FC@Berlin 2019, Dispatch 9 – The provocative, thrilling ‘Synonyms’

February 16, 2019

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/berlin-film-festival-2019-review-baradwaj-rangan-synonyms/ Plus, games with death, Catherine Deneuve’s latest, and cult films by Bette Gordon and Derek Jarman. Yoav (Tom Mercier) moves from Israel to France, finds a place to stay, and when he steps out after a bath, he finds his clothes have been stolen. After a […]

Posted in: Film Festivals

FC@Berlin 2019, Dispatch 8 – A devastating “pray the gay away” drama

February 15, 2019

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/berlin-film-festival-2019-review-jayro-bustamante-temblores-ruchir-joshi-baradwaj-rangan/ Plus, Kolkata tales, movie-watching in Sudan, and eroto-religious sci-fi. The festival brochure has this to say about Jayro Bustamante’s Temblores: “Pablo falls in love with Francisco and leaves his devout evangelical family in Guatemala City.” That’s not quite true. We don’t see where and when and […]

Posted in: Film Festivals

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with these “love letters” from one filmmaker to another

February 14, 2019

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/on-valentines-day-filmmakers-love-letters-to-each-other-from-wes-anderson-on-ray-to-del-toro-on-hitchcock-6079151.html This Valentine’s Day, let’s celebrate love differently. Not with a list of films about love. Not with a list of great love scenes. Not with a list of great love stories between stars. So what then? Oftentimes, when a director achieves something great, he/she inspires envy, but […]

“Photograph”… A romance that’s a little too low-key, but with winsome little touches

February 14, 2019

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/berlin-film-festival-2019-ritesh-batra-photograph-movie-review-baradwaj-rangan/ Hindi film music plays a supporting character in Ritesh Batra’s Photograph, which is a tentative love story (if it can be called that). This music fills the air around Rafi (Nawazuddin Siddiqui; the character’s name, of course, is no accident). He’s a photographer. He […]

FC@Berlin 2019, Dispatch 7 – A powerful drama about a man who mistakenly says “talaq, talaq, talaq”

February 13, 2019

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/berlin-film-festival-2019-Mehmet-Akif-Buyukatalay-Oray-Mr-Jones-review/ Plus, Denis Côté’s ‘Ghost Town Anthology’, and walking out of ‘Mr. Jones’. Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay’s Oray opens with a long monologue from a man (Zejhun Demirov) who says he was a captive until he found Islam. Whom is he talking to? We don’t see. The camera […]

Posted in: Film Festivals

Gully Boy At Berlin: An Oral History

February 12, 2019

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/berlin-film-festival-2019-gully-boy-an-oral-history-baradwaj-rangan/ The premiere was near. Everyone was in a rush: producer Ritesh Sidhwani, director Zoya Akhtar, and stars Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt. Here’s an attempt to capture the stream-of-consciousness of the interview sessions. ZOYA: The films I’ve done so far, I know those worlds. When I […]

FC@Berlin 2019, Dispatch 6 – The art and life of Pauline Kael

February 12, 2019

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/berlin-film-festival-2019-the-art-and-life-of-pauline-kael-review-udita-bhargava-dust-review-baradwaj-rangan/ Plus, Udita Bhargava’s ‘Dust’, an abstract movie-painting about the Maoist struggle. One of the films I was looking forward to the most was Rob Garver’s What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael. The documentary features names like Sarah Jessica Parker, Quentin Tarantino and David O. […]

Posted in: Film Festivals

My Favourite Film Decade – Bollywood in the 1980s

February 12, 2019

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/favourite-films-of-a-decade/baradwaj-rangan-80s-top-films/ One of the aspects of pop-culture that really, I mean really, gets to me is how unshakeable an opinion becomes. I call it the Curse of Perceived Wisdom. Here’s an example. Mahesh Bhatt once said, in some magazine, that the most erotic scene in Indian cinema […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi, Personal

FC@Berlin 2019, Dispatch 5 – “For non-mainstream films, it’s essential to think about international distribution and exhibition”

February 12, 2019

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/berlin-film-festival-2019-dar-gai-interview-non-mainstream-films-international-distribution-exhibition/ Filmmaker and Whistling Woods teacher Dar Gai, who’s at the Berlinale Co-production market, talks about co-productions. From February 9-13, 600 international producers and financiers will  explore new partnerships at the Berlinale Co-Production Market. This year, Megha Ramaswamy’s Reshma Shera is at the Official Project Selection (which […]

Posted in: Film Festivals

Viewer’s Voice: Mohammed Sabbit (Dulquer Salmaan fan)

