Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Coming attractions”

Thoughts on trailers in general and the ‘Gone Girl’ trailer in particular. I cannot wait to see Gone Girl. For one, it’s directed by David Fincher – that makes it an automatic must-see. Two, I’ve read the book, and its halfway twist is easily one of the best acts of rug-pulling I’ve encountered. It’s genius. […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Pros and cons”

Why is Hollywood crap so much more watchable than the crap we make? The answer: professionalism. About the time the first Transformers movie was released, if you’d asked me what I thought of Optimus Prime, I’d have thought you were referring to a mathematical variable. A few movies in, I was slightly more clued in. […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Four decades later, a flashback”

Singeetam Srinivasa Rao remembers ‘Dikkatra Parvathi’, his first film in Tamil, based on Rajaji’s story. Singeetam Srinivasa Rao’s first film was in Telugu, a 1972 comedy named Neeti Nijayiti. It flopped. For his second film, he wanted to do something different. “At that time, there was this big art-cinema movement,” he told me last week. […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Kerala days”

Is the Malayalam film industry making the best mainstream cinema today? Once upon a time, I used to watch cinema from all over India – every Sunday afternoon, on Doordarshan. I remember, especially, the Malayalam films like Koodevide and Alicinte Anveshanam, which were neither all-out arty nor fully commercial – it was the middle-of-the-road-style that […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “A mutant walks into a bar…”

The new, smashing X-Men movie proves that gags and light touches aren’t unwelcome in serious, near-apocalyptic stories. Whenever I say that Christopher Nolan takes himself too seriously, I’m told that that’s because Batman is a serious character and there is no way those films could be anything but serious. But Tim Burton, in his two […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “A small tribute to a big legend”

A slim compilation of B Nagi Reddi’s memories is a welcome addition to the increasing number of books on Indian cinema. In the introduction to Many Shades Make a Rainbow: Reminiscences of B Nagi Reddi, the publisher (and Nagi Reddi’s son), Viswam, lays out what the book is about. He says that his father’s birth […]