“Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru”… This intense, well-researched cop thriller is a parts-greater-than-whole experience

November 17, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/theeran-adhigaaram-ondru-movie-review The thing to note about DSP Theeran (Karthi), the protagonist of H Vinoth’s Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru (Theeran – Chapter One), is that he’s a realistic cop — at least to the extent that a big-budget Tamil film, with a big hero, will allow for realism. […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

Interview: Milind Rau, the director of Aval / Gruham / The House Next Door

November 17, 2017


The latest episode in our series called ‘One Film, One Facet,” where we speak to ONE person responsible for ONE facet of ONE  film. This time, the film is Aval / Gruham / The House Next Door, and the facet is direction. Milind Rau, the director of Aval, Gruham, The House Next Door, talks about […]

Star struck

November 16, 2017


Read the full article on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/amp/southern-lights-star-struck Should star ratings (terrible as they are) be absolute or relative? Let’s discuss. After I finished writing the review of Villain, a little more than a week ago, I felt a twinge of conscience. It was time for me to give the star rating, the most […]

The World of Apu

November 11, 2017


Anu Srini and Ram Chander met through this site, and… no, that is not where this story is going. They’ve started an online film magazine for lovers of cinema. In their words, “We hope to create an inclusive and diverse space for cinema across borders and languages. It’ll have articles, short stories, poems and all […]

Posted in: Cinema


November 11, 2017


Something nice that came via twitter — especially so because of the reference to the commenters here. You guys rock!

Posted in: Cinema, Personal

“Nenjil Thunivirunthal”… An interesting plot ruined by careless writing, indifferent filmmaking

November 11, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/nenjil-thunivirunthal-movie-review Doctors are having it bad in Tamil cinema. Barely has Mersal branded their profession as mercenary, and we get Suseenthiran’s Nenjil Thunivirundhal (If You Dare), which opens with the hero’s (Kumar, played by Sundeep) father ending up dead on the operating table of an […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Aramm”… A textured portrait of village life turns into a shrill, message-heavy (and yet, important) drama

November 10, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/aramm-movie-review The line of female District Collectors in Tamil cinema isn’t a long one, and these women are usually seen in relation to their men. Janaki (Sowcar Janaki), in Iru Kodugal, became a Collector because she was rejected by her mother-in-law (and thus, lost her […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

Inside / Outside

November 9, 2017


Read the full article on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/southern-lights-inside-outside It’s fascinating how an outsider watches a different film than one familiar with a culture. One phrase was used a lot in the reviews for the Tamil horror film, Aval, released last week. (Its Telugu version, Gruham, is expected soon.) While acknowledging its world-class technique (sound […]

“Villain”… Yet another thriller that mistakes surface coolth for depth

November 9, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/villain-movie-review In B Unnikrishnan’s Villain, Mohanlal — playing Additional Director General of Police, Mathew Manjooran — sports a salt-and-pepper beard, and looks positively professorial. He quotes Lady Macbeth (“all the perfumes of Arabia…”) when reflecting on how unnatural an act murder is, and adds, “I […]

Posted in: Cinema: Malayalam

“Vizhithiru”… An underwhelming “hyperlinked” narrative marred by the writing

November 7, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/vizhithiru-movie-review Vicky (Rahul Bhaskaran) is the kind of guy we see only in the movies. He’s rich, which means he gets to be part of the harebrained scenarios Tamil filmmakers keep dreaming up for rich people. At a beach resort in Pondicherry, Vicky walks up […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

Interview: John Edathattil, the screenwriter of Guna

November 6, 2017


We’re starting a series called ‘One Film, One Facet,” where we speak to ONE person responsible for ONE facet of ONE  film. We begin with Guna, and the facet is screenwriting. John Edathattil (credited, sometimes, as Sab John) is the screenwriter of Guna (1991). In this video, he talks about writing a script based on […]

“Ittefaq”… So much flavour, that the (underwhelming) mystery is almost beside the point

November 4, 2017


Spoilers ahead… When I heard that Yash Chopra’s Ittefaq was being remade, I wondered if they’d go after the only portion of the film that still stands — where the agitated man who’s invaded the house calms down, and begins to have a “relationship” with the lonely housewife. She pours them drinks. She makes their […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

Readers Write In #27: A conversation on art, criticism and society

November 4, 2017


​’No a reviewer and a critic are not one and the same’ ‘Both of them do the work of guiding a consumer to choose the better product. They help us to differentiate between a good and a bad film. Don’t they?’ ‘No. You are defining a reviewer. He is probably cinema’s equivalent of a portfolio […]

The Amateur’s Art #28 – Known Number (Tamil, with English subs)

November 4, 2017


See here for what this series is about. Note from the filmmaker: Hi, We have made our first short-film, Known Number, directed by my friend Ram starring myself and our friends. The cinematography is done by Rakesh. It’s a first attempt for everyone involved in this project. Both, myself and the director are ardent followers […]

“Aval / Gruham / The House Next Door”… A focused, polished horror film that tells a (mostly) involving story between the scares

November 3, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/aval-movie-review In every haunted-house horror movie, I ask the question: “So why doesn’t the family leave?” Milind Rau’s Aval (She/Her) not only addresses this cliché, it does so with flair. The family in question is headed by Paul (Atul Kulkarni), and the question comes from […]

“Kalathur Gramam”… A solid story of friendship and revenge diluted by a needlessly complex screenplay

November 2, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/kalathur-gramam-movie-review You can’t ask for a more dramatic beginning than the stretch that opens Kalathur Gramam (Kalathur Village), written and directed by Saran K Advaithan. It a dusty, barren back-of-beyond, all hills and heat — the cinematographer, Pushparaj Santhosh, composes his frames around an unforgiving […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

Reviewing (and re-viewing) Rahman

November 2, 2017


Read the full article on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/southern-lights-reviewing-and-re-viewing-rahman Thoughts on the ‘2.0’ soundtrack and its composer, who keeps going on and on and on. What makes AR Rahman tick? That’s the question I had while listening to the composer’s soundtrack for Shankar’s 2.0. This isn’t about how he manages to keep making music, 25 […]

Readers Write In #26: 50 Films That Changed Bollywood, 1995-2015

November 1, 2017


The following is an excerpt from journalist/critic Shubhra Gupta’s book, 50 Films That Changed Bollywood, 1995-2015.  From the back cover: Hindi cinema was trapped in formulaic clichés for decades: lost-and-found themes, sacrificing mothers, brothers on opposite sides of the law, villains lording over their dens, colourful molls, six songs, the use of rape as a […]

Interview: Praveen Sattaru

November 1, 2017


“Arjun Reddy Is The Film Of The Decade” “Mersal Was One Of The Reasons Why My Film Faced Censor Issues” “I Don’t Want To Be Part Of The Film Industry” Praveen Sattaru, director of PSV Garuda Vega, talks about why he chose to work with Rajasekhar much to everyone’s surprise, on his reluctance to narrate […]

Posted in: Cinema: Telugu

Interview: Siddharth

October 31, 2017


A chat with Siddharth, not so much about his trilingual (Aval, Gruham, The House Next Door) — but about himself. He spoke superbly (in terms of content + articulation) about the things I asked. He talks about his ‘pure’ horror trilingual Aval / Gruham / The House Next Door (directed by Milind Rau), and how […]