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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

“Singham Returns”… The cop runneth over

Spoilers ahead… How do you know you are in a South-style masala movie? One clue is the sound – and not just the general background score that makes it appear that a space shuttle is being launched behind your seat. It is also the sound associated with specific actions, which, in real life, would produce […]

“Kathai Thiraikathai Vasanam Iyakkam”… Fact of the meta

Spoilers ahead… At the beginning of Kathai Thiraikathai Vasanam Iyakkam, directed by Radhakrishnan Parthiban, we watch a tidal wave demolish a skyscraper, and from this Hollywood-style scene of destruction we move to a house, in another corner of the country, where a young man delivers a Kollywood-style aphorism, about the difference between biriyani and pazhaya […]

“Anjaan”… Don yawn

Spoilers ahead… After watching N Lingusamy’s Anjaan, I feel compelled to campaign for a new award category: Best Supporting Toothpick. The aforementioned sliver of wood, lodged permanently between Raju Bhai’s (Suriya) teeth, is in nearly every frame, and it delivers the film’s most stylish performance. It moves slyly from side to side. At times, it […]

My favourite (Madras) things…

On the eve of Madras Day, Baradwaj Rangan celebrates the city he knows and loves. Can you truly know a city? Possibly – if your job entails a lot of travel, or if your home is in the southern part and your school somewhere up north, and you have friends in the east and family […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Goliaths and Davids – 2”

On “Jigarthanda.” On the current state of Tamil cinema. On criticism, and why it’s important to not just praise a film because it’s… “different.” Last week, I wrote about how the very existence of a film like Jigarthanda in the current Tamil-cinema climate is a miracle – but while we should celebrate films like Jigarthanda, […]

Master of Arts

Kamal Haasan talks about how music came into his life. And dance. And everything else. Baradwaj Rangan listens. Forget the actor. That was the brief. After fifty years of acting, that’s the only facet of Kamal Haasan people think about. Sometimes, maybe, they think of Kamal Haasan the writer or Kamal Haasan the director. But […]

Self life

Impressions from the 2014 edition of ‘Svanubhava’. What was running through Ustad Mohi Baha’uddin Dagar’s mind, on the first day of Svanubhava, when he set up his rudra veena and began to play? There’s a reason behind this question, and it has to do with the sessions that preceded his. The morning began briskly, with […]

Goodbye to a genie-us

It’s true what they say. Dying is easy, but comedy is hard. I have this principle: try not to feel too sad about the death of someone famous. First, there’s the fame that most of us can only dream about. Then there’s the money – again, the stuff of dreams. Third, and most important, they […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Goliaths and Davids”

On “Jigarthanda.” On the current state of Tamil cinema. On criticism, and why it’s important to not just praise a film because it’s… “different.” Sometime last month, in the coverage of an interaction that had something to do with the teaser of the Suriya film Anjaan, the star was thus quoted: “Expectation about every […]

“Jigarthanda”… Racket science

Spoilers ahead… In Pizza, Karthik Subbaraj displayed a talent for the twist, but that was simply at the level of the narrative. In his second feature, Jigarthanda, Subbaraj pulls the rug out from under the traditional constructs of the hero and heroine, whom we almost always know as good people, washed in white. Kayal (Lakshmi […]

“Sarabham”… Active vice

Spoilers ahead… Arun Mohan’s intriguingly titled Sarabham is a classic noir-style mystery. It has the patsy, the femme fatale, the plot with more twists than a jalebi – what it doesn’t have is a consistent mood, and noir just isn’t noir without mood. This is one of those films where they appear to have spent […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Slumming it…”

On good actors in not-so-good movies. Or sometimes downright terrible ones, like “Kick”. It’s sometimes a bit of a shock to see a good actor in a bad movie – and it’s always actors that make us feel this way. We say nothing when a famous lawyer takes on a case that doesn’t deserve his […]

The king of tragedy

Thoughts on a lopsided autobiography of Dilip Kumar, which sheds light on the actor’s early life and career, but skimps on what we really want to know. A few pages into Dilip Kumar: The Substance and the Shadow, an autobiography “narrated to Udayatara Nayar,” Dilip Kumar admits that he does not know how he came […]

“The Grand Budapest Hotel”… Dial W for whimsy

Spoilers ahead… Just to get the formalities out of the way, The Grand Budapest Hotel is a shaggy dog story – rather, a shaggy drawing story. Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes), the concierge of the titular establishment, inherits a priceless painting that goes by the name of… Boy with Apple, which sounds like someone’s tongue-in-cheek homage […]

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