Archive for the the good Category

Salim’s Viewing! (updated)

Posted in the good on April 9, 2018 by Satyam

Jaani Dushman 1979

I skipped this at the time of release but ended up watching it on the day of Sridevi’s funeral. That meant I was only really watching it for her, and that was okay because the film is built around her. Actually the rest of the cast is really good too (when the film came out I hadn’t heard of Sejal Aly but having since watched Yakeen Ka Safar it was nice to see her here). The film itself is nothing special though not unwatchable (mainly for the performances). And what to say about Sridevi. I never rated her as an actress (a fantastic dancer of course but I genuinely don’t think she could act) but was floored by her magnificent comeback in English Vinglish. I’ve been far more impacted by her death than I would have expected – have watched lots of interviews since then and had the soundtracks of Lamhe and Chandni playing on loop. It doesn’t make any sense.
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Qalandar on MAHESHENTHE PRATHIKAARAM (Malayalam; 2016)

Posted in the good with tags , , , , on February 28, 2018 by Qalandar

EXCERPT: “The charms of Maheshenthe Prathikaaram, Dileesh Pothan’s 2016 directorial debut, cannot be reduced to its plot, fresh though this is: the tale of everyman Mahesh Bhavana (Fahadh Faasil), worried about his father’s advancing age, passed over by the woman he has long loved in favor of a groom with better prospects, publicly humiliated in an un-related village brawl, and Mahesh’s vow to forego slippers until he has avenged his insult, never lost my interest as it wended its way through the contours of its lead protagonist’s life, and on to a resolution. More importantly, the plot never becomes farcical, not even that last bit about Mahesh’s vow: in the context of the film, it seems quite organic, the self-inflicted wound of a modest man at the end of his tether.

Pothan intuitively grasps that for contemporary Malayalam cinema to thrive, it must be …”

Complete review HERE

Salim’s thoughts on Padmaavat

Posted in the good on February 4, 2018 by Satyam

Bhansali’s Padmavati was rechristened Padmaavat by India’s nonsensical censor board, but this film should really have been named Allaudin. Just as Madhuri Dixit’s third-wheel courtesan Chandramukhi effortlessly stole the show in Bhansali’s Devdas, similarly here Deepika’s titular character (and indeed every other character) is entirely overshadowed by Ranveer’s captivating portrayal of Allaudin Khilji. As part of the early promotion, a wonderful still was released of Ranveer’s character looking into a mirror; that intriguing still made me want to watch the film (and perhaps a more interesting film would have been one that focussed solely upon and thus explored in more depth, the mind and character of Allaudin Khilji).
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An Jo on Vikram Vedha

Posted in the good on January 1, 2018 by Satyam

Finally, I got to watching VIKRAM VEDAA: And it’s been an interesting watch for sure, but falling well-short of the gargantuan expectations I had thanks to the reviews and chatter on blogs.
The directors use the folk-lore of King Vikramaditya and Betaal and loosely base the template of their film on the concept of ‘BETAAL PACHISE’, where the ‘vampire’ spins stories and asks the king questions based on morality and ethics of the characters involved. [What should have this character done? Was the decision right?] Here, it’s a cocky-cop against a wily-fox of a gangster and it’s the gangster’s Betaal that talks of stories in his life and the characters involved in those stories and the perspective of morality that folks not belonging to the under-world – especially the cops – use in judging them; mainly, the character of Vikramaditya infused in R. Madhavan’s cop-character.

The film begins with a fantastic introduction of Madhavan’s Vikram, an ‘encounter-specialist’ who not only does encounters as a ‘job’ but also takes pride in it, acts cocky and gives the explanations of a ‘Chitragupt’, keeping track of people who did ‘what’ in their lives and who deserve ‘what’! Continue reading

Oscar Predix for the year in film 2017

Posted in Refugee, the good with tags , , , , on December 30, 2017 by abzee

In under a week’s time, on the 5th day of the 2018 new year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will open its polls to their members for nominations across a range of categories for the year in film 2017. On the 12th of January, the polls will close… and almost a fortnight later on the 23rd of January, the nominees for the 90th Academy Awards will be announced. The actual Oscar ceremony takes place this time on the 4th of March, giving the nominees well over a month’s time to lobby for themselves.

The precursor season is all but over. Most of the critics’ bodies have made their preferences known, and now only the Golden Globes, BAFTA and Guilds remain to seal the races for the films in contention. This year has been unravelling of sorts for Hollywood, and international cinema. With Harvey Weinstein’s precipitous fall from grace, followed in quick succession by so many other players right up till Kevin Spacey… the social juggernaut that was the #MeToo movement… the Academy this time around will find itself not merely voting for their preferences, but their leanings. Coming so soon after the Academy having to combat the #OscarsSoWhite charge, and the controversial win handed to Casey Affleck last year, the 90th Oscars promise to be psychosocially charged. Here then are my predictions, the earliest in recent memory, for the 90th Academy Awards. These predictions have been arrived at by studying the overall trend of films in the precursor season, the support garnered from various critics’ bodies and a certain old-fashioned hunch. Even then, given the year that it has been, we might as well see a film like All The Money In The World make a late surge if only to laud it for replacing Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer barely weeks before release and successfully carrying out a reshoot and post-production to meet the original release deadline. That’s the kind of directorial feat which may find artistic respect and social resonance given the year that we have had. Nevertheless, here goes-

DUNKIRK Warner Bros. Pictures
GET OUT Universal Pictures
LADY BIRD A24 and Focus Features
THE POST 20th Century Fox and Universal Pcitures

If the Academy nominates 6 films, then the film that gets in will be
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME Sony Pictures Classics
If the Academy nominates 7 films, then
THE SHAPE OF WATER Fox Searchlight Pictures
If they go with 8 films,
If 9, then
DARKEST HOUR Focus Features
And with 10,

Potential Spoiler- THE BIG SICK
Long Shot- I, TONYA
Sneak Up- WONDER WOMAN Continue reading

The Disguised Mode of Secret Superstar

Posted in the good on October 29, 2017 by Satyam


In the romantic comedies of the 60s a fairly quintessential sequence would involve the male protagonist sneaking into his lover’s residence dressed in a burqa and therefore able to avoid the watchful gaze of her stern father. Sometimes traffic would also flow in the other direction. In these instances the female would borrow the very same attire from a friend (who would in turn stay hidden in the room for the duration of the assignation) and similarly exit her home, once again with the father’s semi-authoritarian gaze shadowing her. The subversive potential of the burqa was charmingly revealed with such moves. An article of clothing meant to sequester the woman from public eyes would in effect enable this sort of commerce between the lovers. This kind of moment was a negotiation where the minority was affectionately represented in somewhat cliched fashion and then in turn the very same cliches were normalized and became useful for even the majority toolkit. For the longest time Bombay cinema, reflecting contemporary political cross-currents, has moved away from such playful representations in the service of a more anthropologically oriented or ghettoized notion of identities. In these cases the minority becomes simply a set of fetishes to be examined or cured. There have been exceptions to the rule every now and then but Secret Superstar strikes one as being perhaps the most significant such effort in recent times. Not least because this film is not really ‘about’ minorities. The family at its center is simply an ‘Indian’ example and the true heart of the film’s critique is directed at the edifice of patriarchal tyranny or that which transcends various identity fault-lines. And so after a long time the burqa is dusted off and brought out of the closet of Hindi cinematic history and becomes once more the instrument of delightful subversion. Continue reading

Park Chan-Wook — NYT Profile (Oct. 21, 2017)

Posted in the good with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2017 by Qalandar

EXCERPT: “He recalls a James Bond film he saw in the theater as a boy — he doesn’t remember which one, but it excited him so much, he began imagining his own Bond films. But not just the stories: He saw them in his head, shot for shot, thinking of how lighting, angles and editing told stories, and he began formulating his own. When I asked him if he felt anything was lost in translation, he shook his head. “I still understood them,” he said. “When I finally watched some of them again, with subtitles, I knew I had understood the faces, the things they did.” He credits this kind of watching — only being able to grasp expressions and actions, not language — for developing his sense of visual storytelling. There is a well-known anecdote of how Park was inspired to become a film director after seeing Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” in college, and this is true, but he was already thinking like a director long before that, thinking of how to tell stories on film — image by image, face by face, not outside of language, but with more than language”

Read the complete article HERE.