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“Baahubali 2: The Conclusion”… Less intriguing than Part I, but still a rousing, astonishing achievement

Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/baahubali-2-the-conclusion-movie-review-baradwaj-rangan The war is over. Mahishmati awaits the coronation of its new king, Amarendra Baahubali (Prabhas). Show More Summary

The old man and the hill

A flashback to moments from the 2002 Kannada drama ‘Dweepa’, where the construction of a dam threatens an ancient way of life. Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/southern-lights-the-old-man-and-the-hill Only the lower gates of the dam have been closed, and already the water levels have climbed to half the height of the hill […]

“Sonata”… Shabana Azmi has loads of fun in a stilted, yet thought-provoking drama

Spoilers ahead… Shabana Azmi has been our go-to “serious actress” for so long that it’s easy to forget she was once cavorting around in Manmohan Desai movies and cat-fighting with Aruna Irani in Fakira. Aparna Sen’s Sonata, based on the Mahesh Elkunchwar play, rediscovers Azmi in that mode – she’s a delight as Dolon Sen, […]

“Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu”… A wonderfully laidback stroll through the lives of small-towners obsessed with cricket

Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/rakshadhikari-baiju-oppu-movie-review Watching Ranjan Pramod’s Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu (Patron Baiju’s Signature), I was filled with fury. Show More Summary

5 Filmmaking Tropes of Bala

We’re beginning a new column in Film Companion, on important Tamil filmmakers. The author is Ram Chander, who comments on this blog. The first installment is about Bala. Read the full piece on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/5-filmmaking-tropes-of-bala...Show More Summary

The Amateur’s Art #16 – “Idhayathin Iyakkangal” (Tamil, with English subs)

See here for what this series is about. This short is by Arun Mahalingam, his first. Filed under: Short Films, The Amateur's Art

“Noor”… An uneasy mix of a “serious” film that’s problematic and a rom-com that’s fun

Spoilers ahead… Sunhil Sippy’s Noor is a strange film, and not necessarily in a bad way. For a while, it goes for a Hollywood-rom-com vibe that’s derivative (a fun visual language, non-stop bounce on the soundtrack) and yet reasonably diverting. It’s that whole Bridget Jones thing about being an overweight klutz, worried about one’s “wobbly […]

“Maatr”… An exploitation movie that’s single-minded, but has too few lurid kicks

Spoilers ahead… For once, just once, I’d like to see a rape-themed film where the rapist isn’t a minister’s son. I know I’m treading on dangerous territory here, but aren’t there chartered accountants or barbers out there siring progeny with scant respect for women? The reason for this screenwriting cliché is, of course, that a […]

“Nagarvalam”… Yet another riff on the “Kadhal” template, with lukewarm results

Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/nagarvalam-movie-review Early on in Nagarvalam (Around the City), written and directed by Marxx, the hero’s friend (Balasaravanan) makes...Show More Summary

Law and disorder

A deep dive into moments from the 2010 Telugu political drama ‘Leader’, where an idealist becomes Chief Minister and sets out to eliminate corruption. I have a thing for idealistic dramas in which a newbie-politician changes the corrupt System. Shankar’s Mudhalvan (Tamil; Nayak in Hindi) is one. Sekhar Kammula’s Leader is another. The former (which […]

Readers Write In #14: Back to school

“When you’re a little kid, you are a bit of everything-artist, scientist, athlete, scholar. Sometimes, it seems life is like a process of giving those things up, one by one.” – The Wonder Years. When you live in Besant Nagar and your school is in Mandavalli, the one hour trip on the school bus to […]

“Sakhavu”… An idealistic, even simplistic political drama that nonetheless warms the heart

Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: The nutshell version of Sidhartha Siva’s Sakhavu (Comrade) brings to mind Oru Mexican Aparatha, released barely a month ago. Both films are about Communism – more specifically, the before/after arc of a happy-go-lucky youth. And both films feature their leading man (Tovino Thomas there; Nivin […]

“Anaarkali of Aarah”… A very effective “no-means-no” story, with superb performances

Spoilers ahead… Swara Bhaskar bites into the role of a lifetime in Avinash Das’s Anaarkali of Aarah, and she’s gloriously crass, a world removed from the hushed metro-chic of modern-day Bollywood. Her clothes span the gamut of Holi colours – her makeup too. She’s a folk singer/dancer, which is in itself something of a novelty, […]

The Amateur’s Art #15 – “Uyiralapedai ” (Tamil, with English subs)

See here for what this series is about. This short is by Lokesh Raghuraman N. Filed under: Short Films, The Amateur's Art

“Kadamban”… An eco-adventure tale that’s not entirely unwatchable

Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: Avatar meets Lagaan in the Ragava-directed Kadamban (Protector). From the former, we get the story of an indigenous people – tribals from the village of Kadambavanam, high in the hills – being preyed on by greedy corporate-capitalists. (The villain is in the cement business. There’s […]

“Pa Paandi”… An uneven film whose flaws are overcome by a fine closing stretch

Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: For the second time in as many weeks, we get a lead character that’s new to Tamil cinema. The protagonist of Pa Paandi, written and directed by Dhanush, is introduced like a ‘mass’ hero. The camera assumes his vantage as he strolls down his neighbourhood […]

“Begum Jaan”…

Spoilers ahead… Not watching ‘Begum Jaan’ for now, but here’s what I wrote about the original, ‘Rajkahini,’ after I caught it at the Chennai International Film Festival: A man behind me loved the dialogues in Srijit Mukherji’s intermittently powerful, eminently watchable period drama Rajkahini. He kept applauding. It’s the art-house equivalent of wolf whistles during […]

The Dhanush interview

My video interview with Dhanush for Film Companion. Copyright ©2017 Film Companion.Filed under: Cinema: Hindi, Cinema: Tamil, Interview

The Amateur’s Art #14 – “Vizhi” (Tamil)

See here for what this series is about. This short is by Rajarajan, from the BOFTA institute. Filed under: Short Films, The Amateur's Art

The Mani Ratnam Interview – Part 3

My Mani Ratnam video interview for Film Companion. Part 1: Copyright ©2017 Film Companion.Filed under: Cinema: Hindi, Cinema: Tamil, Interview

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