The Bite-Sized Vlog: Talking Poetry with Soniya Kanchan

Soniya Kanchan, a poet, talks about her latest book in this bite-sized vlog. ‘Echoing a Shadow’ talks of love, loss, pain and vulnerability. All those who wish to read bite-sized pieces of poetry can give this poetry compilation a try.

About the Author

Soniya Kanchan is a poet (and a digital consultant who graduated from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in 2016.

‘RRR’ Trailer Review: This Period Piece is Packed with Surprises

PS: The trailer of ‘RRR’ has landed (finally) on YouTube

‘RRR’ is one of the most anticipated movies of 2021-22. The trailer promises something much bigger(and better) than the ‘Baahubali’ duology. All those who want nothing but entertainment should treat their eyes to this visual spectacle without wasting time.

Here’s a detailed review of the much-awaited trailer.

About the Characters:

Ram Charan plays a cop in the film. On the other hand, NTR Jr. plays a Gond freedom fighter who is ready to sacrifice his life for the sake of his tribe. Ajay Devgun is also expected to play a pivotal role in ‘RRR’. however, it is expected to be an extended cameo appearance.

What’s Good?

The chemistry between Ram Charan and NTR Jr. is one of the major highlights of the film. Plus, a few mesmerising visual effects have been flaunted quite generously in the 3-minute trailer. Unlike Bollywood flicks, the trailer of ‘RRR’ doesn’t throw much light on the plot of the film. However, most of us are aware of the fact that ‘RRR’ deals with the lives of Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan) and Komaram Bheem (NTR Jr.). Both these men led a series of battles against the British Imperial Forces.

Additionally, Ram Charan’s ‘Ram Avatar’ took me by surprise, I must confess.

What’s Bad?

However, Alia Bhatt has not been provided with ample space in SS Rajamouli’s visual spectacle. Alia Bhatt, who plays Sita in ‘RRR’, will serve as a source of inspiration for Ram Charan’s character in the film.

Here’s the trailer of SS Rajamouli’s ‘RRR’

Video courtesy: YouTube

Image Courtesy: Pinterest

The Bite-Sized Vlog: Talking Cinema with Shivraj Singh Talwar

Meet Shivraj, a self-proclaimed movie buff from Delhi. If you want to talk about movies and cinema, then ring him on his smartphone without thinking much.

Also, do not forget to watch some of the best documentaries that have been produced and directed by Shivraj. The stories he gives rise to touch upon a wide range of social issues and societal evils.

Also, check out his YouTube channel to treat your eyes to a bunch of mesmerizing short films and documentaries.

About Shivraj:

Shivraj Singh Talwar is a filmmaker based in Delhi. This ‘Dilli ka launda’ is a die-hard fan of South movies.

Forget The Single Screens, Even Multiplexes Are Plunging Into Darkness

Not long ago, Vishal Cineplex (Rajouri Garden, West Delhi) used to be a cinephile’s paradise. Having lived in West Delhi for over 2 decades, I have had the privilege of barging into the establishment on a not-so-lazy Monday afternoon. In all fairness, the cinema served as the ideal destination for those planning to ditch college lectures.

However, the emergence of multiplexes has taken the spotlight away from single screens. Back in the late 2000s, Vishal Cineplex used to be a cine goer’s darling, but the charm of it had waned quite considerably before its closure in 2017.

Vishal Cineplex, Rajouri Garden

On a largely personal note, my association with this single-screen establishment began in 2001 when Lagaan, a period piece by Ashutosh Gowariker, was released. After having been treated to no less than 20 movies at this venue, I can easily say that this single-screen spectacle was a little more than just a “theatre” to me.

The theatre was special because it provided “refuge” from the sorrows and disappointments that life had in store for me. Back in the late 2000s, when I was a school goer, getting my hands on endless piles of money was quite a task. Not much of it changed when I graduated from school and went on to pursue a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication from GGSIPU. However, getting a movie ticket at Vishal Cineplex didn’t cost much. So, it can easily be said that life was much simpler in those days than it is in 2021. The single-screen marvel closed down in 2017, a few months after the note ban.

The single-screen theatre ceased all operations in 2017, a few months after the much-publicised note ban. However, several sepia-tinted memories of the single-screen marvel keep playing inside this godforsaken head of mine. Coincidentally, I had a chance to visit the place a week before the curtains were drawn. All that met the eye was a ramshackle settlement, crippled by financial constraints and dwindling patronage.

OTT platforms, such as Netflix, are here to rule

A Sorry State: Delhi had more than 60 single-screen theatres back in the 1970s. More than 20 have ceased functioning in the past 5 years. A few iconic cinemas that remain, such as Rivoli, have been taken over by the country’s multiplex majors.

What’s Wrong With The Single Screens?

Here’s the heart of the matter: multiplexes aren’t just about watching movies. They are also about hanging out with a bunch of friends on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Numerous multiplexes run in tandem with malls. This business tactic allows these commercial establishments to enjoy a considerable footfall at all times. Also, the likes of Movietime (Raja Garden) and PVR (Subhash Nagar) have been ruling the roost in parts of West Delhi because of their renewed focus on customer satisfaction.

Back in the 1990s, single-screens weren’t considered “fit” by many as most of these establishments were shabby, dingy, and clumsily-tailored. Times seem to have changed, but single-screens haven’t. Moreover, the changing needs of the young working population have had a major role to play in the downfall of the single screens. A contemporary youngster doesn’t just want to watch a movie; he wants to treat himself to the best snacks while enjoying a day at the movies. Also, the seats have to be comfortable, and the surroundings, clean. Simply put, it is the “experience” that counts.

Single screens, on the other hand, have failed to evolve. An average single-screen theatre isn’t a sight to behold. Ornamenting the premises is an “old-school” canteen selling samosas, chai, popcorn and cola. Quite frankly, gone are the days when cola and popcorn were a luxury. Popcorn and Pepsi are no longer things that bring joy and jubilation.

OTT Boom Seems To Be Taking The Multiplexes By Storm

Forget the single-screens; even multiplexes are finding it hard to stay afloat, especially after the outbreak of the pandemic. Downing of the multiplexes’ shutters has given wind to an OTT boom in the country. Just look at what the reports have to say. Between March and July, 2020, an increase of 30% was witnessed in the number of paid subscribers by the country’s OTT sector. The market is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 28% over the next four years. 

Also, there has been a renewed focus on ‘localisation’ of online video content. For instance, a largely raw depiction of incest in families was well depicted in Mirzapur on Amazon Prime. Similarly, Ashram (MX Player) brought to light the unholy web of greed and false healing that “godmen” weave in order to exploit faith and religion. Such stories attract a lot of eyeballs because of an immensely high degree of relevance.

Given the rising prices of movie tickets, movie buffs, such as myself, love it when a movie is released directly on an OTT platform. The idea is to watch a movie/web show from the comfort of your house without having to go anywhere.

survey conducted in 2019 by MoMAGIC highlighted that more than 50% of Indians prefer OTT platforms for watching movies and web shows. This stat is symbolic of the average Indian’s love affair with OTT. Not just the audiences, but filmmakers, too, are warming up to the world of OTT entertainment. The likes of Hansal Mehta (Chalaang) and Raghav Lawrence (Laxmii) did not hesitate much before opting for an OTT release.

More such moves (in the near future) would provide India’s “showmen” with an opportunity to safeguard their investments by minimising losses associated with delays in production/distribution. Moreover, movies releasing directly on Amazon Prime and Netflix would now be available globally. However, such actions would not be welcomed by the country’s multiplex majors who have been finding it hard to keep their bodies and souls together ever since the pandemic began making its presence felt.

Image courtesy: Google

‘A Boy Called Christmas’ Review: It’s a Heart-warming Tale That’ll Melt Your Heart

“To see something, you have to believe in it. Really believe it. That’s the first elf rule. You can’t see something you don’t believe in. Now try your hardest and see if you can see what you have been looking for.”

Says an elf to Nikolas somewhere near the gates of Elfhelm. Nikolas, a humble boy from Finland, is searching for his father. However, the cold of the winter Rob’s him of all his energy and hope. Thankfully, Nikolas is brought back to life by an elf named Father Toppo.

Henry Lawfull plays Nikolas in this holiday film. If you are in the mood to watch something lighthearted, then ‘A Boy Called Christmas’ is just the right pick for you.

A Piece of Information:

A Boy Called Christmas’ is an adaptation of the eponymous book by Matt Haig.

Overview:

Our story begins in Finland. Nikolas, a humble woodcutter’s son, embarks on a journey to reunite with his father. Nikolas’ journey leads him to Elfhelm, the land of hope and happiness. Interestingly, ‘A Boy Called Christmas’ presents the viewers with a story within a story. Aunt Ruth (Maggie Smith) is trying to put three children to sleep. She tells them a story that deals with a boy called Christmas.

Performances:

Henry Lawfull plays the titular character in this holiday film that will make your heart melt. This boy from London can act as well as anybody. It is Lawfull’s charm and innocence that makes this holiday film a must-watch. This lad is fresh and charming, much like the rays of the sun during a cold winter morning.

‘A Boy Called Christmas’ released on November 26.

Plus, there is unmistakable innocence in his eyes. He beliefs in fairytales and wants us to believe in them as well. He looks adorable with that squeaky little mouse friend of his. In case I haven’t mentioned, Nikolas ends up befriending a mouse (named Miika). Yes, you heard that right.

Kristen Wiig, who plays the aunt Carlotta, does end up bringing a few cliches to light. Why are aunts ruthless? Can anybody answer that question for me?

The likes of Michiel Huisman and Sally Hawkins have played their parts to perfection.

The movie is an adaptation of the eponymous book by Matt Haig

What’s Good?

The movie is just about ideal for all those who want to get the Christmas festivities started. In all fairness, ‘A Boy Called Christmas’ is the perfect pick for you if you happen to be on the lookout for a sweet and innocent family movie to watch during the Christmas weekend.

Also, it is the innocence contained in the eyes of Henry Lawfull that’ll melt your heart. Take this for an example: the sequence wherein Nikolas’ father falls of a snowy cliff is powerful enough to make you cry. Nikolas keeps screaming endlessly during the course of the sequence, but to no avail. His father is gone.

Moreover, the movie has a bunch of interesting characters at its disposal. To begin with, Mother Vodol, played by Sally Hawkins, is a fairly interesting character. There are traces of melancholy in her voice. Talking of melancholy, ‘A Boy Called Christmas’ has been painted with sorrow and melancholy at various junctures. Plus, all of the characters portrayed in this cinematic adaptation are well written.

Henry Lawfull plays the film’s titular character.

What’s Not So Good?

The makers could have truncated the movie’s runtime by about 10 minutes.

The Verdict

Watch ‘A Boy Called Christmas’ if you want to spend a memorable weekend with your friends and family.

Rating: ***/5

‘A Boy Called Christmas’ can be watched on Netflix.

Here’s the trailer of ‘A Boy Called Christmas’.

Picture courtesy: Pinterest