Browsing All Posts filed under »Cinema: Hindi«

“OK Jaanu”… A wan remake that just doesn’t take off

January 13, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… A few thoughts before heading to a screening of Shaad Ali’s OK Jaanu – mainly about Hindi remakes of Mani Ratnam’s films and what they miss. The first thing is the sense of place. There is an air of alienation when a Tamilian moves to a “north Indian” city – when Mouna Raagam’s […]

The revisionary

January 7, 2017

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Post ‘Lagaan’, Aamir Khan has reinvented the big, fat, pre-multiplex era Indian movie for the modern day. In the Koffee with Karan episode featuring Aamir Khan last December, aired before the release of Dangal, Karan Johar asked his guest about the ghost-directing accusations that have often been flung at him. As some conspiracy theorists claim, […]

“Dangal”… Terrific performances elevate a drama that’s more solid than spectacular

December 22, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Nitesh Tiwari’s based-on-real-events drama, Dangal, is exactly what the trailer promised. It was a simple trailer. This is a simple film. Often, a simplistic film. One wrestling match, in a flashback, is all we’re given as evidence of Mahavir Singh Phogat’s (Aamir Khan) burning passion for the sport. He hopes for a male […]

Treats from the desert counter

December 16, 2016

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Same, yet different. That became the inadvertent theme of a few films at the 13th Dubai International Film Festival. The films you watch at a festival are the result of a calculated exercise. I picked Certain Women because of the cast (Kristen Stewart, Laura Dern, Michelle Williams, Lily Gladstone). I picked Frantz because it was […]

The lost word

December 14, 2016

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Thoughts on lyrics. The words in them. How they’ve changed. And how we’ve changed. As part of the Poetry with Prakriti festival, I was recently in conversation with Akshay Manwani, the author of Sahir Ludhianvi: The People’s Poet – and the evening ended up being about more than just the subject of the book. Among […]

“Befikre”… An underwhelming rom-com with some interesting ideas

December 9, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Aditya Chopra’s new film, Befikre, begins beautifully. The opening credits appear over images of lip-locked couples in Paris. The lines of the song that plays in the background, Labon ka karobaar, suggest that these couples are literally starry-eyed romantics: Jebon mein bikhre hain taarein, khaali hua aasmaan. (The sky is empty because the stars […]

Guest Post: How Manikandan has revived an ancient art

December 4, 2016

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Continuing the series of posts written by others (see here), here’s one by Shyam Rahul, on the link between the religious epics and message movies. Reading Baradwaj Rangan’s take on Aandavan Kattalai, I was struck by this line …. “Entertainment that is about something, that says something – it’s the elusive grail Tamil filmmakers keep chasing. […]

“Kahaani 2.”… Despite a few slips, a first-rate piece of genre cinema

December 4, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Who is Durga Rani Singh? The name forms the subtitle of Sujoy Ghosh’s Kahaani 2, and it belongs to the character played by Vidya Balan – but who is she? Is she a construct from the last scenes of the earlier film, where the Balan character literally turned into an avenging Durga? Is she […]

“Moh Maya Money”… A pretty decent slice of ‘domestic noir’

November 29, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… In Munish Bhardwaj’s Moh Maya Money, Ranvir Shorey plays a real-estate broker named Aman, one of the millions of middle-class men trying to escape middle-classness. But he doesn’t want to claw his way out. He wants a first-class flight ticket over the fence – hence the revelation that he’s been pocketing money from […]

“Dear Zindagi”… Overlong, a tad simplistic, but buoyed by great performances

November 26, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… In a sense, Gauri Shinde’s Dear Zindagi is a greatest-hits compilation of Alia Bhatt’s career. Bhatt’s character, Kaira, suffers from insomnia (we saw that in Shandaar). She has abandonment issues (Shandaar, Kapoor & Sons). She gets long scenes in which she dredges out a painful past from a repressed corner of her psyche […]

“Force 2.”… A generic but decent-enough action entry

November 19, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… It must not be easy being John Abraham. It’s the Arnold Schwarzenegger problem, the Sylvester Stallone problem. When people approach you to carry a movie on your shoulders, they mean it literally. In Abhinay Deo’s Force 2, Abraham has to carry a car as well. At least, lift it from behind, in an imitation […]

“Rock On II”… As needless sequels go, not entirely a waste of time

November 14, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… It took me a few listens to get into Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s score for Rock On II. The music is somewhere between fantastic and forgettable – but that’s just another way of saying it’s the perfect background for chores. Like dicing carrots. Or doing the laundry. Or watching this movie. The songs are better on […]

A conversation with Karan Johar

November 12, 2016

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A new film. A new season of his guilty-pleasure TV show. And a new sense of liberation. Karan Johar talks. Baradwaj Rangan listens. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that we’ve never seen a filmmaker like Karan Johar. It isn’t just the films, those unabashed celebrations of very pretty people in very pretty locations […]

West side stories

November 5, 2016

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At the Jio MAMI film festival with vampiric mermaids, touchingly liberal Indians, a donkey laden with symbolism, an unusual gay pairing, a rape fantasy, and a sparklingly restored version of ‘Teesri Manzil’. This year’s Mumbai Film Festival played out differently. Usually, I flip through the catalogue and say, “I have to see this film. And […]

“Shivaay”… Some terrific action, but punishingly long

October 30, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Within its first few minutes, Shivaay makes a strong case for its existence. We see the eponymous hero (Ajay Devgn, who also directed), a mountaineer who escorts tourists on treks, driving a jeep. Beside him is Olga (Erika Kaar), a Bulgarian client. Not knowing that she understands Hindi, Shivaay decides to pay her […]

“Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”… A satisfying bridge between Hindi cinema and Bollywood

October 29, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… The way we speak in real life, that’s conversation. The way people in a certain kind of movie speak, that’s dialogue. Both kinds of exchange are present in Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushil. The film opens with a gun-to-the-head dedication to the army that doesn’t feel all that misplaced. Romance, after all, […]

Pretty pictures

October 22, 2016

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On the great shallow pleasures of gawking at beautiful people on screen, and the problems when they pretend they’re otherwise. When the minute-and-a-half teaser for Karan Johar’s upcoming Ae Dil Hai Mushkil was released in August, I froze at the thirty-second mark, the point where Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, in a salmon-pink coat, turns to the […]

“Mirzya”… A major misfire… But for a while, a fascinating formal experiment

October 9, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Something about star-crossed lovers nudges our filmmakers towards formal experiments. Chetan Anand’s Heer Ranjha is entirely in exquisite verse. Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Saawariya, itself containing a lot of spoken verse, seals itself from natural light and the outside world – it’s shot entirely on doomed-fairy-tale sets painted in colours of the night. Rakeysh […]

Fact? Or rah-rah fiction?

October 6, 2016

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The problem with the recently released biopic of Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the problem with many biopics of the famous: the flaws make way for fawning. MS Dhoni – The Untold Story is a terrifically entertaining sports saga, but is it a biopic, a “biographical picture”? On the evidence of dictionary definitions, it probably qualifies. […]

From Love Marriage to Dhoni

October 3, 2016

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A short history of cricket in Hindi cinema. Take the topic of cricket in Hindi cinema and the temptation to concoct a quiz is irresistible. For instance, name the actors who played father and daughter in two films featuring the game. That would be Naseeruddin Shah and Urmila Matondkar, inMasoom and Chamatkar.Which is the first […]