Mumbai Musings: Day 2 - With wings of films spreading to remote corners, it’s really a small world
The columnist talks about how streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and others are fast gaining popularity
It was all the rage yesterday that the Telugu super hit, Arjun Reddy, had been made available on Amazon Prime. Part of the excitement is on account of how it’s not even been two months since the film’s release. With streaming services like Netflix trying to snap up film rights as early as possible, you have to wonder if more and more people may come to pass on the theatre experience for the comforts of their home.
Baahubali 2 also became available on Netflix barely three months after its release. The cliché that the world’s getting smaller rings truer than ever before, with the wings of films spreading to remote corners in the world.
Erik Barmack, VP–International Originals, Netflix, speaking at Thursday’s session at MAMI titled Netflix: Hero or Villain?, revealed that Baahubali 2, for some inexplicable reason, has become hugely popular among Latin American audiences. “We are helping people see that while their tastes may not match their neighbours’, they probably do with a group of people living in another corner of the world,” he said. The emphasis is on themes that have the quality to cut across cultures.
It is for that reason that Erik expressed excitement over Netflix’s upcoming web series (he prefers to call it eight-hour-long films), Sacred Games, starring Saif Ali Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui. He believes it to be a story that will appeal across their heterogeneous audiences. It isn’t hard to see that a few years from now, cross-collaborations could well become the norm. As we speak, Damien Chazelle of La La Land fame is working with Netflix on a musical that’s “50 per cent French, 25 per cent English, and 25 per cent Arabic”. Make the film in any language, so long as the theme cuts across humanity.
Interestingly, the films I caught on the day — Sanal Kumar Sasidharan’s Sxxx Durga (Malayalam) and Ana Urushadze’s Scary Mother (Georgian) — are about an issue that’s prevalent across societies: the oppression of women. Sxxx Durga is about a couple on the run who get lulled into a car full of abusive men. On some level, you can even make a case for the boyfriend himself being part of the sexist machinery, given how little heed he pays to the girl’s desperate pleas and suggestions.
By contrasting these horrors with the Garudan Thookkam festival of Kerala, the director exposes the hypocrisy of a country full of men who advertise their mad devotion for a goddess but fail to pay regard to the living embodiments of the goddess: women.