Browsing All Posts filed under »Southern Lights«

Subramaniya Bharati’s poetry in Tamil cinema

September 11, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/subramaniya-bharati-poetry-tamil-cinema-southern-lights-baradwaj-rangan The great Tamil poet, activist and social reformer died on September 11, 1921. Here are some of his songs that made it to the big screen. Had this been a literary web site, I would have used this occasion to talk about AR Venkatachalapathy’s Who Owns […]

Not ‘Chennai’… these songs are about ‘Madras’

August 22, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/chennai-songs-about-madras-southern-lights-baradwaj-rangan On Madras Day, a flashback to songs that celebrate the city. Azhagiya mithilai nagarinile (Annai, 1962): A two-toned convertible carrying a young couple cruises through near-empty roads. This was still the studio era, so it’s surprising to see actual outdoor shooting (instead of a car propped […]

The man who made (and named) Ilayaraja

August 16, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/tamil-composer-singer-ilayaraja-panchu-arunachalam-mentor-death-anniversary-southern-lights-baradwaj-rangan Last Thursday was Panchu Arunachalam’s second death anniversary. Here’s a flashback to the time he introduced his most illustrious protégé. Panchu Arunachalam, who passed away on August 9, 2016, wore many hats. He is remembered as a lyricist – he began that phase of his career […]

The biggest takeaway from ‘Kallachirippu’, presented by Karthik Subbaraj, is that it exists

July 26, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/kallachirippu-karthik-subbaraj-is-that-it-exists-biggest-takeaway-southern-lights-baradwaj-rangan OTT platforms may finally be on their way to dispensing content that does not have “mass appeal”. The OTT media space (I’m including web series, here) in Tamil is still evolving, so everything from Balaji Mohan’s As I’m Suffering From Kadhal (on Hotstar) to the new […]

Are Tamil-speaking heroines doomed in Tamil cinema?

July 19, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/southern-lights-heroines-tamil-cinema-sayyeshaa-kadaikutty-singam-baradwaj-rangan/ Our filmmakers are artificially creating a demand for “north Indian” heroines by withholding opportunities from local actresses. My review of Kadaikutty Singam, starring Karthi and Sayyeshaa, got a fair bit of social-media flak, so I thought I’d have an imaginary conversation… No wait! Been there, subjected […]

The Prithviraj-Parvathy starrer ‘My Story’ is a meh story

July 12, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/prithviraj-parvathy-my-story-movie-southern-lights-baradwaj-rangan/ Plus, thoughts on this unnamed genre, which finds new ways to embadden an already bad movie. There’s a genre of Indian cinema I’ve come to dread. It hasn’t got a name (and truth be told, there haven’t been that many representative films), but it’s basically about […]

A shout-out to Jayasurya’s performance in ‘Njan Marykutty’…

July 5, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/njan-marykutty-jayasurya-performance-southern-lights-baradwaj-rangan Plus, thoughts on cis actors in trans roles, ‘Asuravadham’, and a beautiful ‘singer’s song’ from the seventies’. Since everyone’s talking about Ranbir Kapoor’s performance in Sanju, allow me to direct your attention to Jayasurya in the Malayalam film, Njan Marykutty, where the actor plays a transgender. […]

Baradwaj Rangan, let’s talk about bias!

June 14, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/baradwaj-rangan-kaala-review-critics-mani-ratnam-twitter-conversations-southern-cinema-bias/ Because it’s impossible to have a proper conversation on Twitter, I imagine a chat with critics of my ‘Kaala’ review and argue why form is important and why ‘Mani Ratnam’ isn’t a bad word. There may be spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen ‘Kaala’. So you’re […]

Saamy vs. Dhruva Natchatiram

June 5, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/chiyaan-vikram-saamy-vs-dhruva-natchatiram-trailers-baradwaj-rangan-review// Thoughts about the two new Vikram trailers and what they tell us about the films ahead. When the Saamy 2 (or Saamy Square) trailer landed on Sunday, it made me so mad that I did something I don’t usually do. I put out a trollish tweet. […]

Great actress, middling biopic

May 31, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/keerthy-suresh-dulquer-salmaan-mahanati-baradwaj-rangan-southern-lights-column/ Thoughts about and around biopics and ‘Mahanati’, starring Keerthy Suresh and Dulquer Salmaan. As a Tamilian – or at least, as someone more familiar with Savitri’s work in Tamil cinema – Nag Ashwin’s Mahanati (Great Actress) felt incomplete. (There is a Tamil version titled Nadigaiyar Thilagam, but […]

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 […]