Browsing All Posts filed under »Cinema: Malayalam«

“Alamara”… A comedy about the great Indian family is charming for a bit, then gets tediously dramatic

March 22, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… It’s tempting, sometimes, to zoom in on one scene as the nutshell of a movie, and that scene, for me, came at the beginning of Alamara (cupboard), directed by Midhun Manuel Thomas. Arun (Sunny Wayne) is going to get married to the 47th girl he’s been set up with. This alliance seems to […]

“Angamaly Diaries”… A familiar story of short-fused, small-town men is made thrillingly fresh

March 14, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… The Wikipedia entry under “Synopsis” for Angamaly Diaries is remarkably concise: “The story of local people and their life at Angamaly.” In a sense, that is really all there is to Lijo Jose Pellissery’s drama. It’s the story of the man who embraces a tree while preparing a bomb, so that even if it […]

“Oru Mexican Aparatha”… No great shakes as a political film, but an effective (and stylish) reincarnation drama

March 10, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… The setting of Tom Emmatty’s Malayalam drama Oru Mexican Aparatha (A Mexican Enormity) suggests a searing, ripped-from-the-headlines political narrative. The story unspools in Kochi’s Maharaja College, and the strife between the two student factions is given real-life urgency by the names of these factions: SFY and KSQ, which stand in for SFI (Student’s Federation […]

“Aby”… This story of a man who wants to fly soars for a bit before taking a steep nosedive

March 8, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… There’s whimsy. And there’s WHIMSY. The former is the product of a writer’s fevered imagination, a director’s feather-light execution. The latter is the result of a music director who’s conducting his orchestra not so much with a baton as a machine gun. Keep playing, or else… Aby is a WHIMSICAL film. Quirky music […]

“Ezra”… A well-crafted horror film that needed much better writing

February 23, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Jay K’s Ezra, which is set in Kochi, is filled with Malayalis; the story revolves around Ranjan (Prithviraj) and Priya (Priya Anand). But their domestic help is Maharashtrian, and the large, large house they live in (for once, wouldn’t it be nice if a horror film unfolded in one of those matchbox-sized flats […]

“Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol”… A lovely dramedy woven around the ups, downs in a marriage

February 16, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… By all rights, Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol should have been a sex comedy – one of those films in which a married man begins to scratch that seven-year itch. Mohanlal plays Ulahannan, a panchayat official whose life is leached of excitement. The first time we see him, he’s snoring in a bus. He’s married to […]

“Jomonte Suvisheshangal”… A trite premise made very watchable by warm performances

January 24, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Sathyan Anthikad’s Jomonte Suvisheshangal is catching a lot of criticism for its similarities with the recent Jacobinte Swargarajyam, but that’s like accusing one love story of being like another. This type of melodrama is a genre of its own: a twist here, a tweak there, and you can name 5000 similar films. We […]

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 […]

The games city people play

July 16, 2016

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The recent Malayalam drama ‘Ozhivudivasathe Kali’ is the latest in a line of films that involve game-playing in the wilderness. I caught Ozhivudivasathe Kali (An Off-day Game), Sanal Kumar Sasidharan’s acclaimed Malayalam drama, when it was released in Chennai last week. The story is set during an election day, a dry day, and it’s about […]

The heart will go on, and on, and on…

October 31, 2015

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Thoughts on a Malayalam documentary (and the movie it inspired) about star-crossed lovers who rival Laila-Majnu, Heer-Ranjha, Ambikapathy-Amaravathi… Why do we love love stories so much? I’m talking about the genre, which we never seem to tire of. When Ram Gopal Varma made Satya and Company, we raved about them, but when his follow-ups were […]

Common men, uncommon stories

August 15, 2015

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On the eve of the release of ‘Manjhi – The Mountain Man’, Baradwaj Rangan traces the journey of our biopics, which are no longer just about larger-than-life achievers. It all began in 1959, when a landless Bihari from the Musahar community, a scheduled caste that traditionally made a living as rat catchers, decided to make […]

Bullet-point Report: “Premam”

June 25, 2015

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I’m sorry, I know a lot of you hate this format, but I like it. I think it’s great for putting forth… impressions on films you don’t always want to write detailed reviews about. Anyway, I’m bringing it back. I’m also bringing back comments about Premam from earlier threads, so it’s all nicely consolidated here. […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “All the world’s a screen…”

September 12, 2014

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In light of the upcoming ‘Haider’, a look at a 60-year-old Hindi version of ‘Hamlet’. Plus, ‘Sivaji’ Ganesan and Uttam Kumar as Othello. When we think of non-Western (and non-Vishal Bhardwaj) adaptations of Shakespeare, the mind settles, instantly, on Kursosawa. Throne of Blood. Ran. But a quick Google search reveals some fascinating Indian productions. A […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “A normal boy who does stupid things…”

August 29, 2014

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Thoughts on ‘Njan Steve Lopez’, and the problem with email interviews. Slowly, surely, Rajeev Ravi, known to most people as “Anurag Kashyap’s cinematographer,” is creating an identity for himself as a filmmaker. His superb first film, Annayum Rasoolum (“Anna and Rasool”), was about a young man who falls in love. The girl rebuffs him at […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Kerala days”

June 20, 2014

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Is the Malayalam film industry making the best mainstream cinema today? Once upon a time, I used to watch cinema from all over India – every Sunday afternoon, on Doordarshan. I remember, especially, the Malayalam films like Koodevide and Alicinte Anveshanam, which were neither all-out arty nor fully commercial – it was the middle-of-the-road-style that […]

The natural

February 14, 2014

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Balu Mahendra, who died yesterday of cardiac arrest, was one of the handful of filmmakers who, in the 1970s, changed the face of Tamil cinema. He was also one of the handful who could be termed an auteur. Every film he made was distinctly his. Part of this was, of course, due to his roots […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “And the Oscar doesn’t go to…”

September 27, 2013

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Some thoughts on cricket and baseball and the movies we send out for Best Foreign Film consideration. So the powers that be chose The Good Road over The Lunchbox, and Twitter exploded. I thought, first, that this was an overreaction. (Then again, what’s Twitter for if not overreacting?) After all, isn’t this the same system […]

Films & Feni: Elephants and Eternal Life

December 3, 2009

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ELEPHANTS AND ETERNAL LIFE DEC 3, 2009 – FILMMAKERS HAVE LONG ENDEAVORED to dispense bitter medicine in the form of sugar-coated pills, but in doing so, they seldom manage the trick of getting past the audience’s gag reflex. Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukhtankar, with their Ek Cup Chya (the title is a euphemism for greasing […]

Films & Feni: Spice Raja, Tandoori Rani

December 3, 2008

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SPICE RAJA, TANDOORI RANI DEC 4, 2008 – I EXPECTED THE FILMS HERE TO BE REVEALING in ways I never expected, sure, but considering that it featured a Hinglish song sequence, with lyrics along the lines of, “I am your spice raja, you are my tandoori rani,” Tandoori Love managed to surpass my wildest non-expectations. […]

Films & Feni: The Not-So-Rosy Plight of the Rose

November 28, 2008

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THE NOT-SO-ROSY PLIGHT OF THE ROSE NOV 29, 2008 – I THOUGHT NOTHING COULD BE MORE ANNOYING during a film screening than the barrage of textile and jewellery ads that no Chennai theatre can apparently afford to live without – but I was mistaken. The clip that precedes every single festival feature is far more […]