“Mupparimanam”… A great twist on the love story, but the script plays spoilsport

March 4, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Just another love story, we think at first. The girl, Anusha (Srushti Dange), is about to be married off to someone else. The boy, Kadhir (Shanthanu Bhagyaraj), lands up at the venue with a gun. He leaves with her. There’s a chase. There’s an accident. Read the rest of the review on Film Companion, […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Yaman”… A good premise, but it’s hard to make anything of the protagonist

March 3, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… A thought experiment. Imagine Aboorva Sagotharargal (Appu Raja in Hindi). Dad-Kamal is murdered before the opening credits. Son-Kamal takes revenge during the climax. The entire stretch in between – the entire film, that is – is built on our knowledge that the son gets to know what happened to his father. At that […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Kuttram 23″… An enjoyable pulp thriller whose minuses are minimised by style

March 3, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Arun Vijay swaggers a tad too much, as if always aware that a photo op is around the corner – but he has a smouldering presence, and he’s just right as Assistant Commissioner Vetrimaran in Kuttram 23. When we first see him, he’s waking up, stretching. Almost as if by reflex, he reaches […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Yaakkai”… What should have been a crackling murder investigation gets upstaged by an inane love story

March 3, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Yaakkai (Body) begins intriguingly. Night. A terrace. The mood is lurid: the scene is bathed in neon-bright red and green. There’s a car, but we don’t see anyone around. Soon, it begins to pour. The thunder sounds like gunshots, like a prelude to violence – and then, the actual violence happens. A man […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

From a reader…

March 2, 2017

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I never cease to be touched when readers take the time to personalise things. This cartoon came with this message. “Dear BR, Congrats! Wish you the very best in all that you do. A small dedication from my side on this occasion…hope you like it.” Thank you, Ramki Bellur.    

Posted in: Personal

“Rangoon”… Fascinating to study, but a chore to sit through

March 2, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… It isn’t often that you find the same line of dialogue – or at least, the same sentiment, sculpted with the same words – in two different films, two beautifully mounted triangular love stories, by two major filmmakers. Last year’s Mirzya, by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, conveyed the hurt lover’s sentiment thus: Chot kahin […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

Vetri Maaran talks about taking Visaranai to the Oscars

March 1, 2017

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My first video interview for Film Companion. Part 1: Part 2: Copyright ©2017 Film Companion.

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil, Interview

New beginnings…

March 1, 2017

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A new start today: as Editor, Film Companion (South) and Chief Consultant, Programming, Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival with Star. It’s a bit nerve-wracking, to be honest — this move to digital. I’ve talked about it in my first post for FC: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/southern-lights-hello-from-this-side-of-the-vindhyas So, about the blog. My reviews of (and pieces on) South Indian films […]

War in peace

February 27, 2017

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This was written for an Arts Illustrated issue whose theme was Conflict & Art. Their brief: “For the cinema story we had in mind, we thought it would be interesting to look at a retrospective of Mani Ratnam’s films that deal effectively with the theme of conflict – both the inner and outer…” An unmarried […]

A koffee moment…

February 24, 2017

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So we got a press release (reproduced below) for the latest episode of Koffee with Karan (to be telecast this Sunday), and guess which film critic’s name popped up!!! I hope they don’t delete this bit at the last minute, but even if they do, it was fun just reading this. Koffee with Karan Renowned […]

Posted in: Personal

“Ezra”… A well-crafted horror film that needed much better writing

February 23, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Jay K’s Ezra, which is set in Kochi, is filled with Malayalis; the story revolves around Ranjan (Prithviraj) and Priya (Priya Anand). But their domestic help is Maharashtrian, and the large, large house they live in (for once, wouldn’t it be nice if a horror film unfolded in one of those matchbox-sized flats […]

Posted in: Cinema: Malayalam

Readers Write In #9: Aaromale

February 20, 2017

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‘Catcher in the Rye’ had spoiled me. It is always a problem when you meet a great novel. ‘Great’ in the sense, how the novel had hit you. It wouldn’t have hit you, had it not reflected your persona with such uncanny authenticity. Similar to how Vadivel gets surprised when someone reads his mind-voice. ‘Velila […]

Posted in: Books, Readers Write In

“Ghazi”… A comfortingly old-fashioned (and entertaining) war movie

February 19, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Kay Kay Menon rarely finds roles worthy of his talent, but in Ghazi, he lucks out. He plays Rann Vijay Singh, a naval captain entrusted with a submarine and a mission. It’s 1971. News has trickled down that Pakistan is preparing to strike the eastern coast. Singh and his crew are asked to […]

“Irada”… An earnest but inept drama about the groundwater crisis in Punjab

February 19, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Punjab isn’t having a good time at the movies. Last year’s Udta Punjab transformed the state into a drug-addled dystopia. This week’s Irada slaps on it the label of “cancer belt of the country.” Arshad Warsi isn’t having a good time at the movies either. Last week’s Jolly LLB 2 was a reminder […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

“Ennodu Vilayadu”… An underwhelming thriller that’s more of an underwhelming romance

February 18, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… I perked up at the beginning of Arun Krishnaswami’s Ennodu Vilayadu. (That title! What a great fit if someone made a Fifty Shades of Grey in Tamil.) The story deposits us in Guindy, by the race track, and we get this voiceover: “Inga kuthirai saththam innum kekkudhu!” As if on cue, the sound […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Rum”… Not many scares. Not much coherence either.

February 17, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Vivek is the nominal comedian in Sai Bharath’s Rum, but he’s no match for the censors (or whichever board it is that slaps advisory texts on screen). We’re in a haunted house. It’s the usual assortment of people who witness strange goings-on, but don’t immediately pack their bags and flee. Soon enough, the […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol”… A lovely dramedy woven around the ups, downs in a marriage

February 16, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… By all rights, Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol should have been a sex comedy – one of those films in which a married man begins to scratch that seven-year itch. Mohanlal plays Ulahannan, a panchayat official whose life is leached of excitement. The first time we see him, he’s snoring in a bus. He’s married to […]

Posted in: Cinema: Malayalam

“Jolly LLB 2.”… Merely okay as courtroom drama, but a vivid look at Hindu-Muslim dynamics

February 12, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… What happens when you move from Arshad Warsi to Akshay Kumar? You get the scene where the lawyer nicknamed Jolly (he’s not the same character though; Warsi’s Jolly was Jagdish Tyagi, Akshay’s version is Jagdishwar Mishra) is on a boat on the Ganges. He jumps into the water. This decision isn’t about Jolly […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

The captain of the ship

February 11, 2017

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Sensing the director’s touch, at the recently concluded Bengaluru International Film Festival. At a film festival, the brochure is invaluable. It gives you a plot synopsis of the films being screened. It gives you a note about the filmmaker. This not only helps in deciding whether you want to give this particular film a shot, […]

“Lightman”… An inconsistent yet illuminating docu/fiction about cinema’s foot soldiers

February 9, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Venkatesh Kumar G’s Lightman shines a spotlight on… the men whose job is to shine a spotlight. The film narrates the story of Guna (Karthik Nagarajan), a folk-theatre artist who leaves his village in Madurai and comes to Chennai with dreams of making it big in Kollywood. But he’s not able to get […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil