“Vai Raja Vai”… An inoffensive caper

May 5, 2015


Spoilers ahead… Aishwarya R. Dhanush likes men who see things. The protagonist of her first film, 3, saw holographic demons. Or something. The protagonist of her follow-up, Vai Raja Vai, sees the future. At least, he knows what’s coming. That’s his boon and the film’s curse. Early on, we get a hint that the clairvoyance […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Uttama Villain”… A superb core let down by lackluster filmmaking

May 2, 2015


Spoilers ahead… Kamal Haasan’s films suffer sometimes because they end up looking like vanity projects, but Uttama Villain, directed by Ramesh Aravind, couldn’t be anything else – for this is the story of a vain star named Manoranjan (Kamal Haasan). This is cinema about cinema, and because Tamil cinema is really about the hero, the […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

Terms of indoor-ment

May 1, 2015


Every time I return from a trip abroad, the one thing I’m glad to return to is the health faucet, even if I’ve never really figured out why it is called that. We are unafraid to announce other parts of the anatomy. Without a care, we say “eye shadow,” “ear buds,” “nose ring,” “tongue piercing,” […]

“Court”… An impressive achievement

April 30, 2015


Spoilers ahead… Note the way Chaitanya Tamhane’s Court begins. An old man. A bunch of kids. The setting: an unremarkable room. The old man is trying to teach the kids something. He’s teaching them about butterflies. He’s teaching them about the country’s geography. Now, note the way Court ends. Another old man. Another bunch of […]

Posted in: Cinema: Regional

Comments? Or bulletin board?

April 27, 2015


After going through the comments under the “O Kadhal Kanmani review,” a reader wrote in via email that not many people read the comments section and therefore it might be useful to… I’ll let you read for yourself. Any thoughts? Just read the comments to your befitting review of OK Kanmani. What wonderful conversations. Lot’s […]

Posted in: Personal

“Margarita With a Straw”… A light, lovely tale of sexual awakening and other things that make up life

April 25, 2015


Spoilers ahead… Laila (Kalki Koechlin), the protagonist of Shonali Bose’s Margarita With a Straw, is like any other person in their late teens/early twenties, give or take a skill or two. She’s on Facebook. She’s terrific at chess. She’s into music – she writes lyrics for a band called Tribe. She’s friends with these musicians […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

“Mr. X”… A sci-fi disaster

April 24, 2015


Spoilers ahead… Vikram Bhatt’s Mr. X is an irredeemably bad film, and proof of its irredeemable badness arrives very early. We are with Raghu (Emraan Hashmi) and Sia (Amyra Dastur) in their bedroom. They’ve just made love – at least we think they’ve made love. We don’t actually see anything. This coyness is a little […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

Caste and class in popular Tamil cinema

April 23, 2015


Observing and interpreting class or caste markers in the discussion of a film isn’t the same as celebrating them. I co-wrote a screenplay some years ago, and we named the hero Rahul. We hadn’t thought about Rahul’s caste.  The only thing he was, in our minds, was young – and Rahul sounded like a young […]

In verse

April 18, 2015


April, I hear, is National Poetry Month. Only in the United States, technically, but we can, we should appropriate it for the global village too. And so here I am, wondering how to celebrate NPM this morning While at my desk, waiting for my phone to charge And the laundry cycle to finish. Maybe I’ll […]

Posted in: Fiction, Personal

“O Kadhal Kanmani”… A lightweight but enjoyable romance

April 17, 2015


Spoilers ahead… After a long time, I caught myself smiling while watching a Mani Ratnam movie. The cuteness, the zingers, the youngness – it’s all back. Seen one way, O Kadhal Kanmani is something of a greatest-hits package. It’s as if the director is telling us: “So you didn’t like it when I went too […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

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