The most recent season of Made in Heaven, a show about two wedding planners, Tara and Karan, who work under the name Made in Heaven, provided plenty of points to ponder. Each episode of the show focuses on a couple and the unique problems they or their family face during their wedding preparations. Tara and Karan, together with their team, deal with these hurdles while going about their everyday lives and dealing with their personal issues.

(This piece may contain Spoilers)

Made in Heaven depicts the sparkly fairy tale world of weddings while also demonstrating the irony of its title ‘Made in Heaven’, because most of these marriages aren’t as beautiful and perfect as they appear on the surface. As well as bringing the harsh reality that our lives, too, aren’t flawless as they appear on the exterior. Perhaps, this is what I like the most about this show.

The show’s setting, Delhi, also plays a significant role in bringing the truth of the city to light through realistic characters. I was impressed by how accurately the city is portrayed, the representation of its multiple sides conveyed through various characters, their hidden biases and desires. It also shows the city’s difficult nature and how people cope with these challenges. One could easily observe the struggles that people face in such a diverse city. There are those that conceal their real intentions and build relationships for their own gain, while others are caught between what is morally correct and what they desire, and the rest of them want to move on from their past and lead regular lives. The series focuses on the process of organising a dream wedding for the couple while also balancing several societal standards. It reveals what lies beneath such lavish weddings. The most unsettling part is that the societal themes the series focuses on are very much relevant in today’s environment and are not merely imaginary.

The show mirrors society and conveys how the entire process of a wedding ceremony brings these hidden concerns back to the surface. On one hand, while one gains education, power, and money in public, when it comes to their private affairs, the desire to be perfect and thus adhere to conventional values creeps in. It demonstrates how people can be aware of right and wrong yet still make decisions that are unfair to them. It’s worth noticing how characters throughout the show will occasionally submit to the adverse circumstances in order to save their family’s pride or to protect themselves from any further judgement.

As in the instance of a bride in one of the episodes played by Mrunal Thakur, who is a successful model in the industry but is abused by her partner. Even when the wedding planners and her own family find this and urge her to reconsider her decision. She is once again manipulated by her partner and thus maintains the popular belief people carry – love and care will change our partner’s actions, forgetting that respect is the foundation of a relationship and nothing else is capable of transforming someone who doesn’t want to make changes in the first place.

In another episode, it is shown how discussions over skin tone persist even among wealthy,  elite families. When the bride takes a beauty treatment to appear ‘fair’ for her wedding owing to pressure from her own mother and in-laws, it demonstrates how modernity and education can still fail to change old narratives. Acceptance of the reality that looking fair has no connection to being beautiful is still missing. And it makes one wonder if one should wait for society to modify their beauty standards and accept everyone equally, or whether one should begin the process of acceptance with themselves. Are parents correct when they try to  change their child to protect their reputation, or instead they should shield their child from unjustified treatment? These are someof the questions to think about.

The episode featuring Radhika Apte as the lead, Pallavi, and directed by Neeraj Ghaywan is most powerful and artistically structured. Her performance and the episode’s theme received considerable recognition on social media. Pallavi is a successful lawyer who acknowledges her Dalit identity and advocates for the elimination of caste biases. Even though she is highly accomplished and brave, when it comes to her marriage, it is interestingly highlighted in the episode that her personal accomplishments are the reason for this respect and acceptance. This is in contrast to the reluctance of her in-laws to openly embrace her Dalit identity. Pallavi’s firm stance—even to the point of confronting her fiancé and her own brother—shows that acceptance is not only necessary to gain equal respect but it also emphasises the difficulties and sufferings that the community faces as a result of long-standing caste-based discriminations.

The dialogue delivery was impeccable, every emotion was highly moving and it all ends in a beautiful Buddhist wedding, representing Dalit plight and a path to acceptance and equality. This episode was notable because mainstream films and television shows have rarely addressed such topics with such delicate balance, and the concept of a Buddhist wedding is novel.

This is my top choice episode because it subtly invites viewers to ponder how issues such as caste play an important role in a person’s journey, subjecting them to different treatment, and how when a person rises above their circumstances, they don’t necessarily detach themselves from the situations that shaped them. They want it all to be remembered and accepted just like any other aspect of  themselves.

Even though caste is still a dividing line in today’s world, many people continue to be reluctant to disclose their last name or caste for fear of social discrimination; as a result, accepting oneself becomes the first step towards equality. Pallavi’s identity as a Dalit, her choice to keep her original surname, and the fact that she opted for a Buddhist wedding are all examples of how her character serves as a reminder to society that, despite her material success, her caste plays a significant role in her story as well as the experience of her ancestors who suffered, so it cannot be ignored or disregarded. Her caste does not bring her humiliation; rather, it brings her pride.

