Readers Write In #46: Blood, Sweat and Grime: Thoughts on 20 years of Satya

August 18, 2018

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To really understand the significance of Satya for Bollywood, we have to revisit the Hindi movies of 90’s. They could be slotted into three broad categories ( I am simplifying, of course)  – Hollywood rip offs (e.g. Yarana, Agnisakshi), David Dhawan style (crass) comedies and the ubiquitous NRI friendly designer movies. What started as something sweet with […]

“Geetha Govindam”… Overlong and over-dramatic, but this entertaining romance more or less works

August 18, 2018

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/geetha-govindam-telugu-movie-review-baradwaj-rangan An early scene by a bus stop perfectly sets up the protagonist of Geetha Govindam. Vijay (Vijay Deverakonda) is doing one of those stalkery wooing numbers, trying to catch the eye of a pretty woman (Anu Emmanuel). He’s been trying to catch her eye […]

Posted in: Cinema: Telugu

“Karwaan”… A bland, weightless road movie, but the cast keeps you watching

August 18, 2018

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Spoilers ahead… Nothing seems to infuriate the middle-class Indian father — or alienate him from his son — than the latter’s decision to take up photography as a career. We saw this in Wake Up Sid. We saw this in 3 Idiots. We see this in Akarsh Khurana’s Karwaan. This is just the first of […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

Critics

August 17, 2018

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Critics exist so a dialogue can exist about the art form. Not the business. https://t.co/aoDy10EOtO — Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) March 29, 2016

Posted in: Cinema, Personal

“Kolamaavu Kokila”… This black comedy needed more energy, but it has its moments

August 17, 2018

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/kolamavu-kokila-review-tamil-movie-baradwaj-rangan/ The archetypal premise of Kolamavu Kokila, directed by Nelson, is at least as old as K Balachander’s Arangetram (possibly even older): a woman from a respectable family is in need of money, which leads her into a disreputable profession. It was sex work there; […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Katheyondu Shuruvagide”… A warm drama whose generic beats are elevated by the cast and filmmaking

August 16, 2018

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/katheyondu-shuruvagide-review-kannada-movie-baradwaj-rangan Tarun (Diganth Manchale) is one of those US-returned types. You know the type. Great job. Great salary. But he felt like a robot. Before you can say “First World problems,” he flew back home and opened a resort. Now, he faces Third World problems. […]

Posted in: Cinema: Kannada

Oscars are more populist than festivals like Cannes, Venice — hence the Best Popular Film category

August 16, 2018

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/oscars-are-more-populist-than-festivals-like-cannes-venice-hence-the-best-popular-film-category-4979251.html​ T he latest in the “Oscar institutes a Best Popular Film category” row is that the film technicians have weighed in, dismayed that the presentation of some of their categories will not be aired live. The Academy, in its wisdom, has apparently decided that the audience knows […]

The man who made (and named) Ilayaraja

August 16, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/tamil-composer-singer-ilayaraja-panchu-arunachalam-mentor-death-anniversary-southern-lights-baradwaj-rangan Last Thursday was Panchu Arunachalam’s second death anniversary. Here’s a flashback to the time he introduced his most illustrious protégé. Panchu Arunachalam, who passed away on August 9, 2016, wore many hats. He is remembered as a lyricist – he began that phase of his career […]

“Pyaar Prema Kaadhal”… A well-acted, well-made love story that goes far beyond rom-com clichés

August 16, 2018

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/pyaar-prema-kaadhal-review-tamil-movie-harish-kalyan-raiza-wilson-baradwaj-rangan When I listened to producer/composer Yuvan Shankar Raja’s male solo, Never let me go (there’s a female version titled I will never let you go) from Pyaar Prema Kaadhal (Love, Love, Love), it sounded like a song from a Selvaraghavan movie — specifically, Kanaa […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

Readers Write In #45: Faces of fandom

August 13, 2018

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“Don’t be a fan,” she orders. I have a very close and a slightly ‘mean’ friend who robs off half my excitement when I decide to review a film. Reviewing films is part of my job and every time I am given the latest release, my friend is quick to say: “Don’t embarrass me with […]

