Browsing All Posts filed under »Screening Room«

If rushes were horses

June 18, 2016

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The ‘Udta Punjab’ verdict fills me with enough hope to draw up a laundry list of wishes for our cinema. The next time a demand for a ban comes up, I wish we’d remember the Udta Punjab verdict. I wish we’d stop being blackmailed by cultural policemen about the content in cinema. Most of us […]

What do you do for an encore?

June 11, 2016

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Thoughts on ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass,’ ‘X-Men: Apocalypse,’ and sequel fatigue. J upiter Ascending, the sci-fi mega-flop from 2015, left me with quasi-philosophical thoughts. Had it actually been a good movie, these thoughts would have come from inside it, from what it’s about, from how it’s been made – but these were outside thoughts. I […]

Village people

May 28, 2016

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Thoughts on ‘Thithi’, a small film with big buzz and bigger ambitions. The burden of expectation can sometimes be too much for a small film. Raam Reddy’s Kannada directorial debut Thithi won last year’s National Award for Best Feature Film in Kannada, which seems just about right. When we think “National Award-winning film,” we think […]

A king and his times

May 21, 2016

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Looking back at the Ilayaraja era, which began forty years ago, with the release of ‘Annakili’ on 14 May, 1976. So Ilayaraja’s music and I, we’re both in our forties. This doesn’t mean that his is the only music I grew up with. The songs on radio and television came from the 60s, 50s, sometimes […]

Lights, camera… and action!

May 14, 2016

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Thoughts on fight sequences that are more than just… fight sequences. I sat glumly through the new Captain America movie. It was too long, and it took itself too seriously. There’s probably something to the theory that no post-9/11 superhero film can afford to be, you know, light and fun and nothing but escapist entertainment, […]

Stalking point

April 23, 2016

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While celebrating ‘Fan’, let’s not forget Kamal Haasan’s ‘Uttama Villain’. Or the fact that these films can be made only in India. Watching Shah Rukh Khan’s Fan, I kept recalling Kamal Haasan’s Uttama Villain. Both films are not just about the characters these actors play (within the movie) but also about who these actors are […]

Old is cold?

April 16, 2016

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‘The Jungle Book’, like ‘The Revenant’, is a showcase for new technology that’s making it increasingly difficult to watch older films. Let’s begin with a quiz. You just have to name the film. It features an attack by a grizzly bear. The victim is a Caucasian man making a living in an unforgiving, inhospitable, bitterly […]

Ode to a nightingale

April 9, 2016

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Reflections on the peerless P Susheela, who’s found her way into the record books. When I learnt that P Susheela had found her way into the Guinness Book of World Records and the Asia Book of Records for singing the most number of songs in Indian languages, there were two reactions. The first, a smile – […]

Use the Force

April 9, 2016

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Making the case that a film that’s considered “light entertainment” can also strive to be good cinema. Or that a film is more than just plot/dialogue/performances. When I watched the recent Tamil film Thozha, a remake of the French hit The Intouchables, I experienced a curiously schizophrenic reaction. I was quite entertained, but I was exasperated […]

Stupor Men

April 2, 2016

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Another superhero movie. Another opportunity to complain about how humourlessness has come to define the genre. I’m not exactly a comic-book nut. It’s not that I know nothing. If you dropped the name Frank Miller, for instance, I’d know you’re not going on about a blunt-spoken flour-maker. But I wouldn’t be able to keep up […]

A few favourite things

March 12, 2016

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Remembering the list song, 25 years after ‘Paththar Ke Phool’ gave us ‘Kabhi tu Chhalia lagta hai’. Some part of me dies every time a film from my school or college days celebrates a major anniversary – I’m talking about you, Paththar Ke Phool, now 25 years old – but this isn’t a how-time-flies- post. […]

People power

February 13, 2016

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Watching a movie with an audience makes it a very different movie. During the latter half of Sanam Teri Kasam, which was released about a week ago, we’re told the heroine has a brain tumour. Ailments are always so lovely in the movies. At home, a cold means red eyes, sneezes that can blow the […]

Those makers of magic

February 6, 2016

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In the third Oscar-season piece, a look at the directors. Just how mad is Oscar madness? I’m not talking about the ceremony that’s a few weeks away. That’s so… 2016. I’m talking about the fact that, on January 27, vulture.com, the pop-culture web site of New York magazine, published a feature titled “Which Sundance Films […]

The women in waiting

January 30, 2016

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More Oscar-season talk. This week, about the actresses. I know people are going on about the lack of diversity at this year’s Oscars – as opposed to all those other years when people of colour hogged all the nominations, resulting in howls of protests from the whites – but the real scandal may be that […]

All signs point to Leo

January 23, 2016

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In the year of DiCaprio, some thoughts on acting and this year’s Oscar for Best Actor. One moment during this year’s Golden Globes left me misty-eyed. It was when an actor, long overlooked, took home a prize. Clearly, others in that glitzy hall felt the way I did, for they gave the actor a standing […]

Mad visuals and melodrama

January 16, 2016

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Brief notes from the 13th Chennai International Film Festival. Where are the great images? I kept asking this question during this year’s edition of the Chennai International Film Festival, usually a December fixture in the city’s cultural calendar but postponed a month due to the floods. When I say “great images,” I’m not talking about […]

On the watch

January 9, 2016

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Looking back at my vacation viewing, which included heavily intellectual entertainment like… um, ‘Downton Abbey’. What does a film critic watch while on vacation? I was surprised people even thought this was a question worth asking, but then someone explained why. With “normal” folks (a category I clearly do not belong to), holidays are a […]

Yesterday never dies

January 2, 2016

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Thoughts on the ‘Star Wars’ prequels, occasioned by the intergalactic success of the latest film in the franchise. The hate for the latter-day Star Wars movies understood I never have. That the force was beginning to weaken in George Lucas was evident right from The Return of the Jedi, whose Ewoks, those toy-store-ready furballs, hinted […]

At the movies

December 12, 2015

3

Rain or shine, the connection between Chennai residents and cinema is an unbreakable one. Imagine there’s a death in the family. Some people weep and wail. Some people realise that there are practical things that need to get done. They get busy making calls, getting a photo ready in order to put out an obituary […]

The queer everyday

December 5, 2015

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Aakriti Kohli and Sandeep Singh, the makers of ‘In The Mood For Love’, talk about their documentary about the everyday reality of LGBT living. The most surprising thing about your film, for me, was that it’s presented by a government agency, Doordarshan. How did they get into the picture? It was intriguing for us too. […]