It’s been a busy week for the OTT followers, from the heart-piercing Loki Episode 4, Chris Pratt’s alien invasion actioner The Tomorrow War, to Taapsee Pannu, Vikrant Massey’s murder-mystery Haseen Dillruba, a lot of options to choose from. If you’re someone who’s not watching anything from above, we have a special recommendation in Netflix’s Ray.
It’s an anthology produced by Netflix based on the short stories written by the visionary legend of Indian Cinema, Satyajit Ray. Four stories, divided into four different episodes backed with a dreamy star cast in Manoj Bajpayee, Kay Kay Menon, Ali Fazal, Gajraj Rao & more.
Let’s take a look at the summary of the fours stories of Ray, vote for your favourite one in the poll below the article.
1. Ali Fazal’s Forget Me Not
Directed by Srijit Mukherjee, adapted for the screen by Siraj Ahmed, this story takes you straight into the ‘in the process of being damaged’ mind of its leading character Ipsit (Ali Fazal). From telling a 10-figure exact amount he owes to his investors to not remembering someone he had sex with on his birthday at a place he feels has never been to, you see Ispit’s getting demolished right in front of you.
Just remember the term ‘wheelchair journey’ & notice how that brings you goosebumps towards the end of story one. A mind-blowing scene has present-day Ipsit catching his past self at a place he doesn’t even remember visiting. This has the best screenplay of all four stories & it’s all because of some unrealistically fantastic scenes penned in the second half.
2. Kay Kay Menon’s Bahrupiya
Kay Kay Menon’s Indro is a simple man with simple dreams, but he’s tangled in a world not fit for him. Much like how society pushes Joaquin’s Curry to transform into Joker, Indro decides to design the path he’ll walk on with impersonation. This leads him to break the boundaries of the law, which ultimately lands him in life-threatening trouble but ends with a question, was he really Indro or a ‘bahrupiya’ all along? Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker was Hollywood’s answer to Satyajit Ray’s Bahurupi, in which Kay Kay Menon stars as Indrashish Shaha, an aspiring make-up artist stuck with a job & life he hates.
Siraj Ahmed’s screenplay, yet again, justifiably brings Ray’s Bahurupi on-screen. Kay Kay Menon might have got the best 50 minutes of his career with this one. Ray’s trademark trait of his character ‘struggling with his life’ is portrayed by Kay Kay in a way no one else could’ve done. You can see on his face how his life is falling apart, and he doesn’t have any say in it. But, the transformation of what he becomes when he gets the key to his problems is the range only an actor like Kay Kay Menon could possess. This deserves a separate article breaking down every single detail & it’s coming soon.
3. Manoj Bajpayee’s Hungama Hai Kyon Barpa?
Satyajit Ray’s one of the underrated gems, Nayak, also consists of a train journey, but with Barin Bhowmick-er Byaram, he takes the same backdrop changing the passengers and conversation between them. A Kleptomaniac (suffering from an impulse control disorder that results in an irresistible urge to steal), Musafir Ali (Or as he likes to address himself) is a renowned Urdu ghazal singer. He clashes with Aslam Baig, a wrestler-turned-sports journalist, who back in his days was known as Jenga The Wrestler. As we advance, we know this isn’t the first time they’re meeting, and Musafir hasn’t always been the renowned singer he’s today.
A train journey doesn’t stop Niren Bhatt’s screenplay from getting stuck in just a compartment narrating a dialogue-heavy story. Instead, he uses the glass of the train’s washroom as a window to Musafir Ali’s flashback performance. Bhatt’s vision is fantastically backed by Anuj Rakesh Dhawan’s camerawork and Aditya Kanwar’s production design checking all the right boxes. Manas Mittal’s editing compliments the fast-paced journey of Musafir & Baig. Naren Chadavarkar, Benedict Taylor’s background score leaves no vacant gaps without bothering the proceedings.
4. Harsh Varrdhan Kapoor’s Spotlight
After a hat-trick of perfect 5/5 episodes, the fear of a messed up finally clouded my thoughts beyond control. Harsh Varrdhan Kapoor’s Spotlight starts with Ray’s quote, “There’s always some room for improvisation.” I don’t know if this was cryptically intentional or just ironic, but this is the episode that needed the most improvisation of all four. Nope, it’s not a bad experience at all, but the bar set by the first three doesn’t work in the favour of Vasan Bala’s directed episode.
With dialogues like “Fair toh ab Fair & Lovely bhi nahi raha” & rhyming Pritish with British, the dumbness of Vikram is accurately portrayed by Harsh Varrdhan. Rahul Kamble turns on his beast-mode for the background score. Especially the scene in which Vikram’s state of mind is characterised by a fast-paced jazzy drum piece hits the nail. Niren Bhatt takes a simple route with the screenplay of this one, which I feel shouldn’t have been the case. At the risk of being termed as sadistic, this one needed a darker approach and not a glamorous one. Vasan Bala continues his ‘tribute to cinema’ touch from Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota, but here, he misses some targets.