August 17, 2018


Critics exist so a dialogue can exist about the art form. Not the business. — 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


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: 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


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: 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


Read the full article on Firstpost, here:​ 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


Read the full article on Film Companion, here: 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


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: 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


“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


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: 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


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: 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


Read the full article on Firstpost, here:​ 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


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


Read the full article on Film Companion, here: 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


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


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


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


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: 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


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 […]

Kannil Mazhai

August 1, 2018


This video is as interesting to watch as the song is to listen to. Really fascinating composition. Plus, a great example of how YouTube can take independent music forward. Vocals Performed by #SidSriram & Jananie SV Music Composed, Arranged & Produced by B Prasanna Lyrics by Subu

Posted in: Music: Non-Film

Interview: Kamal Haasan

July 31, 2018


Kamal Haasan talks about Vishwaroopam 2, and why the action genre doesn’t form a big part of his over 200 films, other than the odd Vikram, Kurudhipunal, Thoonga Vanam, Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu, Aalavandhan and now the Vishwaroopam films. He speaks about being a star and actor (vis a vis someone like Naseeruddin Shah). He speaks of […]

“Maradona”… After ‘Koode’, Malayalam cinema gives us another beautifully directed story of ‘healing’

July 31, 2018


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: In case you were wondering about the title of Vishnu Narayan’s Maradona (written by Krishna Moorthy, and starring Tovino Thomas), the film has nothing to do with football, or the legendary footballer. The closest we get to the latter is a No. 10 jersey […]

Posted in: Cinema: Malayalam