quarries to a hospital. They lose their way and stray into a dynamite blast. The beggar is blown to pieces.That, in a nutshell, is the plot of the 1994 Odia-language film Nirbachana (Election), adapted by director Biplab Roy Chowdhury from a story by Bengali writer Prafulla Roy. This remains one of the most savage takedowns of rural elections ever. The film laid bare several bitter truths in one sweep about the connection between rural distress and electoral skulduggery in the world’s largest democracy.

Panchavadi Palam (Malayalam, 1984)

A political satire takes sharp potshots at the political scenario in Kerala

Director: K. G. George
Starring: Bharath Gopi, Nedumudi Venu, Sukumari

Streaming ON Youtube movies

Spearheaded by a trio of great Malayali actors, Bharat Gopi, Thilakan and NedumudiVenu, K.G. George’s political satire takes sharp potshots at the political scenario in Kerala. A politician wants to have a perfectly serviceable bridge demolished so that a new one can be built in its place and named after him. A rival politician opposes the plan until he figures out that the relocation of the bridge would lead not only to the construction of a new bridge but also the laying of a new road. The contracts for the road and the bridge are given to two separate contractors, one owing allegiance to the party in power, the other enjoying the support of the opposition. The opportunistic arrangement leads to the construction of a bridge that does not last long.     

Sinhasan (Marathi, 1979)

The film depicted the helplessness of the man in the street faced in a
socio-political environment where his/her voice counts for nothing

Director: Jabbar Patel
Starring: Nilu Phule, Shriram Lagoo, Mohan Agashe, Nana Patekar, Satish Dubhashi, Jairam Hardikar

Streaming ON Youtube Movies

Sinhasan, a seminal Marathi political drama scripted by Vijay Tendulkar (on the basis of two novels by journalist Arun Sadhu) and directed by Dr. Jabbar Patel, forayed into the unstable world of a chief minister struggling to retain his authority over a state in the grip of drought, rising prices and youth unrest. The film depicted the helplessness of the man in the street faced in a socio-political environment where his/her voice counts for nothing. Although true to the the realities of the period that it is set in, Sinhasan, which featured some of Marathi cinema’s finest actors (Nilu Phule, Dr. Shriram Lagoo, Mohan Agashe) resonates to this day because of the universality and timelessness of the truths that it so powerfully articulated.   

Swades (Hindi, 2004)

Swades told a story of hope, courage and the power of collective will

Director: Ashutosh Gowariker
Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Gayatri Joshi, Kishori Ballal

Streaming ON Youtube movies

Written, produced and directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, Swades was a worthy follow-up to his Lagaan. It is justifiably regarded as one of the most ‘complete’ Bollywood films ever made. A NASA scientist of Indian origin returns to his roots and inspires his remote north Indian village to produce its own electricity. Swades told a story of hope, courage and the power of collective will. Shahrukh Khan’s un-starry star turn and skilled blend of social philosophy and mainstream entertainment made it a film to remember.

MeeSindhutaiSapkal (Marathi, 2010)

Incredible true story of a woman who surmounted a series of personal
misfortunes on her way to emerging as a celebrated social worker who
devoted her life to taking care of abandoned, homeless children

Director: Ananth Narayan, Mahadevan
Starring: Tejaswini Pandit, Jyoti Chandekar, Upendra Limaye, Neena Kulkarni

Streaming ON YUPPTV

In this remarkable Marathi biopic, actor-director Ananth Narayan Mahadevan tells the incredible true story of a woman who surmounted a series of personal misfortunes on her way to emerging as a celebrated social worker who devoted her life to taking care of abandoned, homeless children. Born in a cattle-grazing family and married before her teens to a much older man who left her, Sindhutai overcame major obstacles to raise funds globally for an orphanage. This inspirational, uplifting film serves to showcase the admirable spirit of a woman who refused to be cowed down by social circumstances loaded against her. Its efficacy stems from the realistic approach of the storytelling, which steers clear of overstatement of any of the facts of the heroine’s life.

Hu Tu Tu (Hindi, 1999)

The film probes the genesis of youth disaffection

Director: Gulzar
Starring: Nana Patekar, Sunil Shetty, Tabu

Streaming ON Disney+hotstar

In poet-lyricist Gulzar’s last directorial venture, which probes the genesis of youth disaffection and the rise of militancy, the mood is dark. Young people, frustrated with the way the nation is run, are angered enough to conspire to not only kill others but also themselves if the need be. They have turned into ticking time bombs.Two of the principal characters in Hu Tu Tu, a rural schoolteacher-turned-politician and her mendacious mentor, are faces of the politics of expediency that has impacted the electoral sphere. “Politics naukrinahinhai, business hai, bahut bada business (Politics isn’t a job, it is business, big business),” says the woman. At the other end of the film’s spectrum is a Dalit activist and poet (played by Nana Patekar, who also had a role in Dr. Jabbar Patel’s Sinhasan) who articulates the frustrations of the people in his songs, one of which goes: “Ghaplahai bhai ghaplahai (It’s all a scam).”

Dev (Hindi, 2004)

Dev was a piercing commentary on the fractious times that we live in

Director: Govind Nihalani
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Fardeen Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Om Puri, Amrish Puri

Streaming ON Disney+hotstar

Govind Nihalani plunges headlong into the world of policing, politics and popular disenchantment in this story of two senior police officers, lifelong friends, who finds themselves caught between a powerful politician. One of them is upright and law-abiding, the other is willing to compromise with principles. Circumstances take an unfortunate turn and a young law graduate and a beautiful young woman are dragged into a violent spiral that pushes the city to the edge. Innocent lives fall prey to the machinations of politicians bent upon fishing in trouble waters. With fine performances from Amitabh Bachchan, Om Puri and Kareena Kapoor, Dev was a piercing commentary on the fractious times that we live in.      

Leader (Hindi, 1964)

One of the earliest Hindi films that addressed the nexus between crime and politics

Director: Ram Mukherjee
Starring: Dilip Kumar, Vyjayanthimala, Jayant

Not available for streaming

One of the earliest Hindi films that addressed the nexus between crime and politics, Leader was based on a story by Dilip Kumar. The actor plays an educated young man, Vijay, who edits a tabloid that specializes in provoking debates and questioning the status quo. He has disdain for self-serving politicians and revels in delivering combative speeches aimed at arousing the general public. He is accused of murdering a leading politician. Director Ram Mukherji’s film raised pressing issues that the people of India, a nation that had gained Independence less than two decades earlier, had begun to face as a result of unfulfilled promises. A little over a decade later, the Angry Young Man, embodied on the screen by Amitabh Bachchan, was born. Leader was the film where Vijay (the name of the male protagonist in a slew of 1970s and 1980s Bachchan films such as Deewar, Trishul and Shakti) was born.

Peepli Live (Hindi, 2010)

The film narrate a story rooted firmly in the depressing realities of rural India

Director: Anusha Rizvi
Starring: Omkar Das Manikpuri, Raghubir Yadav, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Naseeruddin Shah

Streaming ON Netflix

Writer-director Anusha Rizvi’s debut feature, a disarmingly simple but remarkably powerful film, is a major triumph. She taps the strength of the medium to narrate a story rooted firmly in the depressing realities of rural India, but without ever going into paroxysms of self-righteous indignation.Peepli Live lampoons an entire range of usual suspects — voyeuristicmediapersons, smarmy bureaucrats, scheming local-level political goons and self-serving rulers, all of whom want a piece of the sleepy village where a farmer is about to kill himself so that his family can survive. Thanks to the film’s nifty blend of humour and bathos, it does not slip into diatribe mode. It instead acquires the spiky edge of a pulsating yet biting satire that exposes the hypocrisy that informs our attitude towards the agrarian crisis that has been pushing farmers into a debt trap.

Dr. Prakash Baba Amte – The Real Hero (Marathi, 2014)

Biopic about social activist Baba Amte’s son, Dr. Prakash Amte, a selfless doctor who has devoted his life to the uplift of the tribal people of the forests of eastern Maharashtra

Director: Samruddhi Porey
Starring: Nana Patekar, Sonali Kulkarni, Mohan Agashe

Not available for streaming

Starring Nana Patekar in the eponymous role, this film, written and directed by SamruddhiPorey is a biopic about social activist Baba Amte’s son, Dr. Prakash Amte, a selfless doctor who has devoted his life to the uplift of   the tribal people of the forests of eastern Maharashtra. Aided and supported at every step by his wife, Mandakini, a role played by Sonali Kulkarni, the doctor is a shining example of what community leadership can achieve when it is channeled into the work of making a difference to the lives of the most vulnerable. Hemalkasa, the dense forest where Dr Amte works, is today an unparalleled success story.     

