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Kamal Haasan – Part 5

The fifth part of the Kamal Haasan interview about his life in the arts can be found here. The newer installments are below the older ones….Filed under: Arts: Indian

“Mary Kom”… Not so much a biopic as a sturdy melodrama

Spoilers ahead… Mary Kom opens with a note that says this is “based on” the boxer’s story, so we know we’re in not for the truth but for a version of the truth, shaped by the expediencies of drama. And then, we are plunged into drama. We are in Imphal. Mary (Priyanka) is in labour, […]

Not an ice guy

Grouchy reflections on the ALS ice bucket challenge and the changing, um, face of Facebook. I must confess that I have begun to dread logging into Facebook. I am afraid there’s going to be another tagging epidemic, egging me to do something crazy in order to do some good: Go to work dressed like Barbie […]

“Poriyaalan”… A gritty little thriller

Spoilers ahead… Poriyaalan gets off to an alarmingly conventional start. In a college reunion of civil engineers, the hero (Saravanan, played by Harish Kalyan) gets to mouth this rather banal ode to his ilk: “Ulagathoda future-a design pannradhu civil engineer” – he, and those like him, design the world’s future. There is a ‘Gaana’ Bala […]

“Amara Kaaviyam”… Too much poetry, too little passion

Spoilers ahead… What a title for a film set in the 1980s! One, it reminds us of that other Amara Kaaviyam from that decade, where someone thought that Muqaddar Ka Sikandar was best remade with Sivaji Ganesan in the lead. The actor, by then, was in that phase of his career where he was providing […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Police story”

Recalling the superb writing in ‘Khakee’, one of the great masala movies – it turned ten this year. I wish I’d thought of this piece earlier, this January to be precise.  That would have marked, exactly, ten years – a nice round figure – since the release of Rajkumar Santoshi’s Khakee, which has been coming […]

Kamal Haasan – Part 4

The fourth part of the Kamal Haasan interview about his life in the arts can be found here. The newer installments are below the older ones….Filed under: Arts: Indian

“Raja Natwarlal”… Con nuggets

Spoilers ahead… Until I watched Raja Natwarlal, I never realised I had any affection for Deepak Tijori. I didn’t know he was in the film, and I caught myself smiling when he appeared in the very first scene, schlubby and padded around the midriff, looking very much like the kind of meek, middle-class office-goer who, […]

“Salim”… MD threats

Spoilers ahead… Salim (Vijay Antony, who, in the words of the critic Leonard Maltin, runs the gamut of expressions from A to B) is a good man, which, in the movies, means that he has to keep doing good things so we don’t forget how good he is. Within the first half-hour of Salim, he […]

“Irumbu Kuthirai”… Biking myths

Spoilers ahead… Priya Anand seems to have become the go-to heroine for filmmakers with a certain Hollywoodian sensibility. If Vanakkam Chennai adhered to the classical rom-com template, then Arima Nambi was a conspiracy thriller, and now there’s Irumbu Kuthirai, which resembles all those rueful coming-of-age stories where a broken young man has to overcome a […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “A normal boy who does stupid things…”

Thoughts on ‘Njan Steve Lopez’, and the problem with email interviews. Slowly, surely, Rajeev Ravi, known to most people as “Anurag Kashyap’s cinematographer,” is creating an identity for himself as a filmmaker. His superb first film, Annayum Rasoolum (“Anna and Rasool”), was about a young man who falls in love. The girl rebuffs him at […]

Kamal Haasan – Part 3

The third part of the Kamal Haasan interview about his life in the arts can be found here. The newer installments are below the older ones….Filed under: Arts: Indian

The Man behind the Mahatma

Richard Attenborough: 1923 – 2014. An appreciation. To many Indians, Richard Attenborough, who died on Sunday at the age of 90, was the man who dusted the Mahatma off the pages of history textbooks and made him come alive on screen – if not with warts and all, then certainly with the great soul’s humanity […]

Kamal Haasan – Part 2

The second part of the Kamal Haasan interview about his life in the arts can be found here. The newer installments are below the older ones….Filed under: Arts: Indian

“Aindhaam Thalaimurai Sidha Vaidhiya Sigamani”… Dr. No-no

Spoilers ahead… No review of Aindhaam Thalaimurai Sidha Vaidhiya Sigamani can begin without acknowledging that title, which seems to have been devised solely as a means to rag students from Mumbai and Delhi who’ve just stepped into a Chennai college. “Pronounce this without pausing.” They’re done for. The film, on the other hand, seems to […]

“Mardaani”… Heroine-panti

Spoilers ahead… In the opening stretch of Mardaani, the camera peers at traffic from the back seat of a car, fuzzy taillights in the distance – it’s all very verité. In the front are two men we quickly recognise as cops. They stop to pick up a colleague, Shivani (Rani Mukerji), who’s dressed in a […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Cutting questions”

So we know now the censor board is corrupt. But how necessary is it in the first place? About the recent fuss around the censor board chief caught taking bribes, I have just this to add: I am not surprised. This was bound to happen. Over the years, censorship has become some sort of minor […]

Kamal Haasan – Part 2

The second part of the Kamal Haasan interview about his life in the arts can be found here.Filed under: Arts: Indian

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