Browsing All Posts filed under »Southern Lights«

A film critic’s open letter to director Ram

March 29, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/southern-lights-a-film-critics-open-letter-to-director-ram-baradwaj-rangan/ In which I try to explain why “film appreciation” for Tamil cinema isn’t easy in today’s climate. In an interview with Cinema Express, director Ram expressed this opinion about critics. While admitting that no art form can grow without criticism/reviews, he said, “The biggest problem with […]

On being home-schooled in Tamil through the film song

March 15, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/southern-lights-home-schooled-tamil-film-song/ Paying attention to lyrics is a wonderful way to increase one’s proficiency in a language. (Added incentive: It’s fun too.) These days, a lot of the music I listen to comes from the phone. I just type in the name of a song I feel like listening […]

On ‘Black Panther’, ‘Kaala’, and Pa Ranjith’s career

March 8, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/rajinikanth-black-panther-kaala-pa-ranjith-baradwaj-rangan/ In which I try to figure out the irony of a filmmaker who wants say very specific things and yet yields to the generic demands of a star vehicle. I kept thinking about Black Panther as I watched the teaser for Kaala, the new Pa Ranjith […]

Fifteen years, and counting…

February 1, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/southern-lights-baradwaj-rangan-on-fifteen-years-as-critic/ In which I look back at the time I started out as a film critic, what it’s like now, and a few things in between. On January 30, 2003, my first review was published – that makes it 15 years this week. The film was Dum, […]

Tamil cinema, English thoughts

January 25, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/southern-lights-tamil-cinema-english-thoughts/ In which I make a case that there needs to be more writing about non-Hindi cinema in English, if this cinema is to break through ghettos. I interviewed two authors at this year’s edition of the The Hindu’s Lit for Life. One of them was a […]

Word painter

January 11, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/southern-lights-20-years-of-thamarai-in-tamil-cinema This is Thamarai’s 20th year in the movies. The lyricist talks about her poetry, her personal life, her politics. Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor – “by the creator of Percy Jackson” – is the last book I expect to find in Thamarai’s living room, […]

Happy new year

January 4, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/southern-lights-happy-new-year These are our pick of songs for the occasion from across south India. What are yours?? For the first column of 2018, I decided to do something simple: pick one song from Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam that celebrates the new year (or at least, contains […]

Music beyond the maestro

December 21, 2017

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/southern-lights-music-beyond-the-maestro Is older music (other than that composed by Ilayaraja) gradually being phased out of common cultural memory? The opening ceremony of the 15th Chennai International Film Festival began with a spectacular performance by Anuradha Sriram, who led the audience through eight decades of Tamil cinema with […]

Introducing… Rajinikanth!

December 12, 2017

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/southern-lights-introducing-rajinikanth A look at the superstar’s hero-intro scenes from the time he was before a superstar. After IV Sasi’s demise, a lot has been written about the director’s work in Malayalam cinema – but he made a handful of Tamil films as well, and I thought I’d […]

A reliably unreliable narrator

November 23, 2017

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/southern-lights-a-reliably-unreliable-narrator A look back at a scene from Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s ‘Anantaram’, which turned thirty this year. About the genesis of Anantaram (Thereafter), Adoor Gopalakrishnan had this to say: “When my wife was pregnant with our daughter, she came back from the hospital and told me this story […]

Star struck

November 16, 2017

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/amp/southern-lights-star-struck Should star ratings (terrible as they are) be absolute or relative? Let’s discuss. After I finished writing the review of Villain, a little more than a week ago, I felt a twinge of conscience. It was time for me to give the star rating, the most […]

Inside / Outside

November 9, 2017

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/southern-lights-inside-outside It’s fascinating how an outsider watches a different film than one familiar with a culture. One phrase was used a lot in the reviews for the Tamil horror film, Aval, released last week. (Its Telugu version, Gruham, is expected soon.) While acknowledging its world-class technique (sound […]

Reviewing (and re-viewing) Rahman

November 2, 2017

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/southern-lights-reviewing-and-re-viewing-rahman Thoughts on the ‘2.0’ soundtrack and its composer, who keeps going on and on and on. What makes AR Rahman tick? That’s the question I had while listening to the composer’s soundtrack for Shankar’s 2.0. This isn’t about how he manages to keep making music, 25 […]

The political, the personal

July 20, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full article on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/southern-lights-adimai-penn Scattered thoughts on ‘Adimai Penn’, the MGR-Jayalalitha starrer that was re-released in theatres last weekend. A couple of times a year, a big splash is made around an old film getting a “digital” makeover and being released in theatres again. The quotes are because […]

As I’m Suffering from Mixed Feelings

July 13, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full article on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/southern-lights-as-mi-suffering-from-mixed-feelings Two new web series in Tamil serve up fare that’s not seen on the big screen, but they could be so much more. With As I’m Suffering from Kadhal (As I’m Suffering from Love), the web series now on Hotstar, director Balaji Mohan no […]

Love on the run

July 6, 2017

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A flashback to moments from Duniya Soori’s 2015 Kannada thriller ‘Kendasampige’, about a rich-girl-poor-boy couple chased by corrupt cops. Read the full article on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/southern-lights-kendasampige The first time we see Ravi and Gowri, they’re in a theatre, half watching the movie, half making out. This poor boy and rich girl are just […]

A tale of two rejections

June 22, 2017

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A flashback to moments from the 2001 Telugu drama ‘Tiladaanam’, the story of a priest who’s fallen on hard times. Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/southern-lights-tiladaanam KNT Sastry’s Tiladaanam (The Rite… A Passion) can be seen as a companion piece to Vamsha Vriksha, the Kannada drama discussed in this column last week. […]

A very big man

June 15, 2017

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A flashback to moments from the 1972 Kannada drama ‘Vamsha Vruksha’, the story of a widow who remakes her life. Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/southern-lights-vamsha-vriksha Can a man be both traditional and modern? Can a Brahmin believe in rites and rituals and the Hindu way of life (which, sometimes, can be […]

Two shots, two songs

May 4, 2017

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A flashback to moments from the 1986 Telugu drama ‘Swathi Muthyam’, the story of a man who’s also a child. Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/southern-lights-two-shots-two-songs K Viswanath, this year’s recipient of the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, made three films with Kamal Haasan. Sagara Sangamam is the best, Subha Sankalpam the weakest – and […]

The old man and the hill

April 27, 2017

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A flashback to moments from the 2002 Kannada drama ‘Dweepa’, where the construction of a dam threatens an ancient way of life. Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/southern-lights-the-old-man-and-the-hill Only the lower gates of the dam have been closed, and already the water levels have climbed to half the height of the hill […]