'GoT' season 8 premiere teases an epic wrap
A reunion, a revelation, a love affair and a gruesome killing -- the final season of the hugely popular show "Game of Thrones" kicked off, setting the tone for a berserk finale with big twists, sinister plotting, backstabbing and a lot of blood.
 
It was a moment fans had been waiting for since 2017 after the seventh season left many questions unanswered. The GoT mania took Indian fans by storm in the days leading to its final season opener, as pointed out by internal data at Instagram, India.
 
India emerged as the fourth country globally where users are most excited about the fantasy series and it is the only Asian country to feature in the top five. As per Taboola, Daenerys and Jon Snow are the most read characters with 843,600 and 705,000 readers respectively.
 
According to a Myntra spokesperson, fans in India are "seizing every token that is symbolic of their favourite show especially through dedicated merchandise".
 
The show, based on George R.R. Martin's novels, and created by David Benioff and Dan Weiss, began in 2011.
 
The last seasons left fans guessing; How will Jon Snow find out that he is not the bastard son of Ned Stark? What turn will Jon and his aunt Daenerys' relationship take? Where will Jaime Lannister go next? What's Cersei's next move? Who will kill the Night King? Who will die? And who will sit on the Iron Throne? 
 
The first episode of season 8, which premiered internationally on April 14 and was brought to India along with the US through Hotstar Premium on Monday morning, tries to answer some of the questions that have lingered on. Titled "Winterfell", the pilot is written by Dave Hill and directed by David Nutter, who brought the infamous "Red Wedding" alive on the screen. 
 
After a revised opening title sequence -- with the spotlight on Winterfell, King's Landing and the influence of White Walkers in the narrative, the show which made its debut with sprawling complicated issues, narrowed down to two main spots and the 'great war' against the 'undead'. 
 
But the makers don't seem to be in the mood to be prude on those myriad affairs as Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) says, "We don't have time for this. The Night King has your dragon. The Wall has fallen. The dead march south." 
 
The episode kicks off with Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) marching into Winterfell with her army and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) by her side. 
 
The emotional quotient was high with reunions of many characters seeing each other for the first time in years -- Jon Snow and Arya/Bran Stark, Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) and Gendry, Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) and Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), Arya Stark and The Hound, and Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Bran Stark. 
 
The show has stepped up its pace to end the story -- be it through Cersei (Lena Headey) plotting to kill her brothers after the war, the army of undead White Walkers bringing destruction, Jaime turning his back on his love and his sister Cersei, Jon Snow finding the truth about his true lineage and claim to the Iron Throne by his best friend Samwell Tarly. 
 
The makers have also hinted that Jon Snow is already on the path to embrace his truth when he rides one of the dragons.
 
It seems the story of "Game of Thrones" has come a full circle, especially the moment Jaime meets Bran. 
 
There were moments of embrace in the winter love land as well, thanks to Daenerys and Snow. 
 
Amid the alliances, plenty of suspicion and getting ready to go to war, Tyrion sums up the message of the final season -- "We must fight together now, or die."
 
In the end, one gets a sense that the creative forces behind the series have started to piece together the puzzle, but also gives out a message that it won't be a happy ending after all. How? Because the first episode ends with one death. Oops! But don't worry, it isn't any of the main characters.
 
The show will find its way on Star World on Tuesday.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Digital Content Renders Cinematograph Act Obsolete
When a fad invades India, it does so in hordes. May it be mobile manufacturers, car makers, and so on and so forth. But, now, we have a line-up of streaming content providers. They enjoy an open, unhindered run on your small screens.
 
Usually, the films with family entertainment, RomComs or mildly plausible action films work (Salman Khan types). The religious and saas bahu family themes have been hijacked by television channels. Presently, though suddenly, we are now into this genre called nationalism/patriotism and biopics. But, that market is flooded and all future announcements for forthcoming films seem to be on patriotism and biopics! Not long before the law of diminishing returns takes over.
 
In fact, this week's release, Romeo Akbar Walter, may prove to be an indicator to that considering the lukewarm reception the film has got. The thing is, those people who want to watch these films, they are mainly available in cinema halls. These films would not be as much fun on a small smartphone/tablet screen, also known as Over The Top (OTT).
 
The content providers seem to have decided to capture the attention as well as the initial eyeballs through a nonconventional way; providing content which is not available on cinema screens. That is to majorly deliver content that is morbid, gory, semi pornographic, drugs and all those things that are repulsive to a normal entertainment seeker and the family audience. Now this is the content designed for personal viewing with no one else watching over your shoulder!
 
The target viewer is the youth and the purpose is to change their taste and preferences. Indian, Spanish, Mexican, all the content that I scanned through had gore, sex, and all that as common as well as the dominant factors. While providing such content, there are also some decent features but not enough yet.
 
