1. Minimalism (Netflix)
Minimalism is a documentary about the important things in life on Netflix. It talks about a life philosophy that suggests that most of us have been brainwashed into believing that we need more things and material possessions to be happy. It follows two minimalists Joshua and Ryan and slowly gives us a sneak-peek into minimalists from various walks of life and how their beliefs are resonating with people across the board. An hour and 18 minutes long, this documentary might or might not help you suppress those impulsive shopping urges but will definitely give you plenty to think and reflect upon during this lockdown phase.
2. Asur (Voot)
Created by Gaurav Shukla and directed by Oni Sen, Asur is a crime thriller with generous doses of mythology thrown in. It has a total of 8 episodes, where the first one is called “The Dead Can Talk” and the last is “End is the New Beginning”. Corpses and dead bodies are strewn across all around as we have a forensic expert trying to uncover the secrets of the dead and the killer. While in parts the writing becomes unnecessarily convoluted it nevertheless manages to hold our attention especially because of the impressive way it has been shot as well as the performances. Arshad Warsi, Barun Sobti, Anupriya Goenka, Riddhi Dogra, Sharib Hashmi never giving us any reasons to complain.
3. Special Ops (Hotstar)
Neeraj Pandey has a natural flair when it comes to making films around India’s internal security or tackling threats from neighbouring countries. Having enlisted Shivam Nair as the director, his latest offering is an 8-episode strong slow burning espionage thriller. Indian intelligence agencies take on the brutal might of foreign-based terrorists and while the pacing is inconsistent the show’s resolve to steer clear of melodrama and islamophobia makes it a tight, well put together thriller with vociferous performances to boast of with Kay Kay Menon, in particular, in top form.
4. Pushpavalli Season 2 (Amazon Prime Video)
Drop everything and watch this. In fact, start with season one if you haven’t seen it already. Refreshingly twisted, funny and deliciously dark in parts, Pushpavalli will keep you hooked and how. Sumukhi Suresh the creator of the show brings exuberance and an endearing nonchalance as she plays a girl head over heels in love with a man. As she navigates her life and the obsession that pitchforks her in several sometimes dangerous and sometimes hilarious situations, we are in for a treat as the ensemble cast that includes Naveen Richard and Manish Anand ensure there is never a dull moment.
5. Yeh Ballet (Netflix)
If the lockdown and the resultant uncertainty over coronavirus are leaving you anxiety-ridden then Sooni Taraporewala’s Yeh Ballet is what the doctor prescribed. It centres around two young boys from impoverished backgrounds who struggle to master ballet. There is such emotional truth to their experiences and journey that it’ll feel real and familiar even to those raised in different circumstances. The cast, particularly the leads, Manish Chauhan and Achintya Bose, are astonishingly good. A story about friendship, hope and extraordinary serendipity, the film stays with you long after it is over.
6. Mentalhood (AltBalaji & Zee5)
That new show with Karisma Kapoor? Yes indeed! Mentalhood focuses on 5 mothers and what it entails to be a parent in today’s day and age. To be honest, it needs some getting used to because when we initially approach the show one runs the risk of being left slightly overwhelmed by the characters that appear loud and caricaturish. However, give it a couple of episodes and as the motivations of the characters are revealed and we understand these “moms” better, it’s a rather smooth ride.
Consider it a crash course in parenting with each episode neatly tackling one issue after another – be it about not pressurizing kids to study to how to discipline them without losing one's head. Karisma Kapoor, Shilpa Shukla, Shruti Seth, Tillotama Shome and Sandhya Mridul keep the proceedings buoyant. If you are a young parent yourself, this could be of interest to you.
7. Maska (Netflix)
While all the drama seems to have engulfed our lives, Netlix’s Maska offers a sweet escape. The writing isn’t great shakes but the simplicity of it all is endearing. It is a story about a young Parsi boy’s quest to live life on his terms and grow out of his father’s (Javed Jaffery) shadow. Mummy (Manisha Koirana) wants the dikra to sit and manage Café Rustom while Rumi (Prit Kamani) wants to be an actor. Nikita Dutta with her adorable Punjabi accent and Shirley Setia as the charming Parsi girl liven up the proceedings. The tame conventional end might seem a slight let down but all that bun maska and sali boti talk will sure get you craving for more.