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“Kavalai Vendam”… An awful mix of gross-out gags and romance

Spoilers ahead… Another week. Another story about a local boy and a so-way-out-of-his-league-she-may-as-well-be-Scarlett Johansson girl. Except, the director Deekay is ambitious. In these films, we usually get just the loosu ponnu. Kavalai Vendam gives us a loosu paiyan, a loosu amma, a loosu appa, a couple of loosu friends… The film is this year’s Raja […]

An inglourious wish list

Idle (and admittedly wild) ruminations on Quentin Tarantino’s next two films, which he’s announced will be his last two films. At the Jerusalem film festival this year, in July, Quentin Tarantino announced that he would retire after making his tenth film, which meant he’d be making two more. If the number suggests he has made […]

“Force 2.”… A generic but decent-enough action entry

Spoilers ahead… It must not be easy being John Abraham. It’s the Arnold Schwarzenegger problem, the Sylvester Stallone problem. When people approach you to carry a movie on your shoulders, they mean it literally. In Abhinay Deo’s Force 2, Abraham has to carry a car as well. At least, lift it from behind, in an imitation […]

“Kadavul Irukaan Kumaru”… Even by M Rajesh’s standards, terribly unfunny

Spoilers ahead… If the Prime Minister, tomorrow, announces a surgical strike against filmmakers whose currency is no longer valid, may I propose M Rajesh’s name? I have never been a fan of this director. His films go on and on, and there’s no rhythm – fatal in a comedy. His latest film, Kadavul Irukaan Kumaru, […]

The Amateur’s Art #10 – “Naam” (Tamil)

See here for what this series is about. This short is by Pradeep Kumar. Director’s note: It deals about the mind of a mentally ill child. It won best actors award and 2nd runner up in Cini bees national short film competition. Filed under: Short Films, The Amateur's Art

“Rock On II”… As needless sequels go, not entirely a waste of time

Spoilers ahead… It took me a few listens to get into Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s score for Rock On II. The music is somewhere between fantastic and forgettable – but that’s just another way of saying it’s the perfect background for chores. Like dicing carrots. Or doing the laundry. Or watching this movie. The songs are better on […]

Interview: Karan Johar

A new film. A new season of his guilty-pleasure TV show. And a new sense of liberation. Karan Johar talks. Baradwaj Rangan listens. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that we’ve never seen a filmmaker like Karan Johar. It isn’t just the films, those unabashed celebrations of very pretty people in very pretty locations […]

Vox un-populi?

Musings on the media, post the bomb that just blew up in the United States. The recent events around Trump already seemed to have played out at movie theatres around Tamil Nadu, around the time the film Remo was released. The word around the rom-com, starring the young (and young-skewing) actor Sivakarthikeyan, was toxic. The […]

“Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada”… An underwhelming mishmash of genres

Spoilers ahead… Gautham Menon’s Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada is a mind-scrambling mix of genres – part romance, part road movie, part action thriller, part what-if-Michael-Corleone-came-to-Kollywood? The film begins with the admission that it is inspired by a moment from The Godfather – it turns out to be the moment at the hospital where Michael becomes a […]

West side stories

At the Jio MAMI film festival with vampiric mermaids, touchingly liberal Indians, a donkey laden with symbolism, an unusual gay pairing, a rape fantasy, and a sparklingly restored version of ‘Teesri Manzil’. This year’s Mumbai Film Festival played out differently. Usually, I flip through the catalogue and say, “I have to see this film. And […]

“Kodi”… A very effective masala movie, despite a very ineffective heroine

Spoilers ahead… After Thodari, Dhanush could have made Parattai Engira Azhagu Sundaram: Part 2 and we’d be calling it a return to form – but Kodi, directed by RS Durai Senthilkumar, is really the kind of “commercial movie” we wish more of our stars would make. A bird’s eye view of the plot suggests business […]

The Amateur’s Art #9 – “Ulaga Nadaththai” (Tamil, with English subs)

See here for what this series is about. This short is by Aechaar. Director’s note: I have tried and depicted a slice of life scene in the form of a 20 minute film… Filed under: Short Films, The Amateur's Art

“Kaashmora”… A bloated, badly made fantasy

Spoilers ahead… The Kaashmora team, in interviews, has been asking us not to compare the film with Baahubali. What a laugh. It’s not the budget that’s lacking. It’s the vision, the conviction, the ability to sell a tall story. Baahubali was a genuine epic. The only thing epic about Kaashmora is its running time: nearly three bloated hours. The film, directed […]


Review coming soon… My take: Some great stunts. But terribly long, and becomes hard to care (or keep awake) after a point.Filed under: Cinema: Hindi


Review coming soon… My take: Surprisingly effective, though why did they cast Trisha in such an important role?Filed under: Cinema: Tamil


Review coming soon… My take: Did not care for it at all.Filed under: Cinema: Tamil

“Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”… A satisfying bridge between Hindi cinema and Bollywood

Spoilers ahead… The way we speak in real life, that’s conversation. The way people in a certain kind of movie speak, that’s dialogue. Both kinds of exchange are present in Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushil. The film opens with a gun-to-the-head dedication to the army that doesn’t feel all that misplaced. Romance, after all, […]

Pretty pictures

On the great shallow pleasures of gawking at beautiful people on screen, and the problems when they pretend they’re otherwise. When the minute-and-a-half teaser for Karan Johar’s upcoming Ae Dil Hai Mushkil was released in August, I froze at the thirty-second mark, the point where Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, in a salmon-pink coat, turns to the […]

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