Tag Archives: Indian Movies on Netflix

Streaming Video News: September 26, 2022

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with links to teasers for all of the titles featured in last weekend’s Tudum event. You can watch recaps of all of the global Tudum events on Netflix itself (India’s segment is hosted by Anil Kapoor), or you can watch a video of the full Netflix India event hosted by Prajakta Koli and Zakir Khan on Netflix India’s YouTube page.

Unfortunately, no release dates were announced at the Tudum event. While every other show or movie got a new official teaser, Monica, O My Darling got a music video. If I had to bet, that’s the one I’d pick as next to release. Here are all of the shows that got new promo material:

In other Netflix news, @CinemaRareIN on Twitter found a bunch of other UTV titles set to expire from Netflix on October 1 beyond the initial list I posted on September 2. The new batch makes a total of 28 titles on their way out in the next week. Update your watch priorities accordingly.

Here are all the additional titles expiring from Netflix October 1, with titles I’ve reviewed at the top followed by other titles in alphabetical order:

Streaming Video News: September 6, 2022

I just updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with the return of 28 titles from Red Chillies Entertainment. (Thanks to @CinemaRareIN on Twitter for posting the list!) A few of the returning titles expired as recently as September 1. Here’s a list of all of the Red Chillies movies that are available on Netflix once again:

Though the impending theatrical release of Brahmastra: Part One — Shiva is dominating headlines right now, it’s actually a pretty busy week on the streaming services. Here’s what’s debuting on Netflix and Amazon Prime in the next several days:

Streaming Video News: September 2, 2022

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with today’s premiere of Season 2 of The Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives. Yesterday, Netflix added the 2022 Tamil film Katteri.

A bunch of Indian movies are set to leave Netflix on October 1. The films I’ve reviewed are at the top of the list below, followed by the rest of the expiring titles in alphabetical order:

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Hulu with yesterday’s premiere of the Akshay Kumar crime flick Cuttputlli. My review is still in progress, but this is not a film to prioritize.

Vidyut Jammwal’s action sequel Khuda Haafiz 2: Agni Parkisha made its streaming debut on Zee5 yesterday.

Films Day 2022 at Netflix India

Netflix India released some updates today about their slate of Indian Original Films for the rest of 2022 and beyond. The announcement included a bunch of videos about upcoming projects, in addition to a video celebrating the success of Darlings. The biggest news to come out today is a September 30 release date for the romantic comedy Plan A Plan B, starring Riteish Deshmukh and Tamannaah Bhatia.

The sizzle reel below mentions all of the projects coming soon-ish to Netflix.

Monica, O My Darling and Jogi (which debuts September 16) didn’t get their own videos, but everything else did. Here they are, organized alphabetically by movie title, starting with The Archies:

Chakda ‘Xpress: Behind the Scenes

Chor Nikal Ke Bhaga: Behind the Scenes

Khufiya: First Look

Plan A Plan B: Official Teaser

Qala: Making of the song “Phero Na Najariya”

Movie Review: Darlings (2022)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Watch Darlings on Netflix

First-time producer Alia Bhatt stars in the dark comedy Darlings. Bhatt and the rest of the talented cast turn in sterling performances that outshine a script that derails its main character’s growth.

After three years of marriage to Hamza (Vijay Varma), Badru (Alia Bhatt) isn’t living the life she planned. She’d hoped to have a baby by now and maybe be looking for a nicer home. But Hamza turned out to be an abusive alcoholic — a well-known fact in the apartment colony where they live.

One of the neighbors in the know is Badru’s mother, Shamshu (Shefali Shah), who lives in an apartment across the courtyard from Badru. The older, wiser woman believes her daughter’s abusive marriage will only get worse, so she encourages Badru to just murder Hamza and be done with it.

Badru can’t accept that Hamza won’t change, despite his mistreatment of her and her mother. So often, women in abusive relationships are criticized for not leaving after the first instance of violence, but Badru shows why it’s not always so simple. She fervently wishes for her husband not to be the monster he’s become, and she doesn’t want to be wrong for having missed the warning signs.

