“Neerali”… A terrible ‘survival drama’, where Mohanlal practices Jedi mind tricks on a monkey

July 17, 2018

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/neerali-malayalam-movie-review-baradwaj-rangan-mohanlal-nadhiya-moidu-parvatii-nair Neerali (Octopus), directed by Ajoy Varma and starring Mohanlal, is one of those films where a middle-aged man finds himself staring into the abyss. This is not a metaphor for an existential crisis. Thanks to his pickup truck that veered off the road and […]

Posted in: Cinema: Malayalam

The Amateur’s Art #40 – In the Dark

July 14, 2018

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See here for what this series is about. This film, a thriller adapted from a short story by Sujatha, came from Hari Krishna Bharadwaj. Director’s note: I saw you have a section on your blog for short films, I thought I would send one that my friends and I made a few years back, when […]

“Kadaikutty Singam”… An unfocused masala movie that also wants to be a weepy family melodrama

July 13, 2018

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/kadaikutty-singam-movie-review-karthi-baradwaj-rangan/ Karthi plays a farmer in Pandiraj’s Kadaikutty Singam (Last-born Lion), and the most interesting aspect of the film is that it portrays agriculture as a viable profession. The Karthi character, named Gunasingam (any resemblance to the fictional character named ‘Duraisingam’ is purely intentional), earns […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Thamizh Padam 2.0″… Overlong and overstuffed, but still, quite fun

July 12, 2018

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/tamizh-padam-2-movie-review-baradwaj-rangan/ CS Amudhan’s Tamizh Padam 2 (Tamil Film 2) opens with a very funny hero-introduction stretch, and the reason this stretch is so funny is that it’s preceded by dead-serious events. Under a sky rumbling with thunder and lightning, caste riots break out, leaving six […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

The Prithviraj-Parvathy starrer ‘My Story’ is a meh story

July 12, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/prithviraj-parvathy-my-story-movie-southern-lights-baradwaj-rangan/ Plus, thoughts on this unnamed genre, which finds new ways to embadden an already bad movie. There’s a genre of Indian cinema I’ve come to dread. It hasn’t got a name (and truth be told, there haven’t been that many representative films), but it’s basically about […]

On ‘King of Peking’, now on Netflix, and its director’s decision to find his audience online

July 12, 2018

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/on-king-of-peking-now-on-netflix-and-its-directors-decision-to-find-his-audience-outline-4722081.html A few readers asked if I could – at times – write about foreign films that are more easily available than something that plays at film festivals. One obvious solution is to look at streaming platforms, but the foreign films there are hard to find. Take Netflix. […]

Interview: Anjali Menon

July 11, 2018

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Anjali Menon — director of Koode, Bangalore Days and Manjadikkuru, and writer of Ustad Hotel — talks about what Bangalore means to Malayalis, and explains the new-gen phase of Malayalam cinema. (She singles out Ranjith’s Kaiyoppu and Sameer Thahir’s Chaappa Kurishu.) She talks about Padmarajan, Bharathan, Fasil, MT Vasudevan Nair, KG George, about the improved technique […]

FC Flashback: Mullum Malarum

July 9, 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 […]

“Mr. Chandramouli”… A would-be conspiracy thriller derailed by bad writing and infantile filmmaking

July 6, 2018

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/mr-chandramouli-movie-review-baradwaj-rangan-tamil-gautham-karthik-regina Karthik fans looking for some nostalgia will probably enjoy Mr. Chandramouli a little more than others. There’s that title, first. And the lyrics of a club song, tuned by Sam CS, include phrases like “panivizhum malarvanam” and “rajadhi raja.” The actor’s performance, too, is […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

A shout-out to Jayasurya’s performance in ‘Njan Marykutty’…

July 5, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/njan-marykutty-jayasurya-performance-southern-lights-baradwaj-rangan Plus, thoughts on cis actors in trans roles, ‘Asuravadham’, and a beautiful ‘singer’s song’ from the seventies’. Since everyone’s talking about Ranbir Kapoor’s performance in Sanju, allow me to direct your attention to Jayasurya in the Malayalam film, Njan Marykutty, where the actor plays a transgender. […]

