“Yaanum Theeyavan”… A thriller plot with potential is derailed by unfocused narration

June 30, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/yaanum-theeyavan-movie-review Walking out of Yaanum Theeyavan (I am a Villain Too), directed by Prashanth G Sekar, I was still unclear about the kind of movie I’d just seen. At first, it looks like a launch vehicle for newcomer Ashwin Jerome, who plays Michael. He strums his guitar […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Ivan Thanthiran”… An interesting premise where ‘mass’ elements come in the way of genre thrills

June 30, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/ivan-thanthiran-movie-review As beginnings go, the one in Ivan Thanthiran (He’s a Wizard) isn’t without intrigue. Sakthi (Gautham Karthik) is being held captive – we don’t know his name yet – and drugs are being shoved up his nose. This narrative technique of parachuting the audience […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Tubelight”… A lethargic drama where the director seems as “miscast” as the hero

June 25, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… You heard it here first: In a forthcoming film, Salman Khan will play Sita. In Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, the character he played hailed from Ayodhya. In Bajrangi Bhaijaan, he played a Hanuman devotee. Now, in Kabir Khan’s Tubelight – an adaptation of the American drama Little Boy, transposed to Kumaon during the […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

Bitty Ruminations 85 – Speaking to the ‘other’ India

June 25, 2017

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Every time I read an op-ed in an English-language newspaper, every time I sit through a panel discussion at a Lit Fest or any other event, this is what strikes me: that you are preaching to the choir. The people in the audience have already bought into what you’re selling: women need to be respected, […]

The Amateur’s Art #22- “Axiom of Choice” (Tamil, with English subs)

June 24, 2017

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See here for what this series is about. A note about this short: We, Karpanai Kudhirai are a performing arts/theatre enthusiasts from the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru. We have staged a couple of Tamil plays and struck an excellent chord with the live audience. The response and encouragement we received have spurred us to […]

“Vanamagan”… An amiably silly comic adventure turns into tiresome drama

June 24, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/vanamagan-movie-review In the opening scene of Vanamagan (Son of the Forest), an Andamanese tribal named Jara (Jayam Ravi) is captured. He speaks to a fellow-captive in a language specially created for the film, but you wonder why they bothered. Couldn’t they have just dug into […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Anbanavan Asaradhavan Adangadhavan”… A tiresome star vehicle with a mind-boggling stance on women

June 23, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/anbanavan-asaradhavan-adangadhavan-movie-review Most star vehicles give you one hero-introduction scene. Perhaps in acknowledgement of the tripartite nature of the title, Anbanavan Asaradhavan Adangadhavan gives us three. The first is the usual fanfare around the reveal of the hero. It’s a prison-escape sequence, rather unexcitingly shot. But […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

The Jayam Ravi interview

June 22, 2017

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My video interview with Jayam Ravi, a light-hearted (as in, completely un-serious) Q and A on the eve of the release of Vanamagan. Copyright ©2017 Film Companion.

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil, Interview

A tale of two rejections

June 22, 2017

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A flashback to moments from the 2001 Telugu drama ‘Tiladaanam’, the story of a priest who’s fallen on hard times. Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/southern-lights-tiladaanam KNT Sastry’s Tiladaanam (The Rite… A Passion) can be seen as a companion piece to Vamsha Vriksha, the Kannada drama discussed in this column last week. […]

“Maragatha Naanayam”… Better than your average horror-comedy, but could have been much better

June 21, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/maragatha-naanayam-movie-review What would you do if your story began with a prologue in the Pallava period, dealing specifically with a supernatural emerald stone (hence the title, Maragatha Naanayam), and came to rest in the present day, with numerous raiders after the lost artefact? One option […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

Talking heads

June 19, 2017

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Ramsu, who has commented here in the past, has a post up about my interviews for Film Companion. FC South is just a few months old and we still have a long way to go, but this was a nice shot in the arm. Excerpt: I wonder if Baradwaj Rangan’s training as an engineer has […]

Posted in: Interview, Personal

The Amateur’s Art #21- “Kivi Maathu” (Kannada, with English subs)

June 17, 2017

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See here for what this series is about. This short has been written and directed by Sandeep Kumar. Short Synopsis: Dayanand, a regular waiter at a bar is thrown into turmoil when he gets a call from his wife informing him that their daughter has eloped. The words of wisdom coming from a un-precedented corner […]

Readers Write In #19: Of bandhs and the VCR boom

June 17, 2017

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I was in college in my sophomoron year (sic)  and I’d just discovered the joys of binging on Video cassettes. My  classmate in college was one of the first families to own a VCR (Video cassette Recorder) and I was a regular at his place, watching the old classics as well as the latest releases […]

“Uru”… A pretty entertaining thriller that asks us to make up our own minds

June 17, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/uru-movie-review In Vicky Anand’s Uru (Fear), Kalaiyarasan plays a writer named Jeevan. Early on, we see him waiting outside a publisher’s office, sweat trickling down his forehead. As it turns out, he needn’t have worried. The publisher loves his manuscript. The interaction between Jeevan and […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Behen Hogi Teri”… A small-town romance with a few laughs, and that’s not enough

June 16, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Ajay K Pannalal’s Behen Hogi Teri is a riff on that old joke about the school-assembly pledge: All Indians are my brothers and sisters. Say what? Then who is one supposed to marry? Here, it’s the ritual of tying a rakhi and reducing a possible beau to a brother. In an early scene, Gattu […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

“Peechaankai”… A killer premise that should have resulted in a way-funnier film

June 15, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/peechankai-movie-review I seem to be seeing Bresson everywhere. A couple of weeks back, we had Oru Kidayin Karunai Manu, where the donkey from Au Hasard Balthazar appeared to have reincarnated as a goat in southern Tamil Nadu, and now we have Peechankai (Left Hand), a […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

A very big man

June 15, 2017

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A flashback to moments from the 1972 Kannada drama ‘Vamsha Vruksha’, the story of a widow who remakes her life. Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/southern-lights-vamsha-vriksha Can a man be both traditional and modern? Can a Brahmin believe in rites and rituals and the Hindu way of life (which, sometimes, can be […]

The Balaji Mohan interview

June 14, 2017

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My video interview with Balaji Mohan, on the eve of the release of his web series, As I’m suffering from Kadhal. Copyright ©2017 Film Companion.

“Raabta”… A dreadful love story that fails at just about every level

June 12, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Dinesh Vijan’s Raabta begins with Shiv (Sushant Singh Rajput), an Amritsar lad, leaving for London. His entire clan comes to see him off, all but breaking into the title song of Rang De Basanti. The tiniest shiver ran through my spine. At the airport, Shiv hears of a celestial object about to pass […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

The Amateur’s Art #20- “Nodiyil Oru Pizhai” (Tamil, with English subs)

June 10, 2017

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See here for what this series is about. This short has been written and directed by Ganesh Dhandapani.