The portrayal of the LGBTQ community and their relationships was another distinctive feature of the show. The protagonist Karan plays a gay character,  It’s interesting to see that Karan doesn’t submit to his family’s demands to marry a girl; on several occasions, he asserts his identity and wishes, reflecting a sense of confidence and acceptance in himself. Even though the decision could damage his relationship with his mother, he takes the risk. Another character, Meher, who has undergone gender-affirmation, is also shown to be struggling to find love and acceptance.

While I agree that the second season was too overwhelming and attempted to address a variety of societal problems without delving too deeply into any of them, it appears that the second season, despite its pressing subjects, couldn’t stir up the emotions that the first season did. Despite the representation, this season did not adequately explore the aspects of intimacy between the characters. Things seemed superficial and they lack a deeper, more solid connection, leaving viewers with a sense that their favourite character’s story is incomplete.

Tara and Karan are not the characters who make the ideal decision. They make mistakes and argue, the consequences of which can be seen in both their professional and personal lives. Tara herself is in a challenging spot while building a life of wealth, luxury, and power, she still struggles to find the happiness she desires. Throughout both seasons, viewers will see how her decisions and past mistakes affect everyone around her. By the end of the second season, despite the fact that I enjoyed Tara’s character in the first, I was unable to identify to her choices since there has been a lack of  personal development in her character and no acknowledgment of her previous mistakes. Even while Tara and Karan stay close, their ability to communicate with each other and solve problems is never fully explored in the season. Instead, the two main leads continue to plan separate weddings without any proper conversation to fix the issues between them . When it comes to displaying how things are truly planned and implemented in these weddings, there was a lack of detail.  So even though I appreciate the extent to which ideas were covered throughout the season, I was disappointed in how story of central characters was handled.

However, there are new characters in this season that have impressed me, such as Mona Singh and Vijay Raaz as the Jauharis, who are the most wholesome and relatable. The side plot in which they deal with their young son and his friends in a matter of molesting a girl is presented honestly and organically by everyone involved. The culmination of it, which involves the disclosure of a personal secret about Mona Singh’s character, addresses the problem appropriately.

The season finale was warm and wonderful, concluding with the usual poetic commentary by Kabir, the in-house videographer. It goes on with the theme that everyone is flawed and that before we can continue looking for our soul mates, we must first accept ourselves. Perhaps this is what I like about the show: the relationships we form can be just as imperfect as we are. They require effort and change, and nothing, neither our worries, hurt, or pleasure, is permeant. The taste of Heaven isn’t necessarily discovered in large celebrations like marriage, but in fleeting moments of joy and freedom, in moments of embracing and loving yourself despite your flaws.

Read Also: https://dubeat.com/2022/03/02/big-fat-indian-weddings-are-we-thinking-rationally/

Featured Image Credits : Free Press Journal

Priya Agrawal


Over the last decade streaming has changed the industry, some for the good and some for the bad. But its current model isn’t entirely sustainable.

On 16th February 2012, a show called Lilyhammer was launched on Netflix, becoming the  first original series to stream on the service. Back then the number of subscribers Netflix had was reportedly 23 million. As of the first quarter of 2023, the number had jumped to 232.5 million. An increasing  number of streaming platforms have emerged since then, taking over the industry, like Amazon Prime Video(reported to have more than 200 million subscribers in 2021), Apple TV+ (25 million subscribers as of March 2022) and Disney+ (157.8 million subscribers as in the second quarter of 2023). Now, you didn’t have to for a week to watch the next episode of your favourite at the preordained time of the telecast. You could now watch while travelling to work on a metro or even while taking the dump. And who wouldn’t take that bargain.

This shift within the industry happening for years now was only accelerated by the COVID-19 lockdown, with studios pivoting towards streaming. Hunkered in their houses, all people could go was bake endless loafs of sourdough or binge The Queen’s Gambit(that is when they were not binging any other show with royalty in its title-The Tiger King or The Crown). Even after the reopening of movie-theatres, the focus has remained on streaming, with many films including the The Fabelsman and Glass Onion, getting limited theatrical release before being made available online. It’s effects are a mixture of good and bad for the creatives. While it has gotten harder to commission content, these services do back up projects that perhaps would not have been picked by the traditional networks and studios, including the wide range of foreign-language TV and movie that are starting to get more global attention. This period of rise in streaming also heralded the era of Peak TV, where viewers were inundated with artisanal and critically acclaimed programming. The number of originally scripted stories exploded from 210 in 2009 to 599 in 2022. But it was a bubble that was bound to burst and now has.

In April 2022, Netflix announced that it had lost subscribers. The recent downturn in the media has forced streamers to cut back on the spending and turn a profit. They have thrown out entire series from their libraries and some have even cancelled shows that had finished productions on entire seasons. And the effects on the creative labour has been damaging.

On April 18 this year, 97.8% of the members of the Writers Guild of America voted to go on strike if they failed to reach a satisfactory agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. On May 2, 2023 the members of the guild started picketing at 1:00 pm. The main issues raised in the strike are of diminishing residuals, fewer number of writers in the room and fear of being replaced by AI.

The rise of streaming has led creation of mini-rooms where fewer number of writers are employed for shorter durations, eviscerating chances for writers to make a steady living by working on a show. It has also reduced the opportunities available to younger and newer talent to gain experience. It has alarmed the creatives further with reduction of residuals over the years. As streamers have grown, the residuals have fallen. While they are still paid residuals, they are incomparable to the ones they receive from TV channels. Sean Collins Smith, a writer for Chicago P.D, while talking to NPR said,

“I mean, my show on streaming, if I got a residual check for that-I’m not even kidding-it might be $5, $50, $100 if that.”

Despite it all, streaming also led to some of biggest strides in the industry, giving a platform to diverse and newer voices, that  used to get drowned out by the old status quo. The solution to the problems created by streaming cannot be to go back to old ways despite how much the older established artists might like to throw around the term “back in our day” before regaling about the “glory days”. But the streaming model being followed right now is clearly unsustainable. The writer’s strike has been going on for 2 months now and is showing no sign of stopping. In June, more than 300+ members of SAG-AFTRA, including A-listers such as Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence, in a letter to union leadership said that they were ready to strike if a “transformative deal” was reached.

Julie Plec, creator of The Vampire Diaries, told Vulture,

“It’s not like just returning to the old status quo is the answer. We’re at the center of the tornado right now, and it seems like it’s whipping all around us, and I don’t think anybody really understands how to make it stop.”


Read Also: DUB Review: Succession – Bad People Make Good TV

Image Source: The Hindu

Vanshika Ahuja

[email protected]

It’s tempting to fall into unhealthy habits, but a balanced lifestyle is the key to a vibrant college life.

One enters college with an abundance of excitement, hope, and the most fun of them all, freedom. While this freedom provides opportunities for growth, it also brings with it a sense of carelessness. When you’re no longer answerable to Mom, you let loose. In most college students, this leads to the rise of some unhealthy habits. Being able to stay in bed and Zomato all the time may seem like a dream come true at first, but it inevitably invites problems.

However, that is not the only factor that could lead to the development of an unhealthy lifestyle. It’s also easy to feel so drowned in assignments, society work, or internships that there’s no room left for exercise or any hobbies for that matter. After a hectic college day, there is nothing more inviting than your bed. With an episode of your current binge and some pizza on the side. This becomes a routine that’s hard to break out of.

“The appeal of the taste of fast food is not the only thing that has kept me in the habit of ordering in almost every night. It’s also very convenient to not have to prep or cook meals. It feels like a quick fix after a long day.” -Vansh, a second-year student

Moreover, “broke college student” is a famous phrase for a reason. When short on budget, cooking the same instant ramen pack a few different ways to get through the week is appealing. Thus, many factors contribute to the rise of unhealthy eating habits among college students. Another major problem is that of little to no exercise. It’s difficult to make time for a routine. The norm of going late to bed and having to wake up early for morning classes keeps one in the cycle of feeling tired throughout the day. Pulling all-nighters consistently and then drinking tons of coffee to survive, skipping meals, and not exercising are therefore common elements of a college student’s lifestyle. The allure of it all is heavy. But this lifestyle is unfortunately not sustainable. How do we beat it?

It’s important to start at the fundamental level and correct your basics. Build your day around a healthy sleep schedule, eat at the right time, and start incorporating at least some exercise throughout the week. As cliché as this might sound, your elders are correct. Doing this will significantly improve your quality of life and help you focus better on your goals. You don’t need some rigid instruction table to help you achieve all of this. Start slow and be soft with yourself. It’s also okay to maintain some flexibility. You do not need to cut Netflix or McDonald’s out of your life (duh, how could we ever?). Just practice moderation with it.

“After college hours, it feels unsafe for me to travel to and from a gym in the city. So, I’ve made it a point to wake up a little extra early in the mornings to do yoga. This way I get some exercise done every single day.” -Gauri, a second-year student at KNC.

