Squid Game (Netflix)
Who would have thought that in the times of pandemic when the entire world has seen so much grief and suffering, a South Korean show on people being killed like flies and blood being splattered like Holi colours would be such a hit. The plot is simple: 456 contestants—all of whom are in financial trouble—have to play six seemingly easy and popular children's games. But the twist is in the elimination process—if you lose, you are killed. The last man standing gets to take home a prize money of 45.6 billion won. In this dystopian world, where the contestants are provoked to be ruthless and turn on each other, Seong Gi-hun (played by Lee Jung jae) is the character offering hope—in a game of survival, you don't need to be the brightest or the strongest, you also need to have a soul. One character who is sure to catch your attention is Ali Abdul (Anupam Tripathi), a Pakistani who came to Korea to make money but is obviously broke. When he says he’s from Pakistan, a participant asks, “Where is that?” Another participant replies, “Right above India.”
Lo And Behold: Reveries Of The Connected World
Werner Herzog is one of the great living filmmakers, both in fiction and documentary. In this 2016 film, he turned his attention to the internet. We wrote in our review: “Though he’s made documentaries that hew closer to the urban experience, the Internet nevertheless seems like a step out of his comfort zone; that zone being somewhere near the edge of an active volcano. The segments in Lo And Behold don’t tell a cohesive story, and they probably aren’t meant to. What begins as a history of the Internet turns into a cautionary tale about cyberbullying, Web addiction and online security, before dedicating its last few segments to speculation about the future (Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX, makes an appearance).”
A docu-series on the pairing of Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes that’s surprisingly confrontational. In our review we wrote: “The seven-episode series, by Nitesh Tiwari and Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, uses Paes’ and Bhupathi’s often-differing recollections – and those of their parents, friends, coaches and opponents – to tell the story of their rapid rise and equally rapid implosion. It has the feel of couples therapy: a long list of slights recalled and grievances aired, but also wistful memories of a time when the love was strong.”
Sounds Like Love (Netflix)
"I spent 28 years as a loser, now I am mutating," says Maca (played by Maria Valverde), talking to the camera at the beginning of this Spanish romcom set in Madrid. Her love life is a mess—her ex, Leo (Álex González), just disappears one day. Her work life is equally bad: long hours, little pay, no appreciation. This fourth wall breaking protagonist works as an assistant to a fashion influencer Pipa, who tells her: "I demand a lot and will make you cry." Solace and warmth are provided by two BFFs, Jimena and Adriana, who have an equally complicated love life. Then Leo returns and after initial resentment and anger, they are back in each other’s arms. Now she has a job offer from Paris and an opportunity to start anew. What will she do?
In this sensitive 2016 film by Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukthankar, a divorcee (Iravati Harshe) helps a young man (Alok Rajwade) with mental health troubles. Kaasav was produced by veteran actor Mohan Agashe, who also plays a turtle conservationist (‘kaasav’ means turtle in Marathi). It won best feature film at the 64th National Awards.