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The Awful & Awesome Entertainment Wrap



A weekly wrap up of consumable and non-consumable entertainment curated, especially for the internet age. Hosted by Abhinandan Sekhri and Rajyasree Sen. Click here to support Newslaundry:
142 Episodes Play All Episodes
access_time20 hours ago
While talking about the DC Extended Universe:

Abhinandan: Underwater Man bhi inka hi hai na?

Prakash: Aquaman.

Abhinandan: Aquaman. Sorry. Wo bhi inka hi hai, na? Usne to bhadd hi peet di! Usne to duba diya. Aquaman ne duba diya. See the layers of the joke? It has got depth also. Like water there’s meta depth. It’s a water joke, for those of you who are not getting it.

Prakash: (Reluctantly) I think they got it.

Abhinandan and Prakash burst out laughing.

This and a lot more as Abhinandan Sekhri and Newslaundry subscriber Prakash Iyer talk about The Irishman; trailers of No Time to Die and Wonder Woman 1984; Jerry Seinfeld; Harper Collins India’s short film Parcel, and a whole lot of other stuff awful and awesome.
access_time8 days ago
Talking about the kids featured in one of the videos sent by Ananya:

Abhinandan: The kids are such brilliant performers. I find it amazing that a child that young can dance so well.

Rajyasree: Abhinandan used to be a dancer.

Abhinandan: But I can’t do the kind of moves they did.

Rajyasree: Okay. Because when we do our live recording

Abhinandan: I’ll show my moves

Rajyasree: So, we will have a segment where I will sing because we will have a captive audience and we’ll lock the door…

Abhinandan: There will be a riot, Rajyasree. Let’s not push it!

Abhinandan and Rajyasree burst out laughing.

This and a lot more as Abhinandan Sekhri and Rajyasree Sen talk about I Lost My Body, Sky’s Christmas ad, Nredwriter1’s video essay, Servant, American Music Awards, and a whole lot of other stuff awful and awesome.
access_time15 days ago
After reading Jay’s letter correcting Rajyasree’s pronunciation of ‘Le Mans’:

Abhinandan: So Rajyasree Sen, he has corrected your pronunciation. So obviously you hate Jay. Jay, you are now on the…

Rajyasree: Hitlist!

Abhinandan: Rajyasree’s ‘I hate’ list. You are there because you corrected her pronunciation. Because no one dare correct her pronunciation. So just telling you, in case you’re ever alone, wandering the streets where you live, and suddenly someone arrives from the sky sitting on a broom…

Rajyasree: And throws a dictionary on your head…

Abhinandan: yeah, and you pass out, you know who it is!

Abhinandan and Rajyasree burst out laughing.

This and a lot more as Abhinandan Sekhri and Rajyasree Sen talk about Hotel Mumbai, One Mic Stand, Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator, Utsav Chakraborti, Out of Love, Amazon Prime's censorship of Madam Secretary, Gillette's new ad campaign and Durex, among other stuff awful and awesome.
access_time23 days ago
Rajyasree: I actually told you all that I’ll record the second week, and you said I’d rather record by myself with the subscribers. But even the subscribers complained and said please come back, because Abhinandan is saying any shit on the podcast. And I actually listened to the podcast and you trashed me in the first five minutes. And then I stopped!

Abhinandan: So welcome back and all of you who were saying where’s Rajyasree, lo, she’s back, ab khao kadhi!

Abhinandan and Rajyasree burst out laughing.

This and a lot more as Abhinandan Sekhri and Rajyasree Sen talk about Apple TV+, The Morning Show, Drive, season 3 of The Crown, Prince Andrew’s interview, Ford vs Ferrari and Bhuvan Bam’s music video Ajnabee, among all other stuff awful and awesome.

PS: Abhinandan is back at recommending Punjabi songs, on popular demand.
access_time28 days ago
Inderpreet: So the award you got, it was based on votes?
Abhinandan: I don’t think it’ll based on anything else.

Abhinandan, Tanya and Inderpreet burst out laughing.

Inderpreet: So we should tell Modi ji, Jan sankhya vispot ka hume to faida ho gaya!
Abhinandan: Beshak!

This and a lot more happens as Abhinandan Sekhri and Newslaundry subscribers Inderpreet Singh and Tanya Bahuguna talk about the new Under Armour ad, Korean TV shows, Netflix shows Living With Yourself and Trump: An American Dream, the latest episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, among other stuff awful and awesome.
access_time1 month ago
This week on The Awful and Awesome Entertainment Wrap, Abhinandan Sekhri is joined by Amrita Roy and Aditya Relangi to discuss Season 3 of the series Atypical, Telugu movies Asuran and Kaithi, the album Khulle Naagde by the Bandish Projekt, and three advertisements which have become the talk of the town.

Referring to Atypical, Amrita says the sitcom series is “more representative of the world we live in”. “It’s brave to pick up a subject like this because it’s very easy to get it wrong,” she adds. Aditya applauds the makers of Asuran for the intense visuals of the film.

Up next is the Knorr soup commercial starring Karan Johar. Amrita argues that it is a “fine, lowkey and funny ad” that is also progressive. “KJo maintains his way of making fun of his wishy-washy stand on being homosexual,” she notes.

The panellists also laud the latest Australia Tourism ad as having the perfect ingredients to attract an Indian audience.

The discussion moves on to a major Telugu release of 2019, Kaithi. Aditya argues, “Kaithi is a gritty film, a suspense thriller, they were able to hold the suspense through the entire 2.5-hour film.”
This episode also features the bilingual Netflix documentary American Factory, the Citibank ad plagiarism row, and Bandish Projekt’s Khulle Naagde album.
access_time1 month ago
In this episode of The Awful and Awesome Entertainment Wrap, Abhinandan Sekhri and Rajyasree Sen review the film Saand Ki Aankh, which hit theatres last Friday. “Tushar Hiranandani, whose directorial debut this is, demonstrated that it is clearly his directorial debut because I think this material under a more adept director would have made a fantastic film,” Abhinandan says.

They also discuss interesting advertisements they watched recently. One is an ad by an Australian insurance company featuring Domuts, donuts for dogs. Both Abinandan and Rajyasree agree that it was definitely worth a watch. Another ad that caught their eye is the Puma ad featuring Indian sportswomen such as Mary Kom, Dutee Chand. “I thought it was a very cool jingle, but one can’t help but compare it to the previous Nike commercials,” says Abhinandan. Rajyasree complains that the production quality of the ad is bad.

A special episode of the Netflix show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman featuring Shah Rukh Khan is a topic of discussion as well. “This is by far one of the worst interviews of SRK I have seen and he is an extremely interesting interviewee,” Rajyasree says.

They also review the Dabbang 3 trailer and agree that it all but gives away the gist of the film. So one doesn’t need to watch the film when it releases.
access_time2 months ago
This episode of Awful and Awesome Entertainment Wrap features Rajyashree Sen and Abhinandan Sekhri.
The podcast kicks off with the duo discussing The Sky is Pink. Shonali Bose, the director also directed the movie Amu which Rajyashree quite liked. Rajyashree says that the movie will appeal to people who have lost somebody close. However, both humorously also add, “You don’t have to be a lion to appreciate Lion King,” or “You don’t have to be a zebra to appreciate Madagascar”.
Safi’s recent advertisement has Abhinandan caught up with its catchphrase, “Taste karoge hate, face banega great." They also review the viral Project Streedhan, an advertisement that targets women suffering from anaemia and urges them to invest in their health. Abhinandan, however, comments, “It is a fantastic piece of audio-visual production, it has nothing to do with the messaging”.
They also discuss Amazon Prime’s Modern Love that is based on the essays on The New York Times column that goes by the same name. While Abhinandan is not all praises for it, Rajyashree says, “It’s like Love Actually but not as good."
Amongst others, they also talk about Netflix’s series The Laundromat and another documentary Tell me who I am. Rajyashree also reviews a few Zomato Originals episodes that she watched.
access_time2 months ago
In this episode of The Awful and Awesome Entertainment Wrap, host Abhinandan Sekhri is joined by two of our subscribers, Ekta Gulyani and Abinash Chakraborty. The Awful and Awesome Entertainment Wrap has been nominated for the Best Podcast award at the Asia Podcast Awards. Please click on the link ( to ensure the podcast that YOU have helped us create wins.

They begin with a discussion on Mere Pyare Prime Minister, which is directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra. Ekta says, “There are very amazing elements of niceness and humanity which we don’t see in city life.” She adds later that it is a feelgood film despite being about such a dark topic.

On Oppo drawing flak for its ads, Abinash says he wonders why Caucasian actors were chosen for the ads when the Chinese company has a huge market in India and China. Abinash then talks about El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. He says although the movie is good, the sequel was a long time coming. “There are inside references or jokes that I rarely remember,” he says, adding that the film is meant for a small audience.

They also delve into the similarities in the trailers of upcoming movies, Bala and Ujda Chaman. Wondering why men are so self-conscious about their receding hairline, Abhinandan remarks, “I think it’s because deep down hair is a sign of virility. And this is why it is so deeply etched in the subconscious of men.”
access_time2 months ago
This episode brings you not only the usual dose of entertainment but some exciting news as well. The Awful & Awesome Entertainment Wrap has been nominated for the Best Podcast award at the Asia Podcast Awards. Please click on this link ( ensure the podcast that YOU have helped us create wins.

Abhinandan Sekhri and Rajyasree Sen, as usual, talk about ads, series, and movies. Discussing the new Cadbury Dark Milk ad starring Aishwarya Rai, Rajyasree says, “I can’t see whether the ad is that good or not as the chocolate, although she is looking very good.”

They talk about the Netflix series Bard of Blood, a spy thriller which Rajyasree thinks is “just very very bad”. The Family Man on Amazon Prime is much better, she adds. “Watch it because they have managed to string the whole thing together very well. I’m impressed that Amazon Prime has a better original series than Netflix does.”

The recent release Joker has garnered a lot of attention. But Abhinandan thinks the director didn’t do justice to the film and the character of Joker as the quintessential villain. Rajyasree adds, “This character has nothing. Neither do you feel bad nor does he scare you. You just wish he died.”

They also discuss China’s ban on South Park and its creators’ apology to Beijing, Ram Gopal Varma’s latest offering, Beautiful, and much more.

Tune in!
access_time2 months ago
Abhinandan Sekhri and Rajyasree Sen come together after two weeks for yet another episode of the Awful and Awesome Entertainment Wrap.

They begin with talking about ‘Back to School Essentials’, a Public Service Announcement inspired by the Sandy Hook School Shooting. They discuss the recent Gillette advertisement starring Kanan Gill, Kenneth Sebastian and Sumeet Vyas. Talking about advertisements Abhinandan says, “If you’re making a jingle, it has to be memorable”. However referring to these ads particularly, he adds “It’s completely forgettable.”

Rajyasree brings up the Netflix series ‘Unbelievable’. While she is all praises about the article that inspired the show, she remarks, “More than the show honestly, the article is brilliant.” Talking about another Netflix show, ‘The Politician’ she comments ‘It is a commentary on everything”.

Abhinandan speaks of his experience of watching ‘Fleabag’. He says, “It’s a phenomenal show”. He also talks about the two movies he watched in the past days, Pet Semetary and Tumbbad.

The podcast ends with the duo talking about a music video called ‘India’s Got Colour’. “It was just nice and catchy and it’s done without being preachy. But it wasn’t catchy enough for me to remember the tune” Rajyasree concludes.
access_time3 months ago
In this episode of Awful and Awesome Entertainment Wrap, hosts Abhinandan Sekri and Rajyasree Sen talk about the Netflix miniseries, The Spy, trailer for the upcoming movie The Sky is Pink, Bollywood newbie Karan Deol and his movie Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas.

They begin the podcast with Sacha Baron Cohen’s The Spy. Rajyasree notes, “It's not particularly gripping,” however, she also adds, “Watch it to see Sacha.” Abhinandan also talks about another series ‘Fauda’ which he doesn't like much as he says, “It’s not that great, it's okay.”

They move on to discuss the ad campaigns by Absolut Vodka and Samsung. Rajyasree while talking about the Samsung ad says, “I understand the thought is very good and noble but the ad is over the top.” Abhinandan, on the other hand, appreciates the ad and the concept of the App and jokingly adds, “Felt that lump in the throat feeling or maybe it was the Delhi pollution.”

They talk about the trailer of The Sky is Pink, lauding the change in air in Bollywood. Talking about the same, Abhinandan says, “It makes you want to watch the film.” They also talk about sexual harassers and the larger debate of excluding the art from the artist. In this context, they also talk about Roman Polanski and Amir’s decision to work with Subhash Kapoor.

The podcast ends with Abhnandan’s quintessential Punjabi song recommendation which Rajyasree warns you to refrain from hearing.
access_time3 months ago
In this episode of Awful and Awesome, Rajyasree and Abhinandan engage in a conversation about advertisements, beginning with the Fevicol and Fevikwik ad. Rajyasree talks about the Malayalam movie Kumbalangi Nights, the Mumbai Metro ad and the controversy surrounding the Brooke Bond Red Label Ad. They also review an award-winning short-film Banoffee Pie, the new Star Wars trailer, David Chappelle’s stand-up Sticks and Stones, Season 2 of Succession followed by more ads.

The podcast starts with the two talking about the Fevicol ad. Rajyasree felt it was like watching a short film, while Abhinandan tries to figure out the meaning of ‘Bangali Kirmit’. The second ad they talk about is the Fevikwik ad. Abhinandan thinks it has a feminist perspective. He says “There is a feminist point, the kabadi is a woman as opposed to a man; most kabadis are men”. Rajyasree jokingly adds, “I felt that the girl is the person who believes in the NRC and the kabadi-wali is the one who wants everyone to be a part of India.”

Rajyasree then goes on to review the Malayalam film Kumbalangi Nights. She says the movie is set in the backwaters and covers the story of four brothers. By and large, she was not very impressed with either the movies or its reviews. She says, “When I finished the film, it made zero impact on me.” They also talk about the depiction of male characters in Malayalam and Bengali movies, Abhinandan says, “Lots have shown how Bengali and Mallu men are lazy.” Rajyasree concludes by saying that people need to watch better movies if this is their idea of good cinema.

Finally, the episode wraps up with Abhinandan’s Punjabi song recommendation.

For this and much more, tune in.
access_time4 months ago
In this episode of The Awful and Awesome Entertainment Wrap, hosts Abhinandan Sekhri and Rajyasree Sen talk about the second season of Sacred Games, the trailer of Laal Kaptaan, season two of Mindhunter, OkCupid's new ad campaign, Once Upon a Time In Hollywood and Euphoria's new song.

The podcast kicks off with the latest season of Sacred Games, featuring a stellar star cast. According to Abhinandan, the directors left the end hanging. He says the first episode was the weakest but adds: "I didn’t think it was as good as Season 1 but at the same time, it was better than anything India has ever produced!" Rajyasree says, "I felt that it was too stretched, as in it was not plausible." Abhinandan wonders how Sartaj, the character played by Saif Ali Khan, ties his pagdi since he loses his left thumb in the first season. He also discusses the level of writing the series' writers will have to pursue for the third season in order to lure him back, since all the characters have been fully developed and there's not much to add to the plot.

They go on to talk about Once Upon a Time In Hollywood starring Brad Pitt and Leonardo di Caprio. Abhinandan says, "I think every movie of Quentin Tarantino is a celebration of cinema." Rajyasree says the movie is a "riot". "It's really a fun ride, almost." Moving on to discuss dating apps, Abhinandan assures Rajyasree that he'll contemplate signing up on OkCupid, Tinder and similar platforms and then share his experience in the next podcast.

Finally, Abhinandan expresses his thoughts on Vande Mataram, Euphoria's new song, saying this is just an attempt to cash in on the wave of patriotism. The duo also talks about disaster-themed films like The Meg.

This and a lot more, so tune in!
access_time4 months ago
In this episode of The Awful and Awesome Entertainment Wrap, hosts Abhinandan Sekhri and Rajyasree Sen talk about an episode of Man vs Wild featuring Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Netflix series The Family, a controversy which involves Priyanka Chopra, Due Date, and an interview Abhinandan conducts with Vanita Kohli-Khandekar, author of The Making of Star India.

The podcast kicks off with the Man vs Wild episode featuring Narendra Modi. Rajyasree thinks it's the tamest episode of Man vs Wild ever. She says, “The episode should not have been shot in Corbett National Park since the others were shot in the wild, not in the tame parts of the wild.” Up next is the film Due Date starring Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis. Abhinandan says: “The film has a promising start and had its moments but wasn’t very funny. So I was a little disappointed and was not thrilled with the film.”

Abhinandan then interviews Vanita Kohli-Khandekar, a media specialist who tracks the entertainment business. They discuss Vanita's book The Making of Star India which is about the gripping story of the company that shaped the Indian media and entertainment business. Abhinandan says, “What Star has done for Indian television entertainment is like what Michael Jackson did for music television.”

