As the world succumbs to the pandemic, the cinema lovers are left with only a few surviving sources of entertainment, significantly online streaming platforms. With a substantial increase in subscription base, streaming giants like Netflix, Amazon and Hotstar are flooding with content to build a robust library. Therefore, in this chaos and clutter, what could be better than a meaningful cinema with a great takeaway. With this effort, PENALTY is releasing on Netflix, a film which traverses the journey of a talented North Eastern lad, who comes all the way to Lucknow, to make it big in Football, oblivious to the fact that more than Talent, his “State of Origin” is what is going to define his future. He is bullied and ridiculed not only by his coach, but also by his teammates with derogatory remarks like “Chinka, Momo wala”, which constantly makes him feel like an outsider; sad and dispirited, he ultimately leaves for his hometown. Will he be able to make it again in the team, to know this, you have to watch the film!!!
Interestingly, George Floyd’s controversial video has not only lead to protests across the world but has also resurfaced the debate on Racism, which is a deep-rooted cultural problem, prevalent in almost every part of the world. Like in India, whenever people from the North East step out of their state, they are bullied detrimentally, and are made to believe they are outsiders in their own country. Penalty, a film based on real incidents, tries to address the sensitive issue of Racism, from POV of a Northeastern guy, with the backdrop of football.
Talking about the Cast & Crew, the film is helmed by debutant director Shubham Singh, who has marked his debut after struggling for almost a decade in Mumbai. Surprisingly, the entire star cast comprises of new faces like Lukram Smil, Bijou Thaangjam and self- made established actors like Kay Kay Menon, Shashank Arora, Manjot Singh, to name a few. On the creation of this ensemble, the director says that it was never a conscious effort, but happened organically during the process of casting. As his only criteria during the shortlisting of the actors was that they should fit into the skin of the character.
Talking about the emerging OTT phenomena in India, the producer of the film Nilesh Sakhiya says that it is an added advantage for independent producers because it helps them in reaching maximum audience by leveraging the expertise of the platforms. Contrastingly in theatres, the producers have to bear a hefty price to get a tiny share of screens, which to crumbles in front of big-ticket films.
The film is releasing worldwide on NETFLIX on 5th July, 2020. Talking to the tabloid, the debutant actor Lukram Smil says that he is very positive about the film as it can help in wiping out all the negativity around and further help people of his community to restore their pride.
Whether its Theatrical or OTT release, the only constant that is still prevalent in the industry is, the final verdict is given by the audience. Let’s wait and watch how the audience will react to the film!!!