We recommend: The best new movies and TV series
Guns & Gulaabs: This is the newest series from the director duo Raj & DK—who have recently delivered hit shows ‘Family Man’ and ‘Farzi’. ‘Guns & Gulaabs’ is set in the 1990s fictional town, Gulaabgunj, in Uttarakhand, and follows four characters—played by Rajkummar Rao, Dulquer Salmaan, Adarsh Gourav and Gulshan Devaiah—who get caught up in an illegal opium deal. The show is a black comedy and has a retro feel to it.
Reviews are great! NDTV loved it and verdicts: “Guns & Gulaabs watchable all the way, is a magnificent combination of stylistic elan and storytelling chutzpah.” Indian Express gives a shout out to Adarsh Gourav’s performance and plotline and overall deems it to be “low-stakes comic thriller which springs to life only intermittently.” Our take: We are mainly tuning in for the stellar cast. All seven episodes released on Netflix yesterday.
Blue Beetle: A new superhero is in town, say hello to DC’s Blue Beetle. This is a superhero origin story of a young law graduate (studied in Batman’s Gotham city) named Jaime Reyes (Xolo Maridueña) who goes back home to help his financially struggling Mexican family. Similar to Spiderman, he gets bitten by an alien beetle called the Scarab and becomes someone who now shoulders the great responsibility of saving the world.
Reviews are not too kind to the movie. New York Times says: “‘Blue Beetle’ offers a formulaic narrative — so predictable, in fact, that you can catch the tragic death in Jaime’s hero origin story coming from three counties away.” BBC Culture concludes: “Instead of feeling like the birth of a thrilling new franchise, it feels like the last gasp of a worn-out old one.” Our take: Clichéd superhero trope aside, we are inclined to watch it for its Latino references. Catch the movie on the big screen.
Ghoomer: This is an underdog sports story starring Abhishek Bachchan (yes, he’s back) and Saiyami Kher. The film follows Anina who is on her way to cricketing stardom as a batsman. But soon, she meets with an accident which results in Anina losing her right arm. Padam Singh Sodhi (Abhishek Bachchan), a former bowler from the past becomes her mentor and what we see is Anina’s journey to becoming a cricket player and reclaiming her life.
Reviews are decent. Hindustan Times praises the movie and says that “[Ghoomer] will bowl you over with its inspiring story, intriguing screenplay, impressive performances”. Quint calls it a “poignant underdog tale” that is an “enjoyable watch”. Our take: We love sports stories and this one looks promising. Expect us to watch the junior Bachchan on screens with our family.
Taali: This is a film based on Shreegauri Sawant, a renowned trans rights activist and the petitioner in the Supreme Court ruling that recognized the legal status of transgender persons. Sushmita Sen dons the role of Sawant and the movie follows her journey of activism and the run-up to the historic judgement.
Reviews are not kind. The Hindu notes that Sushmita Sen’s performance is great, but “a dramatisation for dramatisation’s sake”. Film Companion says Taali is “merely a student essay on celluloid”. You can stream ‘Taali’ on JioCinema.
Depp v. Heard: If you missed out on the real life courtroom drama of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s defamation case or just want to refresh your memory, here is a three-part docu-series catered to your specific ask. This Big Story has everything you need to know about the case.
Reviews say that the documentary doesn’t offer anything new. Hollywood Reporter liked the editing, noting it “allows viewers to discover that in a trial that boiled down to he said/she said, “he” and “she” did, in fact, say different things.” CNN points out that the documentary tries to appear diplomatic by “saying something profound about the circus-like 2022 trial while adding another leering ring to it”. Our take: If you missed out on the media frenzy attached to this case, this might be a good watch for you but do not expect a deep-dive analysis. You can stream the episodes on Netflix.
AP Dhillon: First Of A Kind: AP Dhillon songs are among the most popular not just in India, but across countries and his fans are going to love this series. ‘AP Dhillon: First of a Kind’ is a documentary series that traces the journey of AP Dhillon and offers a look at all the behind-the-scenes of his rise to global stardom. The show promises to tell the story of AP from his early days in a small village in Punjab to developing some of the most heard music of our generation.
Reviews are good. Wion finds: “AP Dhillon: First of a Kind was still a fascinating look into a celebrated young artist that everybody should find worth watching.” OTOH, Hindustan Times says the series is “very much like his music: catchy (you can't help but groove every time any of his tracks plays), but also cryptic.” Our take: We end up listening to AP Dhillon’s songs very frequently and would love to know more about his story. You can catch this on Amazon Prime.
Here’s a new chapter…
Fuh Se Fantasy Season 2: As the name suggests, this series addresses and acknowledges the realities and sexual fantasies of modern heteronormative relationships. The new season has a recognisable cast with model-actor Milind Soman, Big Boss winner Divya Agarwal, and television actors Arjit Taneja, and Anuj Sachdev. The episodes dropped on JioCinema on Thursday.
Fresh off the big screen…
Bones and All: Okay, this is not our typical recommendation but this film by the Italian director Luca Guadagnino—best known for ‘Call Me by Your Name’—starring Timothée Chalamet and Taylor Russell, has been a critics’ favourite since its release last November. Although the plot may make one a bit queasy—since it is about the lives of cannibals—it is also a poetic and poignant film about fitting in and deserving love. The film is now streaming on Amazon Prime.