Rajyasree then recommends two Hollywood-inspired Hindi films, Khoon Bhari Maang and Masoom, while Abhinandan recommends a Punjabi song. This and much more, so tune in!
access_time4 months ago
In this episode of the Awful and Awesome, Rajyasree and Abhinandan delve into the depths of non-Hindi and non-English movies. They review Ek Haseena Thi, Kia and Cosmos, The Great Hack, Chhichhore, and Man Vs Wild’s special episode with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They also talk about the demise of Toni Morrison, who received the Noble Prize for Literature and the Pulitzer Prize for fiction writing.

Abhinandan initiates the discussion by dismantling Ek Haseena Thi, starring Saif Ali Khan and Urmila Matondkar, a movie Rajysree is fond of. Next, they discuss Kia and Cosmos, a movie about a girl with a development disorder (Ritwika Pal) and her mother (Swastika Mukherjee). Among other things, Rajyasree says that the movie is very beautifully shot and the portrayal of the mother's emotions was done well.

They next discuss Toni Morrison, who passed away on August 5, 2019. According to Abhinandan, Toni Morrison was a revolutionary writer since she inspired the future generations of black writers that they “don’t have to write for the white man”.

There’s this and much more. Tune in!
access_time4 months ago
In this episode of The Awful and Awesome Entertainment Wrap, hosts Rajyasree Sen and Abhinandan Sekhri cover, among other things, the letter and counter-letter written by celebrities.

The duo kicks off the podcast by talking about the open letter to the prime minister signed by a host of celebrities, and the subsequent counter-letter. They discuss the members of both camps and the heavy presence of "Bongs" in both. Rajyasree says, “You shouldn’t just focus on your art, celebrities can influence political opinions.” Abhinandan adds, "It's all right as long as it's just letters.”

Moving on to Spider-Man: Far From Home, Abhinandan says, “I’m not usually the one who hates superhero movies, but I don’t like Spider-Man movies.” He found it whiny and difficult to sit through. Rajyasree talks about The Loudest Voice, a series on Roger Ailes, the founder of Fox News. She and Abhinandan discuss the life and times of Ailes and his influence on American politics, as well as the sexual harassment controversy he was embroiled in. 

The conversation shifts to the documentary Rhythm & Hues: Life After Pi, which covers the shutting down of the visual effects studio Rhythm & Hue. Abhinandan says, "Even if you're the best at what you do, it doesn't mean you'll be sustained. The model is broken."

For this and more, tune in!
access_time5 months ago
In this episode of The Awful and Awesome Entertainment Wrap, hosts Rajyasree Sen and Abhinandan Sekhri cover Netflix series Typewriter, the new Lion King movie, Top Gun: Maverick, a controversy involving Priyanka Chopra, and more.

Kicking off with Typewriter, Rajyasree says she's especially impressed with Kanwaljit Singh’s performance in the show. However, she adds: “There was nothing scary in it.” Abhinandan comments, “This is no Stranger Things.”

Rajyasree and Abhinandan discuss their love for the original Lion King movie and how the new photorealistic remake fails to live up to the original, despite excellent visual elements. What stole the show for Abhinandan was John Oliver’s character Zazu, who he felt was fantastic. Rajyasree adds that the Hindi version’s trailer was “unimpressive”.

Up next is Top Gun: Maverick. Despite not being a huge fan of Tom Cruise, Abhinandan says his reaction upon watching the trailer was “bete ye toh deknhi padegi”. He talks about the iconic nature of the original Top Gun and how the new one could be better or worse. Bringing up the iconic love song in the original movie, he lists other excellent "lovemaking" songs. (Hint: there’s a surprise here!)

Finally, the podcast moves to the controversy surrounding the three Masterchef Australia judges quitting the show. The hosts discuss charges of non-payment to workers surrounding one of the judges, and the reasons that led to all three leaving. They also debate whether the show can survive without them.

For this and more, tune in!
access_time5 months ago
In this episode of The Awful and Awesome Entertainment Wrap, hosts Rajyasree Sen and Abhinandan Sekhri cover Stranger Things season 3, the Ambani family’s birthday video for Shloka Ambani, Danny Boyle’s Yesterday and more.

Since Abhinandan finally watched Stranger Things, the duo discusses the latest season. Abhinandan shares his admiration for Winona Ryder, saying, “When I was a young boy, she was the love of my life." They talk about the casting and the acting, calling it “brilliant across the board”. When asked which season she liked best, Rajyasree said: “Season 1 was nice, but season 2 didn’t do anything for me."

Up next was the film Yesterday. Rajyasree felt the lead actor wasn’t “very good looking” and Kunal Nayyar from the Big Bang Theory would have been a better-looking fit. Although, she did love his acting. They also discuss the premise of the film and its relation with The Beatles. The duo shares their love for The Beatles and how they hummed along to the songs in the movie. Abhinandan also felt that “if you’re making a film about The Beatles, the film better be as legendary as the band”.

Next, the duo discusses Amir Khan production’s Rubaru Roshni and the stories that it brings to light. Abhinandan felt that “it is really well-made” but was disappointed with the music choices.

Finally, they move to the legendary video put out by the Ambani family on the occasion of daughter-in-law Shloka’s birthday. Rajyasree strongly felt that “the only natural person there was Mukesh bhai”. Abhinandan asks a poignant question: “What do you give to someone who already has everything?”. (Hint: the answer is the video)
access_time5 months ago
In this episode of The Awful and Awesome Entertainment Wrap, hosts Rajyasree Sen and Abhinandan Sekhri cover Kangana Ranaut’s controversial statements, Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s interview with Anupama Chopra, Punjabi pop music, Sacred Games 2's trailer and more.

The duo kicks off with a discussion on Kangana Ranaut’s ugly spat with a journalist. Rajyasree says, “It was quite ridiculous the way she carried on and on." They also talk about Kangana’s sister's involvement and the online hungama that followed.

Moving on to Kabir Singh’s director, Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s interview with Anupama Chopra, the panel discussed his comments and Anupama’s response. Abhinandan felt that it was handled really badly, and that "it was a terrible interview". "She should have challenged Mr Vanga,” he says.

Finally, they move to the latest trailer of the second season of Sacred Games. Abhinandan shared his expectations from the show and what he thinks might feature this season. Rajyasree commented, “It has Saif in it, how can it not be good?". Expressing his excitement about the show, Abhinandan adds, “I have not looked forward to any show as much as I have to this.
access_time5 months ago
In this episode of The Awful and Awesome Entertainment Wrap, host Rajyasree Sen speaks to guest Meghnad S. They speak about Article 15, The Office’s Indian remake, Fleabag, an advertisement from Subway, Meghnad’s new book Parliamental and much more.

The discussion kicks off with a weird Subway advertisement—that made no sense to Meghnad. The duo also talks about Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag, the Indian remake of The Office and more. Meghnad, who loves the US version, talks about the differences and similarities between the two versions. He says that they’ve literally translated the US version line to line but there are some uniquely Indian nuances. Later, commenting on the UK version, Meghnad notes: “The original UK version is like a meme, you can just take it and put it anywhere. It's like Shakespeare." To which Rajyasree responds: “Shakespeare just died, again."

Rajyasree and Meghnad then discuss Ayushmann Khurrana’s Article 15. Rajyasree is surprised that the film was even allowed to release considering it's not flattering to the government and wonders “if the person who gave it the certificate understood the film”. They talk about how the movie deals with caste and its impact on the Indian audience.

Further, the duo talks about the closing down of Mad magazine. They share their childhood memories of reading the magazine.

For this and much more, tune in!
access_time6 months ago
In this episode of The Awful and Awesome Entertainment Wrap, hosts Abhinandan Sekhri and Rajyasree Sen talk about online series When They See Us, Charité at War and Season 5 of Black Mirror, Telugu movie Arjun Reddy and its Hindi remake Kabir Singh, a Vice movie on musicians from marginalised communities, and much more.

The duo starts off by talking about the latest Pond’s commercial. Rajyasree says, “Nowadays commercials aren’t just ads, you have to have a hashtag”. Abhinandan says he found the campaign to be a "sweet thought", adding that it's a great concept though he thinks the boxing shown in the video could have been much better.

Discussing the docu-series When They See Us, Abhinandan explains it's a documentation of a famous 1989 case on "the Central Park Five", considered the most high-profile example of miscarriage of justice. He says he found the show "mind-blowing" and that he hasn't watched a show this good in a very long time. Rajyasree says, "How well these boys have come out ... [they] have changed their lives and been able to make something of their lives, it's very uplifting to see."

