Archive for the the good Category

Gomorrah box set review – a grimly authentic tale of Naples gangsters (THE GUARDIAN)

Posted in the good with tags , , , , , , , on April 29, 2016 by Qalandar

Earlier, related piece HERE.  I’m very interested to see this TV series — I hadn’t liked the movie Gomorrah all that much the first time I saw it, but liked it a whole lot when I re-visited it last year (it is suffused by the sadness of cruelty and meanness, by the sheer sordidness of these criminal enterprises, un-redeemed by the frisson of glamor, by the glamor of power; Gomorrah the film never lets us forget that the power glorified in other gangster films is the power to humiliate, brutalize, and steal, nothing more). The review from The Guardian in this post is from a couple of years ago, and it’s great news that instead of a re-make the series will be broadcast in the USA this year on the Sundance Channel – Qalandar

Excerpt: “The Camorra are a real-life outfit, Secondigliano an actual suburb. That’s what marks Gomorrah out from the cops-and-robbers herd: its roots in reality. And there’s nary a peep from la polizia. Roberto Saviano, who co-developed the show, is a decorated Neapolitan investigative journalist whose fearless 2006 bestseller about the Camorra put him on the mob’s hit list; the government assigned him a bodyguard.

As such, Gomorrah feels grimly authentic, recalling not just The Sopranos but perhaps more vividly The Wire, with its from-the-hip shooting style, drug-trade plot and Bodymore-style cornerboys. Much of the action takes place amid a notorious failed housing project, the Vele di Scampia, which resembles a pair of giant, dirty sneakers dumped on a brownfield.”

Complete review HERE.


BOOK: Cut-outs, Caste and Cine Stars: The World of Tamil Politics

Posted in the good with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2016 by Qalandar

I hadn’t heard of this book but it sounds fascinating — Qalandar

Penguin India’s blurb: “A must for [anyone] who wants to understand Tamil Nadu politics’ “New Indian Express Tamil Nadu is a state very different from the rest of India, both culturally and historically. It has retained a fundamentally separate identity for itself in language and caste structure, and this is most evident in its politics. Cut-outs, Caste and Cine Stars: The Word of Tamil Politics tells a political story that has all the elements of a blockbuster film, where ironies and larger-than-life characters abound: Periyar, a Kannada-speaker, who introduced the notions of Tamil self-respect and regional pride, yet dismissed Tamil as ‘a barbaric language’; the matinee idol MGR, a Malayalee born in Sri Lanka, who became Tamil Nadu’s most popular mass leader; the Dravidian movement which, by its own ideology, should have helped the Dalits but has instead supported only the upwardly mobile middle groups; and parties that rose to power by propagating anti-Hindi and anti-Brahmin sentiments but have now allied themselves with the BJP. It is fitting that this reel-like scenario is presently dominated by the electoral politics of Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa, one a scriptwriter and the other a former actress. Well-known writer and journalist Vaasanthi has observed the dramatis personae in this epic drama at close quarters for a decade. Now updated with an additional chapter on the war of succession Cut-outs, Caste and Cine Stars offers an objective and insightful view of a political world that is both fascinating and perplexing.”


An Jo on Fan

Posted in the good on April 16, 2016 by Satyam

FAN is a movie that sucks you in only to spit you out with a stronger reflux. It has many things going for it and would have had many, many more things had the makers decided not to take a detour mid-way; or at least, keep the detour to a minimum. One can read FAN as a reflection and celebration of ‘The Inner World of Shah Rukh Khan’ and ‘The Entire World of a Shah Rukh fan.’
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Salim’s Viewing! (updated)

Posted in the good on March 31, 2016 by Satyam

I’ve been backpacking around South East Asia the past month (Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam) so during that time the only things I read and watched were Harry Potter (the original plan was War And Peace but I never even opened it!). The rest of the films below are a mop up of things I saw before and after my trip.

Sadhana: Enchantingly Enchanting Enchantress (book)
I bought this in Bombay just a couple of days before Sadhana passed away. It’s not particularly well written (the author is a self-confessed die-hard obsessed fan, and so the quality of the writing isn’t so impressive), but one still learns about the her life and movies (he gives a plot summary of every single film). I’ve always liked Sadhana a lot – not only was she beautiful but her acting style was relatively natural in spite of her glamour appearance (though she could also play simple, non-made up characters for Bimal Roy and Hrishikesh Mukherjee). And what great songs. Rest in peace Sadhana.

Man Mauji
Decided to watch this Sadhana-Kishore Kumar starrer after reading the book because it’s one of the very few of her films I’ve not seen. To be honest I was bored. The only highlights were a young and beautiful Sadhana, and Madan Mohan’s music.
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A Note on BANGALORE DAYS (Malayalam; 2014)

Posted in the good with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2016 by Qalandar


Everything about the way Bangalore Days begins, it turns out, is a bit misleading: the opening frames introduce us to the narrator, a dorky, newly-minted software engineer called Krishnan P. P. (Nivin Pauly) with dreams of the big city, and then to his cousin Divya (Nazriya Nazim), who puts her dreams of a MBA on hold after meeting the man her parents have set her up with, the aloof America-returned executive Das (Fahadh Faasil); and finally to a third cousin, the free-spirited biker Arjun (Dulquer Salman).  The cloying “nativist” sentiments of those opening scenes, or what felt like par-for-the-course sexism, weren’t promising, and it seemed the most one could expect was a breezy film, insubstantial coming-of-age fluff of the sort Bollywood has made us gag on for some years now, rendered bearable by the likable Dulquer Salman.  By the time she was done, though, writer and director Anjali Menon had made me swallow every single one of those presumptions, with this measured, charming, emotionally resonant film, one that is quite a bit cleverer than the plot — the love stories of these characters, present and (in one case) past — would have one believe. Continue reading

‘Destroy all traces of red!’ Why ‘Hun Hunshi Hunshilal’ still matters (Scroll)

Posted in the good on March 10, 2016 by Qalandar

thanks to Agyaat

Sanjiv Shah’s 1992 Gujarati satire feels strikingly prescient of the current situation

“When Jeb Bush recently tweeted a picture of a gun with his name engraved on it captioned “America,” it spawned a flurry of sarcastic tweets in which the caption was used with images from films. One included an iconic image from Michelangelo Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point, an anarchic rejection of the American society of the 1970s; another was a poster for the acerbic Pain & Gain, in which Michael Bay critiques his own brand of indulgence.

The concept of encapsulating the idea of an entire country in one single image, or even in one single movie, feels like trying to bite off more than one can chew. Two Indian films made four years apart come close, Kamal Swaroop’s Om Dar-Ba-Dar (1988) and Sanjiv Shah’s 1992 Gujarati musical satire Hun Hunshi Hunshilal (English title: Love in the Time of Malaria). Both employ deliberately outlandish narratives with freewheeling structures to paint a comprehensive portrait of India in all its oddity and multiplicity. The most striking thing about Hun Hunshi Hunshilal is how contemporary it feels by today’s standards, almost as it was prescient of the current political scenario.
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Congratulations Manoj Kumar for Dada Sahab Phalke Award !

Posted in the good on March 4, 2016 by omrocky786


Veteran actor-director Manoj Kumar on Friday said the Indian government’s decision to honour him with the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award, comes as a “pleasant surprise”. He said it will take him some time to digest the news.

“It’s a pleasant surprise. I was sleeping, and I started getting calls from my friends. I thought they were kidding, but when I read the news myself, I realised that it’s for real,” Manoj Kumar, 78, told IANS over phone