“Komban”… So dull… that’s the real controversy

April 1, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Why do the men in these rural dramas bother with veshtis? This isn’t something we wondered about in the Bharathiraja movies, which narrated stories set in the deep south but were primarily about the characters, not the capital-H hero. Watching these films was like being taken on a thrilling anthropological tour, with the […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

Shakespeare (plus Bollywood) Wallah

March 28, 2015

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Reflections on Shashi Kapoor, recipient of the Dadasaheb Phalke award for 2014. I’m not getting into the whole “does he deserve it?” debate, but the news about the Phalke filled me with a vague kind of happiness. There’s always been something wholesome, something nice about Shashi Kapoor. You probably remember the Friends episode that was […]

“CSK – Charles Shafiq Karthiga”… A modestly mounted but well-written thriller

March 28, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… So many small films are dumped on us every Friday – without proper marketing or publicity – that it’s become difficult to sense which small movie is worth checking out. This week, first-time director Sathiya Moorthy Saravanan makes the decision fairly easy for us. His CSK – Charles Shafiq Karthiga is a beautifully […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Ivanuku Thannila Gandam”… Enough jokes to warrant a YouTube viewing at some point

March 27, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Titles come in cycles. There was, at one time, the “pa” series of names, and alongside, we had long titles that left us in little doubt about what we were in for – Thaai Magalukku Kattiya Thaali, or Manaalane Mangaiyin Baagyam, or Paanai Pidithaval Baagyasaali. About the latter, I don’t care for the […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Valiyavan”… An easy contender for the year’s worst screenplay

March 27, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Most mainstream movies are based on the philosophy followed by the makers of potato chips. When we pick up a packet, it seems so full, so ready to burst, but when we rip it open, we realize it’s mostly air – there’s just half a bag of chips in there. So too our […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

Tetchy thoughts on time

March 25, 2015

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Some months ago, at an airport, I got chatting with a Pakistani man who was a nurse in Finland. He was wearing one of those watches you see in the glossy mags. You know the kind of watch I’m talking about, the kind that looks like a rakhi designed by the monolith in 2001: A […]

“Kallappadam”… A meta movie with good ideas that needed better filmmaking

March 20, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… In Jigarthanda, we got a meta movie that was about moviemaking itself, and the meta-ness was underlined by the protagonist being named after the director. Kallappadam tries to go one-up – or maybe we should say four-up. The film features a quartet of protagonists, and they’re all named after the behind-the-scenes people. Actually, […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

Thoughts about the news out there

March 16, 2015

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I hate it when they build statues for great men like Gandhi. This isn’t about the man, really, or what matters about him, what he left behind, what we should imbibe from his life. This is about you, showing that you are awesome enough to have a statue built for Gandhi. This is about a […]

“NH10.”… An unsatisfying thriller with too much on its plate

March 14, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… When a smart, talented filmmaker takes on genre material, there’s often the tendency to inflate it, to make it mean something – and sometimes the material just buckles under this baggage. The visceral thrills, the purity, of the genre get blunted by the efforts to make things “classy.” Something like this happened when […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

Retracing a father’s footsteps

March 14, 2015

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Dissuaded by his father from joining the family shoe-trading business, Atul Sabharwal turned filmmaker. Now, in a documentary titled ‘In Their Shoes’, he looks at the shoe trade in Agra – how it began, and what it is today. After Aurangzeb, a big, fat mainstream movie for Yash Raj studios, what made you decide on […]

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