Browsing All Posts filed under »Readers Write In«

Readers Write In #65: Request for feedback

January 14, 2019

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Ajay Kumar wrote in asking for feedback on his writing. I gave him my opinion, and asked if I could put the piece up on the blog, so he could get other opinions, too. The brave man said yes 🙂 So here goes: PETTA – A Star is Reborn

Readers Write In #64: Gods & Demons: 25 Glorious years of Devasuram and Manichitrathazhu

December 26, 2018

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Devasuram and Manichitrathazhu, two of the most popular and iconic films in Malayalam film history were both released in the year 1993. In the years preceding their release, they have achieved mythic status in pop culture and solidified forever Mohanlal’s reputation of being one of of the greatest and most versatile star actors in the […]

Readers Write In #63: Kollywood sequels that matter

December 10, 2018

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To sequel or not to sequel, that is hardly the question in Kollywood these days. After enduring The Singam trilogy, Saamy X Saamy, Sandakozhi 2 and whatnot, I was wondering if we have taken this too far. I may have raised an eyebrow when I heard about Indian 2 and a Thevar Magan sequel (both […]

Readers Write In #62: Understanding agrarian crisis

December 8, 2018

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The following essay will give a brief introduction to the origins of the current agricultural crisis in India. Knowledge of the origins shall serve as an effective background to understand rising farmer unrest all over India. What is Liberalisation/Neoliberalism? India in 1991, in return for financial assistance from IMF and World Bank agreed to implementing […]

Readers Write In #61: Metacriticism – The difficulty of reviewing a movie in the digital age

December 2, 2018

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I watched the Rajnikanth starrer “2.0” yesterday and now I’m faced with a very difficult question. What do I say when a friend asks me: “How was the film?” No one’s going to look for a detailed analysis of the visual effects or the strength of the screenplay or whether there was a focal character […]

Readers Write In #60: Thugs of Hinduston is a fantastic tribute to Masala cinema and its leading men

November 19, 2018

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On why thugs of Hindostan is no lazy rehash of the masala formula , but a well constructed modern tribute that echoes back to best of the genre. Thugs of Hinduston has flopped badly at the box office. Neither the big star cast, nor the lucrative diwali weekend could save the film. The film critics […]

Readers Write In #59: Is the film playing Kill-Marry-Hook Up with its female characters?

November 11, 2018

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‘Kill-Marry-Hook Up’, for the uninitiated, is a conversation game where participants are presented with three names. They are then forced to map each name with exactly one option from ‘Kill’, ‘Marry’ or ‘Hook Up’. ‘Hook Up’ is usually replaced with a “profane” synonym, but let’s stick to the Koffee With Karan version of the title. […]

Readers Write In #58: Vada Chennai and Wasseypur: Rooting cinema with music

November 6, 2018

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It’s been merely weeks since Vada Chennai released and the film is being talked about as a work that will go down in Tamil cinema as a milestone. Apart from solid writing, good camerawork and some stellar performances, there’s another factor that elevates the movie: The distinctive music. Criticism has risen about the way the […]

Readers Write In #57: LGBTs in Hindi cinema in light of the 377 judgment

October 26, 2018

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Looking back at the delineation of LGBTs in Hindi cinema in general and in some recent releases in particular in light of the Section 377 judgment There no single or simple answer to “Which is the first queer Hindi film?” To some, it may be D.G. Phalke’sRaja Harishchandra, which had male actors playing the female […]

Readers Write In #56: Make a musical, Or Don’t: A rant on the usage of songs in modern Tamil cinema

October 18, 2018

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First in the ‘Chekka Chivantha Vaanam’ review, and now in the ‘Vada Chennai’ review — I much liked BR’s views on the usage (or lack thereof) of good songs. I, for one, am really really glad that BR brought this up. I am an audiophile. I love listening to songs in the theater. I enjoy […]

Readers Write In #55: The dance of idea and story in Pariyerum Perumal

October 16, 2018

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At the intermission of Pariyerum Perumal, the eponymous protagonist lies bruised and battered by the relatives of his female upper caste classmate. He’s covered in their urine, locked inside a room. If he is ‘let out’ he might get killed, he’s told. Pariyan, shivering in trauma, drags himself to the bolted door and knocks on […]

Readers Write In #54: Evolution paints the sky crimson

October 14, 2018

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WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD for Chekka Chivantha Vaanam An obvious distinction that #MeToo often brings up is that while men cloaked in power are unwilling to shed their primal skins, the women, even when victimized, have used civil means to fight back. A striking contrast between the composure displayed by women and the emotional charge spewed […]

Readers Write In #53: Muted Symphony

October 14, 2018

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2018 marks 25th anniversary of Ilaiyaraaja composing and recording a Symphony with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London. At that time he was the first Asian composer to do so. The Symphony was never released to the public and Ilaiyaraaja has largely remained silent about this work since then. This is a write up leading to celebrate […]

Readers Write In #52: Chekka Chivantha Vaanam – A Psychoanalytic Perspective

October 10, 2018

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Mr. Maniratnam’s latest oeuvre, Chekka Chivantha Vaanam,  like his previous work Kaatru Veliyidai, is a detailed and evocative study on narcissism. While disguised as a gangster shootout, the film relates to something far more fundamental, that being the dysfunctional family and the suffering that is housed within.               In Chekka Chivantha Vaanam, the chief patriarch is Prakash […]

Readers Write In #51: My introduction to cowboys, horses, and westerns

October 3, 2018

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Born in 60s and growing up in Kanyakumari district from 4th to 12th grade, most of the movies I watched were Tamil movies, few English movies (once we moved to Nagercoil from Cheruppalur) and occasional Malayalam movies. I use the term English movies since I didn’t know the term Hollywood that time!! Exposure to terms […]

Readers Write In #50: Why the Baahubali movies failed in China

September 24, 2018

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Vamsi: Your insight about wrong marketing seems very credible. That’s what i thought was the right takeaway from all that you said. I still don’t think Baahubali 2 had bad special effects, it just didn’t have grand stuff on a scale compared to LoTR or Avengers. I feel it’s about Scale than Quality. Ant-man won’t […]

Readers Write In #49: The Portrayal of Disability in Indian Mainstream Cinema – Where’s the Nuance?

September 16, 2018

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So, the husband and I were craving a good Tamil masala movie last night, and chanced upon the Suriya-starrer, “Thaana Serndha Kootam”. It seemed to have got decent reviews, and we went in expecting a light, fun watch. Half an hour and two fast-forwarded songs later (thank God for modern online watching. Can’t imagine having […]

Readers Write In #48: Clive’s Angels: Whitney and Phyllis, united in tragedy

September 5, 2018

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I usually do not find biographical documentaries about celebrities very interesting to watch. I mean fairly contemporary figures here as opposed to long dead legends who offer fertile ground for historians. They have a tendency to tell us what we already know or, at least, can find out with not much effort and veer to […]

Readers Write In #47: When Left Met Right: Let’s talk about Communalizing Carnatic Music

August 24, 2018

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As the nation celebrates its 72nd Independence Day, we need to have a dialogue between those who read India right and left. Before I venture further, I must admit this. I have never been too fond of labels which are, more often, borrowed constructs placed out of context. So, I am going to use the […]

Readers Write In #46: Blood, Sweat and Grime: Thoughts on 20 years of Satya

August 18, 2018

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To really understand the significance of Satya for Bollywood, we have to revisit the Hindi movies of 90’s. They could be slotted into three broad categories ( I am simplifying, of course)  – Hollywood rip offs (e.g. Yarana, Agnisakshi), David Dhawan style (crass) comedies and the ubiquitous NRI friendly designer movies. What started as something sweet with […]