“Papanasam”… A faithful remake, a solid thriller

July 3, 2015



Spoilers ahead… Let me begin by saying how intensely jealous I am of those of you who haven’t seen Drishyam, the Malayalam movie that inspired Papanasam. Most times, it doesn’t matter whether we’ve seen the original film or read the book the screenplay is based on – because, as the cliché goes, there are only […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Miss Tanakpur Haazir Ho”… An uneasy mix of laughs and issues

July 1, 2015



Spoilers ahead… Hindi cinema hasn’t been very kind to lovers of scatological humour. Once in a while, we catch a whiff of flatulence – sometimes in a line of dialogue, sometimes in a throwaway scene like the one where Salman Khan broke wind in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. By these constipated standards, recent years […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

Bullet-point Report: “Yagavarayinum Naa Kaakka”

June 29, 2015



I’m getting increasingly fascinated by our heroines these days. Take the Royal Enfield-riding Kayal (Nikki Galrani) in Yaagavarayinum Naa Kaakka. She knows the hero (Saga, played by Aadhi) is interested in her. She spots him waiting for her outside her college. She approaches him from behind and taps his shoulder. He turns, surprised to see […]

“Indru Netru Naalai”… A time-travel thriller with more comedy than thrills

June 27, 2015



Spoilers ahead… Like Appuchi Gramam, Indru Netru Naalai is “local” sci-fi – and this localisation is the best part. The story is about a time machine from the future that falls in the hands of two men in the present who have to go back in the past so they can remain who are… in […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Moone Moonu Varthai”… An easy-watch comedy

June 27, 2015



Spoilers ahead… In most films, we can sense the director’s terror that the audience is going to tune out and start looking at their smartphones – hence the frantic cuts, the soundtrack whoosh accompanying the change of camera angles, the insistence that every scene carry a punch. Madhumita’s Moone Moonu Varthai exists at the other […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

Bullet-point Report: “Premam”

June 25, 2015


Premam Stills-Nivin Pauly-Anupama Parameswaran-Malayalam Movie 2015-Onlookers Media

I’m sorry, I know a lot of you hate this format, but I like it. I think it’s great for putting forth… impressions on films you don’t always want to write detailed reviews about. Anyway, I’m bringing it back. I’m also bringing back comments about Premam from earlier threads, so it’s all nicely consolidated here. […]

Day two

June 21, 2015



The second day of laryngitis is the worst. The first day, you’re just coughing, and the doctor feels your throat and nods, as if you’re supposed to be well-versed in the language of doctorly nods. Pursed lips means: It’s bad. Raised eyebrows mean: Well, I never. That sort of thing. I am not a nod […]

Posted in: Fiction, Personal

“ABCD 2.”… Ho, hum, whatevs

June 20, 2015



Spoilers ahead… How you respond to ABCD 2 will probably depend on how much you follow dance-reality shows on television, how much you like hip hop moves, and, most important, if you’re still at an age where you squeal when people you like show up on screen. At the theatre, I found myself vaguely… not […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

“Eli”… Seriously unfunny

June 19, 2015



Spoilers ahead… All we ask of a comedy is that it keep us entertained. At least, this is what I ask. Not plot. Not acting. And certainly not whether it “makes sense.” I was doing some idle YouTube-ing a while ago, and came across this scene with Kallapetti Singaram and two others. They’re villagers, and […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Hamari Adhuri Kahani”… A melodramatic throwback that just doesn’t work

June 18, 2015



Spoilers ahead… For a while now, pathetic fallacy hasn’t been a popular technique. In Hamari Adhuri Kahani, Mohit Suri brings it back with a vengeance. The heroine is named after the earth (Vasudha, played by Vidya Balan) and she’s a florist. But these flowers don’t always bring happiness. Vasudha speaks of her profession as a […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

