“Uyire Uyire”… So bubbly, ya!

April 2, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… If you’re a fan of the loosu ponnu character in Tamil cinema, you’re in for a treat with AR Rajasekar’s Uyire Uyire. For the price of one movie, you get two of them. The first loosu ponnu – let’s say LP-1 – appears in the hero-introduction scene at a basketball court, wearing a […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Rocky Handsome”… A thoroughly underwhelming remake

March 26, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Every time a John Abraham film is released, his trainer must think, “Kaching.” So too, Rocky Handsome, whose very title smells of a gym advertisement: Converting the smooth and ugly to rocky and handsome, since 1981. Abraham’s body is so carefully lit and showcased, the film, at points, resembles a post-workout show reel. […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

“Thozha”… Hardly great cinema, but quite an enjoyable film

March 26, 2016

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Thozha Movie Stills

Spoilers ahead… The title Thozha, I must admit, gave me a slight case of the shivers. Given the cast – the fifty-something Nagarjuna as quadriplegic billionaire Vikram; the thirty-something Karthi as his 180-degree opposite, a very local all-in-all-azhagu-raja named Seenu, who becomes Vikram’s caretaker – I expected May-December variations on the perennial Kollywood theme of […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Kapoor & Sons (Since 1921)”… Could have used more bite, but still pretty good

March 19, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Shakun Batra comes across like someone trying to work his issues out through his movies, the way writers exorcise their demons through stories. Or is it just coincidence that his films – Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, and now, Kapoor & Sons (Since 1921) – are about sons scarred by puppeteering parents? Look […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

A musical bridge across time

March 19, 2016

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If Chitravina N Ravikiran has his way, couplets from the ‘Tirukkural’ may soon be part of the Carnatic repertoire. Last December, while preparing for his session at The Hindu Lit for Life 2016, Gopalkrishna Gandhi selected 34 couplets from the Tirukkural and asked Chitravina N Ravikiran to set them to tune. Gandhi had just translated […]

Posted in: Books, Music: Classical

“Sawaari”… A tragically bumpy ride

March 19, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… The beginning shows promise. Three guys. One car. And a palette drained of colour but for the red end of the spectrum – everything in black and white except the glowing end of a cigarette, the tail lights on a car. The guys take in a hitchhiker. Shots are heard. And Sawaari takes […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Pugazh”… A middling drama somewhat redeemed by grit, texture

March 19, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Manimaran’s Pugazh gets off to a shaky start. After a brief prologue hinting at dangers in the present, we slip into the past, into cliché. The hero – Pugazh (Jai, in his comfort zone) – heads to Puducherry with friends in order to drink and ogle at pretty blondes. Then, on to the […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Teraa Surroor”… So bad, it’s not even funny

March 13, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… “Jurm ki duniya mujhe gangster ke naam se jaanti hai,” says Himesh Reshammiya’s Raghu in Shawn Arranha’s Teraa Surroor, an in-spirit sequel to 2007’s Aap Kaa Surroor. Looking at the singer-actor, you don’t immediately think gangster. You think sulky schoolboy with facial paralysis who wandered into a broom closet and came out wearing […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

Looney toons

March 12, 2016

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Got this bit of kindness from a reader and am sharing with gratitude and permission (his name is Ramki Bellur and he blogs at https://bellurramki18.wordpress.com/): Dear Mr.Baradwaj Rangan, I have been your silent admirer for 4 years now. Coming straight to the point, couldn’t resist doing the attached cartoon. Take care and keep feeding us with your […]

Posted in: Personal

A few favourite things

March 12, 2016

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Remembering the list song, 25 years after ‘Paththar Ke Phool’ gave us ‘Kabhi tu Chhalia lagta hai’. Some part of me dies every time a film from my school or college days celebrates a major anniversary – I’m talking about you, Paththar Ke Phool, now 25 years old – but this isn’t a how-time-flies- post. […]

“Aviyal”… A lip-smacking mix of shorts

March 12, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Bench Talkies, the first anthology of Tamil shorts to receive a theatrical release, was something you sat through with caveats. Okay, it’s not great, but these are amateur filmmakers… Okay, they didn’t have a big-enough budget… Even so, it was hard to get past some of the shorts that strained to be lyrical, […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Kadhalum Kadandhu Pogum”… A letdown, but not a lazy one

March 11, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Any film with the word “kadhal” in the title is usually served in one of three flavours – a general romance; its cutesy variant, the rom-com; or what might be called the rom-trag, where Boy and Girl jump off a cliff or are hacked to pieces or <insert preferred mode of death/separation here>. […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Zubaan”… A coming-of-age story is hijacked by a campy family soap

March 11, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… One of the plotlines in Zubaan is about the Gurdaspur-based Dilsher (Vicky Kaushal) overcoming his stammer and becoming a singer. Another one follows Dilsher as he attempts to compensate for the loss of his father by becoming some sort of son to Delhi-based gazillionaire Gurcharan Sikand (Manish Chaudhary, who’s really become peerless at […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

Brief Reel: Titus And Dronicus

March 9, 2016

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I get a lot of requests to watch short films, and I thought I’d use the blog to showcase some of them — beginning with Titus And Dronicus, a set of three webisodes. If you know my love for wordplay, you’ll know why I was intrigued by a Shakespearean spin-off with that title, which refers […]

Posted in: Brief Reel, Short Films

“Bollywood Diaries”… A chilling little film about the horrors of big dreams

March 8, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… In KD Satyam’s Bollywood Diaries, Ashish Vidyarthi plays Vishnu, a 52-year-old government servant in Bhilai. We meet him at his daughter’s wedding reception – he’s happy, relieved. But it’s not just the usual middle-class relief that he’s done with his duties, that no more money will have to be stashed away for the […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

“Jai Gangaajal”… Flabby filmmaking neuters a great masala premise

March 8, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Do you remember Gangaajal? I don’t. Something to do with the Bhagalpur blindings, yes – but it’s hard to recall more about something you’ve seen only once, when Gracy Singh was a pop-culture fixture. I didn’t know it needed a sequel. Were there more blindings, which were omitted in the earlier film? Did the […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

Conversations with… me!

March 6, 2016

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Thanks to Rahul Desai and Tanul Thakur, I got to talk about a lot of things I think about as a critic, as a writer. Here is the interview. http://indiaindependentfilms.com/conversations-with-baradwaj-rangan/

Posted in: Personal

“Neerja”… A fine instance of what we might call middle-cinema

March 6, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Bollywood seems to have taken a shine to planes this year. First, Airlift. Now, Neerja. But that isn’t the only similarity between the films. Both are a new kind of Bollywood movie, closer to Hollywood in terms of tone (refined) and treatment (slick). They get box-office assurance from the star at the centre (Akshay […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

Chris rocked…

March 5, 2016

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Host Chris Rock speaks at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

… but what about the rest? aka, the award for the show most in need of revamping goes to… I didn’t expect much from the Oscar show. I missed the live telecast, and by the time I sat down for the rerun, I already knew who’d won the big awards. So I was surprised when […]

“Fitoor”… An adaptation that isn’t dismissible, but where’s the heart?

March 5, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Abhishek Kapoor’s Fitoor is adapted from Great Expectations, and it signals its debt to (and its deviations from) the novel right at the beginning. The film is set in Kashmir, which is described thus: “Jaise jannat kafan ki chaadar odhe so rahi thi.” The shroud, of course, refers to the soft blanket of snow, […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi
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