Archive for the the good Category

Salim’s Viewing! (updated)

Posted in the good on March 28, 2014 by Satyam

Chhoti Chhoti Baatein
Motilal directed this beautiful film about a hen-pecked, unappreciated old man who suddenly inherits a fortune and decides to leave his family with some money and goes off to stay in an idyllic village where he meets Nadira (I loved the way she speaks Urdu). The characters for some reason felt like they were Jane Austen creations :-) I would highly recommend this one. I found it on YouTube.
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Qalandar on QUEEN (Hindi; 2014)

Posted in the good with tags , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2014 by Qalandar


It would be easy to dismiss director Vikas Bahl’s Queen as the sort of movie one has often seen in Hollywood, and that is increasingly common in Bollywood: suffused with a kind of cheap liberalism that makes one root for a sympathetic and intensely imagined female character, in a world populated by a number of men who are, not to put too fine a point on it, assholes, and who in some way, shape or form will get what’s coming to them. Queen certainly is that, but it is also quirky, charming, and at times very funny, so much so that by the end I was reminded that cheap liberalism isn’t the worst thing in the world. If movies had hearts, this one — about a bride-to-be who won’t let a little thing like having a wedding called off get in the way of a “honeymoon” to Paris and Amsterdam, each city with gurus ready to initiate her into “real life” — would have its in the right place, even if there’s never any doubt about what you’ll find there. Continue reading

Casual Talk on Blue is the Warmest Color

Posted in the good on March 8, 2014 by Satyam

Munna initiated this exchange but then conveniently left me and GF to do all the ‘dirty talk’, presumably so that he could watch, and then at the end of it suggested that this be put up in a separate post. So this is truly exhibitionist now but in any case…


Saw it yesterday. Acting was good but I think first couple of hour was self indulgent. There were many blank shots (like sleeping with open mouth) without adding to tone or to narrative. Only in last hour movie picked up and showed good drama.
My only question is, would we be giving same attention to the movie if Emma was a guy instead of a girl.

*Possible Spoiler*
ps. – I am not sure what was the intention of ending. Adèle was invited there by Emma and the guy knew Emma.
*End Spoiler*

ps1 – There was some very good music in movie.

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An Jo on Highway

Posted in the good on February 24, 2014 by Satyam


In HIGHWAY, Imtiaz Ali lays naked his strengths, and his limitations. I have always felt and gauged Ali as a wannabe; a wannabe stuck between Johar/SRK’s Yash Raj and Ratnam. That is a huge leap and a bigger gap. And I find him increasingly pulled back toward Joharisms while trying his darndest to reach Ratnam’s heights. And the tragedy or truth, whichever way you want to look at it, is that he is more of a Johar than a Mani Ratnam. And not surprisingly, his works appear more honest when they veer toward Joharisms. If one were to look at his body of work, it appears he is more at home with Johar’s school of ‘thought’ – albeit with more depth thrown in around his characters’ emotional passages. His most honest work, then, remains JAB WE MET (an upgraded working of Johar’s punctuations); while his most interesting, but flawed work’s baton shall pass on from ROCKSTAR to HIGHWAY.( And his most dishonest, quick-buck movie shall remain LOVE AAJ KAL, a bad re-working of 2nd rate Hollywood rom-coms. )

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Phir se aayee…

Posted in the good with tags , , , , on February 22, 2014 by Qalandar

I just saw Namkeen, a film I hadn’t previously seen, and nor had I heard any of its songs. The highlight was undoubtedly “Phir se aaiyo, badariya bidesi,” a song of heartbreaking loveliness. Asha and R.D. Burman suffuse this song with great longing as well as restraint (the latter embodied in Asha’s low vocal ranges here); this has to be one of the best songs from the 1980s that I’ve encountered — it is simply bewitching:

In both Namkeen and Mausam, Gulzar uses the somewhat discomfiting trope of the woman/women who need rescue, and can’t be free unless and until saved by a man; that is hardly new, but in both films Gulzar also features the empathetic male figure who seems to be culpable precisely because of his engagement with the women stuck in a horrible situation; this commitment is in fact what enables him to be a traitor of sorts, to enable irreparable injury out of feebleness. The result isn’t entirely satisfying, but perhaps Gulzar is best appreciated as an evoker of mood, of a nameless melancholia that pervades so many of his films: I don’t find it the most successful aesthetic when married to the figure of the lost woman, but transplanted to the terrain of a ruined city — the Mandu of Kinara — it works a quiet magic.

Two Roads Diverged (The Caravan on Pradip Krishen)

Posted in the good with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2014 by Qalandar

Excerpt: “AN UNFAILING SPOTTER OF SPECIES, Pradip Krishen is a bit of a species unto himself. A highly regarded naturalist and ecological gardener, he is the author of Trees of Delhi (2006), one of India’s most popular books on an ecological subject, and he has just published another—an equally exhaustive yet supremely readable guide to the Jungle Trees of Central India. In an earlier life, Krishen was a highly regarded filmmaker. He directed Massey Sahib (1985), In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones (1989) and Electric Moon (1992)—all, to different degrees, cult films for a generation of writers, directors and discerning movie-goers. After Electric Moon, however, Krishen stopped making films and went into a hibernation of sorts. When he re-emerged into the public eye after a little over a decade, it turned out that he had spent much of that time teaching himself about trees. Almost simultaneously, he had been teaching others: leading walks into Delhi’s wooded tracts, helping protect the heritage environs of the city’s Sunder Nursery from being cloven by a flyover, and trying to create a microhabitat there. Krishen’s explorations extended into Rishikesh, with a “Wildflowers in the Rain” walk at a friend’s resort, and to Pachmarhi, in Madhya Pradesh.” Continue reading

A brief note on WOLF OF WALL STREET (English; 2013)

Posted in the good with tags , , , , , , on February 13, 2014 by Qalandar

I must confess this film left me a bit cold, at least insofar as it wasn’t simply a vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio to try and win an Oscar. Leo is pretty darn good as Jordan Belfort, the self-made millionaire stockbroker who never saw a corner he couldn’t cut, playing him with just the right amount of obnoxiousness and arriviste air, but the film seemed indulgent, and tonally inconsistent. At times farce, comedy, and grim commentary on America’s (and perhaps the world’s) cult of money, the film is littered with brilliant moments — a couple of DiCaprio’s addresses on the Stratton Oakmont floor stand out — but the whole is less than the sum of its parts. For that reason, it will be worth re-visiting in bits and pieces, on DVD.

But there is something Scorsese gets right, that no other such film does, certainly not in so comprehensive a way. Other films document a fall from grace caused by hubris, without disturbing the essential glamor of the central character. Scorsese and DiCaprio don’t take this route, and the film is relentless in showing the degradation to which Belfort’s character sinks (the final drug overdose; the sequence where DiCaprio gets violent with his wife, are cases in point). The easy titillation of Belfort’s enjoyment of his wealth isn’t where this film stops; it’s where it starts to get interesting. It ends up some editing away from greatness.

NYT on Priyanka

Posted in the good on February 8, 2014 by munna

The Move From Celebrity to Ubiquity

LOS ANGELES — Priyanka Chopra had a problem: what to do with the light.

The actress, singer and latest in a long line of bombshell models for the clothing line Guess was standing in a walk-in closet in the penthouse suite of the Beverly Wilshire hotel, preparing for a photo shoot. “Maybe if we shot it like this,” she said, pushing sheer curtains aside and posing, Bond-girl like, in the sheet of sunlight that streamed through a floor-to-ceiling window (yes, the closet had a window; it also was bigger than some bedrooms).

“Good lighting is something that I know now, out of experience,” she said with a shrug.
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History Reloaded (The Hindu, January 30, 2014)

Posted in the good with tags , , , , , on February 2, 2014 by Qalandar

Thanks to Agyaat for sharing this article…


Excerpt: “We lost the print in India. But the Berlin Film Festival, where it was screened in 1978, has restored it for a special screening this year.” Chennai’s K. Hariharan, part of the political film Ghashiram Kotwal, talks to Sudhish Kamath about how the movie took shape. Life has come a full circle for K. Hariharan, director of the L.V. Prasad Film and TV Academy. He had taken his landmark debut film Ghashiram Kotwal to the Berlin Film Festival in 1978. The print of the film was destroyed after the lab where it was being preserved shut down over 10 years ago. But Berlin Film Festival has restored it to its original glory for a special screening this year.”

