Bored with the re-runs of your television programmes? Maybe you ought to check out some of the free content on the Internet. You will be pleasantly surprised that some of it is even better than the paid content you watch regularly, writes Karthik Subramanian
Deny it all you want, but most television channels today, when they are not telecasting live sports, are as bland as salad. You just munch the same thing, over and over again.
But there are better ways of entertaining oneself than merely switching on the telly to watch the umpteenth re-run of ‘Friends'. Here's some free-to-watch content that's both critically-acclaimed and widely-appreciated.
Sita Sings the Blues
On top of the list is a wonderful re-telling of one of our epics — the Ramayana. American animator Nina Paley narrates the story, running the narrative parallel to another story of a couple facing separation, in this full-length feature that is available for free viewing under the Creative Commons licence. Jazz and Blues recordings of Annette Hanshaw, a radio star from the 1920s and the 1930s, lend voice to Sita. It simply cannot get quirkier than this. The movie can be watched, even downloaded and screened for free from www.sitasingstheblues.com. The 82-minute animated feature was released in 2009, and has been critically acclaimed.
For those who don't mind watching provocative content, the Zeitgeist series of free-to-watch online documentaries is a good bet. Though laden with several conspiracy theories and bold in its presentation, the documentaries by filmmaker Peter Joseph rank pretty high in terms of views and share links on popular social networks. Though some of the theories are bizarre, the movies' insights into how the global banking system operates are worth a look. The first Zeitgeist movie was released online in 2007, and its third instalment ‘Zeitgeist — Moving Forward' released both theatrically and free-to-watch online in January this year. Visit www.zeitgeistmovie.com to find out more.
The documentary made by internationally renowned photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand was produced by French auteur Luc Besson, and has been available for free viewing on YouTube ever since its release in 2009. The story of our Planet Earth, as narrated by famous actor Glenn Close, was shot in 54 countries, across 120 locations and over 214 days. The 93-minute documentary that focusses on the wonders of the world through an aerial perspective is an absolute jaw-dropper. Watch it on www.youtube.com. Just do a keyword search for documentary: home.
The Landlord (short)
The short comedy feature with Will Ferrell playing the tenant scared to death of his pint-sized landlord is a cult classic. The short directed by Adam McKay and Drew Antzis was the perfect launch-pad for the website www.funnyordie.com, owned and promoted by McKay and Ferrell. Though the short did generate some controversy over the landlord using some swear words, it also meant that in the years to come Funnyordie was the place to go for free online videos that would make you laugh till you cry. Watch it on www.funnyordie.com. The video has achieved legend status there.