Browsing All Posts filed under »Cinema: Hindi«

“Banjo”… Some nice touches cannot salvage a trite story

September 28, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… In Banjo, Marathi director Ravi Jadhav proves, once again, that only regional filmmakers know their way around a “mass” movie. It isn’t just that the underprivileged banjo-playing hero (Taraat, portrayed by Riteish Deshmukh) is shown rising from a manhole, blackened with sewage, after rescuing a child that’s fallen in. It’s that his bathing […]

“Pink”… A solid courtroom drama that makes solid points about the way we treat women

September 19, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Had Pink been made in Hollywood, it would have been labelled “Oscar bait.” It makes all the right noises. The story is one that will launch a thousand op-ed pieces. In an echo of Shah Rukh Khan’s gesture, the leading man’s name appears after the names of the female actors. The cast makes […]

“Freaky Ali”… A silly, uneven comedy with a terrific Siddiqui

September 12, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… The attraction of Freaky Ali is the prospect of seeing Nawazuddin Siddiqui in a movie that, in just its first half-hour, insults a lisping child, a wizened old man and an albino (“nakli angrez!”) – all set to a background score made up of cartoon noises, the sonic equivalent of the BIFF, POW, […]

“Baar Baar Dekho”… A bland, but very pretty, time-travel romance

September 11, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… There are films with eye candy. And then there are the Dharma films that deposit the eye at the confectionary store. Katrina Kaif is only the third most beautiful thing in Baar Baar Dekho, after her lavish Delhi home, whose lawns appear manicured by Toni & Guy, and Sidharth Malhotra. If I looked […]

“Akira”… Can’t hold a candle to the original

September 3, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… To know the kind of filmmaker AR Murugadoss is, you only need the scene from Akira (a mostly faithful remake of the Tamil sleeper hit Mounaguru), where the victim of an acid attack sees herself in the mirror after her bandages come off. The people around her – family, friends – don’t make […]

Conversations with Mahesh Bhatt

September 3, 2016

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This April, at this event, I was invited to converse with Mahesh Bhatt about Smita Patil. It took a while, but the video is finally here. Really enjoyed the conversation. Hope you do too.

“A Flying Jatt”… An amiably silly superhero film flounders when it gets serious

August 26, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… An indigenous superhero who isn’t just generically Indian but a Sikh? Part of me says “What an idea, sir-ji,” while the other part wonders if what we need now is the celebration – rather, valourisation – of specific communities as saviours. (Whatever next? Captain Arora? Iyer Man?) But at least for a while, […]

“Happy Bhag Jayegi”… Should have been much better, but some really big laughs

August 19, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Imagine you wanted to make Tanu Weds Manu 3 and Kangana Ranaut did not have the dates. Who would you cast? Who else, among the current set of actresses, can embody this… this… force of nature? Anand L Rai, director of the Tanu Weds Manu films and one of the producers of Happy […]

“Rustom”… Vaguely watchable, and that may be overstating it

August 13, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… I hadn’t heard of the Nanavati trial until I watched Bombay Velvet, and then I realised I’d seen two films loosely based on it: Yeh Raaste Hain Pyaar Ke and Achanak. These films – like Rustom, the latest iteration – don’t really try to recreate the sordid (and sensational) case. They are content […]

“Mohenjo Daro”… Every bit the film the trailer led us to fear

August 12, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Ashutosh Gowariker’s Mohenjo Daro opens with a big disclaimer that none of what’s to follow should be taken too seriously. I suppose this injunction is meant for those who missed the trailer with the flying crocodile, but it does make sense, especially when you see what it really means: This isn’t a history […]

“Budhia Singh – Born to Run”… A solid drama that transcends rah-rah sports-biopic clichés and raises big questions

August 8, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… A quick refresher from Wiki is all you need to know why a movie was begging to be made from the story of Budhia Singh: “Budhia Awooga Singh (born 2002) is an Indian boy and the world’s youngest marathon runner. Singh was born in the state of Odisha. He ran from Bhubaneswar to […]

“The Legend of Michael Mishra”… A painfully strained attempt at quirk

August 8, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Manish Jha loses little time letting us know that he’s made a quirky film. Over the opening credits of The Legend of Michael Mishra, we hear this song: “Film shuru hui hai, kursi pe set ho jao…” Jha wants us to be aware that he’s aware, that he’s not taking any of this […]

“Dishoom”… Disappointing action film, or a prototype of the Modi-era masala movie?

July 29, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… John Abraham’s thesping skills have always been suspect, but after seeing Dishoom, where he plays a special agent named Kabir, I’m wondering if he’s losing the ability to do more basic things. Like smile. Or bring his hands close to his body. His torso resembles a tree trunk, and his hands angle downwards […]

“Madaari”… An unremarkable vigilante drama, with some Irrfan moments

July 26, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Madaari is about the catastrophic aftermath of a bridge collapse, but director Nishikant Kamath wants us to know that the film is about so much more. He gives us split-second visuals of the Uttarakhand floods, about farmer suicides, about train collisions, about petrol/diesel price hikes. Within five minutes, he wants to stir up […]

“Great Grand Masti”… The real boobs may be the audiences

July 16, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… You know those pretty, shapely girls from Belarus or Lithuania who come to Mumbai on a holiday and end up as backup dancers in a Baw-ly-would movie? In the song that plays over the opening credits of Great Grand Masti, one of them opens her eyes wide and goes WOW! as Ritesh Deshmukh, […]

“Sultan”… A well-made, enjoyable sports drama

July 8, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Watching a Salman Khan film today reminds me of watching Woody Allen’s films in the 1990s, when the sixty-something actor/director kept pairing himself with decades-younger actresses like Elisabeth Shue and Julia Roberts. I remember thinking: Dude, I’m trying to look at this as just a movie, without bringing your off-screen story in. But […]

“Shorgul”… A good subject trivialised by bad filmmaking

July 4, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… And the award for Most Gratuitous Item Number goes to… Shorgul. So this is what happens. It’s night. A door opens. A man slips out, clutching a bag. He travels to another part of town. He stops in front of a house. Another door opens. This time, a woman. She takes the bag. […]

“Junooniyat”… An old-fashioned weepie that barely works

June 28, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… A week after Udta Punjab, the spring is back in Punjab’s step. Those big glasses of lassi, they’re back. As are parathas glistening with ghee, fields with yellow flowers. Also back are those ginormous weddings where no one, apparently, just sits around and catches up with family. Instead of an RSVP, the invitation […]

“7 Hours To Go!”… A thriller that tries so hard to be cool, it hurts

June 28, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Saurabh Varma’s 7 Hours To Go opens with four armed men, in masks, breaking into a hi-tech building. The background music does its best to make us believe Godzilla is in the building too. Who are these men, and what does this event have to do with Arjun (Shiv Pandit), who’s holding people […]

“Raman Raghav 2.0.”… A welcome almost-return to form

June 25, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Raman Raghav 2.o is divided into chapters whose titles appear in a lurid, pulp-fiction font – and the best chapter is titled The Sister. In a gut-churning subversion of the bhai-behen reunion scenes of Hindi cinema, we see Raman (or Ramanna, played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui) walk into his sister’s (a superb Amruta Subhash) […]