OTT: Biopic on a revolutionary, story of a sprinter & a true crime podcast

Vicky Kaushal plays Sardar Udham Singh, who waited 20 years to take revenge on the Britisher behind the Jallianwala massacre, while Taapsee plays a sprinter banned from her sport after a gender test in Rocket Rashmi

Festive weekend fare: Shoojit Sircar’s Sardar Uddham Singh, Taapsee Pannu’s Rashmi Rocket, Vidyut Jammwal’s action thriller Sanak is up for streaming

This is not a film made by a “chest-thumping nationalist” but it tries to throw more light on a man who is seen as an avenger, folklore hero, revolutionary and a philosopher, says Shoojit Sircar, the director of ‘Sardar Udham Singh’, which lands on Amazon Prime Video this weekend.

Sircar, who is a master at capturing the nuanced dynamics of little worlds of a Delhi Punjabi family in ‘Vicki Donor’ or an upper-class, educated Bengali family in ‘Piku’, has the challenge of creating a wider world of pre-Independence India and England.

Moreover, the acclaimed director has to tell the story of a freedom fighter who is not well-known as his Punjabi counterpart, Bhagat Singh. But Sircar, who had nurtured the idea for over 20 years, has given his all, he claims in media interviews, to make an authentic biopic. In an interview with The Hindu, Sircar says that it is tricky to make films on real people and events and not having met this character, it was doubly difficult for him to “know the character, to have conversations with it and break it down.”

Photo credit: Amazon Prime Video

The wait is over and the story of Udham who assassinates Michael O’Dwyer in London to take revenge for the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar will unfold on OTT. The filmmakers chose to release their film on OTT having learnt from experience with their earlier Amitabh Bachchan starrer, “Gulabo Sitabo”. They are keen on the extensive “global” reach of OTT and to recover their costs which is currently not possible in theatres.

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Vicky Kaushal, who made a dreamy debut in Bollywood with his portrayal of a small-town boy in love, and subsequently has done a stream of movies to prove his mettle as an actor, says that the story of the brooding heroic figure of Sardar Udham Singh is one that “enthralled and inspired” him.

Also read: Udanpirappe: A ‘Pasamalar’ tale to light up the festive season

“The role called for a lot of physical, and even more mental preparation to get into Udham Singh’s shoes and bring to life the story of a man whose heroism and grit stand unmatched,” he says, adding that he would like to share an “intriguing page” from the history of India’s freedom struggle through this film. Moreover, he is happy that the story of Sardar Udham will cut through geographies and “take a piece of our history across the world”.

Though Sircar’s ‘Gulabo Sitao’ evoked mixed reactions, a lot of hope is pinned on this biopic because of the subject and Kaushal’s portrayal of a revolutionary few remember.

Running with all her might 

Taapsee Pannu however admitted that it was “heartbreaking”  that the filmmakers decided to go in for an OTT release for ‘Rashmi Rocket’. This Hindi film in which Taapsee plays a sprinter who fights a ban from the sport due to high testosterone levels after she is forced to undertake a gender test, streams on Zee5 on October 15. The story, which is not based on any sportswoman (no it is not Dutee Chand), goes on to show how Rashmi challenges the India’s athletics association and takes the legal route to win back her lost respect and identity.

The actor told Indian Express that she underwent rigorous training to get an athletic body and muscles. The races and track sequences are among the highpoints of the film too, she says, adding that every muscle of hers ran during the making of the film.

According to Paanu, whose films like ‘Annabelle Sethupathi and crime thriller set in small-town India, ‘Haseen Dillruba’ did not pick up good reviews, says this one has the potential of being a full blown commercial film along with an issue at heart. ‘Rashmi Rocket’, which has been directed by Akarsh Khurana of ‘Karwaan’, ‘Kites’ and ‘Krrish 3’ fame, is not about an underdog who becomes a hero but Rashmi is a hero from the first frame. Check it out, at least, you may get motivated to get off that couch and go for a run.

There is an action hero who is quietly making inroads into Bollywood, much like Akshay Kumar did in his early days. That is Vidyut Jammwal, whose action thriller ‘Sanak’ starts streaming on Disney+Hotstar from October 15. It is based on the story of John Q, a Hollywood film which starred Denzel Washington.

An MMA trainer, Vivaan Ahuja (Jammwal) has to save his wife who has been admitted to a hospital for an emergency heart operation after the hospital comes under attack by terrorists. Check it out for adrenaline packed drama reminiscent of the Bruce Willis films.

Also read: OTT: Clickbait, capers of a blind pianist and a house of secrets

On Netflix, drops a Hollywood film that broke records in US cinemas post-pandemic. That is “Free Guy” which is about a bank teller played by Ryan Reynolds (the Deadpool actor), who discovers he is a background player in an open-world video game and decides to become the hero of his own story. It is all these video game related movies that are catching on like wildfire in the pandemic times just like the craze for zombie series in the not so recent past.

Must watch: Only Murders in the Building

A young man Tim Kono shoots himself in a sprawling upmarket apartment complex. Three residents of the complex, Selena Gomez, (Mabel) with a complicated past, and comic stalwarts Martin Short (Charles) and Steve Martin (Short) believe it is murder. Steve Martin and Martin Short made a hilarious pair in the Hollywood runaway hit, ‘The Father of the Bride’.

These amateur investigators start a true-crime podcast called ‘Only Murders in the Building’ as they go about solving the crime. It is a “stream-worthy” Agatha Christie kind of mystery show. The first eight episodes revolve around the three snooping around to find the  murderer, even as deadly secrets of one of them come tumbling out. But at the end of the eighth episode there is another murder, and it is none other than Charles’ girlfriend. Charles, a former TV detective star, is a loner, who is taking his stab at a second chance in his early 70s very seriously. The music, the graphics and the acting will keep you glued. A perfect, light-hearted binge for a festive weekend.

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