Archive for the the good Category

Salim’s Viewing! (updated)

Posted in the good on July 21, 2014 by Satyam

Ray on the Jana Aranya shoot

Because Guru Dutt was one of India’s greatest directors, it is easy to forget he used to occasionally act in external films too, including Bahurani and Suhagan with Mala Sinha, and Saanjh Aur Savera with Meena Kumari. Bharosa, co starring Asha Parekh unfortunately is the weakest of them all, the only positive being some beautiful songs by Ravi. I can only imagine that the reason Dutt would have been in such a film would be to raise funds for his own productions.
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House of Light and Shadows (the story of Regal Theater)

Posted in the good on June 16, 2014 by Satyam

thanks to Rocky..

There were palm trees at Regal’s porch back then. The foyer had chandeliers. The staff would don dinner suits and, on occasion, bow ties. Scotch and soda was available for seven and a half annas. Tickets for anything between eight annas to three rupees. Everyone would stand in queue, including the Deputy Commissioner of Delhi, the highest local authority at the time. “A thick maroon velvet curtain adorned the stage,” writes Dayal. When the Viceroy or Governor General visited, a red carpet would be laid out.
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The Gold at Madh Island!

Posted in the good on May 31, 2014 by Satyam

I put this up on Bachchan’s blog as a response to something he said.. then thought it might make for a fun post..

I have always felt that if it is Madh Island there should be ‘sona’ arriving there from somewhere! More gold has arrived on this ‘coast’ than any other in human history! And you had then the exchange of ‘tickets’ or a piece of paper where one side provided one half and the other completed it. Often subterfuge was involved. The gold would arrive elsewhere leaving behind either a very irate villain or else a very frustrated policeman. Given how overused this location could be it was rather surprising that the Bombay police did not establish a permanent presence on the island! But this sort of observation is in bad taste. The whole charm about this theme if you will was of course the element of repetition. It was comforting to hear that the gold was going to show up at Madh Island. Occasionally it would be Versova or something else and this would be deeply disappointing, even disturbing. To paraphrase an advertising refrain ‘if it’s gold, it must be Madh Island’! The only competitor here was the ‘maal’ that would perennially show up on the ‘docks’!
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Top 10 worst films seen in the cinema!

Posted in the good on May 30, 2014 by jayshah

Top 10 most disappointing films seen in the cinema!

Here is my list. Let’s say whatever film I go to see I go in with a reasonable level of expectation that it will not be an epic disappointment. There are obviously some on this list that one would have expected to be a disaster of sorts but I had faith!
Please adds yours…and maybe when we are done…we will have the WORST OF ALL TIME IN THE CINEMA!

In no particular order

Hello Brother – I said in no particular order, but this is the epic of epic disasters. Total joke of a film.
Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon – considering Barjatya rattled out to classics in MPK and HAHK, and his HSSH was decent in parts, MPKDH was a real crapfest.
Mela – I don’t know what Aamir was smoking when he chose this film. Total disaster.
Asoka – The soundtrack was reasonably good, but really did not gel well. This was a completely miss-cast film, miss-used soundtrack.
Yaadein – Subhash Ghai’s bomb of a film, which had a decent soundtrack but on the heels of Taal and Pardes it was a miss. The chemistry was lacking again between Hrithik and Kareena.
One 2 Ka 4 – at the fag-end of Juhi’s career, and just before SRK went on a run of hits, this silly film came out. It was a tossup between this and Duplicate for me.
Salaam-E-Ishq – Salman, Priyanka, Govinda, Juhi, Anil, Vidya, John Abraham, Akshaye, Ayesha … you’d think something could come good of this, except, Nikhil Advani picked up all the bad traits of Karan Johar
Blue – only Kylie saved this bomb.
Aarzoo – I thought back in the day, any Madhuri film is worth it. This film really sucked. I have never seen a death scene like it…youtube it, and see Saif die like a statue!
Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage – This one was so rubbish, I can’t even remember it.

Honourable mentions – Dil Ka Rishta, Dhai Akshar Prem Ke, Ra.One, Chaahat, Dulhan Hum Le Jayenge, Kidnap, Chal Mere Bhai, Players.

Introducing Filmy Aces

Posted in the bad, the good, the ugly on May 27, 2014 by masterpraz

Filmy Aces FINAL-01

Hey everyone,

Just launched a new website called It’s dedicated to covering off Cinema from all over the world.

Will be contributing to and from Satyamshot occasionally as well other website.

You can check out the current list of authors HERE

New Book: Subramaniyapuram The Tamil Film in English Translation (The Caravan)

Posted in the good with tags , , , , , on May 23, 2014 by Qalandar

I wouldn’t agree that Subramaniyapuram “pioneered” the “gritty new aesthetic” in Tamil cinema (the likes of Paruthiveeran; Selvaraghavan’s work; and Kaadal all pre-date it, to name just a few), but can’t resist a book on Tamil cinema! — Qalandar

“M Sasikumar
Translated by Kausalya Hart, Constantine Nakassis and Anand Pandian
Edited by Anand Pandian
Blaft, 262 pages, Rs 595

Released in 2008, Subramaniyapuram is a tale of friendship, betrayal, love and revenge set in Madurai in the early 1980s. The film, made on a tiny budget by a first-time director and a cast of newcomers, pioneered a gritty new aesthetic in Tamil movies that caught the attention of film lovers around the world. This edition includes—in addition to a translation of the screenplay—film stills, posters, never-before-seen photos from the set, a wide-ranging interview with the film’s director M Sasikumar, as well as essays on the film’s cinematic context and social impact by critics such as Preminda Jacob, Constantine Nakassis, Anand Pandian and Baradwaj Rangan.”

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