Browsing All Posts filed under »Cinema: Hindi«

“Sarbjit”… Another week, another underwhelming biopic

May 21, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Omung Kumar was Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s production designer before he turned director, so certain things are a given. He likes strong women characters. His first film was Mary Kom. His latest is Sarbjit, about the Punjabi man who wandered off into Pakistan and was arrested as a spy – but the film should […]

“Dear Dad”… A modest, involving drama about a family coping with a secret

May 14, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… They should invent a name for the genre of films that are small, intimate, about 90 minutes long, infused with a Hollywood-indie-movie vibe, filled with good (but not great) writing and down-to-earth performances, scored with guitar and piano rather than a cascade of violins, carefully (but not fussily) framed and shot, attentive to […]

“Azhar”… A weak attempt to whitewash a disgraced sporting hero

May 14, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… There’s a shot in Tony D’Souza’s Azhar guaranteed to give gooseflesh to viewers of a certain age. The film doesn’t use last names, so we’re watching “Javed” bat. He whacks a ball to the boundary and smirks that “Javed” smirk. He hoists the next ball for what looks like another encounter with the […]

Lights, camera… and action!

May 14, 2016

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Thoughts on fight sequences that are more than just… fight sequences. I sat glumly through the new Captain America movie. It was too long, and it took itself too seriously. There’s probably something to the theory that no post-9/11 superhero film can afford to be, you know, light and fun and nothing but escapist entertainment, […]

“One Night Stand”… Material for a major sexual-equality statement is trivialised by cast and director

May 9, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… For a while, One Night Stand plays out exactly like you expect it to. Gauzy red scarves brushing against skin. Horny men in Phuket. And a hookup. He’s Urvil (Tanuj Virwani). She’s Celina (Sunny Leone). His name means “sea.” Her name means “sky.” When he begins to flirt with her, she says sadly, […]

“Baaghi”… A very basic ‘mass’ movie, but the action is tops

May 1, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… As a Tamilian, I’m going to be nursing nightmares for years about Baaghi, for the film features an act of murder using… poisoned curd rice. To those of you who don’t get it, let me attempt an explanation: this is the gastronomic equivalent of the scene in Khakee where Akshay Kumar is betrayed […]

Guest Post: What Queen and Tamasha tell us about gender stereotypes

April 29, 2016

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Beginning a new feature on this blog, features written by others. This is a post by Chinmayee Kantak and Sampada Karandikar. “Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” –  Rumi Vikas Bahl’s Queen, which released in March 2014, deals with the story of a young woman whose […]

A star in a strange role

April 27, 2016

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Salman Khan is in the middle of another Olympic-sized controversy. But why is he in it in the first place? Is Salman Khan qualified to be Goodwill Ambassador of the Indian contingent at the 2016 Rio Olympics? His father Salim Khan certainly seems to think so. In a tweet battle with Milkha Singh, who objected […]

“Nil Battey Sannata”… A well-made, at times moving, but facile drama

April 24, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Cute. That’s the word that kept flashing through my mind while watching Ashwini Iyer Tiwari’s Nil Battey Sannata. The film is about a domestic help named Chanda (Swara Bhaskar) – she does a number of other odd jobs as well – who despairs that her daughter Apeksha (Ria Shukla) isn’t interested in studies, […]

Stalking point

April 23, 2016

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While celebrating ‘Fan’, let’s not forget Kamal Haasan’s ‘Uttama Villain’. Or the fact that these films can be made only in India. Watching Shah Rukh Khan’s Fan, I kept recalling Kamal Haasan’s Uttama Villain. Both films are not just about the characters these actors play (within the movie) but also about who these actors are […]

“Fan”… A well-made but unsatisfying mix of meta-movie and thriller

April 16, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Forget, for a moment, the fan on screen. Maneesh Sharma’s fourth film is, first and foremost, a tribute to fans of Shah Rukh Khan, the actor, the star, the middle-class-boy-to-millionaire myth. When I first heard about the film, I thought of Misery, The King of Comedy, The Fan, those other thrillers about the […]

“Ki & Ka”… A frothy rom-com whose entertainment value makes up for what it lacks in depth

April 2, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… I’ll begin with the end. It’s an echo of the Boy-Girl meet-cute, in a plane, and it made me smile for a couple of reasons. One, I am a sucker for rom-com tropes. And two, R Balki, after three tries, finally gets his ending right. Cheeni Kum, Paa and Shamitabh turned hideously overwrought […]

“Rocky Handsome”… A thoroughly underwhelming remake

March 26, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Every time a John Abraham film is released, his trainer must think, “Kaching.” So too, Rocky Handsome, whose very title smells of a gym advertisement: Converting the smooth and ugly to rocky and handsome, since 1981. Abraham’s body is so carefully lit and showcased, the film, at points, resembles a post-workout show reel. […]

“Kapoor & Sons (Since 1921)”… Could have used more bite, but still pretty good

March 19, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Shakun Batra comes across like someone trying to work his issues out through his movies, the way writers exorcise their demons through stories. Or is it just coincidence that his films – Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, and now, Kapoor & Sons (Since 1921) – are about sons scarred by puppeteering parents? Look […]

“Teraa Surroor”… So bad, it’s not even funny

March 13, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… “Jurm ki duniya mujhe gangster ke naam se jaanti hai,” says Himesh Reshammiya’s Raghu in Shawn Arranha’s Teraa Surroor, an in-spirit sequel to 2007’s Aap Kaa Surroor. Looking at the singer-actor, you don’t immediately think gangster. You think sulky schoolboy with facial paralysis who wandered into a broom closet and came out wearing […]

“Zubaan”… A coming-of-age story is hijacked by a campy family soap

March 11, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… One of the plotlines in Zubaan is about the Gurdaspur-based Dilsher (Vicky Kaushal) overcoming his stammer and becoming a singer. Another one follows Dilsher as he attempts to compensate for the loss of his father by becoming some sort of son to Delhi-based gazillionaire Gurcharan Sikand (Manish Chaudhary, who’s really become peerless at […]

“Bollywood Diaries”… A chilling little film about the horrors of big dreams

March 8, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… In KD Satyam’s Bollywood Diaries, Ashish Vidyarthi plays Vishnu, a 52-year-old government servant in Bhilai. We meet him at his daughter’s wedding reception – he’s happy, relieved. But it’s not just the usual middle-class relief that he’s done with his duties, that no more money will have to be stashed away for the […]

“Jai Gangaajal”… Flabby filmmaking neuters a great masala premise

March 8, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Do you remember Gangaajal? I don’t. Something to do with the Bhagalpur blindings, yes – but it’s hard to recall more about something you’ve seen only once, when Gracy Singh was a pop-culture fixture. I didn’t know it needed a sequel. Were there more blindings, which were omitted in the earlier film? Did the […]

“Neerja”… A fine instance of what we might call middle-cinema

March 6, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Bollywood seems to have taken a shine to planes this year. First, Airlift. Now, Neerja. But that isn’t the only similarity between the films. Both are a new kind of Bollywood movie, closer to Hollywood in terms of tone (refined) and treatment (slick). They get box-office assurance from the star at the centre (Akshay […]

“Fitoor”… An adaptation that isn’t dismissible, but where’s the heart?

March 5, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Abhishek Kapoor’s Fitoor is adapted from Great Expectations, and it signals its debt to (and its deviations from) the novel right at the beginning. The film is set in Kashmir, which is described thus: “Jaise jannat kafan ki chaadar odhe so rahi thi.” The shroud, of course, refers to the soft blanket of snow, […]

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