Browsing All Posts filed under »Television / Online«

Santosh Sivan’s Masterclass, Journey Of Light: On Thuppakki, Iruvar, Dil Se, Roja

June 1, 2020


Ten takeaways from Canon India Digital’s webinar, where the cinematographer and filmmaker took questions and explained his art, his philosophy. 1. As a child, you remember photographs. In my case, it was a very scary photograph — a black-and-white picture in my ancestral home in Kerala. These structures are generally dark, with a shaft of […]

Ponmagal Vandhal, with Jyotika, is on Amazon Prime: This courtroom drama needed to be much darker, but it’s content to remain “family-friendly”

May 29, 2020


The director doesn’t trust his material. He doesn’t trust the audience enough to feel that this “issue” is enough, and doesn’t need to be cheaply sensationalised. Spoilers ahead… J J Fredrick’s Ponmagal Vandhal opens beautifully. We are in a forest in Lovedale — a misty picture that could be on a tourist brochure. And then, […]

Malang, with Aditya Roy Kapur and Disha Patani, is on Netflix: A rewind of Mohit Suri’s not-bad pulp thriller that should have been much better

May 23, 2020


This film is made for OTT. At home, the romantic nonsense is easier to brush aside, the second-half twists become just the thing you want on a lazy evening. Spoilers ahead… Mohit Suri’s Malang may be one of those films that’s made for OTT. One, its flavour is — in itself — quite OTT: it’s the […]

“Shikara”… An intimate love story that (rightly) puts people before politics

May 16, 2020


The protagonist represents all that is nice and good and innocent and naive and pure about the director’s homeland. Even after he is displaced, he continues to “save the world”. Spoilers ahead… Rage mellows with age, and that’s what seems to have happened with Vidhu Vinod Chopra. Exactly twenty years ago, he channelled his angst […]

Survival Stories, directed by Rahul Riji Nair, is on YouTube: A sense of the lockdown in eight different ways, with eight shorts

May 16, 2020


Every short features a character who is confined in a way. Some of them mention COVID. Others exist in a timeless space — their stories could have unfolded even before the lockdown. Spoilers ahead… What can you hope to see in a roughly 45-minute film that opens with the note that it was “fully conceived […]

Girmit, with the voices of Yash and Radhika Pandit, is on SUN NXT: A rewind of this entertaining “mass” movie by Ravi Basrur, with a cast of kids

May 14, 2020


The film is serious — but because the actors are all children, there’s also the sense of the film winking at us. It’s the Flipkart advertisement ethos, expanded to feature length. Spoilers ahead… Most “mass” movies are so slave to formula that the question while making one isn’t “what do I make?” as much as […]

Interview: Bhargav Ramakrishnan (Baggy), whose stand-up show is now on Amazon Prime

May 12, 2020


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Chennai Palani Mars, co-written by Vijay Sethupathi and Biju Viswanath, is on Zee5: A rewind of this nicely trippy stoner dramedy

May 11, 2020


This is already an absurd genre. But the premise amps up the absurdity levels to the stratosphere. Sample line: “Simbu CM aana eppidi irukkum?” Spoilers ahead… Is Vijay Sethupathi better at writing films than picking them? The thought came up while watching Chennai Palani Mars. He has made a whole bunch of solid-to-good-to-great movies, no […]

Readers Write In #172: ‘Lost Girls’ and a Lost Opportunity

May 8, 2020


(by Anuja Chandramouli) These are hardly the best of times and sometimes all you want to do is Netflix and chill right? Maybe binge watch a sitcom or two or three. But some of us prefer the darker stuff. Which is how I ended up watching the Liz Garbus directed ‘Lost Girls’ based on a […]

Readers Write In #171: Tigertail (Netflix): A slow-burn portrait of the harsh realities of the American Dream!

May 7, 2020


(by Vivaciously Yours) Tigertail introduces us to a little boy Pin-Jui running through green pastures in the 1950’s Taiwan ruled by the Chinese Nationalist Party, Kuomintang. Pin-Jui lives with his grandmother in the countryside while his mother looks for a job in the city, and occasionally has to hide in the cupboards from soldiers looking […]

Alidu Ulidavaru, with Ashu Bedra and Sangeetha Bhat, is on Amazon Prime: A rewind of Arvind Sastry’s horror-thriller, which could have used more tension

May 6, 2020


The interval point is crazy — I mean, good-crazy. Remember the interval point of Kahaani? This is that level of crazy. But the rest of it doesn’t quite add up. Spoilers ahead… Arvind Sastry’s Alidu Ulidavaru opens with two men on a bike approaching a house. They look like they are part of a food-delivery […]

Interview: Naveen Polishetty

April 29, 2020


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Love Aaj Kal, with Kartik Aaryan and Sara Ali Khan, is on Netflix: A rewind of this Imtiaz Ali romance, which needed a better cast

April 29, 2020


LAK-2020 is not first-class IA. But it’s engaging, and very much of a piece with his other works — in very surprising ways. Spoilers ahead… Imtiaz Ali peddles a peculiar flavour of Kool-Aid. It’s admittedly not for all tastes, but I love it. I can guzzle gallons of it. Even the lesser IA films soar […]

Karan Johar, it’s okay, please open up your closet again!

April 27, 2020


Is this inequality? But of course! But this is also a world where swank-architecture and high-fashion magazines exist when there are people who don’t have homes and who wear rags. I wanted to talk about this when Farah Khan pulled up celebrities for sharing their workout videos. She said something to the effect of: “I […]

Pon Magal Vandhal on Amazon Prime: Right now, it’s the right decision for this Jyotika-starrer

April 25, 2020


As much as some of us may romanticise “the theatrical experience”, for most audiences, the No. 1 factor is convenience. Just look at how many people have begun to watch Tamil serials on OTT platforms! I was wondering when it would happen. It has, now. First, we got a tweet about an upcoming Jyotika-starrer: First […]

Kolaiyuthir Kaalam, with Nayanthara, is on Netflix and Prime: Chakri Toleti’s slasher-thriller is ultra-generic, ultra-meh

April 24, 2020


The only point of interest is why Nayanthara was drawn to it. Perhaps it’s because the physical demands of the role force the actor to shed her usual icy-cool reserve… Spoilers ahead… The first thirty-something minutes of Chakri Toleti’s Kolaiyuthir Kaalam are a lesson on how not to set up a slasher-thriller (or how not […]

Varane Avashyamund, with Dulquer Salmaan, Shobana, Suresh Gopi, is on Netflix: A rewind of this charmer, from Anoop Sathyan

April 21, 2020


It’s hardest to play heavy scenes in a light manner, and these actors do it marvellously. The director chooses to discard microscopic detail in favour of broad arcs and happy-making vignettes. Spoilers ahead… There’s a mother who wants her son to marry this girl. For reasons that aren’t explained in black and white, the wedding […]

Aswathama, with Naga Shaurya and Mehreen Pirzada, is on Sun Nxt: A rewind of this underwhelming action-thriller from Ramana Teja

April 17, 2020


There’s a really creepy scene where the villain has sex with a corpse, but the man’s motivations are fuzzy and the chain of crimes isn’t convincing at all. Spoilers ahead… Ramana Teja’s Aswathama opens rather ominously, with an NT Rama Rao-channelling voiceover quoting a passage from the Mahabharata. It’s about the disrobing of Draupadi, which […]

The gay-themed Israeli drama ‘15 Years’ has bypassed the theatrical window, but that’s not necessarily bad news

April 16, 2020


The gayness is incidental. This could just as well be a hetero couple, with one of them wanting children and the other resisting parenthood. There were many films set for a theatrical release, and which are now going directly to the streaming space. In a Forbes article that came with a rather dramatic title, ‘Movie […]

World Famous Lover, with Vijay Deverakonda and Raashi Khanna, is on Netflix: A rewind of this, um, ‘writerly’ romance

April 16, 2020


Years from now, I suspect this truly confused film, by Kranthi Madhav, will be remembered as a footnote in the Gospel of St. Deverakonda. For all its faults, it keeps pushing that Rowdy persona… Spoilers ahead… Kranthi Madhav’s World Famous Lover has everything you expect from a Vijay Deverakonda Film™. There’s grand passion, grander rage. […]