Readers Write In #11: The World Cup that wasn’t

March 23, 2017

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India Won! The entire country won! The 11 men on whom hopes of 1.2 Billion people rested made the nation proud. A billion dreams, as someone wrongly said it, was made into reality. People were happy, which is good. However, I have just one problem with it. It seems to me that pride and nationalism […]

Matchmaking

March 23, 2017

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A deep dive into moments from the 2016 Telugu rom-com ‘Pelli Choopulu’, which is as much about finding a life partner as finding oneself. Among the happier trends in movie-watching down south is the release of films with subtitles. Speaking as someone from Chennai, this is how it used to be. The majority of releases […]

“Alamara”… A comedy about the great Indian family is charming for a bit, then gets tediously dramatic

March 22, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… It’s tempting, sometimes, to zoom in on one scene as the nutshell of a movie, and that scene, for me, came at the beginning of Alamara (cupboard), directed by Midhun Manuel Thomas. Arun (Sunny Wayne) is going to get married to the 47th girl he’s been set up with. This alliance seems to […]

Posted in: Cinema: Malayalam

Music Masti Modernity: The Cinema of Nasir Husain

March 20, 2017

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Music Masti Modernity: The Cinema of Nasir Husain – Akshay Manwani and Balaji Vittal. Moderated by Baradwaj Rangan. The Hindu Lit for Life 2017 was held on January 14, 15 & 16 at Sir Mutha Concert Hall, Chetpet, Chennai, India.

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

The cartoonist strikes back!

March 20, 2017

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Ramki Bellur strikes again! “Dear BR, Trust you are having a wonderful time at FC. Made a cartoon related to your fan’s current mindset.”      

Posted in: Personal

“Trapped”… A beautifully acted, directed (if one-note) survival drama

March 19, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… In 1964, Sunil Dutt directed and acted in Yaadein, an experiment that had just Dutt on screen, except towards the end, where we see his family in silhouette. It was the story of a man who comes home and finds his wife and children missing, and spends the rest of the film alone, […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

“Kattappava Kaanom”… A crime caper that’s more interested in ogling at women

March 17, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Everything in this film has to do with fish. The plot. The name of the antagonist: Vanjaram (Tamil for seer fish). Or even the title: Kattappava Kaanom (Kattappa is Missing). The object of everyone’s interest is a fish named after the most fascinating character in Baahubali. Every other thing in this film has […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Bruce Lee”… A stab at stream-of-consciousness comedy that just isn’t funny

March 17, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… The title is an ironic one. It’s the name of the hero played by GV Prakash Kumar, and the irony is that the character is anything but heroic. Doesn’t sound half-bad, does it? But Bruce Lee is one of those things where they have this one concept and nothing else. That one concept […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

Wheatish complexion, average build

March 16, 2017

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A deep dive into moments from the 2016 Kannada drama ‘Godhi Banna Sadharna Mykattu’, which is about finding a father. And finding out about a father Shiva is one of those harried urban professionals who’s always on a call, but when his Alzheimer’s-afflicted father, Venkob Rao, goes missing, Shiva finds he has to let go […]

“Angamaly Diaries”… A familiar story of short-fused, small-town men is made thrillingly fresh

March 14, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… The Wikipedia entry under “Synopsis” for Angamaly Diaries is remarkably concise: “The story of local people and their life at Angamaly.” In a sense, that is really all there is to Lijo Jose Pellissery’s drama. It’s the story of the man who embraces a tree while preparing a bomb, so that even if it […]

Posted in: Cinema: Malayalam

A brief chat with AR Rahman…

March 14, 2017

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This was done when AR Rahman was in town to release the music of ‘Lake of Fire’. We didn’t get much time with him, but we did get to tour his school. My favourite part of this experience is also least “professional” aspect. We barely got any time to set up, and I used a lapel […]

“Badrinath Ki Dulhania”… A troubling rom-com where the popcorn parts work, the ‘progressive’ parts don’t

March 12, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Shashank Khaitan’s Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya troubled me like no film has in a while – and at least part of the reason was that I wasn’t expecting to be troubled. You watch a Raman Raghav 2.0, and you know a certain amount of mind-fucking is par for the course. But here, I was […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

Butterflies, Parathas and the Bhagwat Gita

March 12, 2017

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Regular reader and occasional commenter ‘doctorhari’ has written a book titled “Butterflies, Parathas and the Bhagwat Gita,” which he calls “a fictional work interspersed with the Gita’s wisdom. It traces the journey of two flawed, irreverent men pushed to come to terms with the Gita, and how that ended up transforming their lives.” The book is […]

Posted in: Books

Readers Write In #10: Composers languishing in obscurity

March 11, 2017

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Tamil Cinema has been blessed to have been graced by a dizzying array of music composers, right from the days of Papanasam Sivan till  may I say… Santosh Narayanan, but lost in the vortex of box-office success, many have fallen by the wayside, this article is about my personal favorites , who were not as […]

“Maanagaram”… A carefully designed thriller made with assurance and style

March 10, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… If you’ve taken rides with app-based cab services in the city, you’d have encountered drivers from far-flung towns and villages, trying to fake their way through the urban maze. Charlie plays one such person in the Tamil drama Maanagaram (Big City) – but so does Shri, in a way. He’s no cabbie. But […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Oru Mexican Aparatha”… No great shakes as a political film, but an effective (and stylish) reincarnation drama

March 10, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… The setting of Tom Emmatty’s Malayalam drama Oru Mexican Aparatha (A Mexican Enormity) suggests a searing, ripped-from-the-headlines political narrative. The story unspools in Kochi’s Maharaja College, and the strife between the two student factions is given real-life urgency by the names of these factions: SFY and KSQ, which stand in for SFI (Student’s Federation […]

Posted in: Cinema: Malayalam

A super star, a super movie

March 9, 2017

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The biggest film event in Tamil Nadu last week was the re-release of Rajinikanth’s Baashha. The film was certified by the censors on December 31, 1994. It was in theatres a couple of weeks later. Twenty-two years on, it’s still drawing crowds. Read the rest on Film Companion, here: Copyright ©2017 Film Companion.

“Aby”… This story of a man who wants to fly soars for a bit before taking a steep nosedive

March 8, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… There’s whimsy. And there’s WHIMSY. The former is the product of a writer’s fevered imagination, a director’s feather-light execution. The latter is the result of a music director who’s conducting his orchestra not so much with a baton as a machine gun. Keep playing, or else… Aby is a WHIMSICAL film. Quirky music […]

Posted in: Cinema: Malayalam

The A.R. Rahman fan club

March 5, 2017

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livemint spoke to me about 25 years of Rahman, and a small portion of that chat has been reproduced in their latest weekend issue. Link:

“Commando 2: The Black Money Trail”… A dull action film that’s not even a decent B-movie

March 4, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… M ission: Impossible meets demonetisation in Deven Bhojani’s tersely titled Commando 2: The Black Money Trail. The Hollywood blockbuster provides the plot: an international criminal with a surprising identity, a crack team assembled to bring this person down, high-tech sleuthing, lots of twists and double-crosses. The demonetisation angle provides the soul. What better […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi