“Sandakozhi 2 “… A just-about bearable sequel

October 18, 2018


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/+sandakozhi-2-movie-review-vishal-lingusamy-keerthi-suresh-baradwaj-rangan There’s a Thevar Magan hangover in N Lingusami’s Sandakozhi 2 (Fightercock). Balu (Vishal) strides into southern Tamil Nadu the way the Kamal Haasan character did in the earlier film — only, Balu takes a flight, and he slips past the people who’ve gathered outside, […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

Readers Write In #56: Make a musical, Or Don’t: A rant on the usage of songs in modern Tamil cinema

October 18, 2018


First in the ‘Chekka Chivantha Vaanam’ review, and now in the ‘Vada Chennai’ review — I much liked BR’s views on the usage (or lack thereof) of good songs. I, for one, am really really glad that BR brought this up. I am an audiophile. I love listening to songs in the theater. I enjoy […]

‘The Godfather’, ‘Citizen Kane’, ‘Son of Saul’, and the philosophy behind cinematography

October 18, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/the-godfather-citizen-kane-son-of-saul-and-the-philosophy-behind-cinematography-5400201.html​ One of my favourite anecdotes about cinematography comes from Francis Ford Coppola’s DVD commentary track of The Godfather. He says that they decided to be very “classical” about how the film was going to be shot, the camera always about four-and-a-half feet off the ground. “It never […]

“Vada Chennai”… A very satisfying gangster saga that (mostly) becomes the epic it strives to be

October 17, 2018


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/Vada-Chennai-review-Dhanush-Vetrimaaran-Baradwaj-Rangan/ For a while now, Vetri Maaran has been calling Vada Chennai (North Chennai) an epic, and it turns out he was right. The title design is epic. It has a big-screen quality, like the Cinemascope logo (narrow in the centre and broadening towards the […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

Readers Write In #55: The dance of idea and story in Pariyerum Perumal

October 16, 2018


At the intermission of Pariyerum Perumal, the eponymous protagonist lies bruised and battered by the relatives of his female upper caste classmate. He’s covered in their urine, locked inside a room. If he is ‘let out’ he might get killed, he’s told. Pariyan, shivering in trauma, drags himself to the bolted door and knocks on […]

Interview: Vetri Maaran

October 15, 2018


#VadaChennai has shades of Macbeth, Hamlet… @dhanushkraja had misgivings about Polladhavan… The only 2 “filmmakers” in Tamil cinema are Balu Mahendra, Mani Ratnam… In #VadaChennai, the women swear too.. Vetri Maaran talks about Vada Chennai, and how it differs from other gangster movies set in North Madras. It was originally a 5-1/2 hour cut. How […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil, Interview

Readers Write In #54: Evolution paints the sky crimson

October 14, 2018


WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD for Chekka Chivantha Vaanam An obvious distinction that #MeToo often brings up is that while men cloaked in power are unwilling to shed their primal skins, the women, even when victimized, have used civil means to fight back. A striking contrast between the composure displayed by women and the emotional charge spewed […]

The Amateur’s Art #43 – Germanyin Senthaen Malare

October 14, 2018


See here for what this series is about. Director’s note: At some point of time in our life, we are not sure about the things happening around us. This experimental film captured one of that moment from a true event.

Readers Write In #53: Muted Symphony

October 14, 2018


2018 marks 25th anniversary of Ilaiyaraaja composing and recording a Symphony with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London. At that time he was the first Asian composer to do so. The Symphony was never released to the public and Ilaiyaraaja has largely remained silent about this work since then. This is a write up leading to celebrate […]

Live: SaNa listens to a situation, makes the BGM

October 13, 2018


Santhosh Narayanan talks about his composing style, how he makes a basic tune that is then developed and handed out to the players. He plays a BGM piece from Pariyerum Perumal – first on the piano, and then the final output (as played by the whole orchestra). He discusses contributors like Pradeep and Sean Roldan. […]

“Helicopter Eela”… A terrible mother-son story with a Freudian subtext it doesn’t know what to do with

