Sun. Sep 27th, 2020

Music is on the way for big and small screen movies

Cinemas will open on ‘The High Note’ — but why not enjoy classical music in ‘Bandish Bandit’ while you wait?

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As South Africa awaits official confirmation for a date for cinemas to open, you will have wait a little longer to watch The High Note. Seeing as digital content has kept us going, however, you can also enjoy Bandish Bandits now.

It’s been five months since all the major theatre chains have closed and it is not clear when they will reopen. When they do, the Dakota Johnson film The High Note will be one of the first big screen releases.

Working Title Films and Perfect World Pictures produced the film which has a tentative 25 September release date.

The distributors Focus Films gave The South African a preview, so read on for our review.

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Review: ‘The High Note’

Nisha Ganatra directs The High Note which is set in and around the dazzling Los Angeles music scene.

It tells the story of superstar Grace Davis (played by Tracee Ellis Ross), whose talent and ego have reached unbelievable heights.

Then it zooms in on her assistant and biggest fan Maggie (Johnson), who aspires to become a music producer.

When Grace’s manager Jack (Ice Cube) presents her with a choice that could alter the course of her career, Maggie comes up with a plan. But, it’s a plan that could change both of their lives forever.

Ganatra’s direction is good and the writing by Flora Greeson matches up as the pair weave a believable fairy-tale romantic drama of sorts.

However, when it comes to the music, the soundtrack holds the movie back a little.

In terms of performances, Johnson is the heart and soul of The High Note. Appearing in almost every frame, she takes control with every line.

Her expressions are faultless and she plays the role of Maggie to perfection.

Kelvin Harrison Junior stands out next. He sings his way into your heart as David with his studio and concert sequences.

Ellis Ross does well as a middle-aged artist with everything to prove while Ice Cube is impactful as her manager. He provides good comic relief as well as a few power-packed dialogues.

All in all, The High Note will be the ideal cinema outing once the big screen reopens for business. Top-class performances coupled with a neatly woven story make it a worthy watch.

Rating: 7/10

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Review: ‘Bandish Bandits’

Next up, and staying with the theme of on-screen music, we have Bandish Bandits.

Every so often an on-screen production captures your imagination and makes music come to life.

This time it’s not a film, but a series. And it’s an Amazon original series that is like nothing you have ever seen before.

The show tells the story of Radhe (Ritwik Bhowmik) and Tamannah (Shreya Chaudhary).

Radhe is a classical music prodigy and the hopeful heir to his grandfather, Pandit Radhemohan Rathod’s gharana (family) of music. Naseeruddin Shah plays the grandfather.

Tamannah is a city girl with dreams of being India’s biggest pop star. Their paths cross when she performs at a Jodhpur concert and our hero falls in love almost instantly.

What unfolds is a romantic drama centring on a love for music, which unites but also tears them apart. Family politics, small-town conservativism and city lights — the show has it all.

Most importantly, the marriage of classical and modern music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy brightens the show up from the onset.

Whether or not you have ever followed Indian classical music or understand it in any way, there is definitely something in the soundtrack for you.

Excellent performances are another strength of Bandish Bandits.

Newcomers Chaudhary and Bhowmik make incredible entries into the industry with this show (although they both have been in a non-mainstream film or two).

Amritpal Singh Bindra and Anand Tiwari also take writing and direction on a route that engages viewers of all ages.

Yes, some sort of appreciation for classical music would enable you to enjoy Bandish Bandits more but the story is for everyone.

The locales are expertly shot as well, from the Rajasthani palaces through to the desert and even the small roadside eateries. In fact, the camera work is fantastic.

In sum: Bandish Bandits reaches into the depths of the ocean that is classical music while maintaining its appeal to modern viewers. It’s a magical musical experience!

Rating: 8/10

  • Bandish Bandits is now streaming globally on Amazon Prime Video

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