The Mysskin interview

May 24, 2017


Part 1 of my video interview with Mysskin — on the sets of Thupparivalan — for Film Companion. Copyright ©2017 Film Companion.

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil, Interview

L’Age d'(Palme d’)Or

May 14, 2017


If you got that headline (translation: if you are a film snob), you may be interested in my dispatches from Cannes during the next couple of weeks.  Will put up links here as they appear on Film Companion. Au Revoir les Enfants. (See, I did it again!) Dispatch 1: Dispatch 2: Dispatch 3: […]

The Ramya Krishnan interview

May 14, 2017


My video interview with Ramya Krishnan for Film Companion. Copyright ©2017 Film Companion.

“Meri Pyaari Bindu”… An interesting premise that merely scratches the surface

May 14, 2017


Spoilers ahead… In Akshay Roy’s Meri Pyaari Bindu, Parineeti Chopra plays Bindu Shankaranarayanan, the least convincing Tamilian in the history of Hindi cinema. It isn’t that she cannot speak convincing Tamil. The story is set in Kolkata, so maybe she’s one of those kids who never got a chance to learn the language. But she’s […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

“Sarkar 3.”… A needless, not-all-bad sequel that’s more interesting as commentary on the director

May 13, 2017


Spoilers ahead… The narrative is that the filmmaker named Ram Gopal Varma has lost it, and on the basis of Sarkar 3, it’s a relief to report that this isn’t entirely true. Consider the fine mirror scenes that depict a couple of assassination attempts – on the mafia don Subhash Nagre, aka Sarkar (Amitabh Bachchan), […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

Readers Write In #17: The Split Director

May 13, 2017


M. Night Shyamalan’s first film was neither Wide Awake or The Sixth Sense. It was an indie drama known as Praying with Anger. Of course the film is not popular or even known that it existed unlike how the bad films by him are unpopularly remembered. Wikipedia describes the film as an exploration of a […]

The Amateur’s Art #19 – “Muyal” (Tamil, with English subs)

May 13, 2017


See here for what this series is about. This short has been written by Siddharth Subha Venkat, an assistant director who has worked in a couple of Tamil movies, and directed by R. Giridharan.

“Yeidhavan”… Too much talk, but this thriller isn’t entirely disposable either

May 11, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: In just the span of the first scene, Sakthi Rajasekaran’s Yeidhavan (The Arrow Shooter) gives us two -ism dialogues, the kind that sound like quotes from the Cuddalore equivalent of Camus. The first comes when the hero, Krishna (Kalaiyarasan, who needs more spark if […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Lens”… A thriller, plus a gripping meditation on the evil that men do

May 11, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: For a while, Jayaprakash Radhakrishnan’s Lens makes you think it’s one of those Se7en-like thrillers featuring a bald villain with a God complex. This one (Anandsami) keeps speaking of Satan, but he possesses godlike omnipotence – he sees everything, knows everything, controls everything. His […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Comrade in America”… An unfocused drama about a communist in love tries to tackle big issues

May 7, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: Amal Neerad’s previous film, Iyobinte Pusthakam, began with an Emergency-era communist, the narrator. And through this character, we slipped into a Raj-era flashback that showed glimpses of how a prosperous estate owner’s son (the Fahadh Faasil character) began to sow the seeds for a […]

Posted in: Cinema: Malayalam

The Amateur’s Art #18 – “Shavaram” (Tamil, with English subs)

May 6, 2017


See here for what this series is about. A 5 min conversation piece set in a barber shop, by Mukesh and Sethu.

Readers Write In #16: Just not Babies

May 6, 2017


This short screenplay (click on the link below) was written by Sanjay NM for an NYC screenwriting competition. He was given genre,topic and character and asked to write a screenplay in 7 days. Just not Babies    

Two shots, two songs

May 4, 2017


A flashback to moments from the 1986 Telugu drama ‘Swathi Muthyam’, the story of a man who’s also a child. Read the full article on Film Companion, here: K Viswanath, this year’s recipient of the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, made three films with Kamal Haasan. Sagara Sangamam is the best, Subha Sankalpam the weakest – and […]

“Naam Shabana”… A not-bad thriller, with an interesting female/Muslim angle

May 1, 2017


Spoilers ahead… It’s easy to see why a studio would green-light Casino Royale. It was, after all, the origins story of the world’s most famous secret agent. It’s harder to make a case for Shivam Nair’s Naam Shabana, a sort-of prequel to Neeraj Pandey’s Baby. Not only is this the backstory for a minor character, […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

“Poorna”… A quietly proficient take on a mind-boggling real-life story

April 30, 2017


Spoilers ahead… So get this. A top-ranking government official in Telangana – Praveen Kumar (Rahul Bose), formerly in the police, now in the education department – hears that some government schools in villages are going to be closed because there simply aren’t enough students. Praveen needs a plan to increase enrolment. You think he’d improve the […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

The Amateur’s Art #17 – “Incogni2o” (Tamil)

April 29, 2017


See here for what this series is about. This short is by Venkat Ramanan CS, his second, made for a college-level competition. It was made on a budget of Rs. 50, which was required for the ketchup bottle.

Readers Write In #15: The Forbidden Kiss

April 29, 2017


It was still dawn when I stepped out of the cab and walked towards the entry gate of the Delhi airport. The early morning February air was pleasantly cold. I was travelling to Bengaluru to attend a college friend’s wedding. It had been four years since we graduated from the same college. This wedding was […]

“Baahubali 2: The Conclusion”… Less intriguing than Part I, but still a rousing, astonishing achievement

April 28, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: The war is over. Mahishmati awaits the coronation of its new king, Amarendra Baahubali (Prabhas). But while peace may good for the country, it’s bad news for the screenwriter. For a while Baahubali: The Conclusion plods along a predictable path. It’s never boring. SS […]

The old man and the hill

April 27, 2017


A flashback to moments from the 2002 Kannada drama ‘Dweepa’, where the construction of a dam threatens an ancient way of life. Read the full article on Film Companion, here: Only the lower gates of the dam have been closed, and already the water levels have climbed to half the height of the hill […]

“Sonata”… Shabana Azmi has loads of fun in a stilted, yet thought-provoking drama

April 26, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Shabana Azmi has been our go-to “serious actress” for so long that it’s easy to forget she was once cavorting around in Manmohan Desai movies and cat-fighting with Aruna Irani in Fakira. Aparna Sen’s Sonata, based on the Mahesh Elkunchwar play, rediscovers Azmi in that mode – she’s a delight as Dolon Sen, […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi