What’s On Netflix India?

As Amazon Prime Video beefs up its stand-up specials for India, Netflix has roped in Vir Das. Abroad Understanding is the first in what seems like a series of stand-up comedy specials by Vir Das for Netflix.

The show, true to its name is Vir Das’ experience of trying to understand abroad…in this case the Unites States. Half of it takes place in a filled auditorium in Delhi while the other half in a small club in New York.

It is edited & scripted in such a way that we are in Delhi to begin with & between the act we land up in New York to show the contrast in the two nations. Vir Das is not a laugh riot in this, but rather has his moments of laughter in bits and pieces.

It also gets a little serious in between as it touches upon the political environment in both the countries. While I don’t intend to watch the Amazon Prime comedy specials, I think Vir Das is average here. Or rather, he touches upon topics which are not very funny to begin with or the material has been done to death sorts.

More was expected from this one & hopefully if there is another special he will pick up.

 

To the surprise of the entire global community, Donald Trump became the President of the United States. He made some controversial, abhorring statements, his policies were (& still are) murky and his campaign was laced with hatred.

But who was behind Donald Trump’s rise to the pulpit?

It was the same man who has worked for Nixon & at 19 years of age, was the youngest person to testify for the Watergate. A hardcore Republican, he has since then worked on Ronald Reagan’s campaign and even played a role behind Al Gore losing Florida to George W Bush before working for Donald Trump.

His influence on American politics has been detrimental to the establishment & his flamboyant, controversial personality has just aided it.

This documentary shows a startling similarity between Richard Nixon and Donald Trump about them positioning themselves as anti-establishment. Roger Stone also flaunts a Richard Nixon tattoo which he has on his back.

This documentary explores his rise in politics with the background of Trump being elected as the President. The movie stays true to his personality in the media that of a flamboyant smug & a dirty trickster.

 

 

This 6-episode anthology series tells several stories about people in the porn industry in the US & the people who consume porn. Women who join the industry & who are happy about that decision; black men & their experiences; people who run casting agencies for porn-stars; & people who watch porn have all been covered in this series.

This is a follow-up to the Hot Girls Wanted documentary which is also available on Netflix but Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On has a wider & a more varied collection of stories.

A lonely man who connects with a cam girl to the extent that they decide to meet (and her boyfriend knows that!) to a porn casting agency head who has the same troubles as those of any small business owner to a man who is always swiping on Tinder and meeting women.

The collection of stories are eye-opening and interesting. It almost feels like reading a book and amidst the humdrum of Netflix Originals, this one should not be missed.

If you are looking to find more shows to watch, you can also click on the below links…

What’s Bingeable On Netflix?

Hidden Gems On Netflix

Netflix Originals

What’s On Netflix India?

From My Book-Shelf

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Modern Romance

by Aziz Ansari, Eric Klinenberg

GoodReads Link

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I thoroughly enjoyed Aziz Ansari’s stand-up act & his show Master of None on Netflix & that got me to pick up this book. It is about dating & relationships in today’s age where choices are just an app away.

Aziz teams up with sociologist Eric Klinenberg & they conduct several experiments to understand the implications of such a dating scenario. The book is interesting, well written & is not lengthy at less than 300 pages.

Since Aziz has covered these topics on his show and his stand-up act, the book will feel a little repetitive if you have watched them. But it is a book which should be read by people who are in the dating world now & are used to the swipe-right-swipe-left phenomena.

Definitely worth a read.

 

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Narcopolis

by Jeet Thayil

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Jeet Thayil is a poet with a Sahitya Akademi Award for English to his name. Narcopolis is his first attempt at a novel. The book is an amalgamation of people who live or spend time at Shuklaji street in Old Bombay.

Thayil, an alcoholic & an addict for almost two decades wrote this novel as a memorial to all those people he met & hung out with during those days. It is based in the 70s and 80s Bombay when opium was being replaced by the more potent heroin.

Hookers, eunuchs, pimps, dealers, all of them turn up in this book & bring alive the underbelly of Mumbai in such a way that no movie or other book has been able to capture before.

Narcopolis is like a hallucinatory dream. It has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2012, Man Asia Literary Prize (2012) and the Hindu Literary Prize (2013).

Even though it is beautifully written, it is not a book for everyone.

 

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Ramayana

by C. Rajagopalachari

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GoodReads Link

Yes, my bookshelf this week has a book on opium right next to one of India’s biggest epics.

This year I decided that maybe I should include some philosophy & religious texts to my book-shelf. While I have watched this epic saga countless number of times on TV, I wanted to know how it was portrayed in the written word.

Also, reading this got me some brownie points from my mother. 😀

This English translation by C. Rajagopalachari is one of the most popular translations of Ramayana. He has also translated Mahabharata and was actively involved in the Indian Independence movement & was the last Governor-General of India.

If only today’s politicians could read & write or at least inculcate policies that would make more people read & write.

But this book falls way short. I was looking for a story which combines mythology, history & fiction but instead this is an extremely simple translation of the text.

It fails to bring the epic to life, has the author’s comments at the end of chapters for those who don’t believe this story to be true & is a pain to read. My hunt for a genuine translation of Indian & the world’s religious texts continues.

From My Book-Shelf

WhatsOn Netflix India

What’s Bingeable?

 

The latest addition to the Netflix Originals is this drama adapted from the YA fiction book authored by Jay Asher.

The story is about Hannah Baker, a high school student who has committed suicide and has recorded on tapes 13 reasons why she slit her wrists and has sent it to some of her fellow classmates.

It is the unraveling of these 13 reasons episode by episode that makes this show so bingeable. With each episode, it gets darker and more depressive and will even make one cringe at some points.

The story deals with American schools and the bullying and abuse they face, especially the females. It probably seems exaggerated as all stories are but the show is well-acted with a tight script and deals with the insecurity and the broken culture of the American school system.

It is rumored that the second season will deal with shooting in schools. This show is not for the faint-hearted.

 

What’s Coming In May?

 

This Aziz Ansari scripted and acted award-winning show deals with several issues as Aziz and his bunch of 30-year old friends traverse the urban jungle of New York City.

The show deals with issues related to dating in the age of smartphones and Tinder, gender, race, immigrants in the US and Indian American actors in Hollywood.

On a sidenote, Aziz Ansari has also written a book named Modern Romance on dating in the age of smartphones & has a stand-up act on Netflix as well.

The show is funny, well-written and well-acted and the best part about it is the ending which is very refreshing.

The second season will be on Netflix on 12th May so you have enough time to catch up on the first season before that. 🙂

 

What’s Hard-hitting?

 

Visaaranai, or Interrogation in English is a Tamil film based on the novel Lock Up by M. Chandrakumar. It is a critically- acclaimed film and was nominated as India’s entry to the 89th Academy Awards for the Best Foreign Language Film.

The movie deals with the condition of Tamil laborers in Andhra Pradesh, police brutalities & the political-cops-corruption angle. It is hard-hitting as it portrays a dark side, one which we know very well and yet choose to do nothing about it.

The author of the novel, M. Chandrakumar is an auto driver who wrote this novel based on his life. It is sad, gloomy and brutally honest. After all, the author himself lived through this.

If you are someone who enjoys some gut-wrenching cinema, this is it.

Hidden Treasure

 

Freaks & Geeks is not a Netflix original and it was cancelled after just one season. In fact, the show aired in 1999-2000 and was cancelled after 12 episodes only, until it was called back due to pressure by fans for 3 more episodes.

The show was also in the list of “100 Greatest Shows of All Time” by Time magazine and #21 on TV guide’s 2007 list of Top Cult shows ever.

These are well-deserving accolades for this teen comedy-drama which is about growing up in the 1980s America.

The show has an incredible starcast of actors who went on to become popular TV & film actors later on, namely James Franco, Seth Rogen and Jason Segel. But they weren’t known faces then and this was considered as James Franco’s breakout role.

The show is able to strike an emotional chord and makes one feel nostalgic about growing up in school, irrespective of whether one is living in India or the US. I could not help but notice two shows about American schools but in different eras as being so contradicting. One being 13 Reasons Why and the other is this one.

A light-hearted show which did not see as much light of day as much it deserved. It ended up being #1 on TV Guide’s list of “Shows cancelled too soon.”

WhatsOn Netflix India