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Best OTT Releases To Binge Watch This Weekend: Korean Dramas, Thrillers & More

For the perfect weekend binge, here’s a list of OTT releases of Oscar-winning actors and Academy Award-nominated filmmakers on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar and more.

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A British drama series helmed by Indian-origin actors, a four-generational Korean drama, a movie about a clash between an ex-army officer and police officer, and much more. For this weekend’s binge, take your pick from this diverse range of releases on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Disney+Hotstar and more.

Dune on Amazon Prime

Directed by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, the movie is adapted from Frank Herbert’s science-fiction novel Dune (1965). It is set in the distant future where the imperial family of Atreides is ruling on the desert planet of Arrakis.

It follows Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), a gifted heir of Atreides, who has to protect the future of his family and his people as the planet goes into conflict over melange, or the spice, a precious resource necessary for interplanetary travel.

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Cast: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem

What reviews say:

“Make no mistake, Dune is much more dynamic, much more about the story—or should I say, the beginning of a story—than the indie game, but there’s a similar enjoyable stillness to this film,” writes Sudhir Srinivasan for The New Indian Express.

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Bridgerton Season 2

In December 2020, Netflix created a record by garnering 82 million views in 28 days for its regency era drama, Bridgerton. Based on Julia Quinn’s novels and created by Chris Van Dusen, the show now returns with season 2.

The plot revolves around the Bridgerton family, headed by Lady Violet Bridgerton and her eight children who attempt to find love. While the first season of Bridgerton focused on the love story of the eldest daughter of the Bridgerton family, Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor), the second season is a love triangle between Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) and sisters Edwina (Charithra Chandran) and Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley).

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Cast: Simone Ashley, Jonathan Bailey, Charithra Chandran, Nicola Coughlan, Shelley Conn, Adjoa Andoh, Golda Rosheuvel.

What reviews say:

“The new instalment of Netflix’s hit series remains refreshingly humorous and self-aware,” writes John Anderson for The Wall Street Journal.

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Pachinko on Apple TV+

Based on Min Jin Lee’s bestselling 2017 novel, Pachinko is directed by Kogonada and Justin Chon. It revolves around four generations of a Korean family that moves to Japan and later New York. It begins in 1915 in a fishing village of Korea and moves to the financial capital of Japan, Tokyo.

Cast: Oscar-winning actress Youn Yuh-jung, Lee Min-ho, Minha Kin and Jin Ha.

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What reviews say:

“…That saga is delivered with such artistry and imagination – including the passionate yet restrained emotions of the actors, the elegance of the time-shifting narrative and the show’s astonishing visual beauty – that Pachinko is unsurpassed among recent series,” writes Caryn James for BBC.

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Valimai (Tamil) on Zee5

The action-thriller revolves around Arjun (Ajith Kumar), an IPS officer who is on a mission to hunt down a gang of illegal bikers who employ youth for theft, murders and drug pedalling. It has been directed by H Vinoth, who previously made Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru and Nerkonda Paarvai.

Cast: Ajith Kumar, Huma Qureshi, Kartikeya Gummakonda, Yogi Babu, and others in pivotal roles

What reviews say:

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“If you look at Valimai purely from the action standpoint, you’re in for a treat as some of the action stretches really standout. But if you evaluate the film beyond the action sequences, there’s hardly anything that keeps you invested, despite an earnest performance from Ajith. In essence, it’s a film where the action supersedes the largely predictable story,” writes Haricharan Pudipeddi for Hindustan Times.

I’ve Heard The Mermaids Singing on MUBI India

This is a 1987 Canadian movie directed by Patricia Rozema about photographer Polly, who lands a job at a gallery run by the curator and painter Gabrielle.

As they develop a strong connection, Polly learns about the true colours of Gabrielle, who rekindles an old romantic relationship with a young painter.

It was released on Mubi on 23 March. The movie won an award at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.

Cast: Sheila McCarthy, Paule Baillargeon, Ann-Marie McDonald

What reviews say:

“For all its social satire, however, this is Polly’s film. She is, perhaps, the most memorable, genuinely likeable screen creation in years, and Rozema’s debut — touching, hilarious, as fresh as a summer breeze – does her ample justice,” writes Geoff Andrew for TimeOut.

You can check out the trailer here.

Bheemla Nayak (Telugu) on Disney+Hotstar & Aha Video

Saagar K Chandra’s directorial Bheemla Nayak was released in February in theatres and was a success at the Telugu box office. The movie is a remake of Ayyappanum Koshiyum. It is now set to have an OTT release. The movie revolves around a clash between a former army officer and a police officer.

Cast: Pawan Kalyan, Rana Daggubati and Nithya Menen.

What reviews say:

“Pawan Kalyan and Rana Daggubati lock horns in a racy, masala-laden adaptation that is effective in playing to the gallery,” writes for The Hindu.

Achcham Madam Naanam Payirppu (Myth of the good girl)

This coming-of-age dramedy, starring Akshara Haasan, was screened at various international film festivals including HBO’s South Asian International Film Festival and Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival in Canada.
Directed by Raja Ramamurthy, the movie explores the tabooed topic of premarital sex. The protagonist, Pavithra (Akshara) hails from a conservative family who is expected to follow the family tradition of learning Carnatic music from her grandmother (Usha Uthup) and mother (Malgudi Subha).

One day, she seeks advice on losing her virginity from her two of her friends, who have different notions of sex before marriage.

Cast: Akshara Haasan, Usha Uthup, Anjana Jayaprakash, Malgudi Subha, Janaki Sabesh, and Suresh Chandra Menon

What reviews say:

“Achcham Madam Naanam Payirppu is fascinating, mainly because we do not have many mainstream films that explore female desire. While we have several coming-of-age films with male protagonists, there is hardly any representation of what girls go through. Achcham Madam Naanam Payirppu is hardly revolutionary though — it does not aspire to be either. But it is nice to see a young girl be curious about sex onscreen. It is also nice for a film to acknowledge that intercourse and intimacy do not ‘change’ a woman,” writes Ashameera Aiyappan for FirstPost.

Parallels on Disney+ Hotstar

A science-fiction series that dives deep into people travelling to the parallel earths. The Christopher Leone directorial is about the lives of four teenagers whose lives are disrupted due to an experiment of the LHC, which is the world’s biggest particle collider.

The childhood friends enter mysterious dimensions during a birthday party and one of them is now an adult. They try to undo the entire process by hunting down the cause that led to this bizarre event.

Cast: Thomas Chomel, Maxime Bergeron, Timoté Rigault and Victoria Eber.

What reviews say:

“Parallels is a sci-fi drama that ends up being much more than just a tale of adventure and mystery. The way it also explores some relatable and raw human emotions, and themes of growing up, adds a layer of poignancy to its thrilling story. Couple that with some great performances and cinematography and you get a series that will keep you hooked till the very end,” writes Shilpa S for OTTplay.

 

Old that is still gold

Ludo on Netflix

Known for ensemble-cast movies, Anurag Basu gives us yet another interesting and fun watch under the dark comedy genre.

A hilarious kidnapping that goes wrong; one lover giving his everything to keep the love of his life, who is, by the way, married to another man, happy; two strangers who hit a jackpot with a suitcase full of money and one women who wants a rich guy to marry but ends up with a ‘doctor’ she never wanted — these form the premise of the movie.

All their lives are intertwined in a game of fate and chance, and at the centre of this colourful game is a criminal (the eccentric Pankaj Tripathi) who has a part to play in all their lives.

Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Pankaj Tripathi, Rajkummar Rao,Fatima Sana Shiekh, Sanya Malhotra, Aditya Roy Kapoor, Rohit Saraf, Pearl Maaney and Shalini Vatsa

What reviews say:

“It is not that the story arcs of Ludo are exceptional, but the “extraordinary” circumstances in which the characters find themselves trapped and the way Basu evokes humour from their helplessness, are. And they are outrageously funny, often veering between a black comedy and a musical drama,” writes Srivatsan S for The Hindu.

Sources 

The New Indian Express 

The Wall Street Journal 

Hindustan Times

TimeOut

The Hindu 

BBC

FirstPost 

OTTplay 

The Hindu 

Edited by Divya Sethu 

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