Readers Write In #144: The Tatami Galaxy: An absurd love story across universes

February 17, 2020

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(by Adhithya KR) Stories are a medium of escape. They let the creator give life to a hundred different lives they might have lived in their head. A chance decision taken one morning while registering for a certain class or talking to a certain person might have changed everything about life. Roads that are casually […]

“Shikara”…

February 17, 2020

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I’ll write down some thoughts at some point, but meanwhile, readers can comment…

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

“Love Aaj Kal (2020)”…

February 17, 2020

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I’ll write down some thoughts at some point, but meanwhile, readers can comment…

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

‘Distant Journey’, part of Berlinale Classics, is one of the first films to depict the horrors of the Holocaust

February 14, 2020

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/distant-journey-part-of-berlinale-classics-this-year-is-one-of-the-first-films-to-depict-horrors-of-the-holocaust-8029611.html A couple of weeks ago, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, I wrote about Claude Lanzmann’s marathon French documentary, Shoah (1985). A few days from now, at the Berlin Film Festival, a different kind of Holocaust film will be featured: Distant Journey, by Alfréd Radok. This one’s in […]

Readers Write In #143: Why ‘Parasite’ doesn’t deserve the best picture Oscar despite being really good

February 12, 2020

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(by Alex John) Nobody can argue against the fact that Parasite is an enthralling movie. I don’t either. But is it worthy of the most celebrated film award in the world? A lot of people would say yes, but I beg to differ. This probably is the most difficult piece I have written because I […]

The 2020 Oscars

February 11, 2020

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Readers Write In #142: Thoughts on ‘Seeru’

February 9, 2020

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(by Varsha) Spoilers ahead This is the season of serial killers, that too, mostly men preying on women. But then, this is also the season of women empowerment dramas. Oh, the irony! It’s almost as if male directors are of two types: some want to lift women to the limelight(spiritual), while others simply want to […]

“Vaanam Kottattum”… Sarath Kumar makes a smashing comeback in a solid, well-acted drama

February 7, 2020

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This isn’t the usual screenplay woven around a single protagonist. It takes scenic detours and gives everyone their own arc. Spoilers ahead… You can read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/vaanam-kottattum-movie-review-sarath-kumar-makes-a-solid-comeback-in-a-well-acted-drama/ Dhana’s first film, Padaiveeran, was about a village wastrel who becomes a cop, but then discovers — to his dismay — that […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

With so many psychos in theatres, a look at Fatih Akin’s ‘The Golden Glove’, which premiered at Berlinale 2019

February 6, 2020

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/psycho-aswathama-anjaam-pathiraa-in-the-season-of-serial-killers-revisiting-the-golden-glove-from-berlinale-2019-8006681.html This is the season of serial killers. In Tamil, we have Mysskin’s Psycho, where women are beheaded and their headless corpses – clad only in underwear – are put out on display for the public. In Malayalam, we have Midhun Manuel Thomas’ Anjaam Pathiraa, where cops are […]

Movies Ahead Of Their Time: Kai Kodukkum Kai (1984)

February 6, 2020

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/movies-ahead-of-their-time-kai-kodukkum-kai/ This February, we are doing a series on movies that were ahead of their time – essentially films that were too smart or took too many risks for the year they released in and maybe would have been appreciated better if they came now… I picked Mahendran’s ‘Kai […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

Readers Write In #141: Indian historical pieces and why they suck- a rant

February 5, 2020

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(by Sudharshan Garg) A Rani of Jhansi jumps almost what seems to be a 100 feet from the rampart of a castle on a horse, the horse must be “Superhorse” as it lands without injury and she rides away, to fight another day. Tanaji Malsure (I refuse to use that numerology derived Tanjhaji) must have […]

Kunchacko Boban stars in ‘Anjaam Pathiraa’, a weakly written serial-killer thriller that offers minor genre pleasures

February 5, 2020

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/kunchacko-boban-stars-in-anjaam-pathiraa-a-weakly-written-serial-killer-thriller-that-offers-minor-genre-pleasures/ At the end, this turns out to be one of those films that takes a hot-button issue and expects us to care simply because it takes that issue up. Spoilers ahead… Anwar Hussain (Kunchacko Boban, efficient as always) is preparing for his PhD in criminology, so […]

Posted in: Cinema: Malayalam

The Rakshit Shetty-starring ‘Avane Srimannarayana’ is exhilarating, exhausting, and filled with gonzo visual imagination

February 5, 2020

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/avane-srimannarayana-the-rakshit-shetty-starrer-is-exhilarating-exhausting-and-filled-with-gonzo-visual-imagination/ Despite this “let’s toss everything into the cauldron and keep the pot boiling” approach to narrative, the storytelling has a tonal purity. The film is one of a kind — it also looks all of a piece. Spoilers ahead… Every once in a while, we get […]

Posted in: Cinema: Kannada

“Jawaani Jaaneman”… Saif Ali Khan plays an older version of a Saif Ali Khan role in an underwhelming dramedy

February 4, 2020

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The film has neither the glib snap of a sitcom nor the depth of a drama nor the giddiness of a ‘Birdcage’-like farce. Spoilers ahead… In an industry more attuned to sequels, Nitin Kakkar’s Jawaani Jaaneman would be called Salaam Namaste Part XVI: From Rocker to Rocking Chair. Saif Ali Khan plays a perennial playboy […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

Readers Write In #140: Comparing Time-Travel: X-Men vs Avengers

February 1, 2020

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(by Barry) Over the years, Time Travel in films has been implemented in a variety of entertaining ways. Both the X-Men Cinematic Universe and the Marvel Cinematic Universe have had a critical movie that saw the characters use Time Travel as a device to solve a problem. This element of science-fiction has always been a […]

Readers Write In #139: ‘Panga’ Inspiration: A mum looking for second chances…

February 1, 2020

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(by Madhuri Kannan) When I watched the Hindi movie ‘Panga’ trailer, I was reminded of a lot of thoughts that were going on in my mind a couple of years ago. The days when I had happily taken a break from my career to take of my son, his school, his needs and prioritizing my […]

“Panga”… A superb Kangana Ranaut anchors a sports drama that’s really a story about second chances

January 31, 2020

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Every sports movie needs a twist. The twist, here, is that, in attempting a comeback, the protagonist becomes a symbol for many people (especially women) whose dreams were thwarted by reality. Spoilers ahead… Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s Panga opens in the bedroom of a Bhopal-based couple. Jaya (Kangana Ranaut) and Prashant (Jassi Gill) are asleep — […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

“Dagaalty”… Santhanam stars in a dull film that can’t decide how to showcase its leading man

January 31, 2020

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Does he want his own vehicle or is he content referencing the films of other, bigger stars? The lack of clarity is painful. Spoilers ahead… You can read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/dagaalty-movie-review-santhanam-stars-in-a-dull-film-that-cant-decide-how-to-showcase-its-leading-man/ Just last week, we met a psycho who does unspeakable things to women. This week, in Vijay Anand’s Dagaalty, […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

And it’s been 17 years, folks…

January 30, 2020

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My first published review was in 2003: This one! Thanks to all readers who have stuck through at least two blog changes, at least three job changes, comment wars, and just about everything else. Cheers.    

Posted in: Film Criticism, Personal

Readers Write In #138: ‘Psycho’ and Mysskin’s abusive relationship with his audience

January 30, 2020

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(by Adhithya K R) I am thoroughly confused whenever I watch a Mysskin movie. Some things just don’t make sense. It’s not about what happened or how it happened, but why Mysskin chose to do it in that way. More baffling to me is the fact that certain scenes make me feel deep emotion in […]