While waking up early is definitely not the best suit for many of us, here are some things that you can do to start living a better and healthier life. When you get hunger pangs at odd hours, have fruits for snacks instead of reaching for a packet of chips. They’re yummy and healthy, plus super convenient to grab. Replace your caffeinated beverages with better alternatives that also serve as a refresher, such as milkshakes. When you do need to order in, pick healthier options as opposed to fast foods. For exercise, try to include movement in the little day-to-day tasks. Walk around on your study break instead of sitting in bed. Take the stairs instead of elevators wherever possible (the metro station maybe?). Discover a safe road/park near you and go for the occasional walk while on the phone with family or friends.

There are innumerable little ways you could create a better lifestyle for yourself. Making conscious choices regarding nutrition and exercise will take care of you both physically and mentally, improving academic performance and overall quality of life. Pave the way for a balanced and fulfilling college experience that sets you up for success in the long run. Cheers to doing better!

Featured Image Source: Pinterest

Read also: Health and Wellness Guide for Busy College Students

Arshiya Pathania

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Self-quarantining is the best way to beat the coronavirus, but there are not many ways to beat boredom amidst the country’s lockdown. Here is a list of underrated Netflix movies that you can obsess over.

1. 50/50 (2011)
The movie is closely inspired by its writer, Will Reiser, and his own battle with cancer. Seth Rogen’s character is also based on his own experience. This comedy-drama essentially captures the hardships faced by a cancer patient. The protagonist, Adam Lerner, is diagnosed with a rare type of cancer called schwannoma neurofibrosarcoma that has a survival rate of 50/50.


Image Credits: Way Too Indie

2. The Platform (2019)
This science fiction horror-thriller movie is set in a prison the inmates are provided food through a distinct platform that descends the levels of the prison tower. This distribution system is immensely flawed as the prisoners on top levels have an unfair advantage of procuring more food, and the ones living below have no option but to accept the food that is left.


Image Credits: Collider

3. The Fundamentals of Caring (2016)
Starring Paul Rudd and Selena Gomez, this comedy-drama revolves around an 18-year-old boy named Trevor, who suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and his relationship with his caregiver, played by Paul Rudd. Trevor dreamt of visiting the world’s deepest pit which eventually pans out perfectly as the team embarks on a journey to fulfill his wishes.

the fundamentals of caring

Image Credits: Iowa State Daily

4. 6 Days (2017)
This action-thriller is based on a real event, revolving around the siege which took place when armed gunmen entered the Iranian Embassy in London and took twenty six people as hostages in April 1980. It took six days to finally have a standoff that leads to inevitable consequences.

6 days

Image Credits: NME.com

5. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
The movie stars Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, and this romantic-comedy essentially revolves around their dysfunctional bond that strengthens as they get to know each other a little better. Pat, played by Bradley Cooper, has bipolar disorder and was released from the psychiatric hospital after an episode wherein he catches his wife with another man.

silver linings playbook

Image Credits: The Guardian

6. Before I Go to Sleep (2014)
Based on a novel by S.J Watson with the same name, this psychological thriller film stars Nicole Kidman who plays the role of Christine who wakes up every morning with a man she does not know and forgets the happenings every night as she goes to sleep, and wakes up the next morning with a clean slate and no memory of how ended up in that bed.

before i go to sleep

Image Credits: Los Angeles Times

7. Uncut Gems (2019)
The viewers will not witness Adam Sandler as his usual funny self, but as a Jewish gambling addict who must retrieve a precious gem he bought to pay off his debts.

uncut gems

Image Credits: The Mill

Feature Image Credits: India Today

Suhani Malhotra

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Addressing the MeToo movements of 2018, the new Netflix original, Guilty, attempts to question our morality but fails to be true and fair. Read the review for a deeper insight.

Portraying college life in a vast variety of forms through Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, 2 States and Wake Up Sid, Karan Johar presents to his audience, yet another such depiction of the same in his latest production, Guilty, directed by Ruchi Narain. Guilty is a Netflix original based in the prime student-hub of the country, the Delhi University, aiming to address the significance and relevance of the #MeToo movement that began in India in late 2018. Including elements of slut shaming, class differences, political influence, mental disorders and many more, Guilty attempts to cover a case of rape accusation in its most complicated nature, honestly defining the idiom – too many cooks spoil the broth.

The movie stars Kiara Advani and Akanksha Ranjan as two widely distinct girls from the same college, St. Martin’s. Advani’s character, Nanki Dutta, is the typical “rebel without a cause”, covered with tattoos and hair colours, fond of Faiz and Kafka, who is also the lyricist for the college band. She is dating the lead singer and college heartthrob, VJ (Gurfateh Singh Pirzada). Tanu Kumar (Ranjan) on the other hand is a small-town girl with a local accent. She is introduced in the movie as she recites a monologue from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, while presenting an errotic act in front of the boys from the band, with Nanki observing the same as an audience. The two characters are at odds with each other from the very beginning because of Tanu’s overt absorption in VJ. Tanu is also portrayed as someone who’d try to play the victim in all possible situations and in a sense, could be tagged an “attention seeker”.

