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Netflix announces 25 new K-dramas for 2022, Money Heist adaptation, Thirty Nine on the list

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Following the record-breaking popularity of K-dramas such as Squid Game, Hellbound and Vincenzo, streamer Netflix’s Korean arm has announced that they are launching more than 25 Korean shows in 2022, its largest number to date.

According to a release by the platform, Korean shows dominated global popular culture in 2021 with Squid Game alone becoming the streamer’s biggest show ever, most viewed in 94 countries.

The 95 per cent of Squid Game’s viewership came from outside Korea and led viewers to explore more K-content on Netflix.

The streamer said the global viewing hours of our Korean shows grew six-fold last year, compared to 2019.

“Credit for this growing global interest goes to the talented Korean creators we have been working with for the past few years. From 2016 to 2021, we launched more than 130 Korean titles. As a result, Netflix has become a compelling destination for fans of Korean content, who know that this is the home of diverse and high-quality Korean storytelling.

“As this fanbase increasingly includes viewers from all over the world, we are excited to continue collaborating with Korean storytellers to bring the K-wave to new heights,” Don Kang, VP, Content (Korea), shared in the release.

Some of the shows that viewers can look forward to include All of Us Are Dead, in which zombies invade a high school; Money Heist: Korea Joint Economic Area, an adaptation of the popular Spanish series; and the action-packed thrills of Seoul Vibe, a film where the adventures of a special-ops team take place against the backdrop of the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.

The slate reintroduces some of the famous South Korean actors in new drama settings. For example, Crash Landing on You star Son Ye-jin stars in Thirty Nine alongside Hospital Playlist fan-favourite star Jeon Mi-do and Justice actor Kim Ji-hyun. The drama explores the life and friendship of three women who are about to turn 40.

Similarly, Forecasting Love and Weather features What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim star Park Min-young, Netflix favourite Song Kang and You Are My Spring actor Yoon Bak. The romantic drama revolves around the life and love stories of the people working at the Korea Meteorological Administration.

Fantasy drama The Sound of Magic stars popular South Korean actor Ji Chang-wook, best known to K-drama fans for shows Healer, Suspicious Partner and Lovestruck in the City, as a mysterious magician alongside Beyond Evil star Choi Sung-eun and Hwang In-youp of True Beauty fame. The series is directed by Kim Sung-youn of Itaewon Class fame. He is reuniting with writer Kim Min-jeong after Love In The Moonlight.

Black Knight, a dystopian drama, will mark the return of popular Korean actor Kim Woo-bin following his recovery from nasopharyngeal cancer. It also features Taxi Driver actor Esom and is set in 2071 where people depend on respirator masks to breathe. Woo-bin plays a delivery driver in the drama.

Other noteworthy titles in the list include Kim Hye-soo-starrer legal drama Juvenile Justice, romance drama Twenty Five, Twenty with Kim Tae-ri and Nam Joo-hyuk, fantasy show Tomorrow, Business Proposal, Remarriage and Desires, Model Family, Glitch, The Fabulous, Love to Hate You and Somebody.



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The Book of Boba Fett, Chapter 4, The Gathering Storm review: Fledgling Star Wars show regains composure, concludes with tantalising tease

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In a welcome change of pace, creator Jon Favreau fills Chapter 4 of The Book of Boba Fett with plot developments befitting an episode of its importance. After a string of chapters that have ranged from downright disappointing to moderately enjoyable, The Gathering Storm is the first real winner of the season, as the sophomore live-action Star Wars show struggles to find its own identity.

In a way, it’s a struggle that mirrors Boba Fett’s, as the bounty hunter-turned-crime lord remains chained to his past, yet makes genuine attempts at re-establishing himself.

Chapter 4 continues the Godfather Part II-style back-and-forth across timelines. And after way too many flashbacks devoted to inactivity (or, at best, rudimentary character development), The Gathering Storm opens with a moment that fans have been waiting for. The first meeting between Boba Fett and his trusted accomplice Fennec Shand is suitably understated and often very sweet. And if I didn’t know any better, I’d be willing to wager that Favreau and episode director Kevin Tancharoen looked to Terminator Salvation—the least-remembered of the Terminator sequels—for inspiration.

