“Sethum Aayiram Pon”… It’s easy to identify with this Netflix drama about an estranged relationship

April 4, 2020

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We identify with these films because we identify with these conflicts. The film doesn’t offer many surprises, but it works because there’s grace, there’s a quiet dignity. Spoilers ahead… If there’s something of a trend in indie Tamil cinema today, it’s the village-based human-interest story that revolves around death. First, Madhumitha came out with KD […]

‘Red Beard’, the last Kurosawa-Mifune collaboration, is a film for these times, because it’s about healing and hope

April 3, 2020

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When Kurosawa asked Márquez if he had seen ‘Red Beard’, the writer replied, “I have seen it six times in 20 years and I talked about it to my children almost every day until they were able to see it…” Could there be a better time to talk about Red Beard? It was the great […]

AR Rahman’s 99 Songs is easier to admire than love, but there’s a LOT to admire…

April 2, 2020

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This isn’t just a movie’s soundtrack album. It’s a ‘concept album’, like the whoppers that major rock bands used to make when music was more than just something you listened to while doing the dishes. Spoilers ahead… Just how many AR Rahmans are there? For starters, there’s the AR Rahman who’s been at the top […]

HIT, with Vishwak Sen and Ruhani Sharma, is on Amazon Prime: A rewind of this classy investigative thriller

April 1, 2020

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  In this whodunit, directed by Sailesh Kolanu, the sophistication in filmmaking is matched by a sophisticated worldview. But it needed a better closing stretch. Spoilers ahead… I want a pair of headphones that can replicate the sound from a theatre experience. I know a lot of home-theatre set-ups have speakers that surround you, but […]

Readers Write In #152: The maddening need for closure

March 30, 2020

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(by Adhithya K R) Sometimes we want to know what could happen. Sometimes we want to know what happens next. When a friend recommended Spoorloos to me, he narrated a scene from the movie to me. A man stands at the edge of a building and thinks whether he should jump or not. Any sane […]

Anjaam Pathiraa vs. Forensic: The latter, with Tovino Thomas and Mamta Mohandas, is the better serial-killer thriller

March 30, 2020

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If ‘Anjaam Pathiraa’ chose to follow a single timeline in the present and save its big reveal for a Shankar-style flashback, ‘Forensic’ juggles expertly between two tracks in the present… Spoilers ahead… Whenever two very similar films land up very close to one another, we do something very unfair. We tend to compare one with […]

Posted in: Cinema: Malayalam

Kannum Kannum Kollaiyadithaal, with Dulquer Salmaan and Ritu Varma, is on Netflix: A rewind of this amoral tale

March 29, 2020

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The film, directed by Desingh Periyasamy, is a pleasant diversion. I had a lot of issues with it, but here’s what I really liked. It’s wonderfully amoral. Spoilers ahead… Is Ritu Varma a Great Actress™? I’m leaving this question out here, as it’s essentially unanswerable right now, with her small body of work. But here’s […]

Readers Write In #151: The One With The Rosebud

March 28, 2020

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(by Amit Joki) Author’s note: This was the script I had written and submitted to the Amazon Prime Originals when they were still accepting scripts. Obviously, it did not get selected. So I thought of publishing it in BR’s blog but he rightly suggested that the screenplay format would be difficult to read and asked […]

Train of thought in Mani Ratnam’s Alaipayuthey

March 27, 2020

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The symbolism and metaphors in the movie, starring Madhavan and Shalini, render the film timeless and set its creator Mani Ratnam apart from the rest, writes FC Reader Hariharasudhen Nagarajan Trains are an integral part of a Tamil film romance, especially if it is directed by Mani Ratnam. But, what if Mani Ratnam used the trains in Alaipayuthey as a […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

Vittorio De Sica’s Italian classic Shoeshine shows rare instance when children slip into adulthood too soon

March 26, 2020

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Though there is a “story” and a “screenplay” that’s been worked out, these scaffoldings of “narrative cinema” are near-invisible. The protagonists don’t seem guided by a screenwriter so much as destiny. I’ve always wondered about the title of Vittorio De Sica’s Shoeshine (1946). Yes, it is about two boys who earn a living by shining […]

Video Essay: “Duality” in K Viswanath’s ‘Swathi Muthyam’

March 26, 2020

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This is a video-essay extension of the piece I wrote here: https://baradwajrangan.wordpress.com/2017/05/04/two-shots-two-songs/ For more, subscribe to FILM COMPANION SOUTH: http://bit.ly/2xoNult Copyright ©2020 Film Companion.

Readers Write In #150: The healing, therapeutic effect of Aye Sinamika

March 25, 2020

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(by Raghav Ravichandran) The world is in distress after the outbreak of the deadlyCOVID-19 or Coronavirus. Every time you turn on the TV or look at your mobile, we get to see news of new positive cases tested in India or elsewhere and the death toll as a result of this virus. It’s impossible to […]

Interview: Harish Kalyan

March 25, 2020

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Posted in: Cinema: Tamil, Interview

A tribute to Visu, known for his middle-class melodramas like Samsaram Adhu Minsaram

March 23, 2020

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The Visu Character™ was a fixture in The Visu Film™. He is to families what a skilled mechanic is to a car: however bad the damage, he fixes it. Spoilers ahead… A couple of years before the release of Super Deluxe, I did a profile-ish piece on Thiagarajan Kumararaja. One of the things he said […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

Critics in the time of Corona!

March 23, 2020

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Superstar Rajinikanth: Into the World with Bear Grylls attempts to show a human side of the on-screen superhero

March 23, 2020

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No dupes. No mattresses to cushion a fall. This is Rajinikanth himself, in the wilderness. (In other words: What does the tiger tell Rajini? You’ve earned your stripes!) Spoilers ahead… At the beginning of the Discovery Channel show, Into The Wild With Bear Grylls And Superstar Rajinikanth, the anchor says he’s going to take celebrities, […]

“Oh My Kadavule”… Ashok Selvan and Ritika Singh battle it out in a half-decent rom-com

March 21, 2020

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The first half is insufferable, but post interval, the film springs the sweetest of surprises. It doesn’t just get better, it becomes brilliant. Spoilers ahead… Oh My Kadavule is the kind of movie you want to see Ashok Selvan in. The actor is just 30 and he has the tousled-hair looks to carry off romantic […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

Kim Ki-duk’s animal (and human) torture in provocative films like ‘Moebius’ and ‘Pietà”

March 20, 2020

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Why does Medea kill her children? Why does the mother in ‘Moebius’ castrate her son? It is fascinating to ponder on these situations through the medium of cinema, which offers us the safety of distance… In the small pool of filmmakers known for being provocative, Kim Ki-duk is the oddest of ducks. I first encountered […]

Vijay’s ‘Master’ will fetch him Rs 80 crore, and he deserves it, so what’s the problem?

March 18, 2020

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What we have in Kollywood is the complete ascendance of the hero, at the cost of every other stakeholder, from the distributors to even the producer. Spoilers ahead… In 2013, a little before the release of Dhoom 3, I interviewed Aamir Khan for The Hindu. I said that this seemed to be a project that […]

Ah, for the time ‘Corona’ was just a beer!

March 18, 2020

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Some of us may feel like talking (venting?) about THE topic of the times, so here’s a thread. Are we simply being cautious? Or are we panicking? (Translation: Are you typing out your response AFTER hand-sanitising?) PS: Does anyone else feel like they are in a Hollywood sci-fi movie?

Posted in: Health, Society