The movie focuses on the rape accusation made by Tanu against VJ, a year after the incident, amidst the MeToo movement that had awoken in the country. The case is investigated by Danish (Taher Shabbir) who is a lawyer, preparing witnesses for VJ’s case. Danish acts as the neutral eye observing and questioning everything and everyone related to the case (though I wonder why the writers chose to assign this role to a lawyer fighting for one party, instead of a police officer, perhaps?). Danish seems to be constantly at war with his thoughts, trying to understand this game of he-said-she-said. He finds a crucial piece of this puzzle in Nanki, the witness who wasn’t even present. His conversations with her unfurl the story further, bringing forth hidden facts and secrets within the gang.

Guilty makes us constantly question our mental conditioning, proving the existence of prejudices ingrained in our brains. It addresses common questions like, “why would I rape someone if I have a girlfriend”, “why was she quiet for a year”, “she was asking for it” and more making it nearly impossible to empathise with Tanu. However, what disappoints me in this movie is the fact that, as an audience, I couldn’t really empathise with any of the characters. The movie unfolds so many complications that, somewhere down the line, the writer seems to relegate the significance of the primary agenda, weakening the moral impact by the end.

This brings me to the even more disappointing ending scene, which is both highly unrealistic and annoyingly cringe-worthy. The movie had followed a fairly genuine representation of the life of a student at the Delhi University with the intoxicating culture at college fests, internal competitiveness, the “woke” gang and particularly, “tere bhai ke sath scene ho gaya hai” (our friend is in trouble). As a DU student myself, I certainly enjoyed the first half of the movie as I could relate to most of it. However, by the end of it, reality comes to a halt and moral lectures are shoved down the audience’s throat in the most obvious way possible. It seemed like lazy writing, with the writers creating an easy way out.

The end credits, on the other hand, was a creative artistic expression and moral summary of the film, backed by the song “Kahun” written and composed by the song director of the film, Ankur Tewari. The song is a beautiful call out towards all those who silence the voices of the victims and encourages the latter to speak up. Personally, the outro was my favourite part of the whole film, without which the movie appears incomplete.

Guilty, for me, seemed like a movie with a good concept, decent execution but disappointing impact. In today’s date, where we’re aware that the rate of crime against women hasn’t gone down over the years, it is essential for mass media platforms to be intricately careful with what they present on screens to their massive audience, and ensure they do not impart the wrong message. Guilty, with its screening platform being Netflix, and its audience being our generation, had the perfect opportunity to do greater justice to the MeToo movement, which in my opinion, it failed to do.

Feature Image Credits: IMDB

Aditi Gutgutia

[email protected]

Locke and keys, the latest web series is another addition to the thriller and mystery category by Netflix. The American supernatural horror drama is based on the comic book series Locke and Keys written by Gabriel Rodriguez and Joe Hill.

Spoiler Alert!

The story revolves around a mysterious and spooky house, the key house which is filled with magical keys and their key holes. The series begins with a misshaping when a person after receiving a phone call of a women commits suicide by stabbing himself, not with a dagger but with a magical key, which burns the interior of his body. The entire mystery behind the dreaded incident is disclosed gradually with the progression of the plot.

The intriguing beginning proves successful in filling the audience with curiosity and makes it unable for them to leave their watching seats. Two teenagers, Kinsy and Tyler along with their six year old brother, Bodey come out as the three central characters in the show. The intellect and the extraordinary problem solving efficiency of the six year old boy is questionable with respect to his age. In an age where an ordinary kid is unaware of the realities of the world, Bodey comes out as a co-life saviour of his family.

The story is a perfect plot for the people taking pleasure in watching magical, fantasy and supernatural related stuff. The three central characters along with their mother, Nina move to the key house after Nina’s husband (Rendel) gets murdered in their previous home. The ten episode long series in its every episode, like every other suspense filled Netflix series discloses one mystery while creating another for the next episode.

One thing which remains consistent in almost every episode is the discovery of a new key. Starting from the miraculous ‘anywhere key’ which if put in a door and opened leads you to the place you thought about in your head, to the ‘identity key’, revealed in the last episode which changes the identity of a person, irrespective of their gender.

Overall the first season of this new venture by Netflix is a good combination of mystery and thrill, which sees success in even touching the emotional corners of the heart. The family bonding and mutual support for each other in the times of distress, along with Bodey’s childish innocence moves the audience and leaves them with a deep excitement for the next season.

Feature Image credits: IMDb

Kriti Gupta

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Being productive is too much work and we, as students, are too much lazy. Read further to relieve yourself of this pressure of working too hard.