The Slender Star Of Tamil Cinema

August 13, 2018

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Outlook asked me to write about Dhanush for their Independence Day issue, about ’21 game changers in the 21st Century’. Read the full article here: https://www.outlookindia.com/magazine/story/dhanush-the-slender-star-of-tamil-cinema-by-baradwaj-rangan/300476 No one could have predicted Dhanush’s success when he appeared in his first film, Thulluvadho Ilamai (2002), when he was in his late teens. When we first see him, he’s […]

“Vishwaroopam II”… A not-exactly-needed sequel, but a solid delivery mechanism for Kamal-isms

August 10, 2018

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/vishwaroopam-2-review-kamal-haasan-baradwaj-rangan/ What a lovely decision to cast Waheeda Rahman, in Vishwaroopam 2, as the mother of Kamal Haasan’s character! You can just see it — one actor known for graceful dance begetting the other. They’re bonded over generations of cinema — but there’s more. If […]

A flashback to giallo and Dario Argento’s ‘Suspiria’, a remake of which will premiere at the Venice Film Festival

August 9, 2018

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/flashback-to-dario-argentos-suspiria-as-the-remake-readies-for-venice-film-festival-2018-premiere-4928601.html​ https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/flashback-to-dario-argentos-suspiria-as-the-remake-readies-for-venice-film-festival-2018-premiere-4928601.html With the dawn of the millennium, Village Voice – the famous New York-based newspaper, and America’s first alternative newsweekly – felt it was time to come to a consensus on the 100 best films of the 20th century. Distinguished film critics were invited to participate in […]

Interview: Yuvan Shankar Raja

August 9, 2018

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Yuvan Shankar Raja talks about the three distinct phases of Tamil film music — the MSV era, the Ilayaraja era, the Rahman era — and why, later, it’s been difficult to get a composer who monopolised the scene. He speaks about his legendary father, Ilayaraja, and explains the difference in their composing techniques, using two […]

Five highlights from Karunanidhi’s film career

August 8, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/five-highlights-from-karunanidhis-film-career-baradwaj-rangan/ Kalaignar Karunanidhi was an orator, writer, politician – plus, a towering presence in Tamil cinema. Here are five memorable examples of his contribution. Muthuvel Karunanidhi may have been a politician for the bigger part of his life, but his moniker was “kalaignar,” artist. He started out […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil, Politics

FC Flashback: Vishwaroopam

August 6, 2018

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What is a “classic”? The most perfect, flawless film ever made? Um… I’d rather define it as something I keep returning to, flaws and all. Something that makes me think, regard it in a new light each time. Flashback is a fortnightly feature on a film I consider a… classic. For more, subscribe to FILM […]

Readers Write In #44: Hey Ram : A Look Back

August 5, 2018

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On the eve of the release of Kamal Haasan’s latest (and probably his last) directorial venture Vishwaroopam 2 and his move to politics, here is a look back on his first directorial venture Hey Ram. Perhaps his greatest masterpiece, that has completed 18 years. This is no way a comprehensive piece, as it would take a […]

Interview: Pooja Kumar

August 4, 2018

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Pooja Kumar, who is in Vishwaroopam II, talks about the experience of acting opposite writer-director and star Kamal Haasan, and how she learnt to look at her character as part of the whole movie. She talks about being from a Hindi-speaking family and learning Tamil, and auditioning for Kamal over Skype. She also speaks about […]

As Hollywood films keep invading Venice and Cannes and Toronto, spare a thought for the artier indies

August 2, 2018

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/as-hollywood-films-keep-invading-venice-cannes-and-toronto-spare-a-thought-for-the-artier-indies-4875571.html The line-ups for the Venice and Toronto film festivals have been announced, and we’re seeing a lot of the same big names, on and behind the screen – big names from art cinema (say, Doubles Vies, by Olivier Assayas) and big names from mainstream cinema (A Star […]

Readers Write In #43: Why I can neither like nor hate Kaala

August 1, 2018

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It has happened again. The last time I felt like this was when I saw Kabali. Now it has happened again with Kaala. The Ranjith-Rajni combo films always leave me stranded between ‘liking’ and ‘hating’ camps situated on opposite ends of the  street. The most important reason why I like Ranjith’s films are because they […]