Browsing All Posts filed under »Cinema: Hindi«

“Bareilly Ki Barfi”… A glibly entertaining rom-com that ignores its pricklier side

August 23, 2017


Spoilers ahead… If you think a terrific Rajkummar Rao performance is its own reward, Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s Bareilly Ki Barfi is every bit the sweet treat the title promises. The actor plays Pritam Vidrohi, a mild-mannered salesman whose life is turned inside out by a childhood friend named Chirag Dubey (Ayushmann Khurrana, another actor whose […]

“Toilet – Ek Prem Katha”… An overlong, messagey, but satisfying social-issue melodrama

August 17, 2017


Spoilers ahead… When I heard of the premise of Toilet: Ek Prem Katha – the problems arising from the lack of toilet facilities – I thought it would be like Joker, the Tamil drama whose crux was similar. But Toilet isn’t as sophisticated. It’s something far simpler, something you don’t expect to see in these […]

“Jab Harry Met Sejal”… Girl searches for ring, audience searches for Imtiaz Ali

August 4, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Some fifteen minutes into Jab Harry Met Sejal, when I began to fidget in my seat, I wondered if my expectations were the problem. There’s first that title, suggesting two beloved romances, Jab We Met and When Harry Met Sally. But more importantly, the film unites Hindi cinema’s preeminent maker of love stories […]

“Gurgaon”… A sumptuous-looking but remote crime drama, more concept than cinema

August 4, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Early on in Shanker Raman’s Gurgaon (“inspired by true events”), Preet (Ragini Khanna) walks into the kitchen, greets her mother. She’s come home after studying architecture abroad, and her mother, after a quick embrace, hands her a plate of pakoras to deliver to her father, who is in the adjoining room, making merry […]

“Indu Sarkar”… A surprisingly decent Bhandarkar drama, rooted in the politics (and cinema) of the 1970s

July 30, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Here’s what a Madhur Bhandarkar “touch” looks like. It’s the Emergency era, and Indu (Kirti Kulhari) has brought home two children whose parents are missing. (Their slum was razed down to make way for a five-star hotel.) Indu’s husband Navin (an excellent Tota Roy Chowdhury), a mid-level government official who prioritises his needs […]

“Mubarakan”… A bearable comedy (but nothing more)

July 30, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Had Mubarakan just been about the characters played by its senior cast, we’d have had a family melodrama of a bachelor brother (Anil Kapoor’s Kartar Singh) torn between his warring siblings: Jeeto (Ratna Pathak) and Baljeet (Pavan Malhotra). But the film wants to be an Anees Bazmee comedy as well, the kind where […]

“Lipstick Under My Burkha”… Some nice moments in a film that makes it too easy to root for its women

July 27, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Of the four women in Lipstick Under My Burkha who irked the censors, Leela (Aahana Kumra, who’s fantastically alive) was probably the most irksome. At first, we see her with her boyfriend Arshad(Vikrant Massey), posing in front of a Taj Mahal backdrop – but she isn’t after eternal love. She’d rather have sex. […]

“Munna Michael”… An unfocused, unremarkable, but also un-terrible Tiger Shroff vehicle

July 24, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Munna Michael is the third collaboration between star Tiger Shroff and director Sabbir Khan, and their single-mindedness is admirable. They pick stories that will resonate with single-screen audiences. Their first film together, Heropanti, was a remake of the Telugu blockbuster Parugu. Baaghi, the follow-up, was loosely based on another Telugu blockbuster, Varsham. The […]

Bitty Ruminations 87 – Nepotism

July 20, 2017


Someone brought up the nepotism thing in the comments section, and I thought I’d add my two cents. Was the joke (by Saif, Karan and Varun) insensitive? Sure. Was it in bad taste? Probably. But these awards shows have a long tradition of jokes being made about the industry — that’s the shtick. And each […]

“Shab”… An underwhelming, unaffecting criss-cross of urban lives

July 16, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Onir’s new film, Shab, begins with a migration. A handsome-to-the-point-of-pretty young man, Mohan (Ashish Bisht) hops onto a Delhi-bound bus. He wants to become a model, and he’s got in his bag a pair of shiny briefs he’s going to strut about in before a panel of judges in a Gladrags-style contest. Sonal […]

“Jagga Jasoos”… A mad, magical, parts-greater-than-sum musical that’s a total treat

July 15, 2017


Spoilers ahead… The last time we got a musical – a musical in the genre sense of the word, and not simply a film with a few songs – was probably in Shirish Kunder’s Jaan-e-Mann, of which I wrote: “We sit there helpless, as if hypnotised, just as [a character] is in the Jaane ke […]

“Mom”… A predictable, problematic, well-made thriller, helped by its performances

July 8, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Every Mother’s Day, we see this sentiment: MOM upside down is WOW. Repeat this mantra for two-and-a-half-hours and you get Sridevi’s new movie. Or Maatr, which featured Raveena Tandon and several of this film’s plot points. The crux is the same: a daughter’s rape is the radioactive spider that transforms mom into crime-fighting […]

“Tubelight”… A lethargic drama where the director seems as “miscast” as the hero

June 25, 2017


Spoilers ahead… You heard it here first: In a forthcoming film, Salman Khan will play Sita. In Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, the character he played hailed from Ayodhya. In Bajrangi Bhaijaan, he played a Hanuman devotee. Now, in Kabir Khan’s Tubelight – an adaptation of the American drama Little Boy, transposed to Kumaon during the […]

“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 […]