The grace extended to Badru and women in similar situations is the most compelling aspect of Darlings. Bhatt does a wonderful job as Badru, and Shah and Varma are equally as good as the two people pulling Badru in opposite directions. Roshan Mathew is fun as the helpful jack-of-all-trades Zulfi. Rajesh Sharma is solid as the butcher Kasim, but it feels like much of his backstory didn’t make the final cut.

When Badru announces her pregnancy and Hamza swears off alcohol, she’s convinced that things will be better. But it’s not long before he gets violent again, and Badru pays a heavy price.

Badru has two choices if she hopes to survive: run and hide, or murder Hamza before he murders her. (Badru feels she can’t report Hamza to the police after she refused to press charges against him for earlier abuse allegations.) Hiding isn’t an option since Badru’s only family member lives in the building next door, so it looks like Shamshu was right all along.

Instead, Badru opts for a third course of action. She wants to turn the tables on Hamza — make him respect her and feel what it’s like to be the powerless one in the relationship. She drugs Hamza and ties him up.

While the intention may be to show Badru finally taking control, it’s a mirage and not real character development. The very idea that Badru still thinks that she can make Hamza respect her or that he won’t follow through on his threats to kill her make Badru seem more foolish than she is. All of the comic bits where the authorities almost discover a drugged-and-bound Hamza, or whereby he almost escapes, stem from Badru and Shamshu making careless mistakes.

While watching Darlings, I was repeatedly reminded of Delilah S. Dawson’s page-turner The Violence. The main character in that book knows that someday her abusive husband will kill her unless she can find a way to escape. And even if she does get out, she won’t be truly safe until he is dead. Badru never reaches that same realization about Hamza. Despite all the trauma he has done and intends to do to her, she seems to think it’s possible for them to just go their separate ways. That’ll he’ll allow her to exist without him.

Badru’s reluctance to see violence as an option for her robs her of agency. It makes her survival contingent upon the intervention of a deus ex machina, rather than the results of her own actions. Badru tells Shamshu that the reason she doesn’t want to murder Hamza is that she doesn’t want to be haunted by his ghost — but the alternative is be hunted by him in the flesh. Moral victories don’t mean much when you’re dead.

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New Netflix Feature: Browse by Languages

Netflix recently launched a “Browse by Languages” tool to help filter content within their massive catalog. This is actually a useful feature for every subscriber, but it’s especially important as Netflix tries to expand their subscriber base outside of majority-English-speaking countries. Let’s see what this new filtering and sorting tool can do!

At the time of this writing, this feature is only available while viewing Netflix in a web browser. On the Browse by Languages page, users are presented with three dropdown menus next to the phrase “Select Your Preferences.” The first dropdown menu allows users to choose between “Original Language,” “Dubbing,” and “Subtitles.”

Screenshot of the sorting options available with Netflix's Browse by Languages tool

The second menu allows users to choose from a list of dozens of languages, including Bengali, Hindi, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu. Netflix offers movies in other Indian languages that aren’t included in the “Browse by” tool, so check my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix to see what Indian and Pakistani films and shows Netflix offers in Assamese, Gujarati, Kannada, Punjabi, and Urdu.

The third “Sort by” menu allows users to organize results by “Suggestions for You,” “Year Released,” “A-Z,” and “Z-A.” The Netflix algorithm selects the display order when “Suggestions for You” is selected. Choosing “Year Released” displays content in reverse chronological order, starting with the newest releases.

Note that changing a selection in a menu resets the menus to its right to their default settings. If the left-most menu is set to “Original Language” and you choose “Dubbing,” it resets the “Language” and “Sort by” menus to their defaults of “English” and “Suggestions for You.” If you change the language, it resets “Sort by” to “Suggestions for You.”

There is no ability to filter the content to choose only movies or TV series, making this tool only so useful for languages with a large catalog presence like English or Hindi. (Although apparently a lot of users have been looking for a way to exclude non-English titles from their searches, according to What’s on Netflix.) What the tool is best for is showing a wider array of options than might be first apparent for languages with a smaller catalog footprint.