After essentially coercing her into accompanying him on a mission—finally, missions are back!—Boba Fett allows her to claim her ‘freedom’. In a rare example of the otherwise steely show letting its guard down and cracking a smile, Fennec Shand waves away his offer and suggests that she might want to tag along with him on further adventures. And like Don Corleone, who became a softie in his old age, Boba Fett doesn’t refuse her offer of companionship.

It’s so interesting to watch two emotionally restrained characters embrace the warmth in each other that possibly only they can see. Fennec Shand even makes this observation in the show; a self-aware touch by Favreau. And Boba Fett’s response is equally emotional. “You can only get so far without a tribe,” he growls, making a reference to his Tusken friends, who perished in episode three.

Although this moment doesn’t excuse the sloppily paced flashbacks of the previous chapters, it certainly makes the ‘past’ timeline in The Book of Boba Fett more interesting all of a sudden.

Importantly, both in terms of tone and visual aesthetic, the flashbacks are no longer all that different from the ‘present day’ sequences, perhaps symbolising the eventual intersection of the two timelines. Boba Fett and Fennec Shand’s siege of Jaba the Hutt’s palace is thrillingly staged, with more humour than what we saw in the flashbacks directed by Robert Rodriguez in earlier episodes.

Tancharoen introduces physical comedy to the show, most notably when he has Boba Fett’s Bantha creature burp after a meal, and then, when a droid chef whacks his food on the head as he cooks it. There’s even a humorous chase between Boba Fett and a small creature who appears to have been created using stop-motion animation. It makes the state-of-the-art show positively artisanal.

All-in-all, this is the first time that the flashback timeline has seemed worthwhile. And imagine our good luck; the ‘present day’ bits, although trimmed this time around, are still strong. Fennec Shand organises a Meeting of the Five Families-style get-together between Boba Fett and Jabba’s former captains, in an attempt to help him consolidate his power, which isn’t happening as smoothly as Boba Fett had imagined. This sets the stage perfectly for the final showdown, as The Book of Boba Fett nears the end of its debut season.

Now having recovered from his injuries, Boba Fett has been quietly putting together a rag-tag team of sorts—joining Fennec Shand and his two Gamorrean guards are the Rancor beast and the Wookie bounty hunter Krrsantan, who gets a scene all to himself in Chapter 4. But it is a throwaway line muttered at the end of the episode, and accentuated with a music cue that is sure to send chills down your spine, that tantalisingly teases where we might be headed next.

The Book of Boba Fett, Chapter 4, The Gathering Storm
Director – Kevin Tancharoen
Cast – Temuera Morrison, Ming-Na Wen
Rating – 4/5



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Modern Love to get Indian adaptation: Hansal Mehta, Vishal Bharadwaj to direct Pratik Gandhi, Fatima Sana Shaikh

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Popular American television series Modern Love is all set to get an official Indian adaptation. The John Carney developed series explores love in its multitude of forms. The Indian series has roped in directors like Hansal Mehta, Vishal Bhardwaj, Anjali Menon, Alankrita Shrivastava, Dhruv Sehgal and Shonali Bose to create heart-stirring stories. The makers have also roped in actors like Pratik Gandhi, Fatima Sana Shaikh and Wamiqa Gabbi to play lead roles.

The series looks at love and how it has changed. Each episode brings to life a different story that has been inspired by a newspaper column. The Indian adaptation will also have a similar concept.

 

As per sources, each of the actors will headline one story with a director in the anthology. The series has already been shot late last year and will soon release on a streaming platform.

While the first season, which even got an Emmy nomination released in 2019, the second season streamed last year on Amazon Prime Video. It had the likes of Kit Harrington, Anna Paquin, Minnie Driver, Miranda Richardson and Tobias Menzies headlining individual stories.

Reviewing the second season for indianexpress.com, Ekta Malik wrote, “The season is more diverse, sure. We see a lot more LGBTQ friendly narratives and people from multi-ethnic backgrounds are featured prominently. This time there are three stories that are set in the United Kingdom. But to be a truly global reflection of love, Modern Love will have to expand its narratives further. Maybe to a country where dating apps are non-existent, or to a place which has like a total of 1000 inhabitants. Or maybe even India, where the term love jihad often pops up in news headlines. How does love blossom in those conditions? That’s a narrative we would like to hear.”



