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“Bobby Jasoos”… Hyd and seek

Spoilers ahead… Bobby Jasoos, a low-key charmer set in Hyderabad, makes you wonder why more filmmakers don’t step out of their Mumbai-Delhi-London cocoons and locate their tales in the various nooks of India, each of which comes with its own lingo, colours, food, sensibility, cultural and religious complexions, and even architecture that’s a cinematographer’s dream. […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Pros and cons”

Why is Hollywood crap so much more watchable than the crap we make? The answer: professionalism. About the time the first Transformers movie was released, if you’d asked me what I thought of Optimus Prime, I’d have thought you were referring to a mathematical variable. A few movies in, I was slightly more clued in. […]

“Athithi”… Man on the run

Spoilers ahead… If Aamir and The Man Who Knew Too Much hooked up in a seedy motel and had a baby, that would be Athithi. Mathiazhagan (Nandha) and Vasuki (Ananya) are a happy couple. At least, they think they’re happy. He’s a project manager with a real-estate firm. Big bucks. Big house. Big car. And […]

Aural fixation

Baradwaj Rangan spends an afternoon discussing sound with the team of ‘Jigarthanda’, which uses Dolby Atmos technology. Before we go any further, we need to listen to a Creation story, the Dolby version. In the beginning, man created the screen and the sights. And then he said, Let there be sound. And there was, at […]

When it was sixty-four

‘A Hard Day’s Night’ turns 50 this July. It’s a great ticket to ride back to a swinging era… How does one truly get the Beatles? This isn’t about their music, which, like any music, doesn’t belong to any single generation, even the one that it was birthed in. We do, after all, listen to […]

“Ek Villain”… A few bad men

Spoilers ahead… If the movies have taught us anything, it’s this: Whenever a blood-spattered gangster falls in love, he will get in touch with his inner twelve-year-old girl. Thus, in Mohit Suri’s Ek Villain, Guru (Siddharth Malhotra) transforms from a thug who douses a man in kerosene and shoves him into a fire to a […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Four decades later, a flashback”

Singeetam Srinivasa Rao remembers ‘Dikkatra Parvathi’, his first film in Tamil, based on Rajaji’s story. Singeetam Srinivasa Rao’s first film was in Telugu, a 1972 comedy named Neeti Nijayiti. It flopped. For his second film, he wanted to do something different. “At that time, there was this big art-cinema movement,” he told me last week. […]

“Vetri Selvan”… The best laid plans…

Spoilers ahead… A filmmaker sees something horrible. It gnaws at his soul. After nights spent writhing in torment, he decides that he needs to exorcise those feelings – and what better way than to create a work of art, with each scene, every line of dialogue a stinging whiplash on the aspect of society that […]

“Vadacurry”… The spirit of a skit

Spoilers ahead… The plot of Vadacurry is a spin on the race-against-time thriller we saw in Neram, but before you go in expecting more of the same – namely, sharply drawn characters, evocative location photography, scenes that segue neatly into the next and gather narrative momentum – you must know that the director, Saravana Rajan, […]

“Humshakals”… What a drag

Spoilers ahead… Humshakals opens with a scene where Ashok (Saif Ali Khan) is doing stand-up comedy. At least, he seems to think he’s doing stand-up comedy – he’s really just unleashing PJs that were old when our grandfathers were in school. The audience, understandably, departs in droves. Ashok’s best buddy Kumar (Riteish Deshmukh) – Ashok… […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Kerala days”

Is the Malayalam film industry making the best mainstream cinema today? Once upon a time, I used to watch cinema from all over India – every Sunday afternoon, on Doordarshan. I remember, especially, the Malayalam films like Koodevide and Alicinte Anveshanam, which were neither all-out arty nor fully commercial – it was the middle-of-the-road-style that […]

The supreme court

Is there another sport as epic, as dramatic as tennis? A couple of weeks ago, as I was walking on the footpath, I came in front of a ladder that was propped against one of the stores on the side. A man standing on one of the upper rungs was painting over some existing signage, […]

“Mundasupatti”… Light camera action

Spoilers ahead… Mundasupatti, directed by Ram, is filled with wry little gags. It’s set in the 1980s, so it’s inevitable that we are treated to Ilayaraja’s hits. One of them, Mudhal mudhalaaga kaadhal duet paada vandhene, plays on the radio next to Gopi (Vishnu Vishal, in an endearingly dopey shag) after he falls for Kalaivaani […]

“Naan Thaan Bala”… Friends with benedictions

Spoilers ahead… In Naan Than Bala, Vivek plays the eponymous character, a priest who lives in an agraharam in Kumbakonam. He refuses to move elsewhere as his aged parents live with him. When a priest in the US invites him over – the donations are in dollars – Bala refuses. He says that our parents […]

“Fugly”… Dross capital

Spoilers ahead… Fugly gets at least a part of its name right. The film is filled with “ugly” behaviour. There are ugly cops, politicians, mediapeople – even the regular folks are ugly. A schoolgirl waves a sweet goodbye to her parents, and the minute she steps out, she musses up her hair and begins to […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Figures and facts”

Box-office numbers tell only a part of the Tom Cruise story, so why aren’t we looking at the other narratives? If Edge of Tomorrow, the new Tom Cruise sci-fi thriller, has taught us anything, it’s this: Your film could gross some $29 million in its first three days in the US, and some $110 million […]

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