Browsing All Posts filed under »Cinema: Hindi«

Not a black-and-white issue

February 10, 2016

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The racism controversy around the Oscars cannot be addressed by just nominating a few black actors. When Mary Kom was released – actually, right from the point the film was announced – a lot was said and written about Priyanka Chopra playing a Manipuri boxer. “Why not cast someone from the North East?” was the […]

“Sanam Teri Kasam”… A long, dull, weepy love story

February 9, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… If you believe that the ones you love should, after they die, be buried under a tree so that they can welcome you with petal showers every time you pass by, then Sanam Teri Kasam is the movie for you. This isn’t a diss, exactly. It’s what it is. It’s like saying Psycho […]

“Ghayal Once Again”… Good, old-fashioned, masala mayhem

February 7, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Sometimes you wonder why a movie struck such a chord. Ghayal had nothing new by way of plot. Even within the Sunny Deol-verse, Dacait had the same rage-against-the-System narrative arc, and before that, Arjun. But something clicked with Ghayal. Maybe the action felt new. Maybe it was Sunny Deol discovering how to deliver […]

“Kyaa Kool Hain Hum 3 / Mastizaade”… Sophomoric smut

February 4, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… The Kya Kool Hain Hum movies pride themselves on their wit – all fifty per cent of it. (You can imagine the writing team in T-shirts that say “The penis mightier than the sword.”) So in the manner of the Hindi film hero who puts up with whiplashes because Nirupa Roy is tied […]

“Irudhi Suttru / Saala Khadoos”… A heart-warming boxing drama

January 29, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… There’s a sly joke in Irudhi Suttru about the Kollywood (and indeed, the Tamil) tendency to bestow titles and nicknames, put up cut-outs and banners, transform the most ordinary of events into a combination of Pongal, Deepavali and the Superstar’s birthday. The utterly ordinary event, here, is the return of Hissar-based boxing coach […]

“Airlift”… A fine mix of Western understatement and Indian heart

January 24, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… In August 1990, when Iraqi forces took over Kuwait, Ranjit Katyal (Akshay Kumar) discovered that he had to get out with his wife Amrita (a lipstick-happy Nimrat Kaur) and little daughter. But instead of buying three one-way tickets – a matter of loose change for this business tycoon; he’d just have to sell, […]

“Chalk n Duster”… Stuff N Nonsense

January 20, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… In the innocuously titled Chalk N Duster, director Jayant Gilatar sets out to add a new villain to the pantheon. Gabbar Singh. Mogambo. Dr. Dang. And now, Kamini (Divya Dutta). Don’t be fooled by the fact that she’s the headmistress of a high school. In her quest to make the school “No. 1,” […]

“Chauranga”… A gently hypnotic drama about fiery issues

January 11, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Why watch Chauranga when a lot of what it’s about – pig-herding, love across caste lines, the constant tensions between Dalits and the people who won’t treat them as equals, the young boy who decides enough is enough – was already seen in Nagraj Manjule’s Marathi drama Fandry? One reason could be the mood […]

“Wazir”… A decent relationship drama, a silly thriller

January 9, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Bejoy Nambiar likes slo-mo songs. His most sensational use of the technique came in the Khoya khoya chand sequence in Shaitaan. Guns were blazing. People were fleeing. The sequence had all the makings of a white-knuckle thriller, but the slo-mo made it something else. The most important aspect of a chase, time, was […]

“Bajirao Mastani”… Director and star put up a bloody grand show

December 21, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Ranveer Singh plays the first half of the title in Bajirao Mastani, but he’s really playing the Sanjay Leela Bhansali leading man. This isn’t a revelatory performance, exactly. After all, Ranveer did play the Sanjay Leela Bhansali leading man in Goliyon Ki Rasleela: Ram-Leela, and here too, his character, that of the great […]

“Dilwale”… A super-lazy film somewhat redeemed by star wattage

December 21, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… There’s a thin line between silly and senseless. The gags in Chennai Express, Rohit Shetty’s previous film with Shah Rukh Khan, fell on the silly side. But take this stretch from their new outing, Dilwale. Veer (Varun Dhawan) is in his BMW (the Shah Rukh Khan of cars; in Shetty’s films, cars are […]

Trials and starry tribulations

December 14, 2015

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So what is the long-drawn Salman Khan trial all about? Baradwaj Rangan wonders. The Salman Khan trial isn’t just about an actor who may or may not have done the things he’s been accused of, the things he’s now been acquitted of. (Whoever was driving that car has, by now, become as mysterious an entity […]

“Angry Indian Goddesses”… An enjoyable, if over-ambitious, tale about sisters in arms

December 12, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Angry Indian Goddesses. Not since Dulhan Wahi Jo Piya Man Bhaye has a film’s title so briskly summed up its appeal, its audience. Chew on those three words. The first one is an emotion that makes the subject sound important enough to be debated, written about in op-ed columns. You don’t have to […]

At the movies

December 12, 2015

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Rain or shine, the connection between Chennai residents and cinema is an unbreakable one. Imagine there’s a death in the family. Some people weep and wail. Some people realise that there are practical things that need to get done. They get busy making calls, getting a photo ready in order to put out an obituary […]

“Tamasha”… For Imtiaz Ali fans, another rich, messy, imperfect love story

November 29, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… About fifteen minutes into Tamasha, the new film from Imtiaz Ali, I’d got my money’s worth. We’re in Corsica, France – the first of many places we run into Ved (Ranbir Kapoor). Others include a future trip to Tokyo, Japan, and a back-in-time excursion to Simla, Flashback – yes, written that way, as […]

The side-effects of speaking one’s mind

November 26, 2015

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Why should everyone, including Aamir Khan, say the most perfectly worded, politically correct, lawyer-vetted things in public, even if they may think otherwise privately? Before Aamir Khan, there was Kamal Haasan. Frustrated by forces that were preventing the release of his mega-budget production Vishwarooopam in Tamil Nadu, the actor said he was contemplating leaving the […]

How I wonder what you are…

November 21, 2015

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Thoughts on stars, those people who keep making us go to the theatres even if, sometimes, we wish better sense had prevailed. Why is Vedalam, Ajith’s Deepavali release, doing such boffo business at the Tamil Nadu box office? A lot of people have asked me this question, including a Delhi-based journalist who’s doing a story […]

“X: Past Is Present”… High concept, low returns

November 21, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Some films are so abstracted that they exist fully only in their makers’ heads, and if we are to engage with them at all, it isn’t to know what happens next but to dive in for the experience – something like accepting a dare to stare at a lava lamp unblinkingly for a […]

Emotion capture

November 14, 2015

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A quick trip through the nine moods – nava rasas – of the Indian film song. Which song would you pick as a depiction of Śṛungāram (Love)? There are hundreds. Abhi na jaao chhod kar, for instance. He’s saying don’t leave me yet, the heart hasn’t had its fill of you. She protests. It’s late. […]

“Prem Ratan Dhan Payo”… Salman scores in unexceptional Barjatya formula

November 12, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… What could explain my affection for Sooraj Barjatya’s work? My sweet tooth, definitely. But also his rootedness in an ethos that we think of – maybe “imagine” is a better word – as “Indian.” We may not be that “Indian” anymore, and we may squirm, sometimes, at his insistence on serving us orange […]

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