The tool is also good about accurately displaying titles under their “Original Language.” Netflix has a quirk whereby some Indian movies have dubbed versions that have to be selected from within the film’s audio options menu (like the Tamil movie Don), while other Indian movies get separate catalog ID numbers for every audio version of the film. The movie Kurup has five distinct catalog IDs: one for the original Malayalam, plus dubbed versions in Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, and Telugu. Thankfully, the new “Browse by Languages” tool only displays Kurup when Malayalam is selected as the “Original Language.”

One exception is Baahubali, which appears under “Original Language” whether English, Hindi, Malayalam, or Tamil are selected. But Baahubali is the exception to many rules.

Overall, this tool is a really welcome addition to Netflix’s website. Anything that helps users find and organize content by their preferred language — and with the additional ability to display the most recently added content first — gives Netflix an advantage over competing streaming services.

Streaming Video News: August 11, 2022

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with today’s addition of the Taapsee Pannu sports biopic Shabaash Mithu. Yesterday marked the debut of Indian Matchmaking Season 2 and the return of Season 1 villain Aparna. A new season of Never Have I Ever drops on Friday, followed by the Hindi action movie Nikamma on Saturday.

Netflix India announced the details on their slate of non-fiction content set to debut before the end of 2022, including release dates for two of the titles. Season 2 of The Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives launches on September 2, and the second entry in the Indian Predator series — The Diary of a Serial Killer — comes out September 7.  Other titles mentioned in the reveal video (embedded below) include the previously announced series Social Currency, the new series IRL: In Real Love, and two new documentaries — Mumbai Mafia: Police vs The Underworld and Nayanthara: Beyond the Fairytale.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with today’s debut of Mind the Malhotras Season 2. Other new additions this week include Malayankunju (Malayalam) and Thank You (Telugu).

Finally, I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Hulu with today’s premiere of the Tamil film Cadaver (also available in Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, and Telugu). Another new addition to Hulu this week is the Telugu movie The Warriorr.

Bonus: Aditya Roy Kapur’s action flick Rashtra Kavach Om is now streaming on Zee5.

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Streaming Video News: July 21, 2022

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with today’s addition of the 2019 Tamil film Magamuni and yesterday’s debut of the Netflix Original true crime series Indian Predator: The Butcher of Delhi. The 2022 Telugu movie F3: Fun and Frustration becomes available for streaming on the 22nd, followed by Gulshan Devaiah’s thriller Foot Fairy on the 24th (in both Hindi and Marathi).

Netflix is set to lose a bunch of popular Hindi movies on August 1. Here’s a list of what’s on the way out, ordered from best to worst (click on the star-rating to ready my review):

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Hulu with a new season of the Telugu series Parampara.

Finally, I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with today’s addition of the Hindi film JugJugg Jeeyo, which released in theaters June 24. Look for the Punjabi film Sher Bagga to arrive on Prime on the 24th and R. Madhavan’s directorial debut Rocketry: The Nambi Effect on the 25th.

[Disclaimer: my Amazon links include an affiliate tag, and I may earn a commission on purchases made via those links. Thanks for helping to support this website!]

Movie Review: Hurdang (2022)

Zero Stars (out of 4)

The social drama Hurdang fails to build a persuasive case for the odious politics it endorses.

Hurdang is set at a college campus in Allahabad in 1990. Local goon and opportunist Loha Singh (Vijay Varma) wants to increase his political profile. He seizes upon the announced implementation of the Mandal Commission’s recommendations — which would increase the number of university admissions and government jobs reserved for people from Other Backward Classes — as an opportunity to stoke unrest on campus and gain attention.

Loha uses his right-hand man Daddu (Sunny Kaushal) to activate the upper caste students at several area colleges. Daddu is enrolled in university, but you’d hardly know it since he never studies or goes to class. He carries multiple guns with him and is quick to point them at anyone who gives him even a minor hassle.

Daddu’s pitch to get the students to protest against the government is that the predominantly upper caste students currently enrolled in university have made their plans expecting a certain amount of government jobs to be available to them upon graduation, and that changing the rules now unfairly penalizes them. The movie makes only passing mention of the generational damage caused by systemic caste discrimination.

