Browsing All Posts filed under »Lights Camera Conversation«

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “An offer you cannot refuse”

July 18, 2014


Thoughts on “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” which comes off, at times, like the “Godfather: Part II.” While watching Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, it occurred to me that this film is to its predecessor (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) what The Godfather: Part II is to The Godfather. […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Coming attractions”

July 11, 2014


Thoughts on trailers in general and the ‘Gone Girl’ trailer in particular. I cannot wait to see Gone Girl. For one, it’s directed by David Fincher – that makes it an automatic must-see. Two, I’ve read the book, and its halfway twist is easily one of the best acts of rug-pulling I’ve encountered. It’s genius. […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Pros and cons”

July 4, 2014


Why is Hollywood crap so much more watchable than the crap we make? The answer: professionalism. About the time the first Transformers movie was released, if you’d asked me what I thought of Optimus Prime, I’d have thought you were referring to a mathematical variable. A few movies in, I was slightly more clued in. […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Four decades later, a flashback”

June 27, 2014


Singeetam Srinivasa Rao remembers ‘Dikkatra Parvathi’, his first film in Tamil, based on Rajaji’s story. Singeetam Srinivasa Rao’s first film was in Telugu, a 1972 comedy named Neeti Nijayiti. It flopped. For his second film, he wanted to do something different. “At that time, there was this big art-cinema movement,” he told me last week. […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Kerala days”

June 20, 2014


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 […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Figures and facts”

June 13, 2014


Box-office numbers tell only a part of the Tom Cruise story, so why aren’t we looking at the other narratives? If Edge of Tomorrow, the new Tom Cruise sci-fi thriller, has taught us anything, it’s this: Your film could gross some $29 million in its first three days in the US, and some $110 million […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “A for effort? Or achievement?”

June 6, 2014


When it comes to reviewing, what the film is about is less important than how the film goes about realising its ambitions. I wasn’t very impressed with Hansal Mehta’s CityLights, and when I wrote a fairly negative review, a reader complained, “Even assuming that ‘Citylights’ doesn’t break new ground in terms of cinematic narrative, is […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “A mutant walks into a bar…”

May 30, 2014


The new, smashing X-Men movie proves that gags and light touches aren’t unwelcome in serious, near-apocalyptic stories. Whenever I say that Christopher Nolan takes himself too seriously, I’m told that that’s because Batman is a serious character and there is no way those films could be anything but serious. But Tim Burton, in his two […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Gods and monsters”

May 23, 2014


For the average moviegoer, ‘Godzilla’ is probably a trifle underwhelming, but it does give the critic a few things to mull over. At times, Godzilla comes off like a mashup of Spielberg films. The general feel is that of War of the Worlds. The scaly creatures – Godzilla and MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) – […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “A small tribute to a big legend”

May 9, 2014


A slim compilation of B Nagi Reddi’s memories is a welcome addition to the increasing number of books on Indian cinema. In the introduction to Many Shades Make a Rainbow: Reminiscences of B Nagi Reddi, the publisher (and Nagi Reddi’s son), Viswam, lays out what the book is about. He says that his father’s birth […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “The unknown soldiers of cinema”

April 18, 2014


A small attempt at a redress for those who did interesting, innovative, things but remain forgotten by the establishment. VK Murthy’s demise brought forth a number of justly deserved tributes, and many of them focused (rightly) on his work with Guru Dutt. They spoke about the visuals in Pyaasa, Kaagaz Ke Phool and the title […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Memories of another day”

April 11, 2014


With film-based books, our enjoyment is twofold. We enjoy the memories in the book. And we enjoy our own memories that rise from these memories. In Nasreen Munni Kabir’s Conversations with Waheeda Rehman, the actress talks about a problem with a costume she had to wear for the Kahin pe nigahen song sequence in C.I.D. […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Water, water, everywhere”

April 4, 2014


“Noah” proves how difficult it is to make us go “wow” at the movies today, even with all of Hollywood’s money at your disposal. Have you heard of Noam Murro? Look him up in IMDb. He’s made a Dennis Quaid bomb called Smart People. He’s made a TV short named HBO Imagine. And he made […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Notes from a film-music fan”

March 28, 2014


A collection of thoughts on discovering Binaca Geetmala listings on the web. Imagine spending an afternoon falling through the Internet rabbit hole and finding, of all things, lists of songs that featured on Binaca Geetmala – from 1970 to 1980. Why just these years? Did the people who made these Wiki-pages not have the time to put […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “All the right moves”

March 21, 2014


Inside a documentary about blind chess. Yes, that’s chess played by those who cannot see. The British filmmaker Ian McDonald was in Chennai a few weeks ago to present his film, Algorithms – “the first ever feature documentary on blind chess.” It lasts 96 minutes and it’s a revelation. It doesn’t quite tell you the story you […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Highway robbery… or happenstance?”

February 28, 2014


A few days after the release of Imtiaz Ali’s wonderful new film, the Internet is abuzz with accusations of plagiarisation. But is that really the case? I liked Imtiaz Ali’s Highway a lot, and when rumours began cropping up on the Internet that the film was a copy of The Chase – a 1994 action-comedy […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Marketplace art”

February 21, 2014


Balu Mahendra’s demise is another reminder that a certain kind of “artistic” commercial film has vanished from our screens. In the tribute I wrote in this paper for Balu Mahendra, I’d contended that Moondram Pirai was the “apotheosis of his art,” and that didn’t go down well with some readers. They felt that this was […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “On the beaten path”

February 14, 2014


AR Rahman’s songs for “Highway” aren’t exactly groundbreaking – and no, that’s not an unjustified expectation when it comes to this composer. After a few listens to AR Rahman’s soundtrack for Highway, I must say I’m not terribly impressed. Let’s begin with Heera, which sounds vaguely like something Rahman used to do long ago – say, Putham […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “A few good women”

February 7, 2014


On films for “women audiences,” films like Suchitra Sen’s ‘Mamta’, where the hero played second fiddle to the heroine. When Suchitra Sen passed away, I wanted to write something about Bombai Ka Babu, which I think is the most interesting Hindi film she made – a “commercial” film with a huge star (Dev Anand), and yet […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Poems, with beats and a great tune…”

January 31, 2014


Vairamuthu’s Padma Bhushan honour is a reminder (if any were needed) that the lyrics written for films are sometimes on par with the best poetry. We all read prose, some of us write prose, but when it comes to poetry, we excuse ourselves from the table, suddenly remembering something more important. I don’t think it’s […]