After Jagame Thanthiram, the biggest Tamil streamer on Netflix is going to be Navarasa, the nine-storied anthology web series presented by ace director Mani Ratnam. But he is not directing any of the stories in the anthology, and he is presenting the series along with Jayendra Panchapakesan.
The much-expected series, which was announced last year, will stream on Netflix on August 6. The anthology's teaser is out now.
Navarasa, as the name unambiguously says, will explore the nine basic emotions of humans --- anger, compassion, courage, disgust, fear, laughter, love, peace and wonder.
It was originally slated to stream in May, but the second wave of Covid-19 put paid to those plans.
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Best names in Southern film industry in Navarasa
The nine standalone stories of Navarasa are helmed by nine different directors from Tamil and Malayalam, and it boasts of stellar cast and technicians, including Oscar winning music director A R Rahman.
The nine directors are: Arvind Swami, Bejoy Nambiar, Gautham Vasudev Menon, Halitha Shameem, Priyadarshan, Karthick Naren, Karthik Subbaraj, Vasanth and Rathindran R Prasad.
Navarasa marks the OTT debut of actors like Suriya, Revathy, Parvathy, Siddharth, Vijay Sethupathi, Prakash Raj, Vikranth, Gautham Karthik and Aishwarya Rajesh.
Actors Prasanna, Nithya Menen, Bobby Simha, Poorna, Ashok Selvan and Robo Shankar return to the OTT space. Apart from these names, the anthology also stars Saravanan, Alagam Perumal, Ramesh Thilak, Sananth, Vidhu, and Sreeram.
Navarasa is written by 'Pattukotai' Prabhakar, Selvaa, Madhan Karky and Someetharan.
There are nine cinematographers for the nine shorts, and they are: Santosh Sivan, Balasubramanien, Manoj Paramahamsa, Abhinandan Ramanujam, Shreyaas Krishna, Harshvir Oberai, Sujith Sarang, V Babu, Viraj Singh.
The music directors, apart from Rahman, are: D Imman, Ghibran, Arul dev, Karthik, Ron Ethan, Govind Vasantha and Justin Prabhakaran.
Those behind this project have offered their services pro-bono. Also, the proceeds from the films towards the well-being of film workers in Tamil cinema impacted by the pandemic.
"The idea of Navarasa was a spark when we discussed it and the industry has come together to make it glow, give it soul and make it count for its people. We are happy that Netflix has come forward to take this confluence of emotion, talent, people and the cause to the world,” Mani Ratnam and Jayendra said when the series was announced last year.
Anthologies, a mixed bag
Among the nine stories, the short helmed by Gautham Vasudev Menon, starring Suriya in the role of a musician, has its title announced. It is named: Guitar Kambi Melae Nindru.
Netflix has had mixed results with anthology series, but it has been consistently backing them. Two weeks ago it streamed Ray, a four-storied anthology based on the short stories of Sathyajit Ray.
Previously it had streamed, among others, in Tamil itself Paava Kadhaigal; in Telugu, Pitta Kathalu; and in Hindi, Lust Stories, Ajeeb Dastaans and Zindagi In Shorts.
Anthologies are popular among the audiences of OTT platforms. But the general criticism against them is they tend to be patchy as different directors and different treatments lead to unevenness in quality and even tonality.
In that sense, the nine different shorts of Navarasa have a bigger challenge to surmount. Navarasa is among the big projects of Netflix in India for the year 2021.
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Over three decades as a journalist covering current affairs, politics, sports and now technology. Former Editor of News Today, writer of humour columns across publications and a hardcore cricket and cinema enthusiast. He writes about technology trends and suggest movies and shows to watch on OTT platforms.