Moving on to Arjun Reddy and Kabir Singh, Rajyasree says: "Arjun Reddy is three hours too long and Kabir Singh is three-and-a-half hours too long." She's sceptical of the reaction of feminists to Kabir Singh, comparing Alia Bhatt's character in Gully Boy to Shahid Kapoor's character in Kabir Singh and saying both were wrong. In the context of the glorification of problematic behaviour, Abhinandan argues that you can have shows where a woman is perfectly happy to go back to her husband who's a problematic person, but the show has to be set in a warped society. He says it only becomes problematic when it's portrayed as normal.

This and a lot more, so tune in!
access_time6 months ago
In this episode of The Awful and Awesome Entertainment Wrap, hosts Rajyasree Sen and Abhinandan Sekhri cover Durex India’s orgasm inequality campaign with Pooja Bedi, HBO’s Chernobyl, Free Solo, Leila, Creed II, the ICC World Cup advertisements and much more.

The duo kicks off with a discussion on Star Sports' ads on the India-Pakistan World Cup match. In the ad, the Mauka Mauka theme returns to slam Pakistan, glorify India and implies that India is Pakistan's father. They talk about the criticism and backlash the ad received online. “I'm not impressed with the ads at all, I think the IPL ads are better than this," says Abhinandan.

Rajyasree reviews HBO’s mini-series Chernobyl, calling it “the finest docu-drama that she has seen”. She talks about the acting and set design of the show and some of the moments that she loved. The duo expresses their disdain of the Instagram frenzy around the site of the actual disaster with people going there for photo-shoots.

Finally, the duo reviews Netflix’s Leila. They talk about the lack of good acting in the show. Rajyasree felt that “the characters did not make me feel for them”. They further discuss how the show lacked a thrill element and suffered from bad special effects owing to lack of budget.

For this and much more, tune in!
access_time7 months ago
In this episode of The Awful and Awesome Entertainment Wrap, hosts Rajyasree Sen and Abhinandan Sekhri cover Aziz Ansari’s set (part of the Road to Nowhere show), Mard ko Dard Nahi Hota, the trailer of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Lisa Ray’s book Close to the Bone, and much more.

Kicking off with Aziz Ansari’s stand up show, Rajyasree explains that this is Ansari’s comeback tour since claims of sexual harassment popped up against him. She remarks that the show is “not haha-laugh-out-loud, which would be odd”, and finds his decision to reference celebrities like R Kelly “interesting as a content choice”. Abhinandan thinks Ansari is “lazy” and the show was “pretty ordinary”. He ends his review with a PSA to the millennial audience: viewers come out to watch the performer and not “their fashion show”.

The duo reviews the trailer of Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, set in 1969 and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie. Abhinandan appreciates the “spectacularly cut trailer” and pegs Tarantino as the “finest filmmaker of his generation”. Rajyasree expresses her fear that the film will be heavily censored before its release in India. Even so, they both intend to catch the film when it hits theatres.

Moving to the movie Mard ko Dard Nahi Hota, Abhinandan says he loved it, and his biggest regret is that he could not catch the movie in the theatre. He calls Abhimanyu Dasani a “great performer” and appreciates the plot for its nuances and pop culture references. Rajyasree appreciates the action sequences for being on par with international movies and thinks the film was excellent. They attribute the average performance of the movie to terrible distribution.

Rajyasree reviews the book Close to the Bone written by actress Lisa Ray. While the book comes across as “well-written”, Rajyasree quips that Ray’s life is “not very interesting” to read about because it smacks of privilege. Abhinandan interjects that a non-dramatic story can be made interesting if one “can tell the story well”, citing the example of actor Pankaj Tripathi.

For this and much more, tune in!
access_time7 months ago
In the latest episode of The Awful & Awesome Entertainment Wrap, hosts Rajyasree Sen and Abhinandan Sekhri talk about a Pakistani movie, Cake, as well as a show based on Vampire housemates, What We Do in the Shadows. They also discuss The Times of India's new classified ad. The podcast kicks off with a discussion about a video game, Sniper 3D Assassin, where journalists get killed. They also talk about some of the shows that came to an end, namely the Game of Thrones and The Big Bang Theory.

While talking about Cake, Abhinandan said, “If a Pakistani film is above average, it’s said, oh, it is brilliant." Giving anecdotes from the film, Rajyasree adds, “They make our regressiveness seem progressive.”

While discussing What We Do in the Shadows, Rajyasree not only recommends the show but also describes it as "laugh-out-loud funny". She urges people to watch the show instead of watching Republic TV's Arnab Goswami.

The duo also discusses the new Nirma commercial starring Akshay Kumar. Abhinandan criticises him by saying, “He demonstrates his lousy martial arts which he pretends to be an expert at."

For this and more, tune in!
access_time7 months ago
In the latest episode of The Awful & Awesome Entertainment Wrap, hosts Rajyasree Sen and Abhinandan Sekhri talk about car advertisements, new trailers, Kanhaiya Kumar’s campaign song, Amy Poehler-directed Wine Country and more.

Reviewing Poehler’s directorial debut, Wine Country, Rajyasree says the film doesn’t work despite the fantastic cast. She says, “They keep trying to put in funny lines, sometimes you should just let it (be). But it’s really impressive to see this line-up of really funny women come together for this film."

Moving on, the hosts talk about the Datsun redi-Go advertisement. Rajyasree found the idea of the ad quite heart-warming. She also added that it was strange that the car was parked in the middle of the road while the participants were resolving their fight. According to Abhinandan, it was completely realistic for a Delhi road, but he disagrees with the message that the ad puts out.

The duo also talks about The Kings, an Indian dance troupe, which won NBC’s World of Dance competition this year. They discuss Suresh Mukund and his 14-member troupe’s journey and performances. Abhinandan finds their routine and performances to be fantastic. He says, “The kind of acrobatics and the physical ability and dexterity of his team, and the strength, is phenomenal.”

Talking about movie trailers, Abhinandan finds the trailer of De De Pyaar De, starring Ajay Devgn, Tabu and Rakul Preet Singh, to be quite funny. What impressed Rajyasree the most was the age-gap between Bollywood actors and actresses who often romance each other and how it has been directly addressed in this case. They also discuss the trailer of It: Chapter Two. The hosts discuss their takeaways from the first film, which was based on a novel by Stephen King, and how they look forward to the new film after this brilliantly produced trailer.

The panel also discusses a short film called Tyson, Kanhaiya Kumar’s election song, and more.

Listen in to find out!
access_time7 months ago
Winter has come and gone, the Night King's had shatteringly bad luck, Arya's become kickass, and the Mountain stands like a hunk of flesh behind Cersei. But listeners of the Awful and Awesome Entertainment Wrap have been asking: "Why aren't you talking about all this?!"

So in this very special episode, Abhinandan says "hold my beer" and ropes in some in-house Game of Thrones nerds to talk about the greatest pop culture phenomenon of modern times. He is joined by Meghnad S, Gaurav Sarkar and Anish Daolagupu, all of whom are GoT fans on differing levels. Unlike Abhinandan, they've got one thing in common: they're all glued to their screens and watching the show.

Meghnad, Gaurav and Anish discuss what makes the show so great—no, it's not just the sex and gore—why everyone is so obsessed with it, and how people are incredibly outraged about the latest season. Meghnad tries to defend the show, Anish and Gaurav fight back, and Abhinandan is thoroughly amused by this spirited debate.

Listen in!
access_time7 months ago
In this new episode of the Awful and Awesome Entertainment Wrap, hosts Rajyasree Sen and Abhinandan Sekhri talk about the 2019 Met Gala, the trailer of Sacred Games 2, two election music videos, and more.

From tracking the history of the Met Gala to deciding whether or not Abhinandan’s taste in sneakers is "Camp" or not, the duo discussed the “the party of the year” in details. This time, the theme was—Camp: Notes on Fashion. In Rajyasree’s opinion, “the frizzy hair” look of Priyanka Chopra made her look like the Hollywood actress Helena Bonham Carter, who Abhinandan thinks always “looks a little off”. However, he thought that Deepika Padukone looked magnificent!

The duo also discusses the new Pan Bahar advertisement, which they find incredulous. Although they agree that it is “as crappy as an ad can get”. Rajyasree says, “This is how India will overpower the world.” Abhinandan said this ad will help inspire people to join the para-commandos.

The next ad they discuss is one put out by Surf Excel. According to Rajyasree, it is a short, compassionate, well-made ad. In fact, one of the best ads she has seen recently. Speaking about the cast of Sacred Games 2, Abhinandan says that he is excited for it as he really enjoyed the first part that was written by Varun Grover.