But, how long can this trend last? There was an era when Malayalam films with a lot of titillation and suggestive sex were dubbed in Hindi language and, for the interior audience, interpolation was a regular practice as explicit sex scenes from porn films were added. They worked for a while but faded soon.
 
So, the issue is, while the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) makes all kinds of demands from a feature film producer before his/her film is approved for public exhibition, this morbid mobile OTT streaming goes unchecked! The CBFC, in fact, has become the moral guardian of the Indian moviegoer; one to check on its ethics and morals!
 
Pahlaj Nihalani, the recent past Chairman of the CBFC, asked to delete a kissing scene from a Bond film from some 15 seconds to six seconds. Isn't that ridiculous considering that Nihalani in real life can't finish a sentence without adding a couple of BCs and MCs no matter if women or kids are around! Is it possible that a single panel member of the examining committee of CBFC, who watches films to rate them, has never watched an illicit porn film? And, to think that these people think a film is kosher only for six seconds, not 15! Do this politically connected panel members really qualify to sit in judgement over what the people should watch? That has been an eternal debate.
 
The CBFC does not work on precedents. Does not matter that a number of films, Hollywood as well as Indian with lengthier kissing scenes, have been passed with UA certificate! There is no consistency in policy. As is the wont of Indians, a seat of authority robs them of logic. It is a high to be able to judge others, especially when in an official position. As a rule, this lot found fault with every film presented for clearing. For example, the examining committee suggested 14 cuts to a children-oriented film, Mr India, in 1980. I can quote numerous such examples.
 
But, the issue is about parity. That is to say, while almost all other mediums are free of a watchdog, why are films censored? Why not OTT content? Come to think of it, what does the ‘power' that the CBFC panel members and the Chairman
amount to when a motely mob negates their certification and blocks a film? Padmaavat, Manikarnika and so many other examples.
 
Coming back to streaming content and films, how come the film, PM Narendra Modi, is denied even the courtesy of a screening for the examining committee yet while the streaming episodes on the same subject, Modi, are already on people's mobiles? So, how is the CBFC and Censor Certificate relevant anymore when a biopic on a person is blocked indefinitely while the same subject OTT platform, Modi: Journey Of A Common Man, produced by Eros Now, has already started streaming?
 
There are voices that the OTT content should come under CBFC certification. It is reported that at the CBFC, while the films from big makers are cleared out of turn so that they can meet their scheduled release dates, makers of smaller films have to wait a long time for that kind favour from the censors? In that case, suppose OTT content had to pass through censors, what would be the scene? Would it be the Amazon and Netflix that will get priority or a score of others who apply? After all, big shots get priority! Imagine the chaos that can follow. A 30-minute episode can end up
being chopped off to 15 minutes and the second episode of a series may appear weeks after the previous one!
 
Also, considering every other so-called group or organization or a community can ignore CBFC clearance and block a film's release, the Board means nothing. And, this despite the highest court order ages back that the CBFC is the ultimate authority on cinema content! Something needs to be set right in the Cinematograph Act. To start with, the word Digital Content, should be made part of the Act.
 
@The Box Office
 
*The latest release, a highly promoted film, Junglee, just about manages to stay afloat. With a meagre opening day collections of three crore, it managed a face-saving weekend of around 13 crore. The film had a tapering effect at the box office with the start of the new week and closed its first week with a total of over 19 crore.
 
*The other release of the week, Salman Khan's production, Notebook, failed to make its mark. With an opening weekend of Rs 2.3 crore, it had a low opening week figures of Rs four crore.
 
*Akshay Kumar carries Kesari on his popularity though a regional subject with a limited appeal, it collects Rs 19 crore for its second weekend and Rs 30 crore for its second week taking its two week tally to Rs 135 crore.
 
*Badla has collected Rs 5.3 crore in its fourth week to take its four week total to Rs 79.3 crore.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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Game of Thrones: Final Season Opening on 14th April. Are You Ready?
Here is good news for all those viewers of 'Game of Thrones' (GoT). The eighth and final season of this world famous series is set to broadcast on 14 April 2019 on HBO. Over the years, GoT has not only become most-talked about series on TV, but has mesmerised viewers with its characterisation, filmography and not to forgot the special effects (FX).
 
Over 30 million viewers have watched previous or seventh season of GoT from across the world, making it the most watched TV series. 
 
The final season is expected to bring everyone together, including some characters that have not seen since first episode, to fight the Night King, who is warlord of the underworld with his over 1 lakh strong Army of the dead. 
 
 
With its intrigue-filled plot and dark tone in a fantasy setting of magic and dragons, Game of Thrones, has been acclaimed by critics as well, especially for acting, complex characters, storyline, scope, and production values. However, frequent use of nudity and violence, including sexual violence, have been criticised. This has subsidised, especially from Season 6 onwards.
 
What I liked in GoT series is fixed timeline, especially in number of episodes. First few seasons of GoT have 10 episodes per season, which has now come down. Wish we could have the same fixed number of episodes on Indian TV as well along with fresh stories that would spare viewers from the epic family dramas. 
 
The final season, called as ‘The Battle of Winterfell’ will have only six episodes, out of which first four episodes will have a duration of 1 hour and 20 minutes. Last episode of this epic drama airs on 19 May 2019. ‘The Battle of Winterfell’ is directed by Miguel Sapochnik, who had directed 2016’s ‘Battle of the Bastards’, for which he won the Emmy award.  
 
Originally released on 17 April 2011, Game of Thrones is an American fantasy drama TV series created by David Benioff and DB Weiss. It is an adaptation of George RR Martin's 'A Song of Ice and Fire', a series of fantasy novels, the first of which is 'A Game of Thrones'. 
 
Set on the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos, Game of Thrones has several plots and a large ensemble cast, but basically it follows three story arcs. 
 
The first arc is about the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, and follows a web of alliances and conflicts among the noble dynasties either vying to claim the throne or fighting for independence from it. 
 
The second story arc focuses on the last descendant of the realm's deposed ruling dynasty, who has been exiled and is plotting a return to the throne. 
 
The third story arc follows the Night's Watch, a longstanding brotherhood charged with defending the realm against the ancient threats of the fierce peoples and legendary creatures that lie far north of The Wall, and an impending winter that threatens the realm.
 
No wonder, GoT has one of the largest contingent of actors. Third season of GoT had an ensemble cast of 257 actors. Many of the actors have received higher payments through negotiations over the seasons. In fact, five of the main characters in GoT have reportedly received $2 million per episode for the last two seasons, making them highest paid actors on TV. 
 
GoT was primarily shot at Paint hall Studios at Belfast in Northern Ireland. Exterior scenes in Northern Ireland were filmed at Sandy Brae in the Mourne Mountains (standing in for Vaes Dothrak), Castle Ward (Winterfell), Saintfield Estates (the Winterfell godswood), Tollymore Forest (outdoor scenes), Cairncastle (the execution site), the Magheramorne quarry (Castle Black), and Shane's Castle (the tourney grounds). Doune Castle at Stirling in Scotland, was also used in the original pilot episode for scenes at Winterfell. 
 
Not just FX, stunts in the entire GoT series (well so far) has stunned viewers and many of them have become epic moments. HBO hired British-based BlueBolt and Irish-based Screen Scene for season one. For next season, German-based Pixomondo became the lead visual-effects producer with suitable scene production from British-based Peanut FX, Canadian-based Spin VFX, and US-based Gradient Effects. For season four, HBO added German-based Mackevision to the project, who worked along with Canadian-based Rodeo FX, German-based Scanline VFX and US-based BAKED FX. 
 
 
While all viewers were mesmerised with the stunning visuals of adolescent dragons in the fourth season, the effects, in fact, were largely based on a chicken!
 
 
For the fifth season, HBO added Canadian-based Image Engine and US-based Crazy Horse Effects to its list of main visual-effects producers.  
 
 
Over the years, Game of Thrones has received 47 Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Drama Series in 2015, 2016, and 2018, more than any other primetime scripted television series. Its other awards and nominations include three Hugo Awards for Best Dramatic Presentation (2012–2014), a 2011 Peabody Award, and five nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama (2012 and 2015–2018). 
 
 
Even actors like Peter Dinklage has won three Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (2011, 2015 and 2018) and the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (2012) for his performance as Tyrion Lannister in GoT. Others such as Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Maisie Williams, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Diana Rigg, and Max von Sydow have also received Primetime Emmy Award nominations for their performances.
 
 
With so much efforts going in production of this fantasy epic, no wonder, GoT is one of the most pirated TV series. According to the file-sharing news website TorrentFreak, Game of Thrones has been the most pirated television series since 2012, or for six years in a row. In 2015, Guinness World Records called Game of Thrones as the most pirated television program.
 
Over the years and seven season down the line, more and more viewers from across the world have viewed Game of Thrones. For the first season, number of average viewers was 2.5 million. This jumped to 11.6 million, and 14.2 million in second and third season. For fourth season, average gross audience were 18.4 million, overtaking record created by ‘The Sopranos’. Fifth and sixth season of GoT had an average viewership of over 25 million per episode. Seventh season saw this number going up to over 30 million, shows record from Wikipedia.
 
 
So the question is what after the final season of GoT? 
 
According to reports, HBO is already trying to stay ahead of the curve. The network is currently working on a Thrones prequel, informally dubbed as 'The Long Night' that will star Naomi Watts in the lead role. That series will be run by Jane Goldman and will, hopefully, be one of many Thrones-themed spin-offs if HBO has its way, says a report from VanityFair .  
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