Writer-director Nikhil Nagesh Bhat’s choice to put Daddu at the center of this story is absurd. Daddu has no chance of graduating as a result of his own (non-existent) efforts, so he plans to get the final exam questions from Loha in advance and cheat. He does not see his own cheating as being at odds with the system of meritocracy he believes exists and that the reservation system supposedly undermines. What matters to the narrative is that Daddu is a victim.

The notion of Daddu as a victim is even more ridiculous considering the privileges Daddu enjoys thanks to his relationship with Loha — and by extension the politicians Loha works for. Twice, Daddu steals a baton from a police officer and beats the officer with it, and he never faces any consequences for it. Daddu is above the law in almost every respect, but the film really wants viewers to feel sorry for him.

Bhat’s story is so lopsided that it barely acknowledges that people from lower castes exist, let alone suffer under a system rigged against them. Daddu’s much more academically talented girlfriend Jhulan (Nushrratt Bharuccha) is herself from a lower caste — a fact that’s only relevant for a scene in which her father tells her to wait until the reservation quota has been updated to take her finals so that she’ll have an easier time getting a government job. Jhulan is portrayed as virtuous for wanting to test right away and pass on her own merits. From the movie’s perspective, benefiting from a rule change is more egregious than stealing an exam and cheating.

The political position Bhat takes with his story is gross, but he doesn’t even do a good job of defending it. Hurdang is awful.

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Movie Review: RRR (2022)

4 Stars (out of 4)

*This review is of the Telugu version of RRR on Zee5. A Hindi-dubbed version of RRR is streaming on Netflix.

Filmmaker S. S. Rajamouli is the master of the “what if…” scenario. The plot of his latest epic RRR ponders what might have happened had two real-life Indian revolutionaries from the early 20th century met and become friends. Rajamouli’s style pushes the boundaries of “what if…,” showing us the delightful possibilities that can only happen thanks to movie magic.

N. T. Rama Rao Jr. plays Komaram Bheem, a leader of the Gond tribe. He makes it his mission to rescue a girl named Malli (Twinkle Sharma) who’s been kidnapped by the British regional governor Scott Buxton (Ray Stevenson). The sequence in which Scott’s wife Catherine (Alison Doody) coolly asks to bring the girl home for her entertainment is infuriating.

Bheem’s rescue plan is audacious and relies upon his affinity with the natural world. An early scene in which he tries to trap a tiger in a net gives a preview to the wild action RRR has in store.

The British know that Bheem is in Delhi looking for Malli, but they don’t know where he is. They’re also scared of what might happen when they find him, given his fearsome reputation. Only one man is brave enough to track Bheem down — Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan), an Indian Imperial Police officer known for his tenacity and an unwavering dedication to his job.

It so happens that Bheem (in disguise as a Muslim mechanic named Akhtar) and Raju meet while saving a boy from a fiery train wreck. They find in one another a kindred spirit: someone brave and strong enough to risk his life for the sake of others. They become friends, with Raju going so far as to help shy Bheem meet Governor Scott’s beautiful niece Jenny (Olivia Morris), who is as sympathetic as her aunt and uncle are cruel.

Given that Bheem and Raju are secretly working in opposition to each other, it’s inevitable that they’ll wind up in conflict. When they finally do during a party for the Governor, it comes in one of the most fantastical action sequences ever brought to the big screen, including the reappearance of the tiger Bheem faced off with earlier.

RRR is larger than life, and Rama Rao Jr. and Charan take full advantage of the scope they are given (especially since the film is by no means biographical). Their characters can jump higher and run faster than normal men. Their muscles are bigger and stronger. Their gifts aren’t superpowers but a kind of idealized masculinity with heavy emphasis on physical strength.

Rajamouli uses the considerable resources at his disposal to make bombastic action sequences that are a joy to watch. Realism is not the point, and why should it be? RRR is a great reminder that a cinematic world need only be consistent with itself to be believable, not that it need conform to the rules of our world.

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