An Jo’s viewings (Updated)

The Occupant
This is a remarkable but strange film; odious in its plot and quite strong in its philosophy. What happens to a man when he turns middle-aged, and has, supposedly, not climbed the ladder of success to pigeon-hole himself into a position commensurate with age — as deemed by society & professionals of course — and finds himself cornered? Answerable to his wife, to his kid [who claims that he’s being made fun of in school but doesn’t tell his father why?

The protagonist’s ‘apathy’ turns into depression, then to obsession, and then to border-line criminal activity. This is almost like Parasite with the main difference being that this film isn’t about class; but about ageism and its disturbing effect on the middle-aged worker.

I agree that some scenes in this movie are too convenient, but as the movie progresses, it grows strong and makes you ignore those ‘factual’ inaccuracies. [How can one so easily get in and out of a building that’s so plush? No security? No cams?]

All the performers have done a wonderful job; especially Javier Gutiérrez and Ruth Diaz as Marga.

Eminently watchable, a fine slow-burn thriller.

Spoiler: If you still wonder why the film is named ‘The Occupant’ and the protagonist targets the new owner of his plush apartment, its a reminder that it is not the job that provides a man his pride/ego; it is the life-style that the job entails..


Finished watching BAD BOY BILLIONAIRES on Netflix. This is like a 101 course on how one can out-run/manipulate the public-banking systems in India and how the pyramid structure is indeed possible: More than that, it is the bread-crumbs one throws to others while one eats the ‘ghosht.’

Suffice it to say, there isn’t anything majorly revealing covered here if one diligently followed the newspapers – the actual ones – and analyzed the gaping loopholes. Mallya’s is a straight-forward one, and I loved the fact that a guy from Mangalore; the son of a father belonging to the Gowd Saraswat Brahman family from Dakshin Kannada, made it so big with innovative thinking/surrogate advertising and had the nation in its grasp. I refuse to believe or concur that they were unethical practices. If a businessman is left with no choice for advertising alcohol, what would one do? Almost everybody does it, everybody consumes it, but cannot be flashed on for the greater good. The ‘upgrade’ from a low-cost, classless Kingfisher airline to a class-demarcated airline is what blew the gasket; and rightly so. The worst thing that is stacked against him – and again rightly so – is that he didn’t pay Indian employees of his company, whilst, like a coward, he bowed down to the laws of other western countries and paid them their salaries! Why? Indians are cows?

Nirav Modi comes across as the most cunning of the three. He knew very well what he was doing; that was bribing and putting the lower-rung employees from PNC at risk. However, the technical brilliance of his employees; whoever they were that designed the ‘stretchable’ bangle; need to be pronto hired by other competitors. That was sheer brilliance.

Subroto Roy was the one that was the most difficult to slot into: But it was also painful since he was the one among the three who truly built an empire on the lives and miseries and hopes of the Indian poor. That he emotionally manipulated the national anthem of India and the poor to build these kind of indulgences is, of course, painful to see and hear. And extremely, extremely, wicked of him to send 127 trucks with the fake names of members and their contributions to the Sahara chit-fund scheme in different trunks to bamboozle SEBI and keep them tied-up!

The part that I hated the most was Siddharth Mallya’s, his son’s – sometimes I wonder how Deepika can be so lucky to get away with everything; from lying a) that her first film was OM SHANTI OM while it was   the Kannada film ‘Aishwarya’ with Upendra to b) claiming to NCB that code-words ‘hash’ were for slim cigarettes and ‘doob’ were for thick ones (this should enter the Guinness book of records as the case where buying cigarettes which even an 8th grade kid in India can buy, and where there are stores set-up in front of schools, a ‘code-word’ in reverse is needed!) –  claim that Vijay Mallya was made a scapegoat. Yes, per-optics, I can understand that whoever flaunts one’s life-style and wealth, however well-deserved, is subjected to raised eye-brows in India, but, the straw that broke the camel’s back, was that Mallya paid his employees in other countries, and did not for his employees in India. You see, in the US, you would be thrown into a jail if you didn’t pay your employees; in India, apparently not; so, Mallya just used the non-stringent ‘measure.’

And yes, this Siddharth Mallya, is, or was, taking ‘acting’ courses in LA. Yes, better take them. Tiger Shroff is Henry Fonda compared to this guy.

All in all, a good watch if one hasn’t followed the news or the press. Otherwise, nothing new to add.


It’s been a painful lockdown; somehow, family, drinks, movies, and work have been keeping me in the so-called ‘zone.’ It is weird that I have watched so many movies. This is good, but also kind of not good. The magic of movies or witnessing a drama on the stage is not something that can be restricted to being ‘in-the-present.’

It is after the show is over that the real effects start throbbing one’s mind and heart – and the sequence for these two can be substituted for order per a person’s likings, per his or her inklings, and per the movie-maker’s output on the screen. The issue that I have with OTT is just mine I believe, a personal thing. There are so many shows and offers that one misses the chance to ‘marinate’ in what the movies offer on screen. It is a different experience altogether watching a move on screen. The after-effects of movie-watching in a dark auditorium is so different and fulfilling that it is just not replaceable even whatever technology offers – whether it be a 75 inch screen or a projector in one’s basement or 4k UHD or a Bose sound system or whatever. You see, the entire experience of watching a movie in a theater is not just sitting on one’s behind and enjoying. The experience combines walking, riding, or driving to the theater, buying the tickets, getting greeted by the usher, sitting and watching the movie, walking out, coming home, and mainly, marinating over it. So far, for me at least, Netflix or Amazon haven’t yet substituted as a replacement for cinema at the theater. But I am not a 20-year-old; I still prefer test cricket the 50-over format in cricket and hate the IPL and T20s. Maybe I am not changing with the times. Maybe I am not fit to.

Some of the things I watched:

Alidau Ulidavaru (The handful survivors)                                                          

This is a fine psychological thriller shot in Bangalore regarding a TV host whose show is primarily regarding ghosts that venture around in abandoned homes or places with a history. It keeps you gripped throughout, and the narrative is good and takes you on a roller-coaster ride when the host decides to spend a night in a ‘haunted’ house.

French Biriyani

This is a movie that has satire, black comedy, slapstick, all shoved in your faces, but the makers really made a good job of this mishmash. Danish Sait is fine as the cynical rick-shaw driver from a Muslim family in Shivajinagar, Bangalore, but it is Rangayana Raghu with his unbeatable comic skills that holds fort. The Shivajinagar ‘Muslim lingo’ – if I can put it that way – is superbly captured here and it is a pleasure to listen to it if one has been to the area or has stayed there. I had that pleasure and it’s a nice reminder. This one is highly recommended. Remember, the joy is double-shot if you have lived in the area and experienced the unique ‘Shivajinagar culture’, especially when it comes to Muslims.

Nanna Prakara (According to Me)

This is an okayish movie and you can watch it if you are interested in converging storylines and multiple perspectives. Kishore is good as usual, Priyamani does her job well. The culmination of the movie isn’t that great, but the progress is captured well.


Aapla Manus (My Man)

It is a very smart move in presenting ‘Baghban’ in a thriller/suspense format. I loved it from that instant itself when I realized the motives of the movie which is, of course, based on Vivek Bele’s Marathi play ‘Katkon Trikon’, which, in Marathi means the ‘Right-angled triangle.’ The exacerbation of familial relationships is the hypotenuse – and it can be stretched; and it keeps getting stretched when senior citizens and the ‘independent’ youth have varying ideas on life, finance, and ‘happiness.’ Nana is simply brilliant in the double-role he plays. I cannot stop raving about his performance. Every nuance and pain of a senior citizen is captured here, and as a detective, he is ‘cunning’ at the highest level and it shows in his performance. This is a must-watch for Nana’s fans. Next is Irawati Harshe, with a terrific performance capturing the dichotomies of being ‘present’ in a joint-family and fulfilling the duties while also being an independent woman.

Ani… Dr. Kashinath Ghanekar (And… Dr. Kashinath Ghanekar)

This is a fine film; but what makes it great is not the direction, but the performances. Subodh Bhave, in a career-altering performance, plays Ghanekar—the one and only super-star of Marathi cinema, who is known to have saved Marathi theater from the clutches of Rajesh Khanna’s Hindi super-stardom by yanking the Marathi folks back to the theater—with a theater-actor’s delight and hunger. It is a great, great performance with the actor requiring getting back in character on and off-stage. An actor playing an actor is one of the toughest challenges that an actor encounters. One should make a clear distinction; however, there are times when the actor and the human converge, and that, that is the challenge to an actor and Subodh Bhave just nails it. The spouses, both Irawati Bhide and Kanchan, do a fantastic job of ‘adjusting’ to this ‘difficult’ life-partner. In one of the most memorable scenes, right in front of a poster of ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ – an epitome of melodrama – Ghanekar reveals his desire for a much-younger Kanchan. That scene struck me like lightning. Right in front of a theater screening ‘Mughal-e-Azam’, Ghankekar reveals his love for Sulochana’s daughter Kanchan in such a matter-of-fact way, the contrast is fascinating. Kudos to the director Deshpande for ‘fomenting’ this scene. The biggest disappointment is, however, Sumeet Raghavan as Dr. Shreeram Lagoo, as well as Deshpande’s broad strokes in capturing the rivalry between Dr. Lagoo’s ‘new-wave’ acting versus Ghanekar’s ‘playing-to-the-gallery’ act. Sonali Kulkarni as Sulochana Latkar gets the hair-style and quivering voice right. Prasad Oak as Prabhakar Panshikar is superb, and so is Anand Ingle as Vasant Shankar Kanetkar.

This film needs a lengthier review, and I don’t have the time for it…


The Bastan Trilogy movies

After seeing Bachchan’s ‘Badla’, and even before that, the Spanish original of ‘The Secrets in their Eyes’, — one hell of a movie – I thought of exploring Spanish cinema. To my disappointment, this is one of the most banal trilogies ever made. I heard that the books are best-sellers. Maybe I missed the point, but as a cinema, all that it does is display violence at its goriest giving Korean cinema a complex and provides us with a convoluted trilogy, at best.


The Good Liar

A fine, fine film elevated by superb performances from Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren. [Is there ANY role that this woman cannot inhabit??]. It’s a fantastic thriller that unfortunately didn’t receive the critical acclaim that it deserves. But who cares for the critics right?

Unmissable. I would love to see Amit playing Ian McKellen’s role, but it would be difficult to fit in the war stuff. Well, that’s a challenge the writers need to solve.


A great limited series that features the story of a human-rights lawyer who takes up lost causes. It is a fine series that draws us into the protagonist’s moody behavior and lets us empathize with her. The starting credits showing shots of Blair, Thatcher, and finally, the great Trump are superbly imagined. A gripping series.

              As much as I have enjoyed watching all the above, after watching ‘Tenet’ recently in a theater, I have concluded there is NO replacement for that kind of experience. Theaters are built for a reason, and ‘movies’ are that reason. They are inseparable.

48 Responses to “An Jo’s viewings (Updated)”

  1. In last 5 years, I can count using one hand fingers, movies I have seen in cinema hall, . I wanted to see Baahubali2 on big screen, so I made sure I see it. so was the case with Andhadhun. I could have seen Tumbbad on big screen but it was not playing at my end. But watching movies in hall, require effort and money, I am not sure to invest especially for offerings from Bollywood where quality is suspect on majority of cases.

    Cricket analogy: Test match is mostly test of skills..a side which has better skills will win most of the times; One day has some skills but reliance on strategy is more. That is why you see Dhoni has been successful in ODIs than test. T20 is strategy and luck; there is skill involved but it is just too short a format. T20 is like popcorn entertainment. It is different fun when batmen can score 100 runs in 5 overs. I feel bad for bowlers but I can see some of the bowlers who are not part of test team do better in T20 because they have mastered variations which test bowler don’t need. Bumrah became test bowler later ; he was master T20 bowler and first time I saw him bowl super over to Aaron Finch and McCullum (Gujarat Lions)and they could not do anything to his Yorkers .


    • Agree with everything. No one is saying cinema will die but it’s rapidly pricing out for the poor. If we talk analogies it is like watching sports live. Football before 90s was accessible to most demographics, in fact footballers themselves would go into the pub after a match and drink with fans. Now a footballer earns obscene sums of money. A decent teenager could out earn a hard working banker in a flimsy week! The salary of a celebrity always comes out of the pocket of the public. Economics will determine the behaviour eventually. Plus the % of public who can afford the luxury of treating a family to a film, football or cricket match is only falling not rising.
      Bottom line I prefer paying £7*12=84 for Netflix over the year than a miserable 2 movies for 4 people – on which there is no guarantee it will even entertain!



        If true very sad. It should be pretty easy to make a theatre covid friendly and limit capacity to 25%. If restaurants can figure it out it should be feasible for cinema.


        • Most businesses will not survive on 25% capacity, it won’t even pay for the employees wages and cost to run and keep open the business, never mind any sort of profit.


          • But your still paying those things without opening, most businesses are…I know cineworld well. They have to start somewhere IMO…


          • You’re right in sense they are still property tax also bills that would generate from using very minimal electricity, water bill etc but it would be at minimal.

            If you open for business, now just about everything has to be turned on and fully in most cases. Bring in the employees.

            When i went to see tenet, i think in couple days it had came out, there were 5 people in the theatre and about 8 employees.


        • Indeed very sad jayshah. When I went to watch TENT, in XD format in Cinemark, there were only 20 people in the theater for the 7 pm show – I was literally shocked. It was the first day of re-opening and only 20 people in a theater with 500 capacity! Even in the US where people are careless regarding CV-19, people were quite careful enough with visits to a theater!

          It is true what you say about a family visit. I felt the pinch even in 2010 when I visited India and was shocked at multiplex prices and the horrible pricing of eatables. A bloody cup of tea which has an amount half of what you give in a urine test to the doctor cost hell of a lot!!


          • What did you think of the XD format?

            I heard few complaints that you start feeling it even before the scene is on screen or it distracts sometimes.


          • Bahut accha hai. In India cinema-theater should totally collapse. Did you see how Akshay begging people. Once Sushant too begged and then he was assasinated. I would be happy to see the Khans go out of business! OTT platforms, new and real talent, non-nepo talents should come out of country like India. We don’t need gunda, druggies as our role models.


          • @ z I quite enjoyed the XD version. I mean, it is just a bigger, better screen and sound — a bit closer to IMAX. I was fine with what it offered in the absence of IMAX. There wasn’t any over-whelming sound, etc., like we had in DUNKIRK. The DUNKIRK back-ground, truly stressed me out considering the fact that right from the 1st to last second, music played continuously and if you are listening to it at high-pitch, it distracts one from the events happening on screen.

            I am waiting to watch it on HBO or wherever..


          • Yes cinemas should totally collapse so that thousands lose jobs & we’re left with puny 6 inch screens to watch films like Dunkirk. These SSR sympathizers are losing sanity by the day. Its not the exhibitors who abetted to his suicide you ott couch potato junkies. Cinemas will be back, its a matter of time. Imax & 4dx is anyways not for you losers.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. During the Covid-19, I don’t see anyone dying to watch movies on big screens. That is one of the least worries for anyone I know. People have moved on from that thought. Yes, they want to hang out socially, go to malls but movies are low on priority. The lockdown has restructured the priorities and opened up whole new world of OTT (which also existed prior) but it has just new set of audience who never had enough to time to watch OTT stuff. Even after theaters opening, it will take time for movies to run as full houses.. maybe couple of years. India is different matter though and youngsters will still throng to the cinemas but families will avoid till the time we have proper vaccine.


    • Hindi films will run housefull only by 2022 in India. In any case hardly 2% Hindi films ran housefull in the pre covid era to. I on my part am surely willing to watch Tenet, Bond & WW84 on the imax screen. Enough of this Netflix, Amazon nonsense!


      • I think you alone will save cinema!


        • And i feel u wanna watch Bond & Tenet on Netflix next? Sorry, not happening!


          • I don’t really care where I watch as long as it’s economically viable. I’m not so precious about technology.


          • Thank heavens a lot of us aren’t a disgrace to the art of film viewing nor does every “experience” come with a price tag. Not surprising in a digital era full of millennial fools where Ipl tickets cost 10x of an Ind-Aus test match.


          • That’s the point. ONE OR TWO family cinema viewings are the price of a year’s subscription to unlimited web series/cinema on any single OTT platform.


          • And in these times price matters!


          • That “experience” of one or two is worth an entire year’s subscription of an ott junk platform if you choose the right films. Time matters as much as price and i’d rather spend my limited time in a 2 hour cinematic experience than waste my time lazying around on my couch binge watching a 600 episode snoozefest (which 99% of all content on OTT anyways is).


          • That’s your choice. If you feel 4 hours > then what OTT offers in total then good for you. I’d rather do both but increasingly it’s less cinema due to inconvenience. And when I speak on price it’s more for the segment of people who simply can’t afford cinema.


          • Its 5-6 films a year instead of 1-2 for me here in India. Despite Ott increasingly replacing satellite tv in the near future, i still expect domestic theatrical footfall to return to 20-30 million within the next couple of years in India. Cinema in India is a way of life, single screen or plexes both. Something that’s entertainment for the classes, opium for the masses. Plex chains are bound to reorganize their pricing structure post covid. Only a matter of time. Cheap entertainment via vcr cassettes, pirated dvd’s & torrents never dented cinema viewing. Nor will Ott.


  3. Like

    • This is a picture of my cinema 5 mins walk away. It was only built in last few years.
      I personally feel cinemas, the industry needs to right size and seriously re-think budgets and prices period.
      The UK model is not bad at all. At this chain it’s better than others. At least they offer a monthly pass. Rest are a RIP-off.
      India is unique, it has a population and popularity for cinema.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We need to go back to single screen era… I think it may still work in this era with owners playing only the movies that will work.


        • Agree but would it cater to a particular kind of movie?


          • Yes, i think than you will basically have about 20 to 25 films (big budget/successful) a year which will get the most space and time. the others will get the 2nd, 3rd tiers single screen.

            It may actually improve quality of the movies knowing you don’t have much room to fail.

            Only negative i see is some of the smaller films will find it difficult but there’s OTT now which will give it ample scope.


        • How will single screen chains make for a larger than life imax experience for an Endgame kinda film? 🤔


  4. AnJo, on what platform is The Good Liar available ?
    Thanks in advance.


    • Looks like HBO?


    • OK, do not have HBO, wait kar lengey thoda !


      • Rocky saab I saw it on HBO – am not sure if it is on Amazon. It is not on netflix for sure.


      • Thank you AnJo…
        yaar how many subscriptions do you and Munna have ? LOL


        • LOL nahi sir..actually mein ghaate mein chal raha hoon..

          in this area it is COMCAST – internet + channels – 125
          netflix – 15.99
          amazon – 15.99

          aur abhi, aur ek nooksaan sar pe le liya just for KBC – 40$

          Jayshah will NEVER venture into any business with me….

          aur he might — bedimaagi murga aa gaya haath mein…

          am now thinking of getting rid of all for iptv

          Liked by 1 person

          • I now have only Internet from Comcast…You end up paying additional $25-28 for (Regional sports fee and Broadcasting fee) every month apart from channel subscription . Try their free “Flex’; you get a streaming box (like Roku)..It has decent collection and you can always watch on demand movies.

            KBC on sling (I like their 7 days look back) is cheaper. You can choose only Sony. Or Sony may be offered on Comcast.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I may have to subscribe ( wife pressure ) to Sony when Indian Idol starts airing.


  5. “Criminal” three episodes, british, netflix was a good watch. The outpost, movie on netflix good to ok watch. I could not bear “the serious man” beyond 20 or 30 minutes max. Will try again later.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. More trouble for cinemas.

    Warner Bros. has delayed #Dune from December 18, 2020 until October 1, 2021.


  7. Theatre vs Home viewing
    Personally if I am watching it in India at theater like Raj Mandir then definitely theatre would be preferable for a masala movie.
    Here in US, the viewing is kind of weird, everyone is quiet, no seeti -taali, we are all so conscious about the surroundings .
    It is better to watch it at home IMO.
    I do get pissed off when I see my kids and wife not paying attention to the TV screen and looking at their phone though, that is something they never do in the theatre .

    P.S.- during the two debates however, I was chatting in two separate groups while watching the debate, which was kind of fun .

    P.S.-2 – For Halloween there is wig with a FLY selling for $49.99


    • I am not sure how Halloween is going to b celebrated in terms of treat and tricking. It looks like it is going to be trick 🙂


    • They were talking about leaving goodie bags on individual sticks.
      I am just planning to put them outside in a big container


    • Its not about theaters vs home viewing. Its always about theaters AND home viewing. Neither vcr’s nor blu rays could dent theaters & nor will digital tv (a natural successor to satellite tv). The rabid fantasy of Netflix junkies & SSR death conspiracy theorists of theaters being wiped out reminds me of millenial Kindle losers who once claimed paperback would be wiped out. Now in 2020 analog printed books still kick kindle’s arse in pure quantity of sales.


  8. Added to Post 10/09/2020


  9. tonymontana Says:

    Thanks for the updated read. Will probably catch up next.

    I find most of these docu dramas far more entertaining and engrossing than much of the stuff I’ve been exposed to.

    Bohot Hua Sammaan: The second half comes on its own, after a meandering first half that cashes on the small town humour and mentality. The comic book, pop culture-like format is interesting to watch, but gets tepid after a while. All, in all, it’s a fine film that entertains you by the end. Sanjay Mishra is as solid as ever, and Ram Kapoor’s vile and unpredictable turn as a ex-commando sociopath is rather delicious.

    Giny Weds Sunny: Another film that ‘celebrates’ Punjabiness and the Delhi culture, but the stereotypes are becoming irritating and frustrating to watch. Good to watch Vikrant Massey, a fine actor otherwise more suited to realistic and experimental cinema, shaking a leg here. He is a fine dancer. Yami Gautam looks gorgeous and acts well but that’s where the positives end. The film is charming enough in it’s initial hour but it just goes nowhere in the second half (a very, very basic plot that offers nothing new). Boring!

    American Murder: The surprise of the week for me. Yes, murder, crime and conspiracies are the favourite topics to delve into, but it still shocked me. A very, very disturbing crime, and what was most unsettling about this was the remorselessness of the killer, even when they admitted to doing the ghastly act.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The argument that the pandemic has given a boost to streaming video is fallacious.

    Only three OTTs saw a rise in viewership; the others fell.

    Going by Comscore data, the overall viewership remains at the December 2019 level of 395 million unique visitors.

    Add MPA data, which shows that advertising is more or less decimated, and it will take at least three years for it to come back to 2019 levels.

    While there is hope with subscribers increasing from 10 million pre-pandemic to 31 million, this will not help make up for the drop in growth from about 40 per cent to 8-9 per cent this year.

    So, “in absolute terms, content investment could decline in key markets. Content creators and storytellers will have to beware of bubbles.” says Vivek Couto, executive director, MPA.


  11. And then there were none:

    An absolutely fantastic film based on Agatha Christie’s novel; shot in 1945 and extremely, extremely clinical in its depiction. The film roars as time progresses. A must-watch: Ten folks who have escaped the justice system are brought onto a mansion on an island from which there is no way out. It’s a game of mind where they struggle and try to figure out who is responsible for bringing them here and punishing for their deeds. Terrific performances, great cinematography, and mind-blowing direction.

    In a lonely place:

    Bogart, as usual, with a cynical approach that Bachchan had in SHOLAY, conquers the film and how! It is a film based on the writer’s block in 1950s Los Angeles. A struggling screen-writer meets a waitress, gets her back home, and they have a ‘tryst’ with destiny. A fine film, highly, highly recommended for capturing the beautiful man-woman relationship through the streets of Hollywood.


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