Browsing All Posts filed under »Cinema: Hindi«

“Masaan”… Worth every bit of the Cannes hype

July 28, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Neeraj Ghaywan’s  Masaan since I saw it a few nights ago. For one, it’s astoundingly good – dreamy and textured and with powerfully understated images that refuse to fade away. Reciprocated love is shown through two red balloons rising into the night. Boys dive into a […]

“Bajrangi Bhaijaan”… A surprisingly effective return to masala roots

July 19, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Bajrangi Bhaijaan surprised me in a lot of ways. For one, the flavour of masala here isn’t the flavour we usually associate with a Salman Khan movie. This isn’t outlandish – though that, when done well, can be worthwhile too. There’s a sense of sobriety here. The director is Kabir Khan. To say […]

Any body cannot dance

July 11, 2015

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With the dance-based ‘ABCD-2’ vaulting over the Rs. 100 crore barrier, a reflection on choreography in Hindi films down the ages. Had I been the kind who rated films, I’d have given Any Body Can Dance 2 (aka ABCD 2) two-and-a-half shrugs – but that’s not surprising. For one, this isn’t a film meant for […]

“Guddu Rangeela”… An action-drama diluted by too much quirkiness

July 6, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… If you crossed Ishqiya with Sholay, you’d have something like Guddu Rangeela. Like the latter film, this one revolves around two small-time con men – one intense, smart; the other a bulb of a lower wattage – who like puttering about on a motorcycle fitted with a sidecar. And like the thakur, one […]

“Miss Tanakpur Haazir Ho”… An uneasy mix of laughs and issues

July 1, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Hindi cinema hasn’t been very kind to lovers of scatological humour. Once in a while, we catch a whiff of flatulence – sometimes in a line of dialogue, sometimes in a throwaway scene like the one where Salman Khan broke wind in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. By these constipated standards, recent years […]

“ABCD 2.”… Ho, hum, whatevs

June 20, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… How you respond to ABCD 2 will probably depend on how much you follow dance-reality shows on television, how much you like hip hop moves, and, most important, if you’re still at an age where you squeal when people you like show up on screen. At the theatre, I found myself vaguely… not […]

“Hamari Adhuri Kahani”… A melodramatic throwback that just doesn’t work

June 18, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… For a while now, pathetic fallacy hasn’t been a popular technique. In Hamari Adhuri Kahani, Mohit Suri brings it back with a vengeance. The heroine is named after the earth (Vasudha, played by Vidya Balan) and she’s a florist. But these flowers don’t always bring happiness. Vasudha speaks of her profession as a […]

“Dil Dhadakne Do”… It’s like watching paint dry… only, inside a palace

June 6, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Luck By Chance, Zoya Akhtar’s first and best film, is also one of the most dispiriting movies ever made. You know those books you find in the self-help section? This was the exact opposite. Consider its… lessons, if you will. Everything’s a fluke. All the hard work in the world may not get […]

“Tanu Weds Manu Returns”… A romance that struggles to measure up to its heroine’s performance

May 23, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… What an odd title: Tanu Weds Manu Returns. Considering the audience just needs to be told that this is a sequel, was Tanu and Manu Again unavailable? Tanu Weds Manu Returns sounds like Tanu weds and Manu returns. The blue-penciller in me kept wanting to insert a comma midway. Though, really, it’s Tanu […]

“Bombay Velvet”… An Anurag Kashyap film with bafflingly few traces of Anurag Kashyap

May 17, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… When I heard Anurag Kashyap was making a movie about Bombay, I wondered – despite the heavily Hollywoodised imagery – if he would tip a hat to the “Bombay movie.” Bombay Velvet opens, instead, as a Bombay documentary, with grainy, sepia-toned footage that gives us glimpses of the city, round about 1949. There’s prohibition. […]

“Gabbar is Back”… One of those masala movies that’s too “cool” to be one

May 11, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Gabbar Is Back, directed by Krish (and based on an original story by AR Murugadoss), keeps making us think it is the real deal, a real masala movie. We see dabbawalas. We witness a lavani performance. We step into a barbershop. In other words, we see not Mumbai but Bombay, which is always […]

“Piku”… An irresistible amble with a dysfunctional family

May 9, 2015

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The following review is relatively spoiler-free. If you’ve seen the film and would like to read a more detailed (i.e. spoiler-filled) review, then please go directly to the review below. Piku (Deepika Padukone) brings to screen a robust multidimensionality we don’t usually see in our leading ladies. She balances domestic chores (laundry, dusting) and a […]

In Salman, they trust

May 8, 2015

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A fascinating documentary shows us what Salman Khan means to an India that’s not quite shining. One of the more perplexing moments on Season Four of Koffee with Karan was when Salman Khan made an appearance – his first on the show – and declared, “I am a virgin.” He added that he was going […]

“Margarita With a Straw”… A light, lovely tale of sexual awakening and other things that make up life

April 25, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Laila (Kalki Koechlin), the protagonist of Shonali Bose’s Margarita With a Straw, is like any other person in their late teens/early twenties, give or take a skill or two. She’s on Facebook. She’s terrific at chess. She’s into music – she writes lyrics for a band called Tribe. She’s friends with these musicians […]

“Mr. X”… A sci-fi disaster

April 24, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Vikram Bhatt’s Mr. X is an irredeemably bad film, and proof of its irredeemable badness arrives very early. We are with Raghu (Emraan Hashmi) and Sia (Amyra Dastur) in their bedroom. They’ve just made love – at least we think they’ve made love. We don’t actually see anything. This coyness is a little […]

“Dharam Sankat Mein”… A necessary film, though not a particularly good one

April 11, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… The cleverest thing about Dharam Sankat Mein, directed by Fuwad Khan, is that title. The plot kicks off when Dharam Pal (Paresh Rawal), a sacred thread-wearing Brahmin in Ahmedabad, discovers he’s really a Muslim. So the obvious meaning of the title is that Dharam is in a sankat, crisis. But reduce his name […]

“Ek Paheli Leela”… A terrible reincarnation drama which may really be about Sunny Leone’s second avatar

April 10, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Let’s face it. Sunny Leone isn’t being hired for her face. It’s a pretty face, but it isn’t what’s getting her hired. Neither is she being hired for her acting, which, to put it kindly, makes Katrina Kaif look like Smita Patil. No. Sunny Leone is being hired for her unswerving obedience to […]

“Detective Byomkesh Bakshy”… A tedious origins story

April 3, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Some thirty minutes into Dibakar Banerjee’s Detective Byomkesh Bakshi!, based on the character created by Saradindu Bandopadhyay, I realised I still hadn’t gotten a lock on whatever was going on, and my mind began to drift to Banerjee’s Love Sex aur Dhokha. In that film, he made us believe we were watching a […]

Shakespeare (plus Bollywood) Wallah

March 28, 2015

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Reflections on Shashi Kapoor, recipient of the Dadasaheb Phalke award for 2014. I’m not getting into the whole “does he deserve it?” debate, but the news about the Phalke filled me with a vague kind of happiness. There’s always been something wholesome, something nice about Shashi Kapoor. You probably remember the Friends episode that was […]

“NH10.”… An unsatisfying thriller with too much on its plate

March 14, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… When a smart, talented filmmaker takes on genre material, there’s often the tendency to inflate it, to make it mean something – and sometimes the material just buckles under this baggage. The visceral thrills, the purity, of the genre get blunted by the efforts to make things “classy.” Something like this happened when […]

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