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Screen Time: Happy and Not-So-Happy Families

By Baisakhi Roy Email By Baisakhi Roy
July 2024
Screen Time: Happy and Not-So-Happy Families

As the summer fun continues, a beloved family makes you laugh and cry, zombies take over Mumbai, couples fall back in love, a teenager reconnects with her roots, and the magic of cinema redefines relationships.

Gullak, Season 4 (Hindi)


The Mishra parivaar is back to make you laugh out loud and tug at your heartstrings. In its fourth season, the characters—the patriarch Santosh (Jameel Khan), matriarch and family anchor Shanti (Geetanjali Kulkarni), older son Annu (Vaibhav Raj Gupta), and younger son Aman (Harsh Mayar)—mature and evolve and come together to offer a beautiful portrait of a family that is immediately relatable. As usual, they have their moments of joy and disappointments. Shanti goes through a traumatic incident, which prompts her to step out of her comfort zone, while Santosh comes to terms with the fact that his sons are coming into their own as young men and that he can no longer crack the proverbial whip as “head” of the family. The sons deal with their own growing pains—arrogant bosses and discovering the first stirrings of adulthood. Their home feels like our home, and their moments of exhilaration and crisis are our own. Most series run their course by the third season. I, for one, can’t get enough of this sweet family.​




Varshangalku Shesam (Malayalam)



Some of the best movies are about the movies. Films like Luck by Chance, Guddi, Kagaaz Ke Phool, and Rangeela among other gems are beloved across generations. We can add more to the list with this Vineeth Sreenivasan directorial about two friends who want to make their mark in the film industry. Venu (Dhyan Sreenivasan) wants to establish himself as a writer, while his friend Murali (Pranav Mohanlal, son of Mohanlal) wants to make it as a composer. They travel to Chennai to try their luck and realize that it’s going to be a rocky road ahead. Their friendship gets tested as one of them outshines the other, getting his lucky breaks, while the other has to contend with mediocre gigs. Look out for Malayalam superstar Nivin Pauly’s cameo as Nithin Molly, a quirky actor on the outs looking to make a comeback. His comic timing is priceless. The first half takes a while to take off, but the second half is a fun, nostalgic ride. If you are a movie buff, this is one to savor while relaxing on the couch.​


Zombivli (Marathi)



What’s not to love about a homegrown zombie apocalypse flick, shot in the busy Mumbai suburb of—where else?—Dombivli, known for its misal pav and the bustling railway station. This ingenious premise is what puts this fantastic social comedy flick miles ahead of the not-sofunny comparable films. Sudhir (Amey Wagh) is an engineer who lives in an apartment with his pregnant wife, Seema (Vaidehi Parshurami), in a place called Janta Nagar in Dombivli. He works at a bottling plant and happens to meet Vishwas, a local leader who fights for the welfare of Janta Nagar’s residents. Vishwas’s visit to a local hospital reveals that people are exhibiting zombie-like symptoms. Soon enough, the zombie epidemic has spread throughout the suburb. The three of them team up to fight the zombie army while also dealing with corrupt elements within the system, whose callousness has resulted in the contamination of the local water supply. Will the zombies take over Dombivli? In fending for themselves, will the true nature of the privileged few be revealed? Director Aditya Sarpotdar serves up an engaging romp of a movie and extracts some fabulous performances.​



Dil Dosti Dilemma (Hindi)

Amazon Prime Video

screentime_5_07_24.jpgDebbie Rao’s seven-part series is a sweet coming-of-age story that’s as refreshing as a cool breeze on a hot summer day. Asmara (Anushka Sen), a spoiled child of rich parents, is excited about her upcoming trip to Canada. But then her parents cancel her trip as punishment for being embarrassed of her grandmother’s middle-class milieu. Asmara is part of a popular girls’ clique at college. Eager to keep up the façade, she lies to her friends that she’s indeed in Canada. In reality, she’s been sent to spend her summer with the very same grandmother. Soon enough, she’s made new friends, is fighting for the rights of her neighborhood—and above all, is finding her true self. Not to mention, she has a crush on the hot boy next door. Based on Asmara’s Summer, a novel by Andaleeb Wajid, the series does a fine job of creating the look and feel of both the milieu and the characters inhabiting it. Sen is delightful as the spirited protagonist, owning every frame she is in, as is the ever-graceful Tanvi Azmi who plays her grandmother.



Do aur Do Pyaar (Hindi)

Disney Hotstar


Did I already mention that Pratik Gandhi is having a moment? The immensely talented actor, best known for his portrayal of scamster Harshad Mehta in the acclaimed series helmed by Hansal Mehta on the 1992 Indian stock market scam, knocked it out of the park recently with his role in the buddy comedy Madgaon Express. His portrayal of a wronged man fighting the system in Dedh Bigha Zameen is also getting a lot of attention. Gandhi teams up with another prolific and talented star, Vidya Balan, for this poignant romcom that takes on infidelity and the challenges of being in a committed relationship. Ani (Gandhi) and Kavya (Balan) have grown apart after 12 years of being married to each other. Both have found comfort elsewhere. While Kavya is in a passionate entanglement with a delectable photographer (Sendhil Ramamurthy), Ani is in a serious relationship with an up-and-coming actress (Ileana D’Cruz). But when Kavya and Ani have to take a trip to Kavya’s hometown to attend a funeral, sparks fly. Will they make it back to each other, or is their relationship frayed beyond repair? Balan and Gandhi are pitch perfect in their roles.

Baisakhi Roy is a culture writer and journalist based in Ontario, Canada. Her work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, Huffington Post Canada, Chatelaine, Broadview and CBC. Formerly a reporter with The Indian Express in India, Roy is an avid Bollywood fan and co-hosts the Hindi language podcast KhabardaarPodcast.com. Email: baisakhi.roy@gmail.com

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