With the ultra-success of ‘Sanju’, a look at biopics that were off the mainstream

July 4, 2018

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/with-the-ultra-success-of-rajkumar-hiranis-sanju-a-look-at-biopics-that-were-off-the-mainstream-4665361.html With Sanju proving to be a monster crowd-pleaser, I thought I’d write about more eccentric biopics this week. Biography in cinema isn’t easy. A biographical book, like Irving Stone’s The Agony and the Ecstasy, chronicling the life of Michelangelo, lets us know how the protagonist really feels […]

“Sanju”… The complex life of a cipher of a man is reduced to a simplistic entertainer

July 2, 2018

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Spoilers ahead… When Rajkumar Hirani announced Sanju, it sounded like a breakaway. He makes movies about outsiders. If Munna Bhai was an outsider to the establishment, one of the 3 idiots was an outsider to the rote-learning rat race, and then we got a film about the ultimate outsider: an alien. I wondered how Hirani […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

“Njan Marykutty”… A finely tuned Jayasurya performance carries a black-and-white tale of a transgender who wants to become a cop

June 30, 2018

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/njan-marykutty-movie-review-malayalam If there is a petition to ban background music in cinema, Anand Madhusoodhanan’s score for Njan Marykutty, directed by Ranjith Sankar, would be Exhibit A. It is offensive not just because it’s so blatantly manipulative, but also because Marykutty (Jayasurya), who was formerly a […]

Posted in: Cinema: Malayalam

The Amateur’s Art #39 – Koovathorama (Tamil, with English subs)

June 30, 2018

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See here for what this series is about. This film came from Ganesan Rajagopalan. (He sent three. This is the final one.)

“Asuravadham”… A solid vendetta thriller that reimagines a typical story with treatment and craft

June 29, 2018

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/asuravadham-movie-review-m-sasikumar-baradwaj-rangan/ Asuravadham, directed by Chennai Ungalai Anbudan Varaverkirathu director Maruthupandian, begins with what looks like a prank. A small-town provisions store owner named Samayan (a very effective Vasumitra) gets a call. The person at the other end disconnects as soon as Samayan picks up. And […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

Interview: M Sasikumar

June 29, 2018

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Subramaniyapuram turns ten this July. Sasikumar, currently starring in Asuravadham, talks about the success of the film, the failure of Easan (maybe he should have made it later, he wonders), what he got from assisting Bala and Ameer. He names his favourite films by Bharathiraja, Balachander, Balu Mahendra, Mahendran, Bala and Ameer, and talks about […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil, Interview

Bitty Ruminations 89 – Efficiency tips.

June 25, 2018

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I’ve always been a very organised person, and one of the tools that keeps me sane is making a list in the morning — all the to-do things, small and big, including the leftovers from the previous day. The idea is not to do it all, but just get a sense of what needs to […]

Posted in: Personal

In the last week of Pride month, a look at what defines gay cinema

June 25, 2018

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/from-my-own-private-idaho-to-four-days-in-france-a-look-at-the-factors-that-define-lgbtqi-cinema-4590621.html On June 29, 1969, the New York Daily News, like many other newspapers, wrote about a “predawn police raid on a reputed Greenwich Village homosexual hangout, the second raid within a week, [which] touched off a two-hour melee yesterday as customers and villagers swarmed over the plainclothes […]

“Abrahaminte Santhathikal”… Mammootty stars in a thriller that becomes a drama, but is always a shrine to the star

June 25, 2018

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/abrahaminte-santhathikal-review-mammootty-baradwaj-rangan What’s it with movie psychopaths and black raincoats? Is it a uniform? If someone rebelled and wore bottle green or pink, would he instantly be shunned by his axe-wielding brethren? And why is it always pouring when he sets out with his weapon of […]

Posted in: Cinema: Malayalam

The Amateur’s Art #38 – Andha Naal Nyabagam (Tamil, with English subs)

June 22, 2018

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See here for what this series is about. This film came from Ganesan Rajagopalan. (He sent three. This is the second. Will put the third up soon.) SYNOPSIS Two People. Poles apart. A Disturbing meet. Conversations. Confessions. Discomfort. Nostalgia. Pain. Drama. Memoirs of That Day unfold. Be a Witness.