Amaze on and on and on: Matka King, Dupahiya, Snakes and Ladders, Matka King and The Rana Connection

Amaze on and on and on: Matka King, Dupahiya, Snakes and Ladders, Matka King and The Rana Connection

In the third part of my report, here’s the lowdown on four more shows that Amazon has lined-up, in various languages.

Matka King (Hindi)

In this fictional tale set in 1960s Mumbai, an enterprising cotton trader who craves legitimacy and respect, starts a new gambling game, dubbed ‘Matka’, which takes the city by storm and democratises a terrain previously reserved for the rich and elite. There was indeed such a thing as ‘Matka’, in the 60s, 70s and 80s. I am not sure whether it fizzled out after that or still survives.

One man used to pick out a card from a ‘Matka’ (earthen pot), and anybody who had bet on that number would be paid out by a string of agents across Mumbai. People could place bets as low as 25 paise (in the 60s), and win many times over. With time, I recall that the ‘Matka’ gave way to sophisticated picking methods, and there used to be two picks, one in the morning and another late in the evening, called Open and Close respectively. You could bet on both, and if you got both right, you made a small fortune.

The kingpin of this ‘racket’ was a man called Ratan, whose life was filmed in a film called Rangeela Ratan, reportedly finance by him. There were later two official ‘Matkas’: one was called Worli Matka and the other Kalyan Matka, named after localities in Bombay. It was either legal, or he found some loophole in the laws of the time, but the system flourished unhampered, with lakhs, if not millions of Bombayites, placing their bets regularly, every day. Some were ruined by long-term losses, others enriched by short-term gains. It would be interesting to see whether Roy Kapur films have done made a biographical show, or fictionalised the concept.

Nothing need be said about writer-director Nagraj Manjule, but his co-writer needs mention here. Abhay Koranne’s debut film was the action-drama Bhavesh Joshi Superhero (2018), co-written with Vikramaditya Motwane and Anurag Kashyap. Abhay also conceived and wrote the story concept for the series Rocket Boys (2022), for Roy Kapur Films. He has written the screenplay for the documentary Indi(r)a’s Emergency (2023), and he describes Matka King as a gritty historical crime series. Vijay Varma plays the main role. Remember him in Dahaad?

Dupahiya (Hindi)

In a village that is on the cusp of celebrating 25 years of being crime-free, chaos ensues when a coveted motor cycle gets stolen! With the silver jubilee trophy, a wedding, and the pride of the villagers at stake, what follows is a crazy journey to retrieve the bike before it’s too late.

Dupahiya, which means two-wheeler in Hindi, is directed by Sonam Nair. She helmed Masaba and the movie Gippi. Riding on this two wheeler, Besides Sonam, are producers Salona Bains Joshi, and Shubh Shivdasani, creators Chirag Garg, Avinash Dwivedi, Salona Bains Joshi, and Shubh Shivdasani, writers: Avinash Dwivedi and Chirag Garg, Key cast: Gajraj Rao, Renuka Shahane, Bhuvan Arora, Sparsh Srivastava, Shivani Raghuvanshi, and Yashpal Sharma. At last count, that made 11. Now that is going to some bike!

Snakes and Ladders (Tamil)

Four reckless kids, while trying to cover up an accident, find themselves caught in dangerous situations – chased by cops, dim-witted thugs, and their own bad choices.

Produced by A Stone Bench, Snakes and Ladders has, as Creative Producer, Karthik Subbaraj. It is directed by the trio Bharath Muralidharan, Ashok Veerappan, and Kamala Alchemis, with Kamala Alchemis and Dhivakar Kamal as Creators. Key cast comprises Naveen Chandra, Muthu Kumar, Nandaa, Srinda, Manoj Bharathiraja, Ramachandran, Sreejith Ravi, Samrit Surya, Rageshwar Surya, Kumar Tharun, and Sasha Bharen. Can’t bet over the Alchemis in Kamala’s name. Is the t at the end invisible?

Now who would you think of when you imagined a new talk-show host? Not Karan Johar. I said “new”. Well whoever you might think of, it is not likely to be 39 year-old Rana Dagubatti. Better known as the Survivor, after his kidney and cornea transplants, and other illnesses. I know, I know. He might not be as proficient in English and Hindi as you would like him to be. So what is wrong with a talk show in Telugu? Rana: Telugu. There is a connection. And they call it just that.

The Rana Connection (Telugu)

An exciting and curiosity-piquing talk show, hosted by celebrated actor Rana Daggubati, featuring his friends and contemporaries from Indian cinema. The production company is called Spirit Media Pvt Ltd, with Rajeev Ranjan and Prashanth Potluri as producers.

Rana Daggubati is the host…and the guests? You shall soon discover.

Amaze on and on and on: Matka King, Dupahiya, Snakes and Ladders, Matka King and The Rana Connection
In the third part of my report, here’s the lowdown on four more shows that Amazon has lined-up, in various languages.

Matka King (Hindi)
In this fictional tale set in 1960s Mumbai, an enterprising cotton trader who craves legitimacy and respect, starts a new gambling game, dubbed ‘Matka’, which takes the city by storm and democratises a terrain previously reserved for the rich and elite. There was indeed such a thing as ‘Matka’, in the 60s, 70s and 80s. I am not sure whether it fizzled out after that or still survives.
One man used to pick out a card from a ‘Matka’ (earthen pot), and anybody who had bet on that number would be paid out by a string of agents across Mumbai. People could place bets as low as 25 paise (in the 60s), and win many times over. With time, I recall that the ‘Matka’ gave way to sophisticated picking methods, and there used to be two picks, one in the morning and another late in the evening, called Open and Close respectively. You could bet on both, and if you got both right, you made a small fortune.
The kingpin of this ‘racket’ was a man called Ratan, whose life was filmed in a film called Rangeela Ratan, reportedly finance by him. There were later two official ‘Matkas’: one was called Worli Matka and the other Kalyan Matka, named after localities in Bombay. It was either legal, or he found some loophole in the laws of the time, but the system flourished unhampered, with lakhs, if not millions of Bombayites, placing their bets regularly, every day. Some were ruined by long-term losses, others enriched by short-term gains. It would be interesting to see whether Roy Kapur films have done made a biographical show, or fictionalised the concept.

Nothing need be said about writer-director Nagraj Manjule, but his co-writer needs mention here. Abhay Koranne’s debut film was the action-drama Bhavesh Joshi Superhero (2018), co-written with Vikramaditya Motwane and Anurag Kashyap. Abhay also conceived and wrote the story concept for the series Rocket Boys (2022), for Roy Kapur Films. He has written the screenplay for the documentary Indi(r)a’s Emergency (2023), and he describes Matka King as a gritty historical crime series. Vijay Varma plays the main role. Remember him in Dahaad?

Dupahiya (Hindi)
In a village that is on the cusp of celebrating 25 years of being crime-free, chaos ensues when a coveted motor cycle gets stolen! With the silver jubilee trophy, a wedding, and the pride of the villagers at stake, what follows is a crazy journey to retrieve the bike before it’s too late.

Dupahiya, which means two-wheeler in Hindi, is directed by Sonam Nair. She helmed Masaba and the movie Gippi. Riding on this two wheeler, Besides Sonam, are producers Salona Bains Joshi, and Shubh Shivdasani, creators Chirag Garg, Avinash Dwivedi, Salona Bains Joshi, and Shubh Shivdasani, writers: Avinash Dwivedi and Chirag Garg, Key cast: Gajraj Rao, Renuka Shahane, Bhuvan Arora, Sparsh Srivastava, Shivani Raghuvanshi, and Yashpal Sharma. At last count, that made 11. Now that is going to some bike!
Snakes and Ladders (Tamil)
Four reckless kids, while trying to cover up an accident, find themselves caught in dangerous situations – chased by cops, dim-witted thugs, and their own bad choices.

Produced by A Stone Bench, Snakes and Ladders has, as Creative Producer, Karthik Subbaraj. It is directed by the trio Bharath Muralidharan, Ashok Veerappan, and Kamala Alchemis, with Kamala Alchemis and Dhivakar Kamal as Creators. Key cast comprises Naveen Chandra, Muthu Kumar, Nandaa, Srinda, Manoj Bharathiraja, Ramachandran, Sreejith Ravi, Samrit Surya, Rageshwar Surya, Kumar Tharun, and Sasha Bharen. Can’t bet over the Alchemis in Kamala’s name. Is the t at the end invisible?
Now who would you think of when you imagined a new talk-show host? Not Karan Johar. I said “new”. Well whoever you might think of, it is not likely to be 39 year-old Rana Dagubatti. Better known as the Survivor, after his kidney and cornea transplants, and other illnesses. I know, I know. He might not be as proficient in English and Hindi as you would like him to be. So what is wrong with a talk show in Telugu? Rana: Telugu. There is a connection. And they call it just that.

The Rana Connection (Telugu)
An exciting and curiosity-piquing talk show, hosted by celebrated actor Rana Daggubati, featuring his friends and contemporaries from Indian cinema. The production company is called Spirit Media Pvt Ltd, with Rajeev Ranjan and Prashanth Potluri as producers.

Rana Daggubati is the host…and the guests? You shall soon discover.  Read More

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