“Purampokku Engira Podhuvudamai”… An entertaining prison-escape drama that also manages to make you think

May 20, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… A lot of filmmakers make “message” movies. SP Jhananathan makes propaganda movies. His films aren’t about walking home with a warm glow and a trite little homily ringing in the head. He weaves complex tapestries from skeins of impassioned ideology. His first film, Iyarkai, an adaptation of Dostoevsky’s White Nights, was something I […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Bombay Velvet”… An Anurag Kashyap film with bafflingly few traces of Anurag Kashyap

May 17, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… When I heard Anurag Kashyap was making a movie about Bombay, I wondered – despite the heavily Hollywoodised imagery – if he would tip a hat to the “Bombay movie.” Bombay Velvet opens, instead, as a Bombay documentary, with grainy, sepia-toned footage that gives us glimpses of the city, round about 1949. There’s prohibition. […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

“36 Vayadhinile”… Worth a cheer, despite a broad TV-soap approach

May 15, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… In Rosshan Andrrews’s 36 Vayadhinile, based on his Malayalam hit How Old Are You*, Jyotika plays an alien. What else could the character, named Vasanthi, be? She’s 36. Her eyesight is no longer what it was. Her hair is turning silver. She has a teen-aged daughter. She works in a government job and […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Gabbar is Back”… One of those masala movies that’s too “cool” to be one

May 11, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Gabbar Is Back, directed by Krish (and based on an original story by AR Murugadoss), keeps making us think it is the real deal, a real masala movie. We see dabbawalas. We witness a lavani performance. We step into a barbershop. In other words, we see not Mumbai but Bombay, which is always […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

“Piku”… An irresistible amble with a dysfunctional family

May 9, 2015

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The following review is relatively spoiler-free. If you’ve seen the film and would like to read a more detailed (i.e. spoiler-filled) review, then please go directly to the review below. Piku (Deepika Padukone) brings to screen a robust multidimensionality we don’t usually see in our leading ladies. She balances domestic chores (laundry, dusting) and a […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

Crowd funding inititative for Orson Welles’ last film

May 8, 2015

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Got this via email. Now go do your good deed for the day. Hi Mr. Rangan, Without mincing words, I am writing this mail to you to seek the help of your name. A crowd funding Inititative has been started to finance the completion of Orson Welles’ last film “The Other Side Of the Wind”, his […]

Posted in: Cinema: English

“India Pakistan”… A not-so-bad comedy

May 8, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Midway through India Pakistan, Karthick (Vijay Antony) and Mellina (Sushma Raj) – Chennai-based lawyers both – find themselves in a village. Karthick is hanging out with some guys who think Mellina is easy: andha maadhiri ponnu. It’s the kind of cheap talk you hear all too often about urban women who have a […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

In Salman, they trust

May 8, 2015

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A fascinating documentary shows us what Salman Khan means to an India that’s not quite shining. One of the more perplexing moments on Season Four of Koffee with Karan was when Salman Khan made an appearance – his first on the show – and declared, “I am a virgin.” He added that he was going […]

“Vai Raja Vai”… An inoffensive caper

May 5, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Aishwarya R. Dhanush likes men who see things. The protagonist of her first film, 3, saw holographic demons. Or something. The protagonist of her follow-up, Vai Raja Vai, sees the future. At least, he knows what’s coming. That’s his boon and the film’s curse. Early on, we get a hint that the clairvoyance […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Uttama Villain”… A superb core let down by lackluster filmmaking

May 2, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Kamal Haasan’s films suffer sometimes because they end up looking like vanity projects, but Uttama Villain, directed by Ramesh Aravind, couldn’t be anything else – for this is the story of a vain star named Manoranjan (Kamal Haasan). This is cinema about cinema, and because Tamil cinema is really about the hero, the […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil
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