8 WAYS TO ENTERTAIN YOURSELF
MY NEW EVERYDAY LIFE
Surviving Corona, one show at a time.
Richa Chadha, actress
For the first few days, I watched Contagion, the Netflix show Pandemic and TedX talks by people who saw the outbreak coming. Then I binge-watched 10 seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm because I wanted some comedy. Now I intend to watch a host of Oscar-nominated films which I missed out on when they released and also the Netflix show Delhi Crime. My publisher will kill me if I am caught only watching stuff on Netflix and Amazon Prime, so I will be using the time to finish transcribing interviews and researching for my book which features anecdotal essays. I also bought a whole bunch of books. Currently, I am reading Blueprint for Revolution, a non-fiction title by Serbian author Srdja Popovic. I am taking an online dance course in tribal fusion and if the lockdown goes beyond March, I will start with guitar lessons too. I have also been regularly tracking the site covid19info.live for statistical updates about the pandemic.
MAKING SENSE OF NOW
A watchlist for the weary by Vikramaditya Motwane, director of Trapped, Udaan
Children of Men: The Alfonso Cuaron-directed futuristic thriller is frighteningly real as it offers a stark, vivid depiction of a society surviving in a chaotic time.
28 Days Later: Danny Boyle’s 2002 dystopian horror is the benchmark of how to get a zombie film right.
Moon: The science-fiction drama by Duncan Jones is an exemplary study of isolation shown through the life of an astronaut.
Thinking of doomsday scenarios? These three films were well ahead of the curve
THE WANDERING EARTH (2019)
COVID-19 might have been China’s biggest release in 2020, but last year, they had a different kind of blockbuster. The country’s first big-budget sci-fi epic, The Wandering Earth, imagines a world where the Sun will soon expand to swallow the Earth. (Netflix)
Bong Joon-ho’s end-of-the-world film Snowpiercer shows a world destroyed by a climate change experiment gone wrong. The remnants of humanity now survive on a train where the poor live in squalid conditions and the rich in extravagance. Familiar? (Netflix)
SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2004)
Given how some have been ostracising those returning from overseas, the zombie metaphor suddenly seems apt. Were there to be a zombie apocalypse, Shaun of the Dead, a hilarious film about two slackers saving the world, is your best point of reference. Where, for instance, would you first look for refuge? The pub, obviously.(YouTube)
BINGING BLUES AWAY
THE RAIN (NETFLIX)
After a virus wipes out almost all human life in Scandinavia, Danish siblings Simone and Rasmus stay in a bunker for six years. They finally emerge to go looking for their father who had left them there.
GOOD OMENS (AMAZON PRIME)
Based on a novel by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, the series follows the demon Crowley and the angel Aziraphale, representatives of heaven and hell on Earth, who try very hard to prevent Armageddon.
THE LEFTOVERS (HOTSTAR)
A global event results in two per cent of the world’s population disappearing. As people struggle with loss, religious cults emerge, one led by a man who views himself as the Second Coming of Jesus.
Reading Till the End
By Albert Camus; Penguin Rs 499; 256 pages
Let’s face it. the term existential crisis was coined for times like these, and Albert Camus, the most dapper of all existentialists, certainly has a ton of good advice in the Plague. When the plague begins in Oran, it’s largely unheeded by the people of the town. But as it slowly tightens its grip, driving people to suffering and madness, we are also able to see manifestations of resilience and compassion.
The age of Miracles
By Karen Thompson Walker Simon and Schuster. Rs 274; 400 pages
If you have recently told your- self that the world seems to have slowed down, you might want to pick up this book to see that thought made literal. Julia, one Saturday, wakes up to see that something has happened to the rotation of the Earth. the days and nights are growing longer and gravity, much like human behaviour, isn’t following the set rules. a great read for when everything is in disarray.
By Jose Saramago; Penguin. Rs 599;320 pages
After a city is hit by an epidemic of white blindness, the blind are moved into an empty mental hospital, which is soon overrun by criminal elements stealing rations and assaulting women. it’s finally a doctor’s wife, someone who can still see, who leads people to safety.
A roundup of all the arts and culture that Corona has freed of cost
Being free of the coronavirus might take some time, but while you are holed up at home, there is plenty of art and culture you can enjoy, all of which has been made free as various countries go into lockdown. Rome and Paris might now seem more distant than ever, but virtual tours of the Louvre (www. louvre.fr) and the Sistine Chapel (www. museivaticani.va) are bringing Europe closer home. Use the code BERLINPHIL to unlock the digital library of the Berlin Philharmonic (www.berliner-philhar- moniker.de) for 30 days, or log on to the youtube page of the Royal Opera House for a free programme of curated online broadcasts, musical masterclasses and cultural insights. Follow @metopera, the Metropolitan opera’s twitter handle, to know which production it is streaming. In the event you prefer the screen to the stage, the International Documentary Film festival Amsterdam (www.idfa.nl) is giving you 300 documentaries to choose from, while the National Board of Film Canada (www.nfb.ca) has made life easier by creating playlists you can binge on. Lastly, put your feet up and download the Juggernaut app. you won’t have to pay a dime to access its catalogue that includes writings by William Dalrymple and Sunny Leone.
PAY FOR VPN
If you are tired of browsing Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hotstar, not excited by any option, in particular, it might be time to sign up for a Virtual Private Network (VPN) account. By circumventing your geo-restrictions and connecting to a proxy server, VPN technology opens up whole new possibilities of entertainment, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, etc. there’s Nord VPN, ExpressVPn, but also the easy CyberGhost.
STANDING UPTO COVID-19
When he isn’t playing with his cats, cooking and cleaning, lyricist, screenwriter and stand-up comic Varun Grover is obsessively reading about COVID-19. My biggest lesson is that the superiority complex of our species is such a sham, he says. It takes a microscopic particle to hold the most powerful states to ransom. He recommends four specials to beat the blues.
Nanette’ By Hannah Gadsby
The only comedy special that I can call life-changing’ on a personal level. heartfelt, surprising, opening up a new world of inquiry, and brimming with raw energy only a true work of art can hold, Nanette is a must-watch for any fan of comedy or cinema.
A speck of dust’ by Sarah Silverman
Edgy, effortless and very sharp. Sarah Silverman knows how to mix wicked and existential in a single joke.
Pata nahin par bolna hai’ By Karunesh Talwar
My favourite among all the Indian comedy specials released in recent years, Karunesh’s brilliant premises, elevated further by his genuinely curious observations into their weirdness, gives us a special that’s constantly, endlessly funny.
One of the greatest,funniest, strangest comics ever. Mitch Hedberg’s clips are all over YouTube. Since he does only one-liners, it doesn’t really matter that no special(with a narrative arc) exists.