October 12, 2018


Spoilers ahead… In Helicopter Eela, Kajol plays a single mother named Eela — though if you expect straggly hair, ketchup-stained clothes and eyes glazed over from supervising homework, you’re in for a disappointment. The light on Eela is always just right, and it accentuates her makeup just so — even when she’s in a hospital […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

“Manusangada”… A vital addition to the series of stories narrated from the POV of the oppressed

October 12, 2018


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/manusangada-review-amshan-kumar-rajeev-anand-baradwaj-rangan/ The central event in Amshan Kumar’s Manusangada finds an ironic counterpoint in Samarasam ulaavum idamey, the Seerkazhi Govindarajan hit from Rambaiyin Kaadhal (1956). The song speaks of death being the great leveller, that people who are differentiated by caste and class while they are […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Tumbbad”… A truly original “horror” movie that’s actually more of a ghoulish Panchatantra fable

October 11, 2018


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/tumbbad-review-horror-film-rahi-anil-barve-baradwaj-rangan-venice-film-festival-2018 The Venice Critics’ Week was inaugurated with Rahi Anil Barve and Adesh Prasad’s non-Competition entry, Tumbbad — that’s the name of the very rainy village in which the story unfolds. Technically, though, the section was inaugurated with Toni D’Angelo’s 20-minute Italian short, Nobody’s Innocent, […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

Detective Dee and the Strange Case of the Non-Hollywood Franchise Film

October 11, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/detective-dee-and-non-hollywood-franchises-if-youre-game-for-subtitles-its-a-blast-5359121.html​ On July 27, this year, Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings was released. It’s the third instalment in a supernaturally flavoured action franchise, which is a blockbuster everywhere except in the US. The first film (Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame, 2011) made under […]

Off the Topic: Women in Sabarimala…

October 11, 2018


Honest Raj and Rahini David asked for an OTT thread on this topic, so…. PS: To those who said even the OTT threads are going way out of topic, I don’t mind that. At least, this keeps the film/review threads “pure.”

Posted in: Off The Topic, Society

“Andhadhun”… Despite questionable second-half detours, Sriram Raghavan’s new film is a most entertaining ride

October 10, 2018


Spoilers ahead… Sriram Raghavan’s new movie wastes very little time in letting you know it’s a… Sriram Raghavan movie. A rabbit bounces across the screen. A hunter with a shotgun gives chase. An overhead shot shows what looks like a cabbage patch, but also seems like a maze. Shots are fired. And we cut to […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

Readers Write In #52: Chekka Chivantha Vaanam – A Psychoanalytic Perspective

October 10, 2018


Mr. Maniratnam’s latest oeuvre, Chekka Chivantha Vaanam,  like his previous work Kaatru Veliyidai, is a detailed and evocative study on narcissism. While disguised as a gangster shootout, the film relates to something far more fundamental, that being the dysfunctional family and the suffering that is housed within.               In Chekka Chivantha Vaanam, the chief patriarch is Prakash […]

Off The Topic: #MeToo

October 10, 2018


I have a genuine (and somewhat abstract) question about all this, and let me begin by stating that I believe Chinmayee and others wrt to the Vairamuthu issue. But here’s the question I have. My “belief” is a gut feel, based on my “personal” conviction that these women are telling the truth — but it’s […]

Interview: Santhosh Narayanan

October 9, 2018


Santhosh Narayanan talks about his 25th album, Vada Chennai, directed by Vetri Maaran. He speaks of the song, Kaarkuzhal kadavaiye, and why he wanted it in this album. He talks about his sound and why it came about, and how he goes about composing a song. He speaks of how ideologically inclined directors like Pa […]

My struggle with false copyright claims

October 8, 2018


Kishor, who runs the YouTube channel called Moving Images, has sent a write-up on his experience with the copyright issues plaguing his channel.  Running a YouTube channel is not an easy thing, especially if one decides to make videos on an untapped and relatively unknown genre. I chose to make “video essays” on Tamil cinema […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil, Personal