February 11, 2019

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FC@Berlin 2019, Dispatch 4 – Francois Ozon shines a ‘spotlight’ on the Church and paedophilia

February 11, 2019

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/berlin-film-festival-2019-review-francois-ozon-baradwaj-rangan/ Plus, a defiantly anti-narrative Mongolian drama that harks back to the heady days of “art cinema”. It’s June 2014. We are in the very classy home of Alexandre (Melvil Poupaud), a devout man, a caring husband, and a loving father of five. When the family goes […]

Posted in: Film Festivals

“Gully Boy”… A softer than expected, but hugely entertaining and beautifully made street-rapper story

February 10, 2019

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/gully-boy-movie-review-berlin-film-festival-2019-ranveer-singh-zoya-akhtar-baradwaj-rangan/ Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy acknowledges its inspirations right on top: “This film is a shout-out to the original gully boys, Naezy and DIVINE.” Naezy’s life was briefly chronicled in Disha Noyonika Rindani’s documentary Bombay 70, where the rapper explains that his given name, Naved, […]

FC@Berlin 2019, Dispatch 3 – “These primitive tales are often progressive in nature”

February 9, 2019

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/berlin-film-festival-2019-only-indian-director-rang-mahal-short-film-competition-section-interview/ A conversation with Prantik Basu, whose ‘Rang Mahal’, based on Santhali folklore, is the only Indian film in competition at the Berlinale. The only Indian film in competition at the Berlinale is Rang Mahal (Palace of Colour), directed by Prantik Basu. It’s part of the Berlinale […]

Posted in: Film Festivals

FC@Berlin 2019, Dispatch 2 – The ‘Gully Boy’ press screening, plus 40 years of Panorama

February 8, 2019

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/berlin-film-festival-2019-gully-boy-press-screening-40-years-of-panorama-baradwaj-rangan/ No, not the review. But it was very different to watch a very musical movie with a very sedate festival audience. While waiting for the press screening of Gully Boy, I glanced at the press notes: “Bollywood meets hip-hop in Zoya Akhtar’s colourful but socially critical […]

Posted in: Film Festivals

FC@Berlin 2019, Dispatch 1 – Before Zoya Akhtar and Rima Das, these Indians were at the Berlinale (yup, Ram Gopal Varma’s in the list)

February 7, 2019

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/berlin-film-festival-indians-at-berlinale-before-zoya-akhtar-rima-das/ Mainstream ventures like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Paruthiveeran, Dil Se. Art-house classics by Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen. And Shah Rukh Khan seems really popular. In a review dated May 15, 1977, India Today characterised Shyam Benegal’s Manthan as “a valid contribution in sociological terms”. True […]

Bergman’s movie-watching, François Ozon, and Charlotte Rampling, recipient of the Honorary Golden Bear at the Berlinale

February 7, 2019

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/berlinale-2019-the-important-collaboration-of-francois-ozon-and-charlotte-rampling-recipient-of-golden-bear-6041891.html How did Ingmar Bergman watch movies? In the theatres, like everyone else? Apparently not, according to one of the chapters in Ingmar Bergman: Interviews, by the Swedish film critic Jan Aghed. He writes that the governing board of the Swedish Film Institute, the equivalent of the French […]

She Says She Says: Let’s Talk About Peranbu

February 4, 2019

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“Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga”… A pleasant (and yes, safe) romance with an inspired meta angle

February 4, 2019

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Spoilers ahead… Shelly Chopra Dhar’s Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga opens with a big, fat Bollywood wedding — but like everything else in the film, it’s also about something else, something sadder, something deeper. Look past the bigness and the fatness and the colour-saturated Bollywood-ness, and you’ll see Balbir Chaudhary (Anil Kapoor) pausing […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

#Ilayaraja75 – His lesser-known songs for Tamil heroes

February 2, 2019

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/southern-lights-illaiyaraaja-ilaiyaraaja-75-his-lesser-known-songs-for-tamil-heroes/ If you take Rajinikanth films, you’ve probably heard the ‘Guru Sishyan’ numbers, or the ones from ‘Veera’. But ‘Sodi kili enge’? Read on. I wanted to write something to commemorate the Ilayaraja 75 concert, but I kept getting stuck. Given that an orchestra from Hungary will […]

“Vantha Rajavathaan Varuven”… An in-form Simbu cannot save a comedy-drama that works as neither

February 1, 2019

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/vantha-rajavathaan-varuven-movie-review-str-silambarasan-megha-akash/ In Sundar C’s Vantha Rajavathaan Varuven (I will come like a king), Nasser plays the founder-chairman of a company worth gazillions of rupees. He’s based in Europe. He eats breakfast like a European, with a fork and knife. But his heart is all Indian. […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil