Ram Prasad Ki Tehrvi To Pagglait; 5 BEST Feature Films Of The First Half Of 2021

From Pagglait to Ram Prasad Ki Tehrvi, many interesting films released on OTT platforms this year. As we speak of that, here are 5 best films that impressed us the most in the first half of 2021.

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Ram Prasad Ki Tehrvi To Pagglait; 5 BEST Feature Films Of The First Half Of 2021
There's no denying that in the first half of 2021, many interesting feature films were released on the OTT platforms. While some managed to move us, some failed to impress. Speaking of that, here are 5 best feature films according to us that you should watch if you haven't seen them yet.

1. Ram Prasad Ki Tehrvi(Netflix): What a wonderful way for Indian cinema to begin the year! Let me say straightaway  that Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi is a very fine film, and a spectacular start not just to this year, but also to veteran actress Seema Pahwa’s career as a  director. Her understanding of  the basically selfish selfserving nature of humankind is so deep, and so bang-on that five minutes into the film I  felt I  was  sitting awkwardly as part  of  Ramprasad’s grieving  family, their  sickening squabbles over tea  and  bathroom time, and  later on, their  bickering over  their father’s property, all so lived-in so  real it is hurtful even while it is  amusing to the extreme. Some  critics commented on  the large number of  characters  , and how difficult it is to figure  out who’s who. Nonsense! We are for too long inured in spoonfeeding tactics. It is  our  duty and  obligation to  give a  film our complete attention when it deserves it, to surrender  to  the  cast of characters  unquestioningly. Seema Pahwa’s writing is razor-sharp and  crystal-clear. Even the smallest  of characters have a  life  of their own.The  domestic politics is  never over-punctuated.  It emerges from the  deep creases and crevices  of  bereavement  like pebbles from the bottom  of  a  tranquil stream.

2.     Tribhanga(Netflix):  Tribhanga is a fiercely original film, though  cinephiles would like to see distinct shades  of Ingmar Bergman’s  imperishable classic Autumn Sonata in Renuka Shahane’s striking debut film. But that, like  much in life, is only an illusion. The  most admirable part of Tribhanga is that the women are no saints or victims. They are flawed and therefore fabulous. At least two  of them Tanve Azmi and Kajol are. The third Mithila Palkar as Kajol’s daughter hardly has breathing space in the plot with two older women shouting down all other  voices. But Mithila too  manages to leave a  strong impact.Walking that  lonely path  of  going against conventions, the  women in Tribhanga  are no cardboard  feminists. These are people who are real  with real problems, not afraid to  bare their soul when the director calls ‘action’.Renuka Shahne gets more than she had bargained for.

3.     Madam Chief Minister(Netflix):   Subhash Kapoor’s thinly veiled  bio-pic on  Mayawati Devi was bravely released in movie theatres. The death-defying  action goes well with  the young sprightly politician, the Mayawati doppelganger Tara Roop Rani who  rises to become  a feisty  Dalit lader  with more balls than  her entire cabinet. Richa Chadha  takes the  character forward with considerable  confidence. Her  dialogues with her mentor  Suarabh Shukla(brilliant as ever) convey a  ring of credibility. The  film is  well paced and  fairly  watchable, if not a  great  political statement. I love  the sequence where  Tara enters  a temple challenging the  priests  to  stop her  if they can.


4.     Pagglait(Netflix):  It’s not easy to laugh in  the face of death. But  what to do when the newly-widowed Sandhya(Sanya Malhotra, in a career-changing  performance)  asks  for an aerated  drink  when she should be grieving copiously and ostentatiously? Sandhya  knows the ‘mourning’ shows  the day. Sandhya has a problem. And  a very  disturbing one  at  that. She  doesn’t feel a thing for her  dead husband. Instead  of  grieving over his loss, as the teeming household   of parents, uncles, aunties,  cousins,  nephew and  nieces seem  to be  doing, Sandhya sneaks  out of the house with her best friend Nazia(Shruti Sharma)  pretending she needs a doctor , to have gol gappas. Pagglait is  a striking  provocative  often poignant  and  amusing  meditation about what  is expected  from  the bereaved and what  the bereaved  actually feel. We had a very  likeable  film on this theme Ram Prasad Ki Tehrvi a few months ago. Pagglait may outwardly look similar(after all, mourners cannot be any different  in  two  different  households,or can they?) But the core of the  films,its heart and  its spirit are fiercely individualistic.This  is a  film on its trip, wilful and wonderful and teeming with characters made  memorable by some  of   our  best  actors.

5.     Shaadisthan(Disney-Hotstar):  Sanjay Sharma  loves his  wife , the repressed  nameless(till the endtitles)Rekha and wants the  best for his 17-going-on-18-in –hours  daughter Arshi(Medha Shankar). But he doesn’t allow them to  breathe the free air outside  the domain of his home rules.Enter the rule-breakers and potential  balls-breakers,  a fusion  music band with  a rebellious lead singer Sasha(Kirti Kulhari) screaming  her  fuck-societal-rules  protest at every given  pretext.Sasha  and  her  band members, played with delightful naturalness by Apurva Dogra(Freddie), Jigme(Shenpenn Khymsar)  and Imad(Ajay Jayanthi), all real-life musicians, each one  a revelation in his  own right,  have a task on  hand. They must take Mr  & Mrs Sharma and their  silently simmering daughter  with them on their  van from Mumbai to Ajmer at a family wedding  where Sasha  and her  friends  are to perform.It is a giveaway set-up. You know, the cultural  clash between  the liberated  youngsters and  fuddy-duddy repressed parental generation who  THINK they  know  everything. But guess  what!  They are hopelessly  out of step with reality. This could have been a  typical  cultural-clash film with predictable conflicts  and fireworks.Director Raj Singh Chaudhary  converts  the   clash between  patriarchy and non-conformism into something beyond the  expected, something special. Thanks to  the  performances which are so clued-in they make the obvious plot holes(for example, the  patriarch’s sudden  enlightenment at the end) not just bearable but in some strange way,  beautiful.




Image source: IMDb