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Money Heist’s Nigerian recreation impresses Alvaro Morte: ‘They are the ones who inspire you’

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Money Heist star Alvaro Morte on Tuesday posted a video, expressing gratitude to the fans for supporting the Netflix show all through its five seasons. Alvaro, who plays the main lead of The Professor aka Sergio in the heist crime drama, shared a video by a group of Nigerian kids who’ve recreated an action sequence from Money Heist season 5 part 1.

The group calls itself the Runner Studios, and is formed by 5-6 kids who own an Instagram handle under the name and often post photo and videos recreating scenes from popular films and show. In their recent video, they’ve recreated the adrenaline-pumping action sequence when the gang of robbers including Tokyo, Helsinki, Palermo, Denver, Lisbon, Manila and Bogota face a hostage crisis lead by Arturo Roman, who acquires ammunitions after raiding  their hidden supply.

The video has a split screen, with the original playing on one side. The other side of the edit has the kids in action, where they recreate the scene with props. Alvaro, while reposting the Runner Studios’ video wrote in the caption, “Realizing that actually they are really the ones who inspire you.”

Money Heist first premiered on Spanish TV in 2017. It was eventually taken over by Netflix and went on to run across five seasons and two robberies. The hit show recently concluded, bringing curtains down on the heist at the Bank of Spain.



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Richa Chadha says her role in The Great Indian Murder is one of her ‘most upfront characters as yet’

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Actor Richa Chadha, who plays an upright investigating officer on The Great Indian Murder, on Tuesday said the role is a departure from some of her previous characters which weren’t as “understated” as the one in the upcoming Disney+ Hotstar thriller series.

Directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia, the whodunnit is an adaptation of Vikas Swarup’s acclaimed novel Six Suspects, which revolves around the murder of the son of a high-profile minister.

The show also features Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta star Pratik Gandhi.

Chadha, known for her performances in films like the Gangs of Wasseypur series, Fukrey franchise and Masaan, said Dhulia’s only brief for her to portray DCP Sudha Bharadwaj was to play the role with a “lot of dignity”.

“But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a sense of humour or there won’t be any lighter moments in her life when something tragic has happened in her personal life. I built the character keeping those nuances in mind.

“I haven’t really got a chance to play straight-up, ‘normal’ characters. They are either abusive, extremely rural or a ganglord… But this is perhaps one of the most straight, upfront characters I have played,” Chadha told reporters during the virtual trailer launch of the show.

The 35-year-old actor said when she embodied the character, it gave her a sense of direction as an artiste on how to approach her scenes.

With The Great Indian Murder, Chadha said, it was important for her to keep her performance subtle.

“My character guided me in which direction to go. It is difficult for actors because you are always told to create something new. Sometimes it is extremely hard to just sit back…. Here, I am playing an investigator, so it is all about my eyes, I have to read between the lines, understand what people are saying and what they mean. It was tough to stay understated and perform in this male (dominated) world for the character.”

At the press conference, the actor was joined by Gandhi, who plays Suraj Yadav, a Central Bureau of Investigation officer, tasked with uncovering the mystery surrounding the murder along with Chadha’s Bharadwaj.

Gandhi said he was intrigued how the show deviated from the book and came up with two new characters, his and Chadha’s. The series has been co-written by Dhulia, Vijay Maurya and Puneet Sharma.

“It was an extremely challenging and interesting character. Richa and my character are not the part of the book, they were especially written for the The Great Indian Murder. It was exciting for me because after reading the book, when I started reading the script, I was fascinated by how they took the story forward. I had ample opportunities to play those layers with humour,” he added.

Swarup said Six Suspects was a “complex” book to translate to screen as the viewpoints of the suspects — each of whom represents a different stratum of society — keeps shifting.

The author lauded the team for not compromising on the scale of the show and said that new characters were required as additions to act as narrators for the story.

“Richa and Pratik’s characters have been added, because in a show, you must have a ‘sutradhar’ (narrator), which you don’t need in a subplot. A book has subplots, interior monologue, but a screen is in your face, which goes from point A to B, to C,” he added.

The Great Indian Murder also stars Raghubir Yadav, Ashutosh Rana, Sharib Hashmi, Amey Wagh, Jatin Goswami, Shashank Arora and Paoli Dam.

The show is backed by actor Ajay Devgn and producer Priti Vinay Sinha, who have produced the series under their banner ADF and RLE Media for Disney+ Hotstar.

The series is set to be released on February 4.



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