Browsing All Posts filed under »Cinema: Hindi«

“Badla”… A tepid mystery that’s watchable, but with a huge casting problem

March 10, 2019


Spoilers ahead… In Sujoy Ghosh’s Badla, Amitabh Bachchan (solid as always) stars as one of those high-profile lawyers who has never lost a case. His latest assignment, in this official adaptation of the 2017 Spanish movie Contratiempo, involves Naina Sethi (Taapsee Pannu), a married woman who admits to adultery but says she’s innocent of murdering […]

“Sonchiriya”… A diligently made ‘daku’-drama whose parts work better than the whole

March 7, 2019


Spoilers ahead… Abhishek Chaubey’s Sonchiriya opens with the image of flies swarming around a rotting snake carcass (seen in an extreme close-up) – and in the far distance, out of focus, we see a group of dacoits walking towards it. The visual weightage seems appropriate when we learn that a dead snake is bad luck. […]

“Luka Chuppi”… A superb screwball premise results in a merely okayish comedy

March 7, 2019


Spoilers ahead… W hen I heard about the “live-in” premise of Luka Chuppi, directed by Laxman Utekar, I feared the worst. This is how I thought things would go: Guddu (Kartik Aaryan) and Rashmi (Kriti Sanon) would fall in love, move in together before marriage because, as the trailer puts it, “sab log karte hain”, […]

“Photograph”… A romance that’s a little too low-key, but with winsome little touches

February 14, 2019


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: Hindi film music plays a supporting character in Ritesh Batra’s Photograph, which is a tentative love story (if it can be called that). This music fills the air around Rafi (Nawazuddin Siddiqui; the character’s name, of course, is no accident). He’s a photographer. He […]

Gully Boy At Berlin: An Oral History

February 12, 2019


Read the full article on Film Companion, here: The premiere was near. Everyone was in a rush: producer Ritesh Sidhwani, director Zoya Akhtar, and stars Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt. Here’s an attempt to capture the stream-of-consciousness of the interview sessions. ZOYA: The films I’ve done so far, I know those worlds. When I […]

My Favourite Film Decade – Bollywood in the 1980s

February 12, 2019


Read the full article on Film Companion, here: One of the aspects of pop-culture that really, I mean really, gets to me is how unshakeable an opinion becomes. I call it the Curse of Perceived Wisdom. Here’s an example. Mahesh Bhatt once said, in some magazine, that the most erotic scene in Indian cinema […]

“Gully Boy”… A softer than expected, but hugely entertaining and beautifully made street-rapper story

February 10, 2019


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy acknowledges its inspirations right on top: “This film is a shout-out to the original gully boys, Naezy and DIVINE.” Naezy’s life was briefly chronicled in Disha Noyonika Rindani’s documentary Bombay 70, where the rapper explains that his given name, Naved, […]

FC@Berlin 2019, Dispatch 1 – Before Zoya Akhtar and Rima Das, these Indians were at the Berlinale (yup, Ram Gopal Varma’s in the list)

February 7, 2019


Read the full article on Film Companion, here: Mainstream ventures like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Paruthiveeran, Dil Se. Art-house classics by Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen. And Shah Rukh Khan seems really popular. In a review dated May 15, 1977, India Today characterised Shyam Benegal’s Manthan as “a valid contribution in sociological terms”. True […]

“Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga”… A pleasant (and yes, safe) romance with an inspired meta angle

February 4, 2019


Spoilers ahead… Shelly Chopra Dhar’s Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga opens with a big, fat Bollywood wedding — but like everything else in the film, it’s also about something else, something sadder, something deeper. Look past the bigness and the fatness and the colour-saturated Bollywood-ness, and you’ll see Balbir Chaudhary (Anil Kapoor) pausing […]

“Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi”… A great historical character is dully recreated in a by-the-numbers epic

February 1, 2019


Spoilers ahead… Why can’t we make better cinema about the great, cinema-ready personalities who fought the British in the nineteenth century? This isn’t just about Ketan Mehta’s Mangal Pandey, which careened uneasily between one man’s personal agenda and a country’s political consciousness. There’s also Sohrab Modi’s excruciatingly prosaic Jhansi Ki Rani (1953), with Mehtab playing […]

“Thackeray”… A celebratory epic that’s less about a leader’s psyche than his penchant for punch lines

January 25, 2019


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: When the incendiary trailer for Abhijit Panse’s Thackeray landed, the actor Siddharth tweeted: “Nawazuddin has repeated ‘Uthao lungi bajao pungi’ (lift the lungi and *’#$ him) in the film #Thackeray. Clearly hate speech against South Indians… In a film glorifying the person who said […]

Interview: The heroines of the ‘Queen’ remakes

January 20, 2019


#Tamannaah Bhatia, #KajalAggarwal & #ParulYadav who star in the South remakes of Kangana Ranaut’s #Queen, Paris Paris in Tamil, That is Mahalakshmi in Telugu & Butterfly in Kannada speak to Anupama Chopra about the process and challenges involved with simultaneously shooting four films in different languages, the cultural nuisances they had to factor in while […]

“Uri: The Surgical Strike”… Not so much a war movie as a ‘Hukumat’-style revenge drama, but it works

January 17, 2019


Spoilers ahead… Like the prelude to an orchestral score, the opening stretch of Aditya Dhar’s Uri: The Surgical Strike, lays out a leitmotif. It’s 2015. Soldiers of the Indian Army are travelling in a bus in the Northeast, when they hear an explosion. It appears to be a tyre, but it’s an ambush. Bullets and […]

“Simmba”… Ranveer Singh is ridiculously good in Rohit Shetty’s most focused film

January 14, 2019


Spoilers ahead… At the beginning of the Aankh maare music video in Rohit Shetty’s Simmba, Karan Johar pops up and declares, in mock horror, “Oh God, one more remix!”But of course, it isn’t just the song. The film is itself a remix — not just of the NTR Jr.-starring Temper, which it is based on, […]

“Zero”… This very literal flight of fancy is the year’s most audacious love story

December 23, 2018


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: In Aanand L Rai’s Zero, Shah Rukh Khan plays the vertically challenged Bauua Singh — though in one extraordinary scene, he seems to be playing himself. Earlier in the film, we have seen Bauua perform this trick. He begins counting down from ten — […]

“Kedarnath”… A generally watchable film whose scenery does more heavy-lifting than the screenplay

December 13, 2018


Spoilers ahead… I’m going to begin with the scene you expect in every story where an upper-class Hindu girl falls for a lower-class Muslim boy. The girl’s family finds out. They’re livid when they discover her in his house. Her father drags her away, but she isn’t kicking and screaming. She’s already been through a […]

Interview: Rajiv Menon

December 11, 2018


Rajiv Menon talks about being a dominant-caste filmmaker tackling a Dalit narrative in Sarvam Thaala Mayam, his relationship with the “musically modest” AR Rahman, and why the cinematography in Mani Ratnam’s “Bombay” is a milestone in his career. For more, subscribe to FILM COMPANION SOUTH: Copyright ©2018 Film Companion.

#AskBR – 2.0

December 5, 2018


In which I answer a few questions on an older film… or a new one. For more, subscribe to FILM COMPANION SOUTH: Copyright ©2018 Film Companion.

Interview: PC Sreeram

December 4, 2018


My conversation with PC Sreeram in the “Journeys” series. (Ravi Varman featured in the previous – and first – episode). For more, subscribe to FILM COMPANION SOUTH: Copyright ©2018 Film Companion.

Readers Write In #61: Metacriticism – The difficulty of reviewing a movie in the digital age

December 2, 2018


I watched the Rajnikanth starrer “2.0” yesterday and now I’m faced with a very difficult question. What do I say when a friend asks me: “How was the film?” No one’s going to look for a detailed analysis of the visual effects or the strength of the screenplay or whether there was a focal character […]