Antarnaad (Hindi, 1991)

The film tells a story of the lives of several individuals residing in two villages who practice Swadhyaya – a ritual that involves the study – and
understanding – of the self

Director: Shyam Benegal
Starring: Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Girish Karnad, Shabana Azmi, Om Puri

Streaming ON youtube movies

The odd one out not only in this list but also in the oeuvre of the veteran filmmaker ShyamBenegal.Antarnaad does not address either the social or the political so much as the intensely personal. To highlight the experiments of spiritual teacher and activist Pandurang VaijnathAthavale, which hinged on social change driven by a sense of the divine, the film tells a story of the lives of several individuals residing in two villages who practiseSwadhyaya – a ritual that involves the study – and understanding – of the self. Five people – including a poor fisherman, a smuggler and a widow looking for revenge after the death of her husband – undergo profound changes. The film has a cast that includes Shabana Azmi, Om Puri and Kulbhushan Kharbanda.    

Indian (Tamil, 1996)

Director: S. Shankar
Starring: Kamal Haasan, Manisha Koirala, Urmila Matondkar, Sukanya

Not available for streaming

A vigilante action film elevated by Kamal Haasan’s bravura performance in a dual role, Indian revolved around a former freedom fighter who mutates into a violent crusader against crime and corruption. The protagonist employs an ancient martial arts form in his mission against the wrongdoers. The Shankar-directed film was until the late 1990s the biggest box office success in the history of Tamil cinema. Indian has a message to convey, but it is laced with popular ingredients aimed at the masses. Special effects, elaborate song and dance routines, action sequences and of course the lead actor playing two distinct characters captured the imagination of the audience. The cast of Indian includes Bollywood actresses Manisha Koirala and Urmila Matondkar. A Hindi version of the film (titled Hindustani) was released nationwide.     

Vidya Balan Catalogue: Watch Now

admin   July 29, 2020

Bhalo Theko (2003)

Streaming ON HoiChoi

Anandi lives in an extended family along with her parents, siblings and uncle and is in love with Babua, her brother’s friend. However, things change drastically in her life when Babua goes abroad

Director: Goutam Halder

Parineeta (2005)

Streaming ON Netflix

The lifelong romance between Lolita (Balan) and Shekar (Khan) is upset by
the arrival of another man.

Director: Pradeep Sarkar

Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006)

Streaming ON Netflix

Munna Bhai embarks on a journey with Mahatma Gandhi in order to fight against a corrupt property dealer.

Director: Rajkumar Hirani

Guru (2007)

Streaming ON YOUTUBE

A villager, Gurukant Desai, arrives in Bombay 1958, and rises from its streets to become the GURU, the biggest tycoon in Indian history.

Director: Mani Ratnam

Salaam-e-Ishq: A Tribute to Love (2007)

Streaming ON ZEE5

Six couples face problems in their lives when fate forces them to move away from each other. They must overcome these issues in order to make their love triumphant.

Director: Nikkhil Advani

Eklavya: The Royal Guard (2007)

Streaming ON NETFLIX

As the kingdom of Devigarh comes apart at the seams, an aging bodyguard
attempts to protect the Royal Family, as well as keep its darkest secrets from ever coming to light.

Director: Vidhu Vinod Chopra

Heyy Babyy (2007)


Three bachelors who are compulsive womanizers find their lives turned
upside down when a baby is left at their doorstep. The trio suspect each
other of being the father.

Director: Sajid Khan

Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007)


An NRI and his wife decide to stay in his ancestral home, paying no heed to the warnings about ghosts. Soon, inexplicable occurrences cause him to call a psychiatrist to help solve the mystery.

Director: Priyadarshan

Halla Bol (2008)

Streaming ON Voot

A popular Bollywood actor witnesses a murder but refuses to come forward to identify the killer(s)

Director: Rajkumar Santoshi

Kismat Konnection (2008)


A luckless architect discovers a social activist to be his lucky charm.
Unfortunately, she’s protecting the community center he’s aiming to win a
contract to tear down.

Director: Aziz Mirza

Paa (2009)

Streaming ON YUPP TV

A father tries to help his son cope with a rare condition that causes the young boy to age beyond his years.

Director: R. Balki

Ishqiya (2010)

Streaming ON Amazon Prime

While on the run from goons, a man and his nephew fall for a kidnapper’s
seductive widow.

Director: Abhishek Chaubey

No One Killed Jessica (2011)

Streaming ON Netflix

A journalist, who is more of an activist teams up with the sister of a murdered model, as she gets interested in the case and wants to bring justice to her case.

Director: Raj Kumar Gupta

Urumi (2011)

Streaming ON ZEE5

Chirakkal Kelu Nayanar, a warrior in 16th century Kerala wants to avenge his father killed in a confrontation with Vasco da Gama and his troops and is assisted by his best friend Vavvali and warrior princess Ayesha.

Director: Santosh Sivan

The Dirty Picture (2011)

Streaming ON Viu

The love story between an actress and a director, inspired by the life of the late south Indian actress Silk Smitha.

Director: Milan Luthria

Kahaani (2012)

Streaming ON NETFLIX

A pregnant woman’s search for her missing husband takes her from London to Kolkata, but everyone she questions denies having ever met him.

Director: Sujoy Ghosh

Ghanchakkar (2013)

Streaming ON NETFLIX

A safe cracker claims he has lost his memory when two criminals come calling for their cut of the bank heist loot.

Director: Rajkumar Gupta

Shaadi Ke Side Effects (2014)

Streaming ON Disney+hotstar

A complicated relationship develops between a man and woman after getting married and having a baby.

Director: Saket Chaudhary

Bobby Jasoos (2014)

Streaming ON Disney+hotstar

Bobby Jasoos is a film that celebrates the aspiration of Bobby, who wants to
become the number one detective in the old city area of Hyderabad.

Director: Samar Shaikh

Hamari Adhuri Kahani (2015)

Not available for streaming

A single mother finds solace with a wealthy, but lonely hotel magnate,
together they find love until her past comes back to confront her.

Director: Mohit Suri

Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh (2016)

Streaming ON ZEE5

A woman with a mysterious past is charged with kidnapping and murder.

Director: Sujoy Ghosh

Begum Jaan (2017)

Streaming ON Amazon Prime

The story of eleven prostitutes who refuse to part ways with their brothel and each other during the partition between India and Pakistan.

Director: Srijit Mukherji

Tumhari Sulu (2017)

Streaming ON Amazon Prime

Sulu is an ambitious housewife with a loving husband and a happy family.
Things start changing for her when she accidentally lands a job as a radio jockey and her show becomes an instant hit.

Director: Suresh Triveni

N.T.R: Kathanayakudu (2019)

Streaming ON Amazon Prime

Based on the journey of the legendary Telugu actor, filmmaker and ex-Chief
Minister Late Taraka Rama Rao Nandamuri.

Director: Krish

N.T.R: Mahanayakudu (2019)

Streaming ON Amazon Prime

A follow up to NTR: Kathanayakudu which was based on N.T. Rama Rao’s life and acting career. This movie will focus on his political career.

Director: Krish

Nerkonda Paarvai (2019)

Streaming ON ZEE5

When three young women are implicated in a crime, a retired lawyer steps forward to help them clear their names.

Director: H. Vinoth

Mission Mangal (2019)

Streaming ON Disney+hotstar

Based on true events of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launching the Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan), making it the least expensive mission to Mars.

Director: Jagan Shakti

Natkhat (2020)

Not available for streaming

A doting mother tries to correct the course of her child through her bedtime stories.

Director: Shaan Vyas

Shakuntala Devi (2020)

Streaming ON Amazon Prime

Based on the life of Shakuntala Devi who is a well-known mathematical genius and calculating prodigy from India. She has been nicknamed ‘Human Computer’ because of her extraordinary talent and skill in solving complex mathematical problems without any mechanical aid.

Director: Anu Menon

Blockchain set to Transform M&E future

admin   May 18, 2020

Blockchain continues to be a watchword in the media and entertainment sector and beyond. The technology, which is set to disrupt the existing model of third-party distribution, will not only change the way we consume content but will also herald a new era of transparency and flexibility in the way the content is produced, says Alexander Shulgin, a visonary, investor, composer, entrepreneur, futurist, and a Blockchain specialist 

How do you think Blockchain is going to change the landscape for media and entertainment industry?

Blockchain is set to change everything. It will change how the people access content; it will change industrial businesses and, of course, our life style. Media & Entertainment is one of the most important aspects of our lifestyle, which is already a trillion dollars industry. Blockchain will transform it dramatically. It will change the way the content is created and allow its decentralization. One will be able to create content while streaming or accessing it. Blockchain is not going to be about distribution of content, rather it will be about accessing it.

