“Margarita With a Straw”… A light, lovely tale of sexual awakening and other things that make up life

April 25, 2015

6

Spoilers ahead… Laila (Kalki Koechlin), the protagonist of Shonali Bose’s Margarita With a Straw, is like any other person in their late teens/early twenties, give or take a skill or two. She’s on Facebook. She’s terrific at chess. She’s into music – she writes lyrics for a band called Tribe. She’s friends with these musicians […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

“Mr. X”… A sci-fi disaster

April 24, 2015

11

Spoilers ahead… Vikram Bhatt’s Mr. X is an irredeemably bad film, and proof of its irredeemable badness arrives very early. We are with Raghu (Emraan Hashmi) and Sia (Amyra Dastur) in their bedroom. They’ve just made love – at least we think they’ve made love. We don’t actually see anything. This coyness is a little […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

Caste and class in popular Tamil cinema

April 23, 2015

102

Observing and interpreting class or caste markers in the discussion of a film isn’t the same as celebrating them. I co-wrote a screenplay some years ago, and we named the hero Rahul. We hadn’t thought about Rahul’s caste.  The only thing he was, in our minds, was young – and Rahul sounded like a young […]

In verse

April 18, 2015

17

April, I hear, is National Poetry Month. Only in the United States, technically, but we can, we should appropriate it for the global village too. And so here I am, wondering how to celebrate NPM this morning While at my desk, waiting for my phone to charge And the laundry cycle to finish. Maybe I’ll […]

Posted in: Fiction, Personal

“O Kadhal Kanmani”… A lightweight but enjoyable romance

April 17, 2015

199

Spoilers ahead… After a long time, I caught myself smiling while watching a Mani Ratnam movie. The cuteness, the zingers, the youngness – it’s all back. Seen one way, O Kadhal Kanmani is something of a greatest-hits package. It’s as if the director is telling us: “So you didn’t like it when I went too […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Chennai Ungalai Anbudan Varaverkirathu”… A sprawling, unwieldy drama about strugglers

April 15, 2015

3

Spoilers ahead… Chennai Ungalai Anbudan Varaverkirathu is a variant on Angadi Theru. This, too, is about people from outside Chennai who come to the city with dreams of making it big, but find that life here is the stuff of nightmares. And yes, one of these dreamers – Chellapandi (Bobby Simha) – is a wannabe […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Broken Horses”… A wan remake of ‘Parinda’

April 15, 2015

1

Spoilers ahead… Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Broken Horses is about two brothers, Buddy (Chris Marquette) and Jakey (Anton Yelchin), and it opens with a note that this story is set 15 years ago. You could go back further – not just to Chopra’s Parinda, of which this is a loose remake, but to 1950s Hollywood, when […]

Posted in: Cinema: English

Towards a better critical culture in Tamil cinema

April 14, 2015

56

With the Internet’s help, we finally seem to have entered an era with more people being able to say what they really want to say. No wonder actors and filmmakers appear rattled. There used to be a fairy-tale time when only a handful of reviewers opined about a film with some kind of seriousness. These […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Dharam Sankat Mein”… A necessary film, though not a particularly good one

April 11, 2015

29

Spoilers ahead… The cleverest thing about Dharam Sankat Mein, directed by Fuwad Khan, is that title. The plot kicks off when Dharam Pal (Paresh Rawal), a sacred thread-wearing Brahmin in Ahmedabad, discovers he’s really a Muslim. So the obvious meaning of the title is that Dharam is in a sankat, crisis. But reduce his name […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

“Ek Paheli Leela”… A terrible reincarnation drama which may really be about Sunny Leone’s second avatar

April 10, 2015

21

Spoilers ahead… Let’s face it. Sunny Leone isn’t being hired for her face. It’s a pretty face, but it isn’t what’s getting her hired. Neither is she being hired for her acting, which, to put it kindly, makes Katrina Kaif look like Smita Patil. No. Sunny Leone is being hired for her unswerving obedience to […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,514 other followers