“Asuravadham”… A solid vendetta thriller that reimagines a typical story with treatment and craft

June 29, 2018

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/asuravadham-movie-review-m-sasikumar-baradwaj-rangan/ Asuravadham, directed by Chennai Ungalai Anbudan Varaverkirathu director Maruthupandian, begins with what looks like a prank. A small-town provisions store owner named Samayan (a very effective Vasumitra) gets a call. The person at the other end disconnects as soon as Samayan picks up. And […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

Interview: M Sasikumar

June 29, 2018

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Subramaniyapuram turns ten this July. Sasikumar, currently starring in Asuravadham, talks about the success of the film, the failure of Easan (maybe he should have made it later, he wonders), what he got from assisting Bala and Ameer. He names his favourite films by Bharathiraja, Balachander, Balu Mahendra, Mahendran, Bala and Ameer, and talks about […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil, Interview

Bitty Ruminations 89 – Efficiency tips.

June 25, 2018

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I’ve always been a very organised person, and one of the tools that keeps me sane is making a list in the morning — all the to-do things, small and big, including the leftovers from the previous day. The idea is not to do it all, but just get a sense of what needs to […]

Posted in: Personal

In the last week of Pride month, a look at what defines gay cinema

June 25, 2018

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/from-my-own-private-idaho-to-four-days-in-france-a-look-at-the-factors-that-define-lgbtqi-cinema-4590621.html On June 29, 1969, the New York Daily News, like many other newspapers, wrote about a “predawn police raid on a reputed Greenwich Village homosexual hangout, the second raid within a week, [which] touched off a two-hour melee yesterday as customers and villagers swarmed over the plainclothes […]

“Abrahaminte Santhathikal”… Mammootty stars in a thriller that becomes a drama, but is always a shrine to the star

June 25, 2018

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/abrahaminte-santhathikal-review-mammootty-baradwaj-rangan What’s it with movie psychopaths and black raincoats? Is it a uniform? If someone rebelled and wore bottle green or pink, would he instantly be shunned by his axe-wielding brethren? And why is it always pouring when he sets out with his weapon of […]

Posted in: Cinema: Malayalam

The Amateur’s Art #38 – Andha Naal Nyabagam (Tamil, with English subs)

June 22, 2018

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See here for what this series is about. This film came from Ganesan Rajagopalan. (He sent three. This is the second. Will put the third up soon.) SYNOPSIS Two People. Poles apart. A Disturbing meet. Conversations. Confessions. Discomfort. Nostalgia. Pain. Drama. Memoirs of That Day unfold. Be a Witness.

“Tik Tik Tik”… A passable space adventure that could have used better writing, more thrills

June 22, 2018

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/tik-tik-tik-movie-review-jayam-ravi-baradwaj-rangan/ Shakti Soundar Rajan’s Miruthan was billed “Tamil cinema’s first zombie movie.” In Tik Tik Tik, the director dreams bigger. It’s being promoted as “the first Indian space film.” The claim may not hold in a court of law, for we’ve had the MGR-starring Kalai […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Andhra Mess”… A listlessly plotted film that spends all its time trying to be too cool

June 22, 2018

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/andhra-mess-movie-review-baradwaj-rangan/ A ndhra Mess, directed by Jai, belongs to the “What if…?” genre. This is not to be confused with the kitchen-sink genre, where the director throws in everything and hopes at least some of it works. Here, we are talking about a vision. What […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

Interview: Ravi Varman – Part 1 / 2

June 21, 2018

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@fcompanionsouth inaugurates a new series, #Journeys, with #Sanju cinematographer Ravi Varman. Ravi Varman is one of India’s top cinematographers. In this two-part video, he talks about his struggling days, moving on to early films like Jalamarmaram, Shantham and Armaan. He describes how he developed a cinematographic eye and how he acquired his learnings from big […]

It’s not just ‘Race 3’, even the films of Renoir, Bergman, Fellini, et al have been thoroughly trashed

