So you wanna watch something...
Passing: Set in 1920s New York, this black-and-white film tells the story of two light-skinned African-American childhood friends—one of whom is “passing off” as white when they run into each other years later. Based on a 1929 novel of the same name, the film received rave reviews at the Sundance Festival. The Guardian calls it a “stylish and subtle study of racial identity,” while The Wrap declares it a “stunning directorial debut.” Streaming on Netflix.
Always Jane: This four-part coming-of-age docu-series follows a transgender teen over two eventful years—a time during which she graduates high school, begins modeling, undergoes gender-affirming surgery, and moves to college. The Guardian flags this as an important story about the transgender experience—but it is also “a compassionate and understated window” into late adolescence. Releases today on Amazon Prime Video.
Special Ops 1.5: Rejoice Kay Kay Menon lovers. The highly anticipated addition to the Special Ops universe is here. While director Neeraj Pandey insists it is “neither a prequel nor a sequel,” the series goes back in time to unearth the origin story of a young Himmat Singh—long before he became a spook extraordinaire. There are no reviews, but you can check out Menon’s interview in Firstpost. Releasing on Disney+Hotstar today.
Dopesick: Starring Michael Keaton, this eight-episode drama series lays bare the opioid addiction epidemic in America—and the role of pharmaceutical companies in fuelling it. It is partly based on the non-fiction book of the same name, and is—for the most part—a true story. NPR calls it an “ambitious, emotional series” that “distills a complicated story into a compelling, heartbreaking series—tallying the human cost of a crisis that started in company boardrooms, earned billions and turned the country upside down in the process.” Streaming on Disney+Hotstar.
A list of good reads
- What happens when a Tamilian is forced to watch ‘Meenakshi Sundareshwar’? The News Minute offers a very funny review. (h/t subscriber UD Nath)
- Scroll has an excellent excerpt from novelist Shashi Deshpande’s book ‘Subversions’ on how to read—or rather, how not to read—the writing of women.
- The Economic Times takes a look at the emerging market for NFTs as the likes of Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan enter the fray. If, like many of us, you don’t really get NFTs, check out our explainer.
- Fast Company offers good advice on how to take compliments instead of deflecting them.
- Jia Tolentino in the New Yorker offers a thought-provoking take on the consequences of dubbing everyone as a narcissist.
- Also in the New Yorker: a must-read profile of Randy Constant—organic farming’s biggest fraudster—which also pushes us to look more closely at those ‘organic’ labels at the grocery store.
- Mint reports on the boom in international streaming platforms in India—and what we can look forward to.
- Vice offers a look at the bizarre trend of purchasing digital clothes—where you receive a photo with an outfit “professionally edited” onto your body so you can share it on social media.
- Two wonderful reads on music from Variety: One, an introduction to Måneskin—the Italian rock band making waves in the US. Two, a very useful review of ABBA’s new album ‘Voyage’.
- Shoaib Daniyal in The India Fix offers a very good analysis of the BJP’s recent by-poll defeats—and what it means for the party’s political fortunes.
- CNN offers a handy guide for cheese lovers—rating the healthiest of them all.
- TIME magazine has an interesting piece on personality traits that help you live longer.
- Just in time for smoggy weather in North India, CNN profiles Vidyut Mohan whose invention may offer a brilliant solution to stubble burning. FYI, it won Prince William's Earthshot Prize 2021.
- Sonia Saraiya in Vanity Fair explains why Seinfeld is the ultimate anti-binge show.
- We greatly enjoyed The Hindu’s piece on a new Manhattan restaurant that celebrates the rural Tamil cuisine—and is bringing back forgotten recipes with ingredients like escargot (snails).