Browsing All Posts filed under »Southern Lights«

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 […]

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 […]