On the morning of National Productivity Day, I overslept and missed my first lecture. I reached the next lecture 20 minutes late and instead of writing my article, I went to Taco Bell with my friends. I also had the first day of my internship where I spent about 2 hours doing pretty much nothing. I finally came home, watched To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before part two and cringed over it for an hour. I ate dinner, finally decided to write my article the next day and swiped left on Tinder for another half hour. Welcome to a day into the unproductive life of a college student.

As students, we can spend days, weeks, months or even years doing absolutely nothing and yet feel immensely tired and exhausted all. the. time. I personally like to think of it as some kind of a talent we all possess. T’is ain’t an easy life, my friends. However, what bothers me is this intuitive need one has to be productive. An unproductive day is considered a lazy day. But again, is there something really wrong with it?

We’re all too hard on ourselves. We push our own limits, setting goals far beyond our standards. The inability to meet these unrealistic expectations brings down our morale, further degrading our work quality and eventually placing us in the inevitable, vicious cycle of unproductivity. Seriously, chill out, these unnecessary pressures, the romanticisation of being exhausted or busy, the capitalistic notions of achievements need to be challenged. Pushing yourself is great, but being cruel to yourself is not the best way to achieve your goals. 

In this ends versus means debate, choose the right path for yourself. Take a day off and sleep for 16 hours. Watch the worst guilty pleasures on Netflix. Make plans and cancel them all. You deserve a break from stressing out about being productive by being absolutely unproductive. You can also be kind to yourself and be a part of the ‘race’, or maybe even sit out of the race. 

I would ask you to chill this National Productivity Day but I missed the deadline because I was busy being unproductive. Anyway, it’s all getting too productive for me, so I guess I’ll end here.

Feature Image Credits: Darius Foroux


Aditi Gutgutia

[email protected]

Is Ghost Stories a spooky offering or a movie that you are well off ‘ghosting’?


What struck me watching Lust Stories way back when it released, was how all the four anthology films in it, somehow felt connected thematically despite being directed by individuals who are polar opposites of each other.

And this is what’s different in Netflix’s latest Indian offering, Ghost Stories. Directed by the same batch of the aforementioned anthology, this web movie also offers four different stories by Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap, Karon Johar, and Dibakar Banerjee.

Apart from the common theme of a supernatural phenomenon, all the stories are really disparate in terms of story and visual elements. And for this reason, the arrangement of the short films seems a bit haphazard. This criticism seems a bit too far-fetched but then, most of these shorts didn’t manage that much of a lasting mark, ending up as just decent attempts at Indian horror.

An exception can be Dibakar Banerjee’s segment which can arguably be the best part of Ghost Stories. The segment hardly has any night shots but the visual imagery of a destroyed village (inhabited by zombie-like hybrid creatures) under a dim sky is enough to amaze the viewer. The basic storyline of Banerjee’s film is that people of the ‘Bigtown’ had come to this ‘Smalltown’ and started eating the locals. This for some reason, starts a wave of a new race of human meat-eaters. The makeup work on these beasts is top-notch, and the entire rural setting made me crave more horrors. If this short is later turned in a full-length feature film, I would totally be up for it!

But, if we solely assess the other films in terms of visual elements, Zoya Akhtar and Anurag Kashyap have also done a good job in creating a spooky atmosphere. But then cause of some unnecessary scenes being dragged out, their efforts seem to look a bit pretentious as if the director is forcing you to feel scared (especially in Kashyap’s segment). Regardless, in Kashyap’s film, Sobhita Dhulipala (Made in Heaven, Raman Raghav 2.0) pulls off a convincing performance of a pregnant woman, obsessed with dolls whom she treats as her kids (although it’s only one angle of the story).

So basically, Akhtar and Kashyap’s work on Ghost Stories might be slightly flawed or underwhelming for some, but still, it makes for a good one time watch. But then, for a bizarre and tasteless finale to the anthology, we get Karan Johar…

Now, I’ll admit Karan Johar might hardly be considered as an ‘artsy’ director for many including me, but I thoroughly enjoyed his short in Lust Stories (it was my personal favourite in it). I liked seeing Karan Johar writing and directing a story where there was no need for PG-13 family melodrama and he could get truly get raunchy, sexual, and heart-warming at the same time.

And in Ghost Stories, he tried crafting a half-baked story making it unnecessarily raunchy in scenes; so much so that it felt like a Lust Stories spin-off. The protagonist’s husband goofily (unintentionally goofy acting maybe) talks to his ‘dead’ grandmother (possibly her spirit) every day and that concerns her obviously. Her best friend tells her to give him a blowjob and sort the matter out. And also there are some weird noises which she hears in the house, to which the best friend says ‘That’s the only blowjob that has been happening’.

Puns so bad that they’re good, but they seem so unnecessary. And the edits are so sudden that you are feeling a bit weird anticipating what will happen in the segment, but then you’re suddenly transported to the next scene with a stylish shot of a wedding probably shot at Sanjay Leela Bhansali setpiece. No offence to the production design team behind this wedding and the huge mansion where ‘Granny’ lives, but the setting seems so caricaturish that it might suit a Manyavar ad more than a film.

Whether it’s the orangish ‘candle flame-like’ tone of Zoya’s segment to the dark colourless tone in Anurag Kashyap’s, the colour palettes are different but all spooky. Karan Johar’s film on the other hand, has a cliched look which one might have seen in other Indian horror films. The main reason why I couldn’t appreciate this particular segment that much was because I couldn’t adjust with its tone, compared to the other parts.

Overall, Ghost Stories is a unique presentation by Netflix which shows that Indian filmmakers are indeed trying to up their game in genres where Indian cinema has been mocked usually. Even if it’s imperfect, it does give the average Bollywood viewer hope for better scares in future Indian cinema. Finally, watch the Zoya and Kashyap’s segments for the thrills, bite your nails with Dibakar Banerjee, and you can totally skip Karan Johar if you want too.


Featured Image Credits- Netflix


Shaurya Singh Thapa

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When the story unravels, a new episode comes out, your favourite actor plays the character, often the best of us make the wrong judgement and internalise these problematic characters from our favourite movies and TV Series. Here is a piece deconstructing and splitting the problematic image of the character away from the actor.

A tragic past, a bright mind or a great sense of humour are a few of the many things that blind us when it comes to characters from one’s favourite TV shows, series or novels. They are highly relevant to the story; their charming grin or the caring attitude almost makes one forget their problematic behaviour. The constant reaffirmations that they receive from the other characters of the show help hide their sexist, condescending or manipulative behaviour. It then becomes extremely important to question one’s love for the character and see them with a fresh and woke perspective. Here is a list of how the behaviours of some of the most popular characters are the most problematic ones.

  1. Barney Stinson, How I Met Your Mother

Barney Stinson is probably one of the most loved characters of the series. He’s charming and quirky. His bro-code and tricks almost make him too likeable. However, it must not be forgotten that he was a sex-obsessed womaniser who treated women like objects, who tricked and mislead them into sleeping with him. Even when he and Robin (another character from the show and his wife later on) were together he lied to her under the guise of good intentions and romantic gestures. It’s amazing he didn’t have multiple rape charges against him.

  1. Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City 

The leading character of Sex and the City was a selfish, manipulative and condescending friend. However, her writing the edgy fashion column makes us love her so much. The entire series revolve around four independent women in New York City and their strong friendship, however when her friends tell her about intimate and celebratory events in their life like pregnancy, miscarriage or cancer, she somehow made the situation about herself. Let’s not even get started on how badly she treated Aidan when he forgave her again and again.

  1. Chuck Bass, Gossip Girl

The tragic past of Chuck Bass and the pseudo-character development shown by the writers perfectly hide the fact, that Chuck Bass was a rapist. The worst part is that he’s marketed to young girls as a “hot bad-boy type” and we all bought into it.

In the episode premier, he first tries to force himself on his drunk friend, Serena and then on a 14-year old freshman, Jenny.  He even calls Serena a “slut” for stopping him to molest Jenny.

Chuck Bass is womaniser, who treats women like trophies and all that matters to him is the chase. He takes Blair’s virginity in the back of a limo mere hours after she breaks up with his best friend. However, he’s always saved by how Blair appreciates him and eggs him on.

Are we supposed to believe that Chuck was just going around assaulting women because he hadn’t yet found the right one? That he just needed someone who could challenge him, and he would see the error of his ways?

  1. Ezra Fitz, Pretty Little Liars

When you think about it, it’s gross how he’s celebrated as a great writer and literature professor and so justified for having an affair with his student, a minor.

His vocabulary and grammar syntax act as a perfect medium to hide how he acts all innocent dating a teenage girl. He never once shows remorse for his actions and expects to be appreciated for his epic love story and blames everyone else who finds a problem with his affair.

  1. Edward Cullen, Twilight 

The dream man of all teenage girl is well very problematic. The guy wanted to possess his girlfriend and control every aspect of her life. Few of the things you might’ve ignored were, the idea that Edward was initially attracted to Bella because he wanted to bite her, his teenage mood swings and how scares Bella to woo her. Not romantic, but creepy how he watches Bella while sleeping when he barely knew her. He follows her everywhere around and underestimates her in every situation. One must realise that love is not supposed to be a prison with your partner as the guard, isolating you from everyone else in the world.

  1. Patty Bladell, Insatiable 

All the characters are problematic as hell, but she is on another level. She tried to break up the marriage of her coach who was 20 years older to her and was the father of her crush. She kidnapped a girl, exposed a gay relationship, killed a guy, and when she had a teratoma she thought she’d eaten her twin. She was not some girl we pity for being bullied — she literally destroyed the lives of everyone around her.

  1. Ross Geller, Friends 

Ross Geller coming from the beloved show Friends often is saved because of the love he receives on screen from all the other cast members. If seen in a different way perspective, here are few things he has done. He lied to Rachel about getting their marriage annulled, for his own satisfaction. He tried to kiss his own cousin, and said, “she wants the same things you do” just because she requested to open a bottle of wine. Not only this, he’s extremely dismissive of Rachel’s career and in the last few episodes even convinced her to give up on a great opportunity. It’s ironical how his pervert nature of making his and Rachel’s sex tape without her consent, is applauded by his friends to act as an evidence. He doesn’t value consent, and feels that Rachel being naked is an invitation to him for sex. He’s a jerk who made us internalise “she was asking for it”.

With this article, there’s a hope we become more receptive to the kind of content we receive and consume. Let’s call out what’s wrong and problematic. We’ve had enough jokes on the identities of people.

It’s time to make everyone aware.

Stay woke, friends!


Feature Image Credits: What Would Bale Do

Chhavi Bahmba 

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When was the last time when we managed an escapade from the fascinating content provided by the creative OTT platforms that literally has its subscribers glued to the screens? Perhaps it would be a matter of prior engagements, over the last four years the over-the-top media service has seen a significant consumption, especially with respect to the Indian market which as of now values around INR 3,500 crores and is estimated to rise by many folds to dethrone the television industry and environment altogether. An endless supply of level original content in high definition quality is easily available with an affordable subscription fee, that seems really economical from our recreational budget matrix but the cost that the environment suffers seems extremely exorbitant.

Although streaming platforms like Netflix are extremely cautious with the provision of spectator data, their ‘Prime’ presence everywhere is as shining as a ‘hot-Star’ and hence cannot be ignored like a bad ‘Spotify’ playlist. Millions of people on a daily basis consume a large amount of data on these on-demand content platforms which is binge-watched for hours, inducing a large amount of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere we actually need. According to the Shift Project, a French think-tank that claims to advance the shift to a post-carbon economy, ‘Watching a half-hour show would lead to emissions of around 1.6 kilograms of carbon dioxide, that’s equivalent to driving a car for 6.28 kilometres.’

‘Digital videos come in very large file sizes and (are) getting bigger with each new generation of higher-definition video,’ said Gary Cook from Greenpeace, which is administered to look on the IT sector’s energy footprint.

Cook further adds, ‘More data equals more energy needed to maintain a system that is ready to stream this video to your device at a moment’s notice.’

Much of the energy needed for streaming services is consumed by the data centres, which further provides data to our computers and handsets. Reportedly, the centres contribute about 0.3 per cent of all carbon emissions and the ever-increasing steadfast demand for better technologies has stressed our energy sources substantially.

As matters of fact, screens with 4K resolution use about 30 per cent more energy than high-definition screens; upgraded devices and technologies require more amounts of energy to store, process, and share data and further corresponds for increased production and consumption wastes at every level of test and research development praxis.

On the contrary, we are ought to agree that these platforms are extremely entertaining and provide a good dose of change from our monotonous lives but the stringent fact remains that in such hard times where our cities like Kanpur, Gurugram, and Delhi as heavy ‘cyber-hubs’, they also hold the title for the most polluted cities on the planet. The carbon emissions caused by the digital media markers which are expected to rise and expand significantly needs alternative renewable energy sources and judicious sustainable management.

But it won’t be enough for us to rue the online platforms and their capitalist endeavors hindering the environment without realising these suggestions that are put forth by Professor Chris Priest and Dr Dan Schien of the University of Bristol who advocate terrestrial Broadcast TV to be lot more efficient than network streaming, whereas mobile phones continue to be more energy-efficient than a TV or a PC. Professor Priest even underlines the fact that a Wi-Fi connection can be more efficient than a 3G or 4G connection; downloading videos rather than viewing it online could pose as a much better alternative in terms of energy preservation.

Significant steps, conventions and debate continue to stall at the global level with increased stress and collective responsibility being observed worldwide it would continue to be an incomplete effort if small things like these go unnoticed and are not corrected or duly accounted for.


Feature Image Credits: Lighthouse insight

Faizan Salik

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