Browsing All Posts filed under »Cinema: Hindi«

Every Mani Ratnam film, ranked

September 20, 2018


Read the full article on Film Companion, here: To call Mani Ratnam a mainstream filmmaker is a bit redundant, because every (primarily) Tamil filmmaker is a mainstream filmmaker: Tamil cinema does not have an “art film” tradition, the way Malayalam or Bengali cinema has. But even within the mainstream, there are two ways to […]

“Manmarziyaan”… This lighter outing from Anurag Kashyap is still a ferocious, stream-of-consciousness narrative

September 18, 2018


Spoilers ahead… For the second time, after Dev.D, Anurag Kashyap tackles a love triangle — and Manmarziyaan, too, follows a Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay template, established in Swami (which became a 1977 film, with Shabana Azmi and Girish Karnad). A headstrong, liberated girl falls for a caddish youth, but gets married to a man with the […]

Interview: Aishwarya Rajesh

September 14, 2018


Aishwarya Rajesh talks about TV serials and her entry into cinema with films like Pa Ranjith’s Attakathi. She talks about casting couch, about North Indian heroines and the opportunities they get. Despite performance-oriented roles like the ones in Dharma Durai (with Vijay Sethupathi) or Kaaka Muttai, she emphasises the need for glamorous roles opposite big stars […]

FC @ Venice 11: New films from Zhang Yimou and ‘The Babadook’ director, plus ‘Soni’, a terrific Indian drama

September 8, 2018


Read the full article on Film Companion, here: Zhang Yimou’s Ying (Shadow; Chinese) plays like an all-action, zero-psychology take on Kurosawa’s Kagemusha (which shared the Palme d’Or with Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival). The latter film was about a shadow warrior, a lookalike used as a body double […]

“Gold”… A broad, rousing sports tale that’s a bad fit with the director’s refined sensibilities

August 26, 2018


Spoilers ahead… It’s surprising to find Reema Kagti in masala mode. Gold stars Manoj Akshay Kumar as Tapan Das, the manager of the Indian hockey team — but the film opens in 1936, at the Berlin Olympics, when it’s still the British Indian hockey team. The team wins, but when the national anthem is played, […]

“Mulk”… A smashingly effective return to Hindi cinema’s social-potboiler roots

August 24, 2018


Spoilers ahead… There’s probably no other actor who could have played Murad Ali Mohammed in Mulk, written and directed by Anubhav Sinha. It isn’t just Rishi Kapoor’s performance — a solid, empathetic turn. He was always a good actor, but when he was younger, his line readings would burst out of him, as though he […]

10 memorable moments from Mani Ratnam’s ‘Dil Se’, which turns 20 today

August 21, 2018


Read the full article on Film Companion, here: On 21st August, 1998, we got the third (and best) instalment of Mani Ratnam’s “terror trilogy.” Where ‘Roja’ and ‘Bombay’ were more narrative-driven, ‘Dil Se’ came after ‘Iruvar’, which marked the birth of a very different filmmaker. ‘Dil Se’ is more abstract, filled with mood and […]

Readers Write In #46: Blood, Sweat and Grime: Thoughts on 20 years of Satya

August 18, 2018


To really understand the significance of Satya for Bollywood, we have to revisit the Hindi movies of 90’s. They could be slotted into three broad categories ( I am simplifying, of course)  – Hollywood rip offs (e.g. Yarana, Agnisakshi), David Dhawan style (crass) comedies and the ubiquitous NRI friendly designer movies. What started as something sweet with […]

“Karwaan”… A bland, weightless road movie, but the cast keeps you watching

August 18, 2018


Spoilers ahead… Nothing seems to infuriate the middle-class Indian father — or alienate him from his son — than the latter’s decision to take up photography as a career. We saw this in Wake Up Sid. We saw this in 3 Idiots. We see this in Akarsh Khurana’s Karwaan. This is just the first of […]

The man who made (and named) Ilayaraja

August 16, 2018


Read the full article on Film Companion, here: Last Thursday was Panchu Arunachalam’s second death anniversary. Here’s a flashback to the time he introduced his most illustrious protégé. Panchu Arunachalam, who passed away on August 9, 2016, wore many hats. He is remembered as a lyricist – he began that phase of his career […]

The Slender Star Of Tamil Cinema

August 13, 2018


Outlook asked me to write about Dhanush for their Independence Day issue, about ’21 game changers in the 21st Century’. Read the full article here: No one could have predicted Dhanush’s success when he appeared in his first film, Thulluvadho Ilamai (2002), when he was in his late teens. When we first see him, he’s […]

“Vishwaroopam II”… A not-exactly-needed sequel, but a solid delivery mechanism for Kamal-isms

August 10, 2018


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: What a lovely decision to cast Waheeda Rahman, in Vishwaroopam 2, as the mother of Kamal Haasan’s character! You can just see it — one actor known for graceful dance begetting the other. They’re bonded over generations of cinema — but there’s more. If […]

Readers Write In #44: Hey Ram : A Look Back

August 5, 2018


On the eve of the release of Kamal Haasan’s latest (and probably his last) directorial venture Vishwaroopam 2 and his move to politics, here is a look back on his first directorial venture Hey Ram. Perhaps his greatest masterpiece, that has completed 18 years. This is no way a comprehensive piece, as it would take a […]

Interview: Pooja Kumar

August 4, 2018


Pooja Kumar, who is in Vishwaroopam II, talks about the experience of acting opposite writer-director and star Kamal Haasan, and how she learnt to look at her character as part of the whole movie. She talks about being from a Hindi-speaking family and learning Tamil, and auditioning for Kamal over Skype. She also speaks about […]

Interview: Kamal Haasan

July 31, 2018


Kamal Haasan talks about Vishwaroopam 2, and why the action genre doesn’t form a big part of his over 200 films, other than the odd Vikram, Kurudhipunal, Thoonga Vanam, Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu, Aalavandhan and now the Vishwaroopam films. He speaks about being a star and actor (vis a vis someone like Naseeruddin Shah). He speaks of […]

“Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster 3.”… Very rich people behave very badly in this underwhelming, but not unwatchable, sequel

July 29, 2018


Spoilers ahead… It’s not surprising that Bollywood hasn’t figured out what to do with Mahie Gill. Unlike an Alia Bhatt or a Deepika Padukone, she’s no child-woman and she doesn’t invite your sympathy. Her loopy, big-eyed grin says she’s capable of taking care of herself, thank you very much, which is why she has to […]

“Soorma”… An affecting biopic that, refreshingly, stays grounded and alert to its human beats

July 24, 2018


Spoilers ahead… With Soorma, the biopic of Sandeep ‘Flicker’ Singh, Shaad Ali rebounds from the godawful OK Jaanu — and we now see that at least a major part of the latter film’s failure must rest with the cast. Soorma, too, isn’t exactly new. It’s filled with sporting-drama clichés, but for the most part, Diljit […]

“Dhadak”… The biggest sin of this ‘Sairat’ remake is its blandness

July 21, 2018


Spoilers ahead… You can read my review of Nagraj Manjule’s Sairat here — so I’m not going to cover the basics, again. With Dhadak, directed by Shashank Khaitan, I did not expect anything close to Sairat — nothing in this director’s career has suggested he’s capable of channelling that kind of rage and passion and […]

With the ultra-success of ‘Sanju’, a look at biopics that were off the mainstream

July 4, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: With Sanju proving to be a monster crowd-pleaser, I thought I’d write about more eccentric biopics this week. Biography in cinema isn’t easy. A biographical book, like Irving Stone’s The Agony and the Ecstasy, chronicling the life of Michelangelo, lets us know how the protagonist really feels […]

“Sanju”… The complex life of a cipher of a man is reduced to a simplistic entertainer

July 2, 2018


Spoilers ahead… When Rajkumar Hirani announced Sanju, it sounded like a breakaway. He makes movies about outsiders. If Munna Bhai was an outsider to the establishment, one of the 3 idiots was an outsider to the rote-learning rat race, and then we got a film about the ultimate outsider: an alien. I wondered how Hirani […]