The pandemic has impacted the world in many ways and one of the key industries have been affected by it, is entertainment.
Previously, one would be able to enjoy a film by visiting the theatre but COVID-19 has compelled us all to set eyes on OTT platforms.
One of the key platforms has been ZEE5, which is home to 100,000 hours of On Demand Content and 60+ live TV channels.
In fact, the platform launched across 190+ countries in October 2018 and has content across 17 languages: Hindi, English, Bengali, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Oriya, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Punjabi, and now also five international languages -Malay, Thai, Bahasa, German and Russian.
Throughout this difficult period, some engaging and versatile works of cinema have emerged and so Filme Shilmy selects 10 various feature/short films and web-series that is worth the binge.
Asim Abbasi’s Churails is the first original Pakistani series to be launching on ZEE5, the largest streaming platform for South Asians across the globe.
It follows the story of four self-proclaimed ‘Churails’ (meaning witches) who unite to break some stereotypes and challenge the hypocrisy of patriarchal societies.
As such, these courageous women pull on multicoloured hijabs to hand out retribution to the male of the species, breaking free from all burdens of society.
The series is brave and a trailblazer which breaks the glass ceiling for Pakistani entertainment. It is among 2020’s best South-Asian series.
Bejoy Nambiar’s latest revenge drama Taish is a tale of love, rage, drama, and revenge in this intense thriller will leave you on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next?
The first-of-its-kind film and web series is a product of great minds coming together to write the perfect story. With every element we look for: action, thrills, plot twists, and much more.
As such, the narrative showcases how a friendship and loss of innocence when two worlds clash amid a wedding when a secret exposes a betrayal and innocent friends converge with dangerous criminals and intense violence.
Viewers around the world have been loving this film/series with its star-studded line-up consisting of Jim Sarbh, Pulkit Samrat and Harshardha Rane, amongst others.
Mee Raqsam is a very poignant story of a father’s unconditional support to his daughter’s desire to learn Bharatnatyam, taking on the wrath of the obscurantist leaders of the community.
It is a tribute to Baba Azmi and Shabana Azmi’s father – the Late Urdu poet Mr Kaifi Azmi and is based in his hometown Mijwan.
It stars Naseeruddin Shah, Aditi Subedi, Danish Husain, Shraddha Kaul and Rakesh Chaturvedi Om in lead roles.
The film also marks Shabana’s debut production as well as Baba’s directorial debut. It’s a feel-good, uplifting movie which also ruffles feathers. If you enjoyed Secret Superstar, you’ll love this!
Never Kiss Your Best Friend
Based on Sumrit Shah’s best-selling novel of the same name, Never Kiss Your Best Friend has been adapted into a ZEE5 original series.
The story revolves around two best friends, Tanie (Anya Singh) and Sumer (Nakuul Mehta), who meet after 5 long years of separation. A heart-warming story that redefines the rules of friendship.
Furthermore, there is also a lockdown edition which viewers can also now enjoy.
This endearing series is one which one can snuggle into their blankets and watch while sipping a cup of hot chocolate!
State Of Siege 26/11
The 26/11 Mumbai attacks in 2008 will always continue to haunt us and it to present it on-screen stirs an array of emotions – mostly that of sadness and anger.
State of Siege: 26/11 is a crime thriller series starring Arjan Bajwa, Arjun Bijlani, Mukul Dev, Vivek Dahiya, and Tara Alisha Berry, based on Sandeep Unnithan’s book.
Black Tornado, as the operation was called by the NSG (National Security Guard), is the story of the commandos called into action in the desperate hours following the most sensational terrorist attack the country has ever seen.
It is a gripping and heart-breaking yet eye-opening watch, enriched some outstanding performances.
Directed by internationally acclaimed young filmmaker Abrar Athar, the short film (also ZEE5’s first Bangladeshi original) is a situational thriller and dark comedy starring Afran Nisho, Sariful Raz and Shamol Mawla.
The movie showcases Afran Nisho in an entirely new avatar as he drags Sariful Razz, an addict, and Shamol Mawla, a peddler, into a ‘Mainkar Chipay‘ situation.
Shot in a minimalist format, the film was completed in just four days across four locations during the lockdown, adhering to all the necessary guidelines.
Apart from having an interesting script and extremely quirky characters, the film has been given a unique treatment using camera lenses from the ‘60s to create an indie retro look.
Chintu Ka Birthday
During the US invasion of Iraq, some illegal migrants are waiting to get back home to India.
As one such family prepares to celebrate the 6th birthday of their youngest member Chintu (Vedant Chibber), their kind-hearted Iraqi landlord lends them a helping hand.
Over the course of a quaintly memorable day, Chintu will witness his stubborn optimist father defy falling bombs, American soldiers, power cuts and the prospect of losing his freedom to try and keep his promise to his son.
This Satyanshu and Devyanshu directorial is intense, poignant and mildly funny all at the same time. A true masterpiece.
Ek Jhoothi Love Story
Ek Jhoothi Love Story is a light-hearted fun rom-com and a refreshing tale about the complexities of love and life.
It is a simple story of Salma (Madiha Imam) and Sohail (Bilal Abbas Khan) who just like other characters in the show are on their journey of finding ideal partners.
The series questions stereotypical roles of women in Pakistani society, the pursuit of a utopian life as well as the impact of social media on modern romances.
In fact, it also pays attention to the dual personalities adapted by the youth of today – one for social media and the other being their online personas, which becomes a form of escapism.
The Prakash Jha directorial is a story of hope and determination highlighting some of the gaping social inequalities facing many low-income families in the developing world.
Buchhi (played by Adil Hussain), a rickshaw puller dreams of his son Bulbul (Shubham Jha) getting a private education but this desire sends him on a dangerous path that could damage all that he has built.
Jha, who has been a pioneer in making films which address problematic systems and deep-rooted issues… This comparatively has an innocent and hopeful tone.
Moreover, it is worth a watch for some excellent performances by Adil Hussain, Priyanka Bose and Sanjay Suri.
In Kallachirippu, a Tamil original, 24-year-old Mahati (Amrutha Srinivasan) is forced into an arranged marriage.
During a heated argument, she accidentally stabs her husband in self-defence. She then promptly wipes her blood-spattered face and calls her boyfriend to clean up the mess.
This sets off a chain of events that the true nature of every character involved in this marriage. The series also involves a love story between a homosexual couple.
Given that ZEE5 offers groundbreaking features like 16 navigational languages, content download option, seamless video playback and Voice Search, it’s worth checking some of these titles out now.
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