June 18, 2018

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/not-just-salman-khans-race-3-films-of-renoir-bergman-felini-have-also-been-thoroughly-trashed-4534351.html The release of Race 3 has unleashed a series of savage reviews – and deservedly so. There’s always the criticism that filmmaking is such a complex effort, involving so much Hard Work, and it’s unfair to dismiss all this in a snarky summation. But when so many […]

Bitty Ruminations 88 – Caste and ‘Kaala’

June 18, 2018

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It’s usual to see increased levels of discussion when it comes to big films. It’s also not surprising to see more people chiming in to say “yes, I agree with you” or “I disagree.” But the Kaala discussions have been unusually sobering. When I wrote the imaginary Q and A, some regular commenters here felt […]

“Race 3.”… The third time’s the harm, as a cheerfully brainless franchise turns into (gulp!) a family saga

June 16, 2018

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/race-3-review-salman-khan-bobby-deol-baradwaj-rangan/ The choreographer-turned-director Remo D’Souza may be the most truthful filmmaker in Bollywood. He knows he’s not out to make classics, which may be why the titles of his films appear almost confessional. First came F.A.L.T.U. Translation: Don’t say you weren’t warned! It’s the cinematic equivalent […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

“Goli Soda 2.”… A sequel that remains interesting and inventive until it turns into… a Hari movie

June 14, 2018

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/goli-soda-2-movie-review-baradwaj-rangan/ A sequel usually picks up where the earlier film left off, or catches up with the same set of characters a few years later. Vijay Milton’s Goli Soda 2 is different — similar enough to belong to the world of Goli Soda, but dissimilar enough […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

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 […]

Readers Write In #42: Two Superstars, Two seminal Films, Two Iconic roles

June 13, 2018

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Amitabh Bachchan’s Don and Mohanlal’s Chithram, 2 Iconic films of  the 2 most beloved superstars as well as the greatest actors of the country celebrate their 40th and 30th anniversary respectively this year. Here is a look back Amitabh Bachchan and Mohanlal made their debut in movies almost a decade apart. Bachchan in 1969 with […]

With the release of ‘Kaala’, here’s a quick tour of political cinema from around the world

June 11, 2018

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/with-the-release-of-kaala-heres-a-quick-tour-of-political-cinema-from-around-the-world-4505139.html The release of Pa Ranjith’s Kaala, starring Rajinikanth, has brought politics back into filmmaking. The film isn’t entirely successful, but its most incendiary passages made me wonder if there is another instance, anywhere in the world, of a famous star being used to convey the director’s ideology. […]

“Kaala”… The second Rajini-Ranjith outing is better than ‘Kabali’, but still an odd fit for both

June 7, 2018

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/kaala-movie-review-rajinikanth-pa-ranjith-dhanush-huma-qureshi-baradwaj-rangan/ Six years after Mullum Malarum (1978), director Mahendran and star Rajinikanth made Kai Kodukkum Kai, a sensitive drama now remembered mostly for the Ilayaraja beauty, Thazhampoove vaasam veesu. The film bombed. It’s difficult to say why exactly a film fails — it could be […]

“Bhavesh Joshi – Superhero”… A sombre not-quite-superhero tale whose flaws don’t make it any less fascinating

June 5, 2018

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Spoilers ahead… One half of the title of Vikramaditya Motwane’s Bhavesh Joshi – Superhero is true: the protagonist, a masked crime-fighter, does call himself Bhavesh Joshi. The other part, however, is debatable — for this hero is anything but super. In his first mission, he engineers an explosion and while the clock is ticking, he […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

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. […]

On mood-over-plot films like ‘The Wonders’ and female filmmakers like Alice Rohrwacher

June 4, 2018

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: <a href=”https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/why-mood-over-plot-films-like-the-wonders-and-female-filmmakers-like-alice-rohrwacher-stand-out-4494957.html Alice Rohrwacher won the Best Screenplay award at Cannes, this year, for Lazzaro Felice (Happy as Lazaro). Her earlier feature, Le Meraviglie (The Wonders), won the Grand Prix at Cannes, in 2014. But she seems fairly unknown outside the hard-core cinephile crowd – which is what […]