Thursday, June 17, 2021
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Amazon Prime: Must Watch Long List

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By Dhiraj Kumar

Since many of my friends and relatives are affected by Covid-19, they have been asking me to list the best shows to watch on Amazon Prime to watch in their quarantine period. In February 2021, I had shared a list of the best shows on Netflix. Hence on public demand, here’s the long list of some of the best watch on Amazon Prime India.

Manifest

Manifest is a supernatural drama that premiered in 2018 in the United States. This fantasy series tracks a set of flight passengers on Montego Air Flight 828 who are traveling from Jamaica to New York. The flight which takes off from Jamaica lands in New York after 5 years as astonished air traffic control, public, media, police and the government try to understand the puzzle. Just where was Flight 828 for 5 years? Was the plane in a parallel dimension? Was it in an alien world? Did it land on an island? The passengers are as baffled as everyone else as do not experience the 5-year gap during the flight, for them, it was a normal 3.5-hour journey. Unforeseen circumstances unfold as each character gets “callings” from an unknown source which pushes them to react and act to situations as they unfold. This three-season thriller is a unique suspense story and worth the time.

Udaan (Tamil dubbed in Hindi)

Udaan is a film that tracks the advent of low-cost aviation in India. The story is partly based on the book “Simplyfly Deccan”, describing the life and times of the father of low-cost aviation in India- Gorur Ramaswamy Iyengar Gopinath or famously known as Captain Gopinath. The dubbed version of the Tamil original Soorarai Pottru in Hindi is impeccable and makes this film a good watch for viewers who don’t know Tamil. It charts out the difficulties faced by the owner of Air Deccan while navigating his way through the bureaucratic tangles and competition pressure of launching a new airline in 2003. The brilliant performance of Tamil actors Suriya and Aparna Kishok Balamurali makes this film more than watchable. 

Downton Abbey

A story set in 1912 in a British mansion in the hinterlands of Hampshire is the story of the world-famous award-winning web series of Downton Abbey. The six seasons of Downton Abbey, shot in the iconic Highclere castle, take us through the intricate relationships of sixteen primary characters who live at the expansive mansion. The series journeys the lives of the fictional Crawley family and their domestic servants who live below the basement. The stupendous writing of screenwriter and novelist Julian Fellowes conjures up memorable characters from the Crawley Family and their servants who take the viewers through their life’s triumphs and tribulations. The narrative provides a contrasting view of the wealthy family above to the hustle-bustle of the servant struggles below. The series grew so popular that a film on followed on the Downton Abbey which was again a worldwide success.

Panchayat

Panchayat is a hilarious take on the life of a youngster admirably performed by Jitendra Kumar as Abhishek Tripathi, who arrives at a village of Phulera as Panchayat Secretary when he is unable to secure job placement. Though frustrated at the start due to the lack of nightlife, he slowly adjusts to the village setting, involving in the daily life and problems of the villagers. While he is attending to his position as the panchayat secretary, on the sides, he is preparing for the CAT exam as he aims to leave the suffocating life in the village once he cracks the exam. His tepid relationship with the Pradhan and his wife Manju makes Panchayat a heartening watch.

Howl

Howl is a 2015 horror film that takes us to the mythical tales of the man-wolf. Directly by Paul Hyett, Howl is a chilling British story about an overnight train journey from London to Eastborough which is attacked by man-wolfs killing the hapless passengers one by one. The train gets stuck a few miles before the last station forcing the unarmed train staff to find ways to save themselves from the attacks of the strange creature and get the train started to its destination. What started as an attack from one creature becomes a war cry for other werewolves to join fatally attacking the passengers. Who remains is the mystery till the end.

The Widow

British drama is the drama action series The Widow (2019) takes us to follow the quest of Georgia Wells who is looking for her dead husband. Presumed to be dead three years ago, Georgia travels to Congo to uncover the fake death of her husband. Kathrin Beckinsale who plays Georgia depicts the vulnerabilities that the character goes through in her journey to understand the reasons for his alleged death and coverup. The eight episodes of The Widow take us through the corruption and dangers of Congo and Georgia’s untiring efforts to find the truth. This show definitely needs a second season.