Two new songs that they talk about are Raftaar - Phir Ek Baar Modi Sarkar and Rahul Gandhi’s Wayanad Campaign Song. The former between the two matches the funk of Congress’ Ab Hoga Nyay song, according to Rajyasree.

The panel also discusses Netflix’s new nine-part series Street Food and the popular MCU film Avengers: Endgame.

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access_time8 months ago
In this episode of The Awful and Awesome Entertainment Wrap, hosts Rajyasree Sen and Abhinandan Sekhri discuss the film Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga, television show Veep, political satire stand-up comedy show Aisi Taisi Democracy: The Aazaadi Tour, and music videos by Taylor Swift and Madonna. They also break down the new Pepsi commercial-cum-music video Har Ghoont Me Swag and critique the Election Commission’s new radio commercial.

The podcast kicks off with Rajyasree talking about the film that she could bear only 45 minutes of—Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga, starring Anil Kapoor, Juhi Chawla, Sonam Kapoor, and Rajkummar Rao. She believes it severely lacks conviction and fails to push the envelope given the potential of its lesbian-centric storyline.

The panel then discusses two music videos by artists generations apart from one another. The first is Madonna’s Medellín that Abhinandan believes is “very slick” but wishes “there was a better song to go with it”. He compares it to Taylor Swift’s latest single, Me, and observes that while both videos were cinematically phenomenal, Swift's song embodies the generation it caters to, while Madonna’s "toe-sucking" scene in the video just seems like she's trying too hard.

Although both hosts cringe at Pepsi’s new tagline, Har Ghoont Me Swag, they laud the video’s attempts to push the boundaries. On the other hand, the Election Commission’s radio commercial urging transgenders to vote is subject to far more criticism since both hosts thought it reeks of political incorrectness.

The conversation then steers towards the stand-up comedy performance, Aisi Taisi Democracy: The Aazaadi Tour, and the panel discusses its cutting and insightful level of comedy. Rajyasree also talks about the political satire TV show Veep starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, saying she believes it's brilliantly scripted and well worth a watch.

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access_time8 months ago
In this episode of The Awful and Awesome Entertainment Wrap, our hosts Abhinandan Sekhri and Rajyasree Sen discuss the 64th Filmfare Awards, The Music Teacher, Selection Day season 2, Bharat's trailer and Akshay Kumar’s interview with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The podcast kicks off with a discussion on a Netflix movie, The Music Teacher. Rajyasree says, “While there is a poignancy to it, it’s very stretched out." Despite being a movie based on music, the dubbing of the songs and its lip syncing by the actors is extremely poor. Abhinandan says, “For a film about music and music teachers, they couldn’t get the singing right which is ridiculous.” However, Abhinandan praises the frame of the film as it is shot in the hills of Shimla.

The hosts then discuss the trailer of Bharat. In awe of Salman Khan, Rajyasree thinks that the movie is going to be a blockbuster. She says, “To pack so much into a trailer is also a skill in itself.” The film encapsulates documentary evidence of Jawaharlal Nehru’s passing. Abhinandan says, “What they have said is something along the lines of Forrest Gump because they use documentary evidence of Nehru’s passing.”

The discussion moves on to Akshay Kumar’s interview with Modi. According to Rajyasree, the choice of Akshay Kumar as the interviewer was fabulous in terms of the stance on social issues and politics that he has in general. But on a whole, the hosts condemn the idea of this interview itself. Abhinandan says, “I thought it was a complete PR exercise, it’s a disgrace that all television channels are carrying it. It’s a disgrace for ANI that it did something like this, it is clearly to avoid the Election Commission cracking down on them...” Also, he takes a dig on what Modi speaks about his chat with Obama and regards it as completely nonsensical.

Stay tuned for more!
access_time8 months ago
In this episode of The Awful and Awesome Entertainment Wrap, hosts Rajyasree Sen and Abhinandan Sekhri discuss Reason, Game Of Thones, some political songs and ad campaigns, and a lot more.

They start off with Anand Patwardhan’s Reason, a documentary split into eight parts, which they conclude is to attract a digital audience. The documentary is about the hate spread by Hindu organisations and how they're responsible for the murders of Govind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar and Gauri Lankesh. Abhinandan says the film looks like it was made in the 1980s and calls it "boring". But he adds: "What I like about this is that I had followed the Dr Dabholkar murder, you see a lot of footage of him which I haven’t seen on television … what was a revelation for me was what a brilliant and articulate man he was and how beautifully he debunked godmen and stuff.”

Moving to Game Of Thrones, Rajyasree gives a sneak peek into the first episode of Season 8. She says, "All the characters were pretty much shown in the first episode." She also found it a little disappointing, considering the long wait for its release.

The discussion moves to BBC's documentary podcast Mumbai Mirror, which is on the life and work of a newspaper before the elections. Both think it was very well put together. Rajyasree says it captured both feel and flavour, adding: "It's not just about election reporting ... it's mainly about the running of this newspaper."

The conversation shifts to political music videos and ad campaigns like #MyFirstVoteForModi, Chunega Kya and Acche Din Blues. Both Abhinandan and Rajyasree intensely disliked #MyFirstVoteForModi—which is intended to reach out to young voters—and call it "terrible". On the flip side, Abhinandan praises Chunega Kya and Acche Din Blues in terms of their production value. On the latter, he says, "'s an excellent piece of audiovisual communication, an excellent piece of cinema, the singing/narration is amazing."

For this and a lot more, tune in!
access_time8 months ago
In this episode of The Awful and Awesome Entertainment Wrap, hosts Rajyasree Sen and Abhinandan Sekhri discuss Criminal Justice, Traitors, the trailer of Joker, and the political campaign songs of the Congress and BJP during election season.

The podcast kicks off with Rajyasree telling us about a new Hotstar series, Criminal Justice, which she feels is suspenseful but also unrealistic and implausible in parts. She says the actors are good, except "doped-out Jackie Shroff".

Our hosts talk about the newly-released trailer of Joker. They agree that Joaquin Phoenix is one of those actors who really becomes a character. While Rajyasree appreciates the trailer as it gives nothing away, Abhinandan finds it to be a case of tedious repetition, saying "they're all the same”.

They move on to discuss the campaign songs of the Congress and BJP. Rajyasree says that Congress’s song Ab Hoga Nyay is a "well-made music video and a catchy song”. Abhinandan thinks the Congress's production value was higher, though "the BJP has more money". In the BJP's song Main Bhi Chowkidar, he says he's disappointed with the line "yeh ek a kela nikal panda main iski katar hun". He says, “When you’re making a music video … in any mass communication exercise, there should be the sense of 'team'. Not ‘you are king, I am your dust’.” He says the AAP started the concept of catchy political songs, even though they had very little money.

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access_time8 months ago
In this episode of The Awful and Awesome Entertainment Wrap, hosts Rajyasree Sen and Abhinandan Sekhri discuss the latest How To Train Your Dragon, Vice, Us, A Star is Born, The Favourite and much more.

The podcast kicks off with Abhinandan and Rajyasree discussing animated movies, particularly the How To Train Your Dragon series. Though Abhinandan liked the earlier parts, the latest offering didn't captivate him. Rajyasree, who's not passionate about animated movies, moves on to the Oscar-nominated movie Vice, a comic-biopic on former US Vice President Dick Cheney. She says the movie captures the nature of politics at the time, Cheney’s relationship with Donal Rumsfeld, and the charismatic interactions and motivations of the wives of prominent political leaders.

Abhinandan expresses his dissatisfaction with Jordan Peele’s movie Us (2019) which may also stem from his dislike of horror films in general. He says he predicted the plot minutes into the movie. Rajyasree says she enjoys most of Peele's work. "Everything is a commentary with Jordan Peele.” She recommends Get Out by the same director.

Moving on to the movie A Star is Born, Rajyasree says the actors' performances and the movie in general were adequate, but not challenging. Abhinandan remarks that with musicals, there are often two kinds of reviews: those who like the movie too much, and those who didn't. He says: "A Star is Born, like La La Land, had two kinds of reviews. There were the La La Land haters and there were people who said it was just the most amazing film ever. Same thing with A Star is Born.”

Rajyasree then gives a brief synopsis of the movie The Favourite, saying she enjoyed watching it and found it funny. Abhinandan seems to lose interest just from its description. Rajyasree then says she found the mini-series A Very English Scandal extremely intriguing and amusing, and a wonderful commentary of the time. "It's very funny because it's British, right?" she says. Abhinandan agrees that British humour is very good.

The discussion also spans Akshay Kumar's new advertisement for Suthol and Madhur Jaffrey's music video Nani. Rajyasree and Abhinandan also plan on watching the upcoming movies PM Narendra Modi and The Tashkent Files—notwithstanding their dread.

Tune in for more!
access_time9 months ago
access_time9 months ago
In this episode of The Awful and Awesome Entertainment Wrap, hosts Rajyasree Sen and Abhinandan Sekhri discuss Captain Marvel, Surf Excel’s advertisement #RangLaayeSang, Leaving Neverland and more.

The podcast kicks off with Abhinandan who, though a Marvel Universe enthusiast, wasn't convinced by their latest offering Captain Marvel. Rajyasree expresses her lack of interest in watching the movie. She then discusses Ricky Gervais’s Netflix series After Life, saying: “It is one of the finest shows that he’s created in a while.” Abhinandan chimes in, mentioning Gervais’s endearing performance that accompanies his dark humour.

The conversation moves to the Surf Excel ad #RangLaayeSang which, contrary to its intentions, invoked some amount of communal disharmony. Both Abhinandan and Rajyasree think the ad managed to convey its message and express their dissatisfaction with the kind of responses that have popped up on social media.

The duo then discusses the documentary Leaving Neverland. Talking about the documentary's format, Abhinandan says it's a compelling watch. Rajyasree praises the extensive detailing of facts to allow viewers to reach their own conclusions. Abhinandan tries to dissect Micheal Jackson’s position while emphasising that it shouldn't be taken as a justification. He says, "I believe Micheal Jackson was insane … on a different wavelength … I think he was coming from a place of love and not damage ... he truly believed this love was genuine love.” Rajyasree disagrees, citing examples of warped love and sexual grooming.

This and a lot more, so tune in!
access_time9 months ago
In this episode of The Awful and Awesome Entertainment Wrap, Rajyasree Sen and Abhinandan Sekhri discuss Sonchiriya, the Oscars, Three Identical Strangers, and more.
Rajyasree kicks off the podcast with the recently-concluded Academy Awards. Abhinandan asks her what was good about the show this year. She praises the event's opening with Queen's performance. "It was really nice to see how much the audience get involved,” she adds. Addressing the outrage over Green Book winning Best Picture, she says, "I did like it a lot. I didn’t understand why people weren’t happy about it.”
The conversation moves to recently-released movie Sonchiriya. Both Abhinandan and Rajyasree liked the film. Abhinandan says, “The use of slow motion was unnecessarily long … Music was completely unremarkable … the art direction and costumes were outstanding.”
Next up is two documentaries: Three Identical Strangers and Leaving Neverland, which is about the alleged child sexual abuse by Michael Jackson. Abhinandan addresses young listeners of the podcast, explaining why Jackson is still popular despite the allegations, as described in several opinion pieces following the documentary's release. He says: “You can’t comprehend how big Michael Jackson was … He is the basis of an entire pop culture movement.”
For this and much more, listen up!
access_time9 months ago
In this episode of The Awful and Awesome Entertainment Wrap, Abhinandan Sekhri is joined by Ankur Pathak, entertainment editor at Huffington Post. They discuss Gully Boy, Period. End of Sentence., the Oscar awards and more.
They start off with Gully Boy, with Abhinandan asking Ankur what worked for him in the movie. Ankur says: “I just felt that Zoya is basically ... fighting for your right to dream fearlessly.” He feels Zoya Akhtar made interesting points about the relevance of art. Abhinandan thinks films made with Western cultural references are usually very self-conscious and contrived, but for Gully Boy, he says, "It was comfortably cool, although rap and hip hop is not an Indian thing … it seems very authentic.”
The discussion moves to Period. End of Sentence., a 25-minute documentary based in India which recently won an Academy Award. Both Abhinandan and Ankur liked it immensely. Abhinandan says, "Its message was more profound or impressive than crafting … storytelling.” They also thought it did have its weak points and think it takes much more to merit an Oscar win.
Speaking of the Oscars, they talk about the award ceremony this year, which was accused of being more about "wokeness" than craft. They also criticise the Academy for, among other things, its choice for Best Picture this year, stating BlacKkKlansman and Roma were better options in this category.
For this and much more, listen up!
access_time9 months ago
In this episode of the Awful and Awesome, Rajyasree Sen and Abhinandan Sekhri discuss My name is RaGa, Yesterday, Gully Boy, The Assassination of Gianni Versace and more. Abhinandan kicks off the podcast by discussing some of the movies he watched over the week.
The duo then proceed to review the trailer of My name is RaGa. Introducing the trailer, Rajyasree jokingly says, "This film is about our future Prime Minister Rahul Gandhi.” Abhinandan is at a loss for words. To him, the trailer looks very bad. Rajyasree, sarcastically, proceeds to praise Rupesh Paul, the movie's director. She says, “He has tried to show us Rahul Gandhi from the time he is 7 or 8 to 47…Indira Gandhi is also shown…then there is an ugly version of Rajiv Gandhi as well.” She expresses her confusion by questioning whether the movie is pro-Rahul Gandhi or against him. The duo agrees on the fact that they are definitely not going to watch the movie when it is released.
The discussion then moves to the trailer of Yesterday, a movie that is set in a world that doesn’t know of the Beatle’s existence. Abhinandan, talking about the trailer says, “It has got a brilliant plot.” He adds: "I am really looking forward to watching this film." Abhinandan also reveals the worst-film ever made.
To find out, listen up!
access_time9 months ago
In this episode of Awful and Awesome, Rajyasree Sen and Abhinandan Sekhri discuss the Oscar line-up (Bohemian Rhapsody, The Wife, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Green Book), the Grammys, state of radio in India, Mere Pyaare Prime Minister and more.
The duo first talk about The Wife. Rajyasree gives a spoiler-free review of the film, “You have to watch the film to see this relationship. There is a mystery, there is a twist. It’s not a relationship film, but it is extremely well done.”
Abhinandan then brings up Green Book. He expresses his liking for the film, but also adds that there were parts which were too simple. Rajyasree praises the performances in Can You Ever Forgive Me? but critiques the pace, “I really like slow films, but I felt somewhere it loses the momentum...Your interests fails a little.” The last film discussed is Bohemian Rhapsody. Rajyasree says in praise that she realised “how well they make biopics in the States...they show the characters with their greys and blacks.”
On the occasion of World Radio Day, Abhinandan talks about the dismal state of FM radio in our country. He says, “For all the political incorrectness and the wildness that finds its way into television and community of presenters is as dumb, ignorant and unknowingly offensive as radio jockeys.”
Rajyasree then speaks about the Grammys, which she found to be excruciatingly long. For this and more, listen up!
access_time9 months ago
In the latest episode of The Awful and Awesome Entertainment Wrap, Abhinandan Sekhri is joined by Shubham Bhatia, a journalist with Patriot, and Adhiraj Singh, head writer at VICE India. The trio discusses the Netflix film Soni, the Dalit Lit Fest, The Good Place and more.
Abhinandan asks Adhiraj about the workings of VICE, saying he's curious about how VICE produces high budget non-fiction content. Adhiraj explains, “VICE in India and in general does a lot of branded and sponsored content as well. Which is where I come in ... where more client-based editorialising is needed.” As an example of sponsored content bringing in funding, he cites VICE’s क Se Crime series which was done as part of the promotion for Amazon Prime’s Mirzapur.
Shubham talks about the Dalit Lit Fest held at Kirori Mal College, highlighting the lack of interest among Delhi University students for the event. “Where the fest was happening, you couldn't see many college students. I felt this disinterest from the students ... no one is really interested in even hearing about Dalit issues, which was the whole point of the fest.”
The discussion movies to Soni. Adhiraj approves of the film, saying, "I liked that it did not end on some grand climactic fight.” Abhinandan says: “But it still ended on hope with that last scene.” He adds, "If we had not been instructed by our subscribers to watch it, I would have given up.”
This and much more, so listen up!
access_time9 months ago
In the 100th episode of Awful and Awesome, our hosts Abhinandan Sekhri and Rajyasree Sen go live to talk about the best and worst of pop-culture. They discussed Thackeray, the new Firstpost advertisement, Netflix’s Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, Jaipur Literature Festival and a lot more.
The conversation begins with Thackeray, which Abhinandan describes as a metaphor for the Shiv Sena. "Simplistic, endorses violence, made by morons, for morons,” he says. Rajyasree quipped about the costume design of the film saying, “It casts Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and his nose, his prosthetic nose.” Later she also dismisses Manto saying, “I think Nawazuddin needs to stop acting as real people.”
The duo then discusses the new Firstpost ad for the publication’s new weekly newspaper. Rajyasree pointed out the lack of humility in the fact that the paper claims itself to be “the last word in news”. Abhinandan further criticizes, “It is a flawed idea to have the last word in news, there ain’t no last word in news.”
Rajyashree then brings up the new Amazon series Four More Shots Please!. She describes it as “India’s answer to Sex in the City.” Adding her scathing review, she says, “I watched four episodes, which I thought was far too many.” She also deems it an inaccurate portrayal of female interactions remarking that “he dialogue is so stilted, women do not talk to each other like that”.
Abhinandan then brings up JLF. He says, “There’s one bunch of people trashing JLF, there’s some who love it, but I haven’t seen anyone aggressively defend it,” as he goes on to aggressively defend JLF. He argues, “What it offers is’s very easy to shit on it because of the Suhel Seths, but for every Suhel Seth there is a Ben Okri.”
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access_time9 months ago
In the latest episode, Abhinandan Sekhri co-hosts with Samar Khan—director, producer and former journalist based in Mumbai. The duo discuss the portrayal of the Indian forces in cinema, the rise of TV and change in cinema in the Nineties, the Netflix documentary Fyre and more.
Samar has worked on Shaurya, The Test Case and has attended the NDA. Abhinandan asks him: “Is it a coincidence that most of the things that you have created have to do with the forces?” Samar says, “That’s what interests me the most. I think there are so many stories to be told about the men in uniform which are just not war stories ... There are other stories that happen in the Army.”
The hosts moved on to discuss the 1990s. Samar points out cultural changes marked by Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge: “[DDLJ] was the first film to talk to an urban audience. It was also the birth of a new director … It was almost like a changing of the guard." He says that was a time when you'd see a lot of movies influenced by the West, when a new generation of directors had taken over.
Abhinandan then talks about the Netflix documentary Fyre. He says, “It’s a great commentary, other than the specific fraud it is on. It's also a comment on millenials and how social media can influence what we think.” Moving on to the movie Uri: The Surgical Strike, Samar says: “There are always fictional elements added which make you laugh. If you are the ‘janta’ audience then the humour works for you ... But if you are a military buff, you look at it and say ‘What the fuck? This can never happen'.”
Tune in for more!
access_time9 months ago
In the latest episode of The Awful and Awesome Entertainment Wrap, Abhinandan is in conversation with Mayank Shekhar, entertainment head at Mid Day. The duo reviews The Accidental Prime Minister, Uri: The Surgical Strike and Gillette's latest commercial. They also discuss the portrayal of politics in Indian films, the evolution of film production in India and more. Mayank and Abhinandan also look back at the quality of last year’s films. “I genuinely believe that 2018 was the best year that I have had as a film reviewer watching films,” Mayank said.
Speaking about a new genre of movies, Mayank said, “They are propaganda films...there is a new genre called pre-election films.” On The Accidental Prime Minister, he said, “What really suffers the most is the production design...the prime minister’s office looks like a shaadi hall in the movie.” Abhinandan added, “I have heard that it does not look like a story, there are just scenes that are unconnected, it does not flow like a’s just a bunch of scenes put together.”
Explaining the lack of a storyline, Mayak said, “It is hard enough to adapt from non-fiction to begin would take competence of another kind to turn [Sanjay Baru’s book] into a coherent screenplay. Abhinandan also points out the difference between Uri and The Accidental Prime Minister. He said, "I have heard this one is pretty well-made.” Mayank agrees. He said, “I was stunned by it because my expectations were hugely low, as they should be because again you are walking in thinking ‘oh this is that pre-election propaganda film'."
About the Gillette commercial, Abhinandan said, “It is appealing to the right values...I do not know what is wrong with that...overall I think it is a fantastic kind of communication from a brand that is so associated with machismo to come out with.” Discussing the backlash against the ad, Mayank talked about the people who criticised the ad. “I think a lot of opinion formation and dissemination has a lot to do with the fact that they call attention to themselves,” he said.
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access_time9 months ago
In the latest episode of The Awful and Awesome Entertainment Wrap, hosts Abhinandan Sekhri and Rajyasree Sen discuss BCCI’s notice to Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul for their appearance on Koffee with Karan, the Golden Globes, the new Uber Eats advertisement, The Mule, the Gully Boy trailer, and Backstreet Boys being back—again!
The discussion begins with a quick tussle between our hosts over Rajyasree’s accusation that Koffee with Karan is a Graham Norton Show rip-off. Rajyasree also points out the irony of BCCI being the moral police in light of the complaints against BCCI’s CEO. Both agree that the degree of reaction to Pandya’s alleged misogyny is unwarranted and that it's more important to call out Karan Johar’s “infantile humour”.
Rajyasree then talks about Clint Eastwood’s The Mule, based on the true story of Leo Sharp. They praise the cast, especially Eastwood and his “grasp on cinema”, nominating him for a lifetime achievement award at age 90. Abhinandan was put off by the “easiness” of the film and the “goody-goodiness of the resolution” despite being greatly impressed by Eastwood.
