Browsing All Posts filed under »Society«

Bitty Ruminations 85 – Speaking to the ‘other’ India

June 25, 2017

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Every time I read an op-ed in an English-language newspaper, every time I sit through a panel discussion at a Lit Fest or any other event, this is what strikes me: that you are preaching to the choir. The people in the audience have already bought into what you’re selling: women need to be respected, […]

Readers Write In #19: Of bandhs and the VCR boom

June 17, 2017

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I was in college in my sophomoron year (sic)  and I’d just discovered the joys of binging on Video cassettes. My  classmate in college was one of the first families to own a VCR (Video cassette Recorder) and I was a regular at his place, watching the old classics as well as the latest releases […]

Readers Write In #12: A Chennai story

March 27, 2017

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City | Chennai Location | Shivan Park, Ashok Nagar A bright little evening on a weekend, I was taking a walk with my friend/mentor, a man of action with words to match up for it. The usual gleeful evening crowd filled up the park ; Children playing see-saw and swing, parents with their kids, the badminton […]

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 […]

Taking a stand

December 1, 2016

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The Supreme Court’s ruling on the national anthem is yet another instance of the movies being a soft target for tokenistic measures. Why is it always the movies? Take smoking. There are many ways to bring down cigarette and liquor consumption. You can stop the sale of singles, force people to buy a pack every […]

Vox un-populi?

November 12, 2016

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Musings on the media, post the bomb that just blew up in the United States. The recent events around Trump already seemed to have played out at movie theatres around Tamil Nadu, around the time the film Remo was released. The word around the rom-com, starring the young (and young-skewing) actor Sivakarthikeyan, was toxic. The […]

Analysis, critical!

October 8, 2016

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Social media may not have killed the film critic, but it has definitely changed the business of film criticism. In a panel discussion at the Indywood Film Carnival, held in Hyderabad last week, I was asked about the impact of social media on critics. It wasn’t the first time I’ve been asked this question. It […]

Guest Post: Petition against stalking

July 26, 2016

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Regulars here must be aware of the petition that Iswarya and others started in Change.org  #CallingOutStalking in Tamil films. You can find here all the updates and follow-up action on the campaign. Those who wish to contribute to this effort can mail antistalkingpetition[at]gmail.com. Also see comments in this post, for more context.

Cinema, society, chicken, egg

July 6, 2016

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We need to rigorously study the impact of cinema on society before blaming films for every shocking headline. At least for a while, the case that shocked Chennai played out like a Tamil movie. A dark-skinned boy (Ramkumar) from a small town set eyes on a fair-skinned, upper-class girl (Swathi). He fell in love. He […]

Readers Write In #4: Is it really that short a route from Kodambakkam to Nungambakkam?

July 3, 2016

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Following the grisly Swathi/Ramkumar case, just wanted to open a discussion about Tamil cinema’s depiction of stalking and the actions of this particular deranged individual. One part of me says that there are millions who watch these films and a mere handful who are inspired to do these things, so the problem lies not with the […]

A legend walked into a bar…

June 1, 2016

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Tanmay Bhat has every right to mock Lata Mangeshkar and Sachin Tendulkar. But a little sensitivity wouldn’t hurt. Is comedian Tanmay Bhat’s video-spoof depicting a trash-talking Sachin Tendulkar and Lata Mangeshkar cause for offence? Before addressing this question, we may have to ask another one: Is it funny? The video shows Bhat playing Tendulkar and […]

In the hills, they hope for change

May 7, 2016

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The tribals of Sathyamangalam are seeing red during these elections. The Oorali tribals of the village of Kaalidhimbam, in the Sathyamangalam hills, say that the houses they live in were built during Kamaraj’s rule, some sixty years ago. They want new houses. And the government says they can get new houses under the Pasumai Veedu […]

The lay of their land

April 20, 2016

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The Kani tribals in the hills of Mundanthurai know what they want (and what they’re likely to get) from the forthcoming elections. The forests of the Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, situated in the hills of the Western Ghats that slice through Tirunelveli, are a typically rough-hewn terrain, but P Veluchamy prefers to walk barefoot. If he […]

After-effects of an award

January 27, 2016

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With Rajinikanth’s Padma Vibhushan, the North is finally seeing what the Superstar is all about. Baradwaj Rangan reports. “Hey Ram! Is it raining?” These were the first words out of Mrs. Sharma’s mouth when she opened the door and saw her husband, soaked from head to toe. Mr. Sharma didn’t reply. She looked past him and […]

Trials and starry tribulations

December 14, 2015

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So what is the long-drawn Salman Khan trial all about? Baradwaj Rangan wonders. The Salman Khan trial isn’t just about an actor who may or may not have done the things he’s been accused of, the things he’s now been acquitted of. (Whoever was driving that car has, by now, become as mysterious an entity […]

At the movies

December 12, 2015

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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 storm and the qualm

December 10, 2015

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You could drive yourself crazy debating whether the Music Season should be held this year. Baradwaj Rangan draws up a pro-con list. Con: Isn’t it awfully insensitive to go on stage wearing a silk sari in a carefully chosen shade, with carefully coordinated accessories – when so many people don’t have clothes to wear? Pro: […]

Lives in transit

December 7, 2015

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As trains thunder overhead, a flood-displaced family waits to return home. It’s Saturday. The sun is out. It has been out for a day or two now, but today’s sun feels different. It’s brighter, warmer. It feels like a promise. Some of the streets are dry – they’re dull and grey, the way we like […]

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. […]