Family Man

Manoj Bajpayee joins an ensemble cast in the high voltage espionage thriller Family Man which premiered on Amazon Prime in 2019. Shrikant Tiwari (Manoj Bajpayee) works as an analyst in the fictional Threat Analysis and Surveillance Cell (TASC). The agency which is a part of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) of India tracks down an investigation into a potential terrorist attack. Bajpayee brings his rustic charm and makes the character of Shrikant Tiwari believable and enjoyable. The most awaited Season 2 is due to hit in June 2021.

The Aeronauts

Directed by Tom Harper, the semi-biographical film The Aeronauts takes us to the skies to the highest flight of man in a hot air balloon in 1862. This facilitating story of scientist James Glaisher and his co-pilot Amelia in an inspiring adventure of getting a new human flight altitude record of 37,000 feet (11.3 km) into the air, also proving the theory of the various layers of the atmosphere. The film is based on the book “Falling Upwards: How We Took to the Air” written by Richard Holmes which was released in 2013. With an approval rating of 74%, The Aeronauts presents a vivid picturization of the high altitude struggles of James and Amelia and the story of their victory.

Pataal Lok

The widely acclaimed web series Pataal Lok premiered on Prime on 15th May 2020 in the middle of the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. The web series is knitted around Hathiram Chowdhary, played by Jaideep Ahlawat, a police officer who gets assigned to investigate a high-profile case. Pataal Lok signifies the living hell of the other side of the city of Delhi where the underworld lurks. inspired by traditional concepts of heaven, earth, and hell, the thriller keeps the one glued to the edge of their seats.  

Reign

The legendary animosity between Mary Queen of Scots (1542-1587) and Elizabeth I (1503-1603) is depicted with some historical accuracy in The Reign. The story tracks the ascent of Queen of Scots in the court of France and her struggle to keep her Scottish seat of power with a possible eye on the throne of England. Adelaide Kane who plays Mary presents the historical context of France, Scotland, and England with her point of view in dealing with extraordinary situations. Two queens claiming to be the rightful heir of England clash in the epic series in four seasons of the Reign. An ensemble cast of queens, kings, soldiers, and power brokers knit an important chapter in world history. In one of the episodes, Queens Mary and her mother-in-law Catherine de’ Medici’s disguised as country girls to escape enemies and end up in a bar is particularly hilarious. Mary runs out of luck at the end and her journey which makes Reign one of the most captivating stories to watch.

Mirzapur

One of the most popular shows of the Indian OTT channel is Mirzapur whose dialogues, cuss words, characters, clothes, mannerisms, and scenes have made it one of the most-watched shows on Prime. Centralized around the Tripathi household and their henchmen the Pandits, Mirzapur is a thriller web series like no other. Pankaj Tripathi, Ali Fazal, Divyendu Sharma, Vikrant Massey bring earthy characters of UP to life with astonishing skill and persistence. The quirky Munna, the righteous Bablu, the don Kaleen Bhaiya, the uncontrollable Guddu or the daring Sweety are characters which remain in viewer minds for life. The web series has a fan following of its own and the next season is keenly awaited. Gauging the mass popularity, the web series has attained, a third season has been renewed.

Jack Ryan

Global Best-selling author Tom Clancy’s created character Jack Ryan is an American political thriller series, based on characters from the fictional “Ryanverse” that premiered on August 31, 2018. Played by John Burke Krasinski as the main protagonist as a CIA analyst, he is wrenched from the security of his desk job into the field after discovering a string of dubious bank transfers, which are being carried out by a rising Islamic extremist named Suleiman. The second season sees Jack in the middle of political warfare in a corrupt Venezuela “at the center of a global conspiracy involving nuclear weapons as listed on Wikipedia.

(Dhiraj Kumar is an author and writer and he is writing his first book. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author. He can be reached at dhiraj.rao@gmail.com or on Twitter @authordhiraj.)

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