It’s not just ‘Race 3’, even the films of Renoir, Bergman, Fellini, et al have been thoroughly trashed

June 18, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: The release of Race 3 has unleashed a series of savage reviews – and deservedly so. There’s always the criticism that filmmaking is such a complex effort, involving so much Hard Work, and it’s unfair to dismiss all this in a snarky summation. But when so many […]

Bitty Ruminations 88 – Caste and ‘Kaala’

June 18, 2018


It’s usual to see increased levels of discussion when it comes to big films. It’s also not surprising to see more people chiming in to say “yes, I agree with you” or “I disagree.” But the Kaala discussions have been unusually sobering. When I wrote the imaginary Q and A, some regular commenters here felt […]

“Race 3.”… The third time’s the harm, as a cheerfully brainless franchise turns into (gulp!) a family saga

June 16, 2018


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: The choreographer-turned-director Remo D’Souza may be the most truthful filmmaker in Bollywood. He knows he’s not out to make classics, which may be why the titles of his films appear almost confessional. First came F.A.L.T.U. Translation: Don’t say you weren’t warned! It’s the cinematic equivalent […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

“Goli Soda 2.”… A sequel that remains interesting and inventive until it turns into… a Hari movie

June 14, 2018


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: A sequel usually picks up where the earlier film left off, or catches up with the same set of characters a few years later. Vijay Milton’s Goli Soda 2 is different — similar enough to belong to the world of Goli Soda, but dissimilar enough […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

Baradwaj Rangan, let’s talk about bias!

June 14, 2018


Read the full article on Film Companion, here: Because it’s impossible to have a proper conversation on Twitter, I imagine a chat with critics of my ‘Kaala’ review and argue why form is important and why ‘Mani Ratnam’ isn’t a bad word. There may be spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen ‘Kaala’. So you’re […]

Readers Write In #42: Two Superstars, Two seminal Films, Two Iconic roles

June 13, 2018


Amitabh Bachchan’s Don and Mohanlal’s Chithram, 2 Iconic films of  the 2 most beloved superstars as well as the greatest actors of the country celebrate their 40th and 30th anniversary respectively this year. Here is a look back Amitabh Bachchan and Mohanlal made their debut in movies almost a decade apart. Bachchan in 1969 with […]

With the release of ‘Kaala’, here’s a quick tour of political cinema from around the world

June 11, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: The release of Pa Ranjith’s Kaala, starring Rajinikanth, has brought politics back into filmmaking. The film isn’t entirely successful, but its most incendiary passages made me wonder if there is another instance, anywhere in the world, of a famous star being used to convey the director’s ideology. […]

“Kaala”… The second Rajini-Ranjith outing is better than ‘Kabali’, but still an odd fit for both

June 7, 2018


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: Six years after Mullum Malarum (1978), director Mahendran and star Rajinikanth made Kai Kodukkum Kai, a sensitive drama now remembered mostly for the Ilayaraja beauty, Thazhampoove vaasam veesu. The film bombed. It’s difficult to say why exactly a film fails — it could be […]

“Bhavesh Joshi – Superhero”… A sombre not-quite-superhero tale whose flaws don’t make it any less fascinating

June 5, 2018


Spoilers ahead… One half of the title of Vikramaditya Motwane’s Bhavesh Joshi – Superhero is true: the protagonist, a masked crime-fighter, does call himself Bhavesh Joshi. The other part, however, is debatable — for this hero is anything but super. In his first mission, he engineers an explosion and while the clock is ticking, he […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

Saamy vs. Dhruva Natchatiram

June 5, 2018


Read the full article on Film Companion, here: Thoughts about the two new Vikram trailers and what they tell us about the films ahead. When the Saamy 2 (or Saamy Square) trailer landed on Sunday, it made me so mad that I did something I don’t usually do. I put out a trollish tweet. […]

On mood-over-plot films like ‘The Wonders’ and female filmmakers like Alice Rohrwacher

June 4, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: <a href=” Alice Rohrwacher won the Best Screenplay award at Cannes, this year, for Lazzaro Felice (Happy as Lazaro). Her earlier feature, Le Meraviglie (The Wonders), won the Grand Prix at Cannes, in 2014. But she seems fairly unknown outside the hard-core cinephile crowd – which is what […]

“Veere Di Wedding”… A plasticky but passable entertainer whose existence may not be the worst thing in the world

June 3, 2018


Spoilers ahead… Based on the trailer of Shashanka Ghosh’s Veere Di Wedding, I was afraid it was going to be two hours of women saying “fuck.” I’m happy to report that’s not the case. They also say “chooth,” “maa ki aankh” and “john.” The latter, in case you were wondering, refers not to one of […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

“Antony”… A thriller more interested in being stylised than making sense

June 1, 2018


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: Remember the Ryan Reynolds thriller Buried, where the actor found himself in a coffin, six feet under, and had to think about how he got boxed into this situation and how he can get out? Antony plays as though the writer-director Kuttii Kumar felt […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

Readers Write In #41: Wild Wild Country: Rajneeshism and the limits of freedom in democracy

June 1, 2018


Four years ago, I was on a fortnight long visit to the USA and happened to spend a couple of days in New York City.  I wish I could say I stayed in Manhattan; instead, myself and parents were put up in a hotel in Flushing.  Little did we know that Flushing was Chinese-majority and the full […]

Great actress, middling biopic

May 31, 2018


Read the full article on Film Companion, here: Thoughts about and around biopics and ‘Mahanati’, starring Keerthy Suresh and Dulquer Salmaan. As a Tamilian – or at least, as someone more familiar with Savitri’s work in Tamil cinema – Nag Ashwin’s Mahanati (Great Actress) felt incomplete. (There is a Tamil version titled Nadigaiyar Thilagam, but […]

Interview: Karthick Naren

May 30, 2018


Dhuruvangal Padhinaaru and Naragasooran director Karthick Naren talks about learning direction through five films: Prestige, Kannathil Muthamittal, Psycho, The Secret in Their Eyes and Memories of Murder. He speaks about how he creates mood — especially in the Naragasooran trailer. He discusses his writing process, and the themes/morals in his films. Also this question: At […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil, Interview

“Bioscopewala”… This update of ‘Kabuliwala’ is a love letter to Tagore as well as cinema

May 29, 2018


Spoilers ahead… Tagore’s short story, Kabuliwala, is a meditation on memory – its retention, and its loss. The titular seller of dry fruits and spices, in India, remembers his hometown in Afghanistan. He also remembers Mini, the girl he used to play with, but she’s all grown-up now, and she’s forgotten him. The nuts and […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

Is the ‘golden age’ of international art-house cinema over?

May 29, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: I was watching a video on Facebook, about the arduous restoration of the Apu trilogy, and Peter Becker, President, The Criterion Collection, had this to say: “Ray is one of the essential figures in the golden age of international art-house cinema.” Is that right? Are we past […]

“Raazi”… A conveniently scripted thriller that chugs along perfunctorily

May 27, 2018


Spoilers ahead… For those of us who wondered if Vishal Bhardwaj’s spectacular script (along with Sreekar Prasad’s needle-sharp cutting) was largely responsible for how terrific Talvar was, there’s some affirmation in Meghna Gulzar’s follow-up, Raazi. This isn’t a bad film by any means — and any India-Pakistan drama, especially one set in 1971, that steers […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

Readers Write In #41: A Commoner in Cannes

May 26, 2018


I have been going to film festivals here and there over the past few years. Devouring movies in jam-packed schedules – three a day on average, eight my highest – while cramming in dark halls with droves of people, scavenging on cheap fast food, sleeping on questionable beds, and almost always falling ill after is […]