The conversation moves to the Golden Globes. Abhinandan and Rajyasree praise Christian Bale and Glenn Close’s speeches, the former for his humour and the latter for bringing to the fore the struggle of women to be accepted both as mothers and professionals. They then discuss the Uber Eats ad, “Alia’s Tinda Moment”. Rajyasree says the ad was cute but not very compelling. Abhinandan expresses his problem with Alia Bhatt—though he thinks “she is the best actor of her generation”, because of her “child’s face”, her sexuality on screen makes him feel “queasy”.
Abhinandan isn't very excited about Gully Boy because he believes hip-hop is very culturally specific to the US so it cannot be entirely transposed to Bombay. He is more excited about the Manoj Bajpayee-starrer Sonchiraiya, which is “a Paan Singh Tomar marries Bandit Queen and gives birth to a Gangs of Wasseypur kind of thing”.
Finally, our hosts do not see the point of the Backstreet Boys' mushy comeback. They discuss how the main message of their latest video is that family is the most important thing in life. Featuring the Backstreet Boys with their wives and children, it promotes a heteronormative idea of family. “Yeh music video wagera unke bas ka raha nahin (this music video stuff is not in their league any more),” Abhinandan remarks.
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access_time9 months ago
It's the first episode of 2019, and our hosts Abhinandan Sekhri and Rajyasree Sen discuss the Saudi Arabia-centric episode of Hasan Minhaj's Patriot Act, Netflix series Selection Day, and the Netflix special of Black Mirror's Bandersnatch, among other things.
Rajyasree recommends the controversial Saudi Arabia of Patriot Act for its wit and timing. Both hosts disapprove of Netflix pulling the episode down in Saudi Arabia after a complaint from authorities. “It is a shame because rather than more information reaching places that were behind and Iron Curtained, it seems that the Iron Curtain is extending to places that didn’t have one earlier,” says Abhinandan.
They talk about the Netflix series Selection Day, based on a book by the same name by Aravind Adiga. Rajyasree summarises the plot and says she recommends it because you could probably watch the entire thing in a single sitting. She does however think the story was somewhat underdeveloped.
Discussing the episode Bandersnatch from the Black Mirror series, Abhinandan is stridently against the concept, though Rajyasree found it entertaining. He says he doesn't endorse the episode's USP, which is the "cheap thrill" of being able to choose where the story goes. He says it seems to solely cater to video game fanatics, which is “a hell of a subset". He adds, "It was a lot of content consumption to cater to a gimmick.”
Next, the pair review the Netflix thriller Bird Box, which had a record viewership in the first week of its release. “Watch it for the gruesomeness,” says Rajyshree, "if you’re into that sort of thing." She says while she enjoyed the "graphic" cinematography, the film can be slightly unrealistic and tiresome with its overused dystopian-world, single-parent-protecting-the-children shindig.
Moving away from the Netflix universe, Abhinandan and Rajyasree discuss Rajeev Masand’s Actresses Roundtable 2018. They unanimously condemn Rani Mukherjee, saying she comes across as an under-informed, overly opinionated person who is self-aware of her superiority being “Aditya Chopra’s wife, so she rules the roost,” says Rajyasree.
Our hosts also talk about the recent passing of two artists: Kader Khan, whom Abhinandan calls “crass, but prolific” and praises him for being self-made, and filmmaker Mrinal Sen, of whose work Rajyasree has mixed views.
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access_time9 months ago
This week’s episode brings you an action-packed discussion with our hosts Abhinandan Sekhri and Rajyasree Sen on Relatable, season 2 of Making A Murderer, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Kareena Kapoor’s What Women Want, Honey Singh’s Makhna, the trailer of Thackeray and three commercials.
Rajyasree and Abhinandan start by exchanging views on Ellen DeGeneres’s Relatable and how she’s hitting hard on the social stereotype against lesbians. They talk about the payment of $20 million Ellen received for the 68-minute show. Moving on, they discuss the Netflix series Making A Murderer Season 2, written and directed by Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos. They discuss the American phenomenon of making celebrities out of criminals, to which Rajyasree says, “Although in America, I feel they are a little off, so they don’t have much happening in their own lives. So they get sucked into these kind of things.”
The discussion moves on to Kareena Kapoor Khan’s radio show What Women Want on Ishq: 104.8, which is also a video show. They talk about how, unlike a radio show, the show sounds scripted. Abhinandan adds, “Radio is only compelling because it’s a conversation that’s unfiltered and unrehearsed. That’s what makes good talk radio”.
Abhinandan and Rajyasree then discuss the trailer of the upcoming movie Thackeray, directed by Abhijit Panse. Abhinandan expresses his curiosity, saying, “The good thing about such films is that now there will be filmmakers getting into political commentary through their cinema. Which is fantastic! And then you’ll have a counter-narrative.”
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access_time9 months ago
This week’s episode of Awful and Awesome brings you an action-packed discussion with our hosts Abhinandan Sekhri and Rajyasree Sen on the short film Detour, the new Brexit trailer, Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma and two commercials.
Rajyasree and Abhinandan start the podcast with the semi-autobiographical film Roma, written, directed and produced by Alfonso Cuarón. Rajyasree notes that the movie is set in 1971 Mexico and tells the story of characters that are usually ignored by cinema and society. Appreciating the director’s work, Abhinandan says, "There are two things that make cinema survive—the stars and the craftsmen who crafts cinema", and Cuarón is one of those craftsmen who’s keeping it alive. Rayasree believes Roma is all set to win an Oscar.
The discussions moves to a Netflix documentary, The Innocent Man, based John Grisham’s book—which Rajyasree notes is Grisham's only non-fiction book—and how the movie portrays the criminal justice system in America in relation to sending people to jail. They then talk about the trailer of the upcoming HBO film Brexit starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Cumberbatch plays Dominic Cummings, the man known to be the architect of Brexit, and how he used social media to bring out the most unlikely outcome. Abhinandan expresses his excitement for the movie but also says, “In the interest of making a compelling narrative, writers and podcast makers are overstating what social media interventions do.”
Moving on, Abhinandan and Rajyasree talk about the new Baggit commercial starring Shraddha Kapoor where she promotes the hashtag #PutItOnTheTable. They think it doesn’t resemble a feminist campaign. Abhinandan says, “If this is what a feminism campaign looks like, then good luck, feminism.”
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access_time9 months ago
This episode of The Awful and Awesome brings you an action-packed week with our hosts—Abhinandan Sekhri and Rajyasree Sen—both of whom discuss everything from a political documentary to a very strange award category.
The duo begins by talking about the "Bad Sex award" which is awarded by Literary Review to "an author who has produced an outstandingly bad sexual description in an otherwise good novel". Rajyasree says Japanese author Haruki Murakami also made it to this year’s list, while Abhinandan adds that an Indian author called Anirudh Behl was also part of the same list in 2003.
Moving on, they talk about something that’s even more ridiculous in a pop-culture context: the trailer of Rohit Shetty's Simmba, which is a sequel to the Ajay Devgan-starrer Singham. Rajyasree says the trailer does not have a cliffhanger and instead gives away the entire plot. "We should warn you, if any of you go watch the film, then you should be ashamed of yourself,” adds Abhinandan.
The hosts then talk about a short film starring Naseeruddin Shah called Rogan Josh, which also features Avantika Akerkar and Shishir Sharma. The duo discusses how this film—which commemorates the anniversary of the terror attacks in Mumbai—is conceptually strong. Both of them agree that the problem of the film is a universal problem in Hindi films, i.e. they over-explain.
The discussion then moves towards a political documentary, Fahrenheit 11/9, directed by Michael Moore. Rajyasree says though the film is primarily about American president Donald Trump, it's also about the Flint water crisis, Michael Moore’s connection to Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner, the Parkland school shooting, Obama, Hillary Clinton and more. This overload of information is what is the problem with the film, according to her. “The film, which is about everything, becomes a film about nothing,” she points out.
The anchors conclude by talking about Priyanka Chopra’s wedding. Rajyasree says it's ironic that "three truckloads of firecrackers" had been burst at her wedding, even though Chopra endorses an ad that is about asthma. Talking further on Indian weddings, Abhinandan says, “Indian weddings have become an excuse for people who could never make it to showbiz. Aaj mauka mila hai, captive audience mili hai, aaj main nach kar dikhaunga, chahe nachna aata ho ya na aata ho.”
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access_time9 months ago
After a hiatus of two weeks, hosts Rajyasree Sen and Abhinandan Sekri are back with an episode packed with opinions on several advertisements both from India and around the world, a web series and a film trailer.
The duo starts with a discussion on popular advertisements in the Indian media including the Manyavar advertisement, which has Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma engaging in "playful banter". Rajyasree comments: “If you plan on having a romantic relationship with anyone or any sort of relationship built on some meeting of the minds: don’t talk like this to each other. It’s the end of that relationship, for sure!”
The discussion moves on to the new Swiggy ad which centres on our tendency to not address people in the service industry by their names. Talking about the conceptualisation and production quality of Indian advertisements, Abhinandan says, “I am amazed at the level of creativity of Indian advertisements. (I think) They are second only to the US or even at par with the US.” They also talk about Dolce & Gabbana’s ad which offended many people in China. Both Rajyasree and Abhinandan agree this advertisement can reduce Dolce & Gabbana's brand value.
Rajyasree then takes the discussion forward with Amazon Prime’s new show Mirzapur, which is produced by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani and stars Pankaj Tripathi, Rasika Dugal, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Vikrant Massey and more. She says it’s a well-made show with many characters and dynamics at play. But at the same time, she's disappointed with how the show ends. “I think they get dynamics of the way relationships play out, the different kinds of romantic relationships you can have, the way we hear about it a lot but hopefully we don’t experience it in our milieu. A father-in-law wanting to sleep with his daughter-in-law, the wife not getting sexually satisfied by her husband sleeps with the cook. So there are all sorts of things happening,” she adds.
Towards the end of podcast, they talk about the teaser of Disney’s upcoming film The Lion King and the trend of remaking films that is being followed both in India and abroad. They discuss how producers are willing to put money into stories and scripts that have worked in the past. Abhinandan says, “If you want to make a big film, you bet that money on a film that is remade, say a Jungle Book, a Sholay or a Don. This is why all superhero films are the biggest releases of the year. The characters have worked in the past and they will work in future. Nobody creates a new character!”
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access_time9 months ago
In this episode of The Awful & Awesome Entertainment Wrap, Abhinandan Sekhri and Rajyasree Sen talk about the “viral videos” made around the Diwali season and some movies.
Rajyasree starts off the discussion by talking about the "#MeToo bag" which has been designed by Priyanka Vachhani and which the designer says can also be used for self-defence. She explains how the #MeToo movement has been used in the fashion business and how the ad that was put out was cringe-worthy. The discussion moves on to HP’s recent Diwali ad titled "#GoLocal" which Abhinandan and Rajyasree think is overly emotionalised.
The hosts then talk about the Hollywood movie BlacKkKlansman, directed by Spike Lee and released earlier this year. The movie is a true story about the first Black-American cop who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan. The consensus is that our subscribers should watch this fun-packed and well-shot movie, which Abhinandan says is a political statement by the director against Trump. Abhinandan also briefly talks about a 1993 western action thriller called Tombstone.
Abhinandan then moves on to romantic comedy-drama Crazy Rich Asians directed by Jon M Chu which released earlier this year. He says it's a classic love story but also reinforces some stereotypes. Rajyasree talks about a commercial by Ghadi Detergent, which steers the discussion into the stereotypes and set standards of gender and class in the Indian community. They discuss a special Karwa Chauth commercial by Nykaa titled "Qaid", featuring India’s first transsexual model Nikkiey Chawla. Abhinandan and Rajyasree ask the same question: “Why has Karwa Chauth been unnecessarily brought in to convey such an emotion?” They agree it's a good commercial, but Rajyasree says it's still a marketing gimmick.
This and more, so listen up!