Before the digital era arrived, there used to be a Master Tape, which could be used to create limited copies of cassettes, DVDs, CDs, etc.  When the digital era came the Master Tape disappeared because you could make unlimited copies of the same quality and distribute it. However, now distribution of unlimited copies of a film has become more and more expensive because you need to distribute the content in terms of Gigabytes and Terabytes.

Blockchain resolves this issue smartly.  For instance, if a new series of Games of Thrones is launched there will be only one copy of it which will be in the DotBC standard. This standard is comparable to standards like MPEG or MP3, but it allows unlimited access to smart content.

So instead of distributing this one copy of Games of Thrones to 100 million firms, Blockchain allows you to give them access to this content.  It will significantly reduce the cost of distribution and help the creator monetize every view by the users.

For instance, if you have distributed the copy of the content there may be people who will watch it for just five minutes and don’t like it. But in this case you have already spent heavily on distributed terabytes.

However, if you give access of the content to the people even if they don’t like it you will save lot of bytes. Also, the data used can immediately give you statistics. It is much like pay for what you watch.

Today, if I put my content on YouTube I am paid by advertisers only if I have more than, say, 10,000 views. If only 300 people watch the content, they don’t pay you. But the Blockchain will allow you to get paid for even one view that too immediately.

Is it like you pay from your credit card?

When you make a payment through credit card, the card company asks American Express or Mastercard to make the transactions and sometimes one transaction may cost you three dollars. But since using Blockchain you can make a trillion transactions in one go that too at the cost of one transaction, it won’t matter how many transactions you do.

Will Blockchain allow distribution of an Indian film in the Latin America, Brazil in their languages?

When producers give content, Netflix, YouTube, Amazon don’t provide the data. Sometimes they share some data but they keep the data mainly with themselves. The data is new oil, new gold. If you have the data then you can monetize it by selling it to the interested parties.

Machine learning, which is a form of Blockchain, will automatically know where the user comes from and provide the content translated in the language known to them. Suppose I come from France and I know French, I will be the French translation of the content automatically. It has become easier now with the emergence of language translation services like Google, Microsoft and others.

Is it going to change the way movies or content are distributed?

Distributor will not distribute because the producer will have the access. There will be no distributor. The nature of Blockchain will disrupt third parties. It will make direct connections with the user. Today if I have to send an SMS, my SMS will go to a Moscow server then it will go to a Mumbai operator before getting delivered to the intended person. It travels thousands of miles, which means extra cost. It wastes time and increases traffic. In case of Blockchain, it will go directly to the recipient. If it goes directly then there can be no latency. You can stream the content online and mix editing online according to my behavior. The way of protection of content will be changed.

Will this help startups?

Old companies are often very slow in adapting new technologies. There is a big chance for new emerging markets for start-ups.

Is this blockchain expensive?

It will cut a lot of cost. It needs lot of energy. Of course you need data mining centres and that will cost you but because it will cut a lot of costs it will be a win-win for all.

Will it help if five-six independent people come together, pool their content and distribute it in a big way?

They can join together to promote the content, they don’t need to create a platform.

Can we live without Google, Amazon or YouTube?

Blockchain will disrupt the search engines also. That’s why Google is now being transformed to Alphabet. Alphabet is Artificial Intelligence. We still have Google but it understands the future.

Also, that’s why Netflix focuses on content. The platform is a third party and a third party has no future.

What kind of media sectors can benefit and make money out of it?

You can make money in many ways. If you have data then you can barter it with other things. Blockchain will allow this to happen. Let’s say if I need fruit from India, you can give me fruit and I can give you my music. Money is something just to be equal to exchange.

Will Blockchain  kill piracy?

Yes of course, because now you will have one master tape which cannot be hacked. It is almost impossible to hack Blockchain.

How did you get into the world of Blockchain?

I am from music, media and entertainment industry. Blockchain started as a peer to peer project in 1999. The first peer to peer project was Kazaa. I know the founders of Kazaa and I tried to find more about this technology because I was very angry about piracy. But it was not piracy, it was a peer to peer sharing. Later, the US government shut down Kazaa.

How has Blockchain shaped in Russia?

We have started it. A lot of it is used in payment transaction. But then we are waiting for 5G network. Remember in 1994 it was impossible to download MP3. In 1996 to download one MP3 file you needed one night. Now it is instant. In the same way, Blockchain needs more bandwidth. We are waiting for 5G and by the time 6G is introduced it will be bigger.