The mane event

June 14, 2015



Tired of the focus on unwearable gowns at Cannes and IIFA and elsewhere, we decide it’s time someone talks about men’s fashion. But don’t worry. I’m not here to tell you what to wear. I’m here to talk about my bald spot, which I’ll refer to henceforth as Bora Bora. It seems an apt-enough name, given […]

Posted in: Humour, Personal, Society

Twists and turns

June 13, 2015



Baradwaj Rangan drops in at the Rubik’s Cube Indian National Championships and discovers a quirky, super-smart subculture. Naren Ramesh isn’t the kind of person you’d expect to encounter at the Indian Nationals 2015, the competition otherwise known as 2015 Rubik’s Cube Indian National Championships. For one, he’s 10, a small, scrawny kid with a red […]

Posted in: General, Society, Sports

“Inimey Ippadithan”… A not-bad, Bhagyaraj-style comedy

June 13, 2015



Spoilers ahead… Note the title, Inimey Ippadithan. This is Santhanam announcing that, henceforth, this is what he’s going to do. He’s going to be the hero. He’s going to wear yellow sneakers and cavort with a non-Tamil-speaking heroine on foreign beaches. He’s going to do stalk-the-girl-till-she-says-yes scenes (otherwise known as “romantic track” in Tamil cinema). […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Romeo Juliet”… A preposterous mix of ‘comedy’ and melodrama

June 12, 2015



Spoilers ahead… Romeo Juliet, directed by Lakshman, is first and foremost a public service announcement from Kollywood: Look, boss, I know you saw ‘Kaaka Muttai’ last week, and it was funny and well-made and thought-provoking and everything you want cinema to be, but don’t go expecting that kind of movie every week. We are like […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Dil Dhadakne Do”… It’s like watching paint dry… only, inside a palace

June 6, 2015



Spoilers ahead… Luck By Chance, Zoya Akhtar’s first and best film, is also one of the most dispiriting movies ever made. You know those books you find in the self-help section? This was the exact opposite. Consider its… lessons, if you will. Everything’s a fluke. All the hard work in the world may not get […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

“Kaaka Muttai”… An outstanding debut

June 5, 2015



Spoilers ahead… The National Award for Kaaka Muttai doesn’t make any sense. Best Children’s Film. What does that even mean? Best film that has good parts for children or good performances by children? Or best film for children? Either way, the award is an insult. Kaaka Muttai isn’t just for children — actually, some of […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Masss”… Sloppy, with a not-bad second half

May 29, 2015



Spoilers ahead… Massu Engira Masilamani comes with the tagline ‘A Venkat Prabhu Sixer.’ If this is a reference to Massu being the director’s sixth film, then fine. But if it’s a clearing-the-boundary cry, then sorry, there are a hundred fielders out there, palms cupped, looking at the sky. The only sixer in Venkat Prabhu’s career […]

Posted in: Uncategorized

Other careers

May 27, 2015



I could have been a painter. I wouldn’t have been a very good one, but I’d have managed. I’d have drawn three lines in blue, splashed on a few red dots and said it has meanings you have to cock your head and interpret. I couldn’t have been a chef, though. Don’t have the patience. […]

“Tanu Weds Manu Returns”… A romance that struggles to measure up to its heroine’s performance

May 23, 2015



Spoilers ahead… What an odd title: Tanu Weds Manu Returns. Considering the audience just needs to be told that this is a sequel, was Tanu and Manu Again unavailable? Tanu Weds Manu Returns sounds like Tanu weds and Manu returns. The blue-penciller in me kept wanting to insert a comma midway. Though, really, it’s Tanu […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

You’ll run out of adjectives raving about this one

May 23, 2015



Spoilers ahead… You may have seen a lot of David Lean comparisons in the reviews for George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s not difficult to join the dots. The scope is epic. It all happens in a desert. Tremendous emphasis on visuals, with extraordinary use of screen space as well as 3D technology. Had […]

Posted in: Cinema: English

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