Browsing All Posts filed under »Cinema: Hindi«

Music Masti Modernity: The Cinema of Nasir Husain

March 20, 2017

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Music Masti Modernity: The Cinema of Nasir Husain – Akshay Manwani and Balaji Vittal. Moderated by Baradwaj Rangan. The Hindu Lit for Life 2017 was held on January 14, 15 & 16 at Sir Mutha Concert Hall, Chetpet, Chennai, India.

“Trapped”… A beautifully acted, directed (if one-note) survival drama

March 19, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… In 1964, Sunil Dutt directed and acted in Yaadein, an experiment that had just Dutt on screen, except towards the end, where we see his family in silhouette. It was the story of a man who comes home and finds his wife and children missing, and spends the rest of the film alone, […]

“Badrinath Ki Dulhania”… A troubling rom-com where the popcorn parts work, the ‘progressive’ parts don’t

March 12, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Shashank Khaitan’s Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya troubled me like no film has in a while – and at least part of the reason was that I wasn’t expecting to be troubled. You watch a Raman Raghav 2.0, and you know a certain amount of mind-fucking is par for the course. But here, I was […]

“Commando 2: The Black Money Trail”… A dull action film that’s not even a decent B-movie

March 4, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… M ission: Impossible meets demonetisation in Deven Bhojani’s tersely titled Commando 2: The Black Money Trail. The Hollywood blockbuster provides the plot: an international criminal with a surprising identity, a crack team assembled to bring this person down, high-tech sleuthing, lots of twists and double-crosses. The demonetisation angle provides the soul. What better […]

“Rangoon”… Fascinating to study, but a chore to sit through

March 2, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… It isn’t often that you find the same line of dialogue – or at least, the same sentiment, sculpted with the same words – in two different films, two beautifully mounted triangular love stories, by two major filmmakers. Last year’s Mirzya, by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, conveyed the hurt lover’s sentiment thus: Chot kahin […]

War in peace

February 27, 2017

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This was written for an Arts Illustrated issue whose theme was Conflict & Art. Their brief: “For the cinema story we had in mind, we thought it would be interesting to look at a retrospective of Mani Ratnam’s films that deal effectively with the theme of conflict – both the inner and outer…” An unmarried […]

“Irada”… An earnest but inept drama about the groundwater crisis in Punjab

February 19, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Punjab isn’t having a good time at the movies. Last year’s Udta Punjab transformed the state into a drug-addled dystopia. This week’s Irada slaps on it the label of “cancer belt of the country.” Arshad Warsi isn’t having a good time at the movies either. Last week’s Jolly LLB 2 was a reminder […]

“Jolly LLB 2.”… Merely okay as courtroom drama, but a vivid look at Hindu-Muslim dynamics

February 12, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… What happens when you move from Arshad Warsi to Akshay Kumar? You get the scene where the lawyer nicknamed Jolly (he’s not the same character though; Warsi’s Jolly was Jagdish Tyagi, Akshay’s version is Jagdishwar Mishra) is on a boat on the Ganges. He jumps into the water. This decision isn’t about Jolly […]

The reinvention of a K-k-k-khan

February 4, 2017

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Given Shah Rukh’s career crossroads, it’s going to be fascinating to watch where he goes from here. Is it just me, or has Shah Rukh Khan become the most interesting actor around? This isn’t about his performing skills. This isn’t about his box-office clout, healthy enough for a star, yet nowhere near that of the […]

About free speech, ‘Padmavati’, and that scene in ‘Kaabil’

January 31, 2017

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Dear liberals, if you think what happened with Bhansali was wrong, then you have to see ‘Kaabil’ for what it is, not what you want it to be. It’s somewhat pointless to write something on free speech in a country where the right comes with an “if and only if” clause, but I’m going to […]

Readers Write In #6: An Unsuitable Boy

January 31, 2017

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Ramit Bajaj requested to open a thread on Karan Johar’s autobiography An Unsuitable Boy. Happy commenting. Also, if you have an idea — not covered in a review or column — that you’d like to discuss, do let me know. And, here’s the page from the book that talks about me:

“Raees”… A disappointingly generic story of a criminal, with too few highlights

January 27, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Like any self-respecting rags-to-riches gangster movie, Raees shows the boy before it shows the man. With a difference. In Deewar, the boy sees his father being branded a thief. He sees his mother struggling to raise her sons. So when a get-rich-quick opportunity presents itself, he grabs it, becomes a gangster. Or take […]

“Kaabil”… A thoroughly underwhelming thriller

January 25, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… So how bad can it really be? If that’s your frame of mind when you settle into a screening of Sanjay Gupta’s Hrithik Roshan-starring Kaabil, who can blame you? The director is coming off Jazbaa, the hero off Mohenjo Daro. The bar for their new outing together is barely an inch off the […]

“Haraamkhor”… Beautiful performances in a story that doesn’t judge a warped relationship

January 21, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… It’s probably facile to drag Lolita into the discussion of a film about a consensual-yet-exploitative relationship between an older man and a schoolgirl, but Shlok Sharma’s Haraamkhor makes a strong case for the comparison. There is, first, the disclaimer at the beginning, informing us that the film (I’m paraphrasing) “highlights dangers faced by minor […]

“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 […]