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“Kayal”… Has its moments, but strains too hard to be an epic

Spoilers ahead… The ignition point of every love story is the stretch where the hero and heroine meet – and in Kayal, the director Prabhu Solomon gives us a wonderfully orchestrated sequence. Aaron (Chandran) and his friend Socrates (Vincent) have unknowingly abetted a crime – at least, it’s a crime in the eyes of the […]

“Meaghamann”… A pretty decent action-adventure

Spoilers ahead… A young drug-cartel employee named Siva is shown to be a bad shot – such a bad shot that he misses even the outermost circle of the target board in front of him. (The bullet pathetically pierces the surrounding wooden frame instead.) A little later, Siva is shown to be having an affair […]

A ladies’ man

‘Avargal’ is a good place to begin analysing K Balachander’s unique, complicated and quite amazing love for his female characters. As reductive as it sounds, is there one film that sums up K Balachander? It isn’t easy – not when there are so many to choose from, but maybe we can settle on Avargal, which […]

“pk”… Funny, yes, but now it’s begun to feel like formula

Spoilers ahead… Rajkumar Hirani has often spoken about his admiration for Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s films, and it comes as no surprise. Hirani’s films, from the two Munnabhai entries to 3 Idiots, are essentially reworkings of Mukherjee’s...Show More Summary

“Pisaasu”… A terrific addition to one of the most exciting oeuvres in Tamil cinema

Spoilers ahead… The title of Mysskin’s new movie, Pisaasu, suggests a change of pace. After years of dealing with stories about dread, you think the director has opted for a genre – horror – that will allow him to ratchet up the queasiness quotient a couple of notches. But despite the presence of the titular […]

The misogyny in Rajinikanth’s cinema

This is a response by Rahini David to the review of Lingaa. It’s a counter to an accusation (by another commenter) that Shankar’s films are worse than the average masala-film in terms of the regressive concepts they put forth. Such good points here that, in my opinion (happy?), it deserved to be rescued from languishing […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Moses supposes…”

Thoughts on ‘Exodus’, ‘The Ten Commandments’, Old Hollywood and New Hollywood. Just last week, I wrote about Gone With the Wind, and how, 75 years after its release, it remains the epitome of a certain style of filmmaking – the Old Hollywood Style, if you will. I was reminded of that style again while watching […]

The effects of ga-ma radiation

Some of the ‘Metro Plus’ staffers, all newbies to Carnatic music, had questions about the Season. Baradwaj Rangan attempts to keep a straight face and provide answers. (All names are changed.) Dear BR: If we’re listening to an earnest Abheri and the smell of the adai-avial from the canteen is irresistible, what do we do? […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “A study in Scarlett”

Training an Indian-cinema lens on the still-awesome ‘Gone With the Wind’, which turns 75 on December 15. Leonard Maltin, in his video guide, had this to say about Gone With the Wind: “If not the greatest movie ever made, certainly one of the greatest examples of storytelling on film, maintaining interest for nearly four hours.” […]

“Lingaa”… Talky, overlong, and lays no claim to our emotions

Spoilers ahead… One question we ask of most Rajinikanth movies, as we exit them, is this: Why aren’t they better? As a star, he occupies a universe of his own, so budgetary issues can’t be the problem – you could ask for the moon and get it. With him on board, there’s going to be […]

Meetup

Had a great time meeting some of the regulars on this blog yesterday… (L to R) Anuja (the author of Kamadeva, and who blogs here), Olemisstarana, Venkatesh (who claims he discovered me, the Bharathiraja to my Rati Agnihotri), Rahini and Deepan.Filed under: Personal

The launch…

This is a Book Club event and entry is by invite only, so do let me know in advance if you need an invite. Look forward to seeing at least some of you there.Filed under: Books, Cinema: Hindi, Cinema: Tamil

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Time passages”

Now that awards season has begun in the US, some thoughts on the wonderful ‘Boyhood’, an Oscar frontrunner. In the Before movies, Richard Linklater’s signature trope (if you want to call it that) was the walk-and-talk. The couple kept walking, the couple kept talking. And at some point, I was reminded of how Woody Allen […]

“One”… A little too pretty, but the sound, the music is what matters

Spoilers ahead… During the release of his first concert film, Margazhi Raagam, the director Jayendra Panchapakesan said, “A concert is the feeling of an artist performing on stage and an audience sitting down and listening.” By that definition, his new film, One, is not a concert film – though you could certainly make the case […]

The silent musicians

Most of the artists in the performing circuit in Chennai have been groomed by individual gurus. So what about those who learn music in institutions? In a small room behind the Woodlands counter at Narada Gana Sabha, three schoolgirls, aged 13 to 17, were sitting on a mat. An electronic sruthi box lay on a […]

“Ungli”… A facile film that doesn’t want to get its hands dirty

Spoilers ahead… I may be a little off here in terms of the exact number, but in Rensil D’Silva’s Ungli, we have the 6784-th filmic instance of a hapless senior citizen camped out at a pension office while corrupt clerks refuse to look at his file unless he slips them some money. Is the situation […]

“Kaaviyathalaivan”… A great premise that doesn’t fulfill its potential

Spoilers ahead… G Vasanthabalan’s Kaaviyathalaivan transposes the barebones of Amadeus into the world of Tamil theatre in the pre-Independence period. In that film, we saw the court composer Salieri as a hard-working musician who did things by the book, and he could never transcend mediocrity – and when he laid eyes on the preternaturally gifted […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Two-film wonder”

Why did C Rudraiah’s career never take off after his dazzling debut film? The film industry’s answer: “Avar Appadithan.” This is your first film, and even the way you refer to this first film in the acknowledgements at the beginning is different – not as “mudhal padam,” which is the literal translation, but as “kanni […]

Reviews…

REVIEWS IN THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA A review by Sudhir Srinivasan, in The Hindu, is here. An excerpt: While it may seem like a fairly plain statement to make, you catch yourself going back to it during the infrequent times that you disagree with his points. Whether you agree with the reviews or not, there’s little […]

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