“Babumoshai Bandookbaaz”… An anything-goes genre hybrid that’s totally nuts, and totally entertaining

August 30, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… If you love RD Burman’s songs from Amar Prem, I’d advise you to skip the first few minutes of Kushan Nandy’s Babumoshai Bandookbaaz. An early scene has a hitman named Babu Bihari (a terrifically sleazy Nawazuddin Siddiqui) heading to the fields with a radio and a Dalda can filled with water. He squats, taking […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

The RS Prasanna interview

August 30, 2017

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My video interview with RS Prasanna, on taking Kalyana Samayal Sadham to Bollywood. Copyright ©2017 Film Companion.

“Sniff”… A fantastic premise, a missed opportunity

August 26, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Would food taste as good if you couldn’t smell it? This isn’t the kind of existential question that you’d think would plague a child – Sunny (Khushmeet Gill) – but the boy has no sense of smell, and his grandmother (known, simply, as bebe, and played by Surekha Sikri) is devastated. The film […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

“A Gentleman”… An action-comedy that comes up short on both counts

August 26, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Good directors are allowed to make bad movies, but with Happy Ending and, now, A Gentleman, Raj and DK have ventured into a peculiar place: they’re making bland movies. There’s no personality, only empty professionalism. The latter can, of course, be its own reward – and the reward, usually, is the verdict, “it’s […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

“Vivegam”… A generic action movie with decent ideas but no follow-through

August 24, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/vivegam-movie-review Vivegam (Prudence) is a big-hero movie, so let’s begin with the big hero introduction shot. We’re in a Serbian forest, where Evil Man No. 1 is selling a hard disk to Evil Man No. 2. One of them calls himself “ruler of Russian mafia,” […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Bareilly Ki Barfi”… A glibly entertaining rom-com that ignores its pricklier side

August 23, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… If you think a terrific Rajkummar Rao performance is its own reward, Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s Bareilly Ki Barfi is every bit the sweet treat the title promises. The actor plays Pritam Vidrohi, a mild-mannered salesman whose life is turned inside out by a childhood friend named Chirag Dubey (Ayushmann Khurrana, another actor whose […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

“Podhuvaga EmManasu Thangam”… An utterly generic hero-versus-villain comedy-drama

August 18, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/podhuvaga-emmanasu-thangam-movie-review How do you tweak the standard hero-versus-villain rural melodrama? You could do worse than cast Parthiepan as the villain. The actor lends some of his trademark colour to the part of a big shot named Oothukaataan, who swears revenge on a neighbouring village because […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Velai Illa Pattadhaari 2.”… A pleasantly surprising masala movie, even if it lacks the punch of Part 1

August 18, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/vip-2-movie-review Whether we’re talking Bond movies or the Dhoom franchise or the Singam series, the mantra of the next instalment is this: feed them more of the same hit formula, yet make it taste different. So one doesn’t walk into Velai Illa Pattadhari 2 (Unemployed […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Toilet – Ek Prem Katha”… An overlong, messagey, but satisfying social-issue melodrama

August 17, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… When I heard of the premise of Toilet: Ek Prem Katha – the problems arising from the lack of toilet facilities – I thought it would be like Joker, the Tamil drama whose crux was similar. But Toilet isn’t as sophisticated. It’s something far simpler, something you don’t expect to see in these […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

“Tharamani”… A flawed, yet fascinating look at men, women and their circumstances

August 17, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/taramani-movie-review Ram’s first film, Kattradhu Thamizh, was about a young man with an MA in Tamil. The director’s third film, Tharamani, is about a young man with an MA in English. But this is not to suggest a sudden leap into Gautham Menon territory. The […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Meesaya Murukku”… An ineffective romance, an unconvincing coming-of-age drama

August 8, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/meesaya-murukku-movie-review The musical duo named Hiphop Tamizha – comprising Adhi and Jeeva – is behind the surprise success, Meesaya Murukku (Twirl that Moustache). They’ve written the story, screenplay, dialogue and lyrics, composed the music, and directed the film, which is somewhat autobiographical: this is the […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Varnyathil Aashanka”… A slyly written shaggy-dog story masquerading as a heist movie

August 7, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/varnyathil-aashanka-movie-review The title, Varnayathil Ashanka (Confusion in the Description), couldn’t be more appropriate. Sidharth Bharathan’s new film could be described as a “heist movie” – a jewellery-store heist is, after all, the most conspicuous aspect of the movie, the thing you’d mention in the one-liner […]

Posted in: Cinema: Malayalam

“Jab Harry Met Sejal”… Girl searches for ring, audience searches for Imtiaz Ali

August 4, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Some fifteen minutes into Jab Harry Met Sejal, when I began to fidget in my seat, I wondered if my expectations were the problem. There’s first that title, suggesting two beloved romances, Jab We Met and When Harry Met Sally. But more importantly, the film unites Hindi cinema’s preeminent maker of love stories […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

“Gurgaon”… A sumptuous-looking but remote crime drama, more concept than cinema

August 4, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Early on in Shanker Raman’s Gurgaon (“inspired by true events”), Preet (Ragini Khanna) walks into the kitchen, greets her mother. She’s come home after studying architecture abroad, and her mother, after a quick embrace, hands her a plate of pakoras to deliver to her father, who is in the adjoining room, making merry […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

Blog vs Bharatvarsh

August 3, 2017

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sai16vicky mentioned something in the Dunkirk thread, and it spawned a few responses. Posting them here, as a new thread, in case you feel like chiming in. sai16vicky August 2, 2017 BR, I have always respected your views on Free Speech (though my stand is different). But with you banning Anuj, I have a question […]

The TM Krishna interview

August 3, 2017

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My video interview with TM Krishna, on Tamil film music. (The promos appear first — these are bits that did not make it to the final cut of the interview.) Copyright ©2017 Film Companion.

“Indu Sarkar”… A surprisingly decent Bhandarkar drama, rooted in the politics (and cinema) of the 1970s

July 30, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Here’s what a Madhur Bhandarkar “touch” looks like. It’s the Emergency era, and Indu (Kirti Kulhari) has brought home two children whose parents are missing. (Their slum was razed down to make way for a five-star hotel.) Indu’s husband Navin (an excellent Tota Roy Chowdhury), a mid-level government official who prioritises his needs […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

“Mubarakan”… A bearable comedy (but nothing more)

July 30, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Had Mubarakan just been about the characters played by its senior cast, we’d have had a family melodrama of a bachelor brother (Anil Kapoor’s Kartar Singh) torn between his warring siblings: Jeeto (Ratna Pathak) and Baljeet (Pavan Malhotra). But the film wants to be an Anees Bazmee comedy as well, the kind where […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

In sequence…

July 30, 2017

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Got this via email, and thought I’d put it out here for a discussion, if people want to bite… Hi BR, some old classics play on the big screen here, and tomorrow there is Vertigo (1958) by Alfred Hitchcock. Is it better to watch movies by certain directors in a timeline sequence with respect to release date ? (so […]

Posted in: Cinema

“Nibunan”… A serial-killer thriller becomes a proficiently made vehicle for its star

July 29, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/nibunan-movie-review Note the poster in the room of the protagonist’s child in Nibunan (Expert). It has Arjun’s face morphed onto a superhero’s body, and it says: My daddy is a superman. Everyone seems to agree. Arjun plays a supercop named Ranjith Kalidoss, and his deputies […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil