Browsing All Posts filed under »Cinema: Hindi«

“Behen Hogi Teri”… A small-town romance with a few laughs, and that’s not enough

June 16, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Ajay K Pannalal’s Behen Hogi Teri is a riff on that old joke about the school-assembly pledge: All Indians are my brothers and sisters. Say what? Then who is one supposed to marry? Here, it’s the ritual of tying a rakhi and reducing a possible beau to a brother. In an early scene, Gattu […]

“Raabta”… A dreadful love story that fails at just about every level

June 12, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Dinesh Vijan’s Raabta begins with Shiv (Sushant Singh Rajput), an Amritsar lad, leaving for London. His entire clan comes to see him off, all but breaking into the title song of Rang De Basanti. The tiniest shiver ran through my spine. At the airport, Shiv hears of a celestial object about to pass […]

“Hindi Medium”… A satire that’s an easy, fun watch, but also facile and problematic

June 8, 2017


Spoilers ahead… In Saket Chaudhary’s Hindi Medium, Irrfan Khan plays Raj Batra, a garment shop owner in Chandni Chowk, a location that’s Bollywood-speak for “the boonies.”  In an early scene, he chances upon an assistant on the verge of alienating a couple of fussy customers, a mother and her soon-to-be-married daughter. Raj steps in, takes over. […]

“A Death in the Gunj”… Sounds like a murder mystery, but really an exquisite character study

June 4, 2017


Spoilers ahead… The title of Konkona Sen Sharma’s first feature, A Death in the Gunj (based on a short story by Mukul Sharma), promises that a life will be lost, and the opening scene confirms this. Two men peer into the trunk of an Ambassador and wonder, “Maybe we should bend the knees and put […]

Payal Kapadia on Taking the Only Indian Film To Cannes

June 1, 2017


Read the full text on Film Companion, here: Payal Kapadia was shooting a documentary in a remote tribal village in the Western Ghats, totally cut off from civilisation, by which she means totally cut off from cell phone reception. “It was like that Kiarostami film,” she says, referring to the running joke in The […]

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 […]

“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), […]

“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, […]

“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 […]

“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 […]

“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