Slicing men’s heads off. Shooting them down with a bazooka. Never thought we’d see Dimple Kapadia doing any of that at 65. But that is a guilty pleasure of OTT series. Women, normally relegated to playing pious mothers and arthritic grandmothers, are living it up onscreen. In what seems like Ketan Mehta’s Mirch Masala (1987) meets Breaking Bad, Kapadia plays Savitri, a Banjara woman who turns her pain into profit, growing the coca plant underground in her haveli and turning it into flamingo. It’s a full-fledged operation run by an army of women. This is Pablo Escobar in ethnic designer heaven, stuffing homegrown cocaine in handmade quilts and traditional toys. And here you thought after playing dedicated agent Nandini Grewal in Pathaan, Kapadia has had enough action. Not at all. Here she is ordering her daughter and daughters-in-law as they keep her drug empire going, shielding her wimpish sons from the truth of her `500-crore empire. She stands toe-to-toe with Deepak Dobriyal’s guru-cum-druglord. There is enough brouhaha in the borderlands to keep us engaged as Homi Adajania does what he’s best at: subverting the genre. The women, usually silent victims in mafia stories, here get their hands dirty, plan operations, manage rivals and repel attacks. It is brutal, bloody, and its insight into one of India’s biggest social menaces is unparalleled.
Why Watch it: Two words: Dimple Kapadia
In Search of World Domination
Citadel| Cast: Priyanka Chopra-Jonas, Richard Madden | Director: Russo Brothers English | Prime Video
“DO I look like a woman who plays for the minor leagues?” she breathes to the enemy, dressed in red, with red lipstick to boot. No, she doesn’t. Priyanka Chopra-Jonas as Nadia Sinh is perfectly cast as a mysterious spy who can kiss and kill with equal elan. Opposite her, Richard Madden as Mason Kane is pretty neat too, throwing knives and witticisms with equal ferocity. They’re both former spies for a transnational organisation whose sole purpose is to save the world from freelance crazies and shadowy networks. But now the Manticore has risen in its place and it doesn’t bode well for the world. Even as Chopra-Jonas and Madden glide through the scenes, it’s the seniors who steal the show. Stanley Tucci is their handler and Lesley Manville, perfectly coiffed and dressed, is the diabolical Bond-like villain. Both lend a certain gravitas to Prime Video’s attempt to dance with the wolves. Jeff Bezos’ network hasn’t yet produced a global breakout show that has achieved the expansive fame of Netflix’s Bridgerton or HBO’s Game of Thrones and it is acutely aware of that shortcoming. Citadel is good looking, like its leads, who do everything possible to pretend that what they’re doing has never been done before, but we’ve all been there, done that with James Bond and Jason Bourne. But when a global franchise that decides to throw millions of dollars at audiences casts an Indian in its lead role, how can desis resist?
Why Watch it: For a bruised Priyanka Chopra-Jonas kicking and punching. Move over Jason Bourne. Make way for Nadia and Mason