Browsing All Posts filed under »Cinema: Hindi«

“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, […]

“Noor”… An uneasy mix of a “serious” film that’s problematic and a rom-com that’s fun

April 22, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Sunhil Sippy’s Noor is a strange film, and not necessarily in a bad way. For a while, it goes for a Hollywood-rom-com vibe that’s derivative (a fun visual language, non-stop bounce on the soundtrack) and yet reasonably diverting. It’s that whole Bridget Jones thing about being an overweight klutz, worried about one’s “wobbly […]

“Maatr”… An exploitation movie that’s single-minded, but has too few lurid kicks

April 22, 2017


Spoilers ahead… For once, just once, I’d like to see a rape-themed film where the rapist isn’t a minister’s son. I know I’m treading on dangerous territory here, but aren’t there chartered accountants or barbers out there siring progeny with scant respect for women? The reason for this screenwriting cliché is, of course, that a […]

“Anaarkali of Aarah”… A very effective “no-means-no” story, with superb performances

April 16, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Swara Bhaskar bites into the role of a lifetime in Avinash Das’s Anaarkali of Aarah, and she’s gloriously crass, a world removed from the hushed metro-chic of modern-day Bollywood. Her clothes span the gamut of Holi colours – her makeup too. She’s a folk singer/dancer, which is in itself something of a novelty, […]

“Begum Jaan”…

April 14, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Not watching ‘Begum Jaan’ for now, but here’s what I wrote about the original, ‘Rajkahini,’ after I caught it at the Chennai International Film Festival: A man behind me loved the dialogues in Srijit Mukherji’s intermittently powerful, eminently watchable period drama Rajkahini. He kept applauding. It’s the art-house equivalent of wolf whistles during […]

The Dhanush interview

April 13, 2017


My video interview with Dhanush for Film Companion. Copyright ©2017 Film Companion.

Coming soon…

April 12, 2017


The Mani Ratnam Interview – Part 3

April 11, 2017


My Mani Ratnam video interview for Film Companion. Part 1: Copyright ©2017 Film Companion.

Coming soon…

April 3, 2017


“Phillauri”… A schmaltzy, enjoyable ‘Love Aaj Kal’ retread whose only fault is overlength

March 29, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Anushka Sharma plays three roles in Phillauri. The first brought the film into existence – she’s the producer and star-clout wielder. The second is that of a vaporous ghost that haunts the weed-smoking Kanan (Suraj Sharma), due to reasons even she (it?) cannot fathom. (Existential “Why am I here?” questions aren’t something you’d […]

Music Masti Modernity: The Cinema of Nasir Husain

March 20, 2017


Music Masti Modernity: The Cinema of Nasir Husain – Akshay Manwani and Balaji Vittal. Moderated by Baradwaj Rangan. The Hindu Lit for Life 2017 was held on January 14, 15 & 16 at Sir Mutha Concert Hall, Chetpet, Chennai, India.

“Trapped”… A beautifully acted, directed (if one-note) survival drama

March 19, 2017


Spoilers ahead… In 1964, Sunil Dutt directed and acted in Yaadein, an experiment that had just Dutt on screen, except towards the end, where we see his family in silhouette. It was the story of a man who comes home and finds his wife and children missing, and spends the rest of the film alone, […]

“Badrinath Ki Dulhania”… A troubling rom-com where the popcorn parts work, the ‘progressive’ parts don’t

March 12, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Shashank Khaitan’s Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya troubled me like no film has in a while – and at least part of the reason was that I wasn’t expecting to be troubled. You watch a Raman Raghav 2.0, and you know a certain amount of mind-fucking is par for the course. But here, I was […]

“Commando 2: The Black Money Trail”… A dull action film that’s not even a decent B-movie

March 4, 2017


Spoilers ahead… M ission: Impossible meets demonetisation in Deven Bhojani’s tersely titled Commando 2: The Black Money Trail. The Hollywood blockbuster provides the plot: an international criminal with a surprising identity, a crack team assembled to bring this person down, high-tech sleuthing, lots of twists and double-crosses. The demonetisation angle provides the soul. What better […]

“Rangoon”… Fascinating to study, but a chore to sit through

March 2, 2017


Spoilers ahead… It isn’t often that you find the same line of dialogue – or at least, the same sentiment, sculpted with the same words – in two different films, two beautifully mounted triangular love stories, by two major filmmakers. Last year’s Mirzya, by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, conveyed the hurt lover’s sentiment thus: Chot kahin […]

War in peace

February 27, 2017


This was written for an Arts Illustrated issue whose theme was Conflict & Art. Their brief: “For the cinema story we had in mind, we thought it would be interesting to look at a retrospective of Mani Ratnam’s films that deal effectively with the theme of conflict – both the inner and outer…” An unmarried […]

“Irada”… An earnest but inept drama about the groundwater crisis in Punjab

February 19, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Punjab isn’t having a good time at the movies. Last year’s Udta Punjab transformed the state into a drug-addled dystopia. This week’s Irada slaps on it the label of “cancer belt of the country.” Arshad Warsi isn’t having a good time at the movies either. Last week’s Jolly LLB 2 was a reminder […]

“Jolly LLB 2.”… Merely okay as courtroom drama, but a vivid look at Hindu-Muslim dynamics

February 12, 2017


Spoilers ahead… What happens when you move from Arshad Warsi to Akshay Kumar? You get the scene where the lawyer nicknamed Jolly (he’s not the same character though; Warsi’s Jolly was Jagdish Tyagi, Akshay’s version is Jagdishwar Mishra) is on a boat on the Ganges. He jumps into the water. This decision isn’t about Jolly […]

The reinvention of a K-k-k-khan

February 4, 2017


Given Shah Rukh’s career crossroads, it’s going to be fascinating to watch where he goes from here. Is it just me, or has Shah Rukh Khan become the most interesting actor around? This isn’t about his performing skills. This isn’t about his box-office clout, healthy enough for a star, yet nowhere near that of the […]

About free speech, ‘Padmavati’, and that scene in ‘Kaabil’

January 31, 2017


Dear liberals, if you think what happened with Bhansali was wrong, then you have to see ‘Kaabil’ for what it is, not what you want it to be. It’s somewhat pointless to write something on free speech in a country where the right comes with an “if and only if” clause, but I’m going to […]