“Dum Laga Ke Haisha”… An enchanting rom-com with a surprisingly dysfunctional core

March 2, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Sharat Katariya likes to take familiar stories and set them in places you don’t expect. In his first feature, 10ml Love, he relocated A Midsummer Night’s Dream to modern-day Mumbai. In Dum Laga Ke Haisha, he transports the rom-com – a traditionally urbane genre – to Haridwar of the 1990s. The era is […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

A place far, far away from Tamil cinema

March 2, 2015

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Notes from an afternoon spent listening to the “Uttama Villain” album and talking to the composer Ghibran. A little after 12 last Saturday, I stepped into a recording studio in RA Puram. The television set in the reception area said that UAE were 36/3 in their World Cup match against India. There were a couple […]

Posted in: Music: Tamil Cinema

“Ab Tak Chhappan 2.”… A needless sequel that feels like a relic from another age

February 27, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… News is just out that they’re planning a sequel to Blade Runner, which was released in 1982. So as belated follow-ups go, Ab Tak Chhappan 2 isn’t all that belated. Still, the decision to add another chapter to Shimit Amin’s 2004 film (this one is directed by Aejaz Gulab) is a curious one. […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

“Kaaki Sattai”… Heavyweight film for lightweight hero

February 27, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Sivakarthikeyan’s star is on the rise, so you can’t just cut to him in the midst of a scene in your movie. But he doesn’t have that larger-than-life image – not yet, anyway – and he’s still known more as a comedian. How, then, to plan the hero-introduction shot? In Kaaki Sattai, the […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Badlapur”… A stunning thriller about PTSD

February 27, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… The tag line for Sriram Raghavan’s new film Badlapur is “Don’t Miss The Beginning,” and we wonder, first, what’s so missable about it. Everything’s so… ordinary. We’re on this side of a street in Pune. At the other end, there’s a bank. There are a few passers-by. There’s the noise of traffic and […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

“Qissa”… A chilling tale about what it’s like to be in a limbo

February 25, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… The Partition saga Qissa (in Punjabi) is ostensibly about a woman who’s brought up as a man, but the film isn’t about gender identity at all. At least, not in the way we talk about it in these LGBTQ times. The director Anup Singh is after something looser, vaguer. His entire film seems […]

Posted in: Cinema: Regional

“Shamitabh”… Mostly good, madly inventive, and then there’s that ending

February 25, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… R Balki was put on earth for two reasons. One, to provide exciting projects for Ilayaraja and ensure that the maestro doesn’t languish in the south. Two, to provide exciting projects for Amitabh Bachchan and ensure that the superstar doesn’t languish in the shadow of his super-image. About the latter, first. When it […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

Apples, oranges, and a lot of stale cheese

February 23, 2015

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If you want to know what was wrong with this year’s Oscar telecast, just Google up “2013 Tony Awards: Neil Patrick Harris Opening Number HD.” Now that is a show. There’s singing. There’s dancing. There’s acrobatics. He leaps through a hoop. And there’s magic – literal magic. Harris steps into a box on stage and […]

“Yennai Arindhaal”… A first-rate Ajith movie

February 22, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Before we begin to discuss Yennai Arindhaal as a Gautham Vasudev Menon film, we need to discuss it as an Ajith film – because he’s the elephant and you can’t get a proper look at the rest of the room without regarding him first. On the surface, this is very much a mass-hero […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“MSG The Messenger of God”… You’re going to need God-given strength for this one

February 21, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… As I was stepping out of a screening of MSG: The Messenger of God – as opposed to, you know, MSG: Do You Really Need It In Your Kitchen? – a man who was in the audience came up and asked how I’d liked the movie. I’d have told him the truth, but […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi
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