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Whether you’re too broke to travel this long weekend or are simply *done* with Diwali parties (Last seen: NEVER!), here’s a relatively peaceful way to spend all that time, with a little help from our friendly media-streaming service, of course.  We don’t mean the popular recommendations floating around the web, because chances are you’re already done and dusted with those.

Instead, here are nine highly underrated documentaries for binge-viewing, which are all currently streaming in Netflix India.

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So, go on, order some takeout, set up those speakers, and dive into these compelling real-world stories from the high worlds of fashion and cinema to the underbelly of cartels and crime.

 

Cartel Land

This superlative documentary about the Mexican drug cartel was rightly nominated under the Best Documentary Feature at the Oscars this year. Giving us two solid perspectives – one of a Mexican citizen pioneering a revolution and another of a veteran US mariner, it brings to life the entire shebang of the cartels, military, government and the commoners.

A footnote: If you loved Narcos, you will love Cartel Land even more!

Reincarnated

For as long as one can remember, Snoop Dogg has been rapping his way up the charts. However, as the artiste turned 41 a few years back, he embarked on a journey of metamorphosis, when he reborn as Snoop Lion, embracing spirituality and dedicating his work to spiritual reggae. This documentary chronicles the artiste and his ways – stereotyped, loud and garish – at times, even as fans love him and his antics all the same. Must-watch if you’ve ever been  a fan. 

First Contact: Lost Tribe of the Amazon

The documentary sheds light on the survival of a Brazilian Indian tribe called the Sapanawa that live on the border of Peru. Over the course of the film, one perceives how these tribes live in a constant state of fear. Away from the forest and the wild, they survive somehow, but it is in no way a good life. The documentary comes as a lesson in assimilation in society and is a deeply compelling narrative. 

India’s Frontier Railways

I have grown up listening to heartbreaking stories of Partition of Bengal and India from my grandparents. Naturally, it comes as no surprise, then, that when I stumbled across this BBC Masterpiece on Netflix earlier this month, I got a bit sentimental. This three-part documentary follows the lives of people who work and travel on these trains, which operate between India and Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

A Conversation with Gregory Peck

Perhaps, it’s the oldest documentary from the lot. But, truly, old is gold. The American Masters series follows the lives of pop culture icons, including Annie Leibovitz and The Doors. We have loved him immensely in Roman Holiday, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Guns Of Navarone, and other memorable movies. In this documentary, he looks back at his struggling days, early glimpses of stardom and throughout it all, being his charming and candid best.

Iris

This paean for fashion industry’s eccentric old lady Iris Apfel (94) is definitely Albert Maysles’s befitting swansong. Strutting down the lanes of NYC in her zany accessories and loud outfits, Apfel is a living icon and a fashion institution in herself. The documentary, in its bildungsroman style, is a salute to the ageless fashionista’s work and times.

The Wrecking Crew

After watching this brilliant documentary, a part of you might feel cheated by some of the biggest bands. Some of these include The Mamas And The Papas, Beach Boys and The Righteous Brothers. Directed by Denny Tedesco, this 2008, sings highly of the unsung musicians. More often than not, the popular guitar riffs and openings in the 60s and the 70s were performed by names unknown. The Wrecking Crew gives us a glimpse into the lives of the band of seasoned and session musicians who played a major role in making the pop stars of their time.

Best of Enemies 

Before the heated Presidential debates and Arnab Goswami’s Nation Wants To Knows, American television was changed forever in 1968, when two diametrically opposite intellectuals – conservative William F. Buckley, Jr. and Leftist Gore Vidal – were at loggerheads live on national television. It came as a shocker to the audience as mercurial tempers started flying and soon vitriolic name calling was in place. The documentary delves into how the very temperamental tirade went on to pave the stepping stone for the kind of television programming that exists today.

Cover image: Reincarnated

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