Crossing the language barrier in films (Baradwaj Rangan’s Op-Ed on Regional Cinema in the Hindu)

Posted in the good on January 29, 2014 by Satyam

Crossing the language barrier in films
Baradwaj Rangan

“We lost two stars from that larger-than-life era recently – Suchitra Sen and Akkineni Nageswara Rao – and the outpourings of grief have come mainly from West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. Only the people who spoke Bengali and Telugu (or those who follow these languages and watch films in these languages) really knew what these stars were all about. The rest of us experience a general sense of sadness, the kind that descends on us whenever an achiever passes away, but these feelings don’t become really personal. And how could they, given that we’ve seen a bare handful of their films? When asked to write obituaries, non-Bengalis keep referring to Sen’s popular Hindi films like Devdas and Aandhi and Mamta and Bambai Ka Baboo, while non-Telugus settle for discussing the small number of Tamil films that Nageswara Rao starred in, and as songs are recalled more easily than films, we end up lingering over Thunbam nergayil, the most famous of Nageswara Rao’s songs in Tamil (from the film Or Iravu), even if he was mostly just a spectator to the singing.”

In the company of women

Posted in the good on January 27, 2014 by munna

In the company of women
Yamini Lohia

‘Dedh Ishqiya’ is groundbreaking in the way it frames female friendship.

Beyond the characters of Babban (Arshad Warsi) and Khalujan (Naseeruddin Shah), the loveable rogues whose adventures drive the narratives of both of Abhishek Chaubey’s hinterland black comedies, the thematic thread that binds the two Ishqiya films together is the subtle (for Bollywood) examination of female desire and sexuality. Specifically, both Krishna (played by Vidya Balan) in Ishqiya and Munniya (Huma Qureshi) in the sequel are unapologetic about exploiting sexual intimacy to manipulate men into doing their bidding, and are evidently well capable of separating sex and love (even if the male patsy is not). This isn’t exactly revolutionary — after all, the noirish femme fatale is a cherished trope in popular culture of all stripes — but it is notable if only for the fact that the two women go pretty much unpunished for their alleged betrayals of the purported male lead. In Bollywood, it remains progressive for the narrative to categorise a woman with a sexual appetite as anything other than vamp; it is rarer still for such transgressive female characters to not repent or go otherwise unpunished by the narrative by losing their lives, lovers, or both.

Please read rest of article from website

Abzee’s Oscar Predix 2014

Posted in the good on January 16, 2014 by abzee2kin

With under a couple of hours to go before the list of nominees are announced for the 86th Academy Awards, here are my late-in-the-day no-guts-no-glory predictions. This precursor season has been quite a chaotic one as compared to the previous years with quite a few major changes and reversals of fortune with regards to films and performances and individuals. Just ask Robert Redford who went from a certain lock to win the Oscar for his one-man act in ALL IS LOST to now having to fight it out for the fifth spot even in the Leading Male category. As late as this week, the Golden Globes did its stunning bit in giving AMERICAN HUSTLE a major boost to its already snow-balling momentum that could take it beyond the critical darling 12 YEARS A SLAVE and pip it to the Oscar post. The Globes were also responsible to make AMERICAN HUSTLE’s Jennifer Lawrence’s case stronger for a second consecutive Oscar at just 23 years of age.

Here then is how I see the Ballot being read out tonight, before we endure a 45-day screening & lobbying season before the Oscars are eventually handed out on the 2nd of March. All nominations are in alphabetical order.


Best Picture

If one were to go with the traditional 5 nominees, the above 5 should make it with NEBRASKA making a very strong bid to get in instead of THE WOLF OF WALL STREET which is just an unpredictable beast this Oscar race given its polarizing reaction.

However, since the Academy has revised its rules to allow anywhere between 5 and 10 nominees based on how many films deserve to be nominated (arrived at on a calculation of no.1 votes and number of votes in the total polling tally), the following films also have a chance to get nominated in the following order-

If they nominate 6 films, then the film that gets in will be
If 7, then
If 8,
And if 10,

The Coen Bros.’ INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS has an outside shot of making it to the final ten, while Woody Allen’s BLUE JASMINE is a long shot.
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An Jo on Dedh Ishqiya

Posted in the good on January 13, 2014 by Satyam

Imagination runs riot in these bad-lands of Uttar Pradesh married to Guy Ritchie’s get-rich-quick characters and characteristics of SNATCH or LOCK, STOCK, and 2 SMOKING BARRELS. And a very unpredictable orgy this is; of thievery, trickery, and poetry! It makes for a strange but appetizing dish. It takes some fertile imagination and fine cinematic vision to dove-tail the rustic emotions of ruffians into the palatial secrets of nawabs and begums and yet come out trumps, albeit with some creases.
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Thoughts on Dhoom 3: MAJOR SPOILERS!

Posted in the good on December 22, 2013 by abzee2kin

With Dhoom 3, Aamir Khan’s quest to revive masala, a project that began with Ghajini, comes full circle. Mapping the masala origins through a fractured memory in Ghajini, via a quest at unearthing the meaning of real loss of those at the fringes in Talaash, we arrive to the sad and certain death of an identity that cannot exist in doubles, and cannot survive singularly either. That this realization of the Aamir Khan project of masala-memory happens in the third installment of a franchise that is known solely for its bikes, babes and beefcakes is probably the boldest statement and biggest blunder simultaneously.


Dhoom 3 is a misunderstood beast. And make no mistake; it is a beast of a film alright. From the most expensive song ever in Bollywood history (Malang) to production values at par with international standards (this is unarguably one of the most polished looking Hindi film on the big screen) and VFX/CGI that for once don’t groan under the weight of their own spectacular ambition (this when lesser films have tomtommed their effects as Bollywood’s pride, Hollywood’s envy); Dhoom 3 arrives with all its hype justified. That the production values and VFX/CGI don’t merely up the ante in the expected action aspect of the franchise (i.e. chases and stunts), but are employed in the service of a narrative that is really a drama at heart with the Dhoom franchise trappings cloaked around it as a disguise to make it more arresting and box-office friendly, is also something that is leaving many of the audiences disoriented. After all, you don’t go to a circus and not be shown clowns and elephants, but instead accomplished artists performing dazzling derring-dos and sleight of hands. Continue reading

Man of Steel (Baradwaj Rangan on Vikram)

Posted in the good on December 10, 2013 by Satyam


IT WAS THE BEST NIGHT of Kenny’s life. It was the worst night of Kenny’s life. And it began on the pitch-black stage of the open-air auditorium at IIT-Madras.

At first the audience at the annual inter-collegiate festival thought that there was a technical glitch: they could hear the actors but not see them. They began to fidget. They began to boo. Then, about 15 minutes in, some of the viewers began to shush the others. They got what was happening: the play—Peter Shaffer’s Black Comedy, in which Kenny had the lead role—began in darkness but, eventually, the lights would come on. The shushing gradually overwhelmed the booing and the fidgeting. There was silence, then laughs. When the curtains came down, there was a standing ovation. Among the audience that October night in 1986 was Shailaja Balakrishnan, who knew that she would marry Kenny even though he was barely aware of her existence. She watched him get the Best Actor award, beating candidates from all the other colleges. Later she would say drishti pattuduchu—someone had cast the evil eye.
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Brief Thoughts on Ram Leela & Bullet Raja

Posted in the good with tags , , , on November 30, 2013 by Qalandar

RAM LEELA: When I first heard of “Rowdy Rathore,” I wondered what on earth Bhansali was doing producing a film like this. The answer, evidently, was gearing up for the wretched “Ram Leela,” a Romeo and Juliet story that seems quite uninterested in romance, preferring the “goliyon ki raasleela,” that is to say, the IDEA of a place where people shoot up shit at the drop of a hat. Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh keep talking about love and lust, but they suggest about as much heat as ice cream

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An Jo on Dil Se…

Posted in the good with tags on November 28, 2013 by munna

As one awaits with anticipation the new product RAAVAN from the God of Images/Visuals, Mr. Mani Ratnam, one’s mind and heart are enveloped by nostalgia—the nostalgia of being audience the first time to another masterpiece by the same helmer: ‘Dil Se.’
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Utkal on Ram-Leela

Posted in the good on November 19, 2013 by Satyam

Normally I come back from a film, make myself a cup of tea without milk or sugar, and write about it furiously while the adrenalin is still high. I like to write like a lover than a critic. But It has been more than 24 hours since I saw Ram-Leela and I still haven’t got the nerve to write about it. There was so much happening in the film, visually, aurally, in terms of narrative, in terms of character, with allusions to so many myths, so many traditions, with such wild experimentations in choreography, with spoken words; throwing up so many ideas, about love, about war, about gender-politics, about power; that it was impossible to take it all in one viewing, let alone write about it. But I have wrapped up all pending work, made myself large cup of Kashmiri tea, and I am going to give it a try.
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The Mahabharata: Fantasy League!

Posted in the good on November 19, 2013 by Qalandar

If you’ve long wanted to see The Mahabharata on the big screen, and could get any actor you wanted, this is the post for you: fire away in the Comments section! Many thanks to Raj5 for the suggestion (I’ll add my picks later) — Qalandar.