Archive for the the good Category

Why I Have Nothing to Say on Dangal

Posted in the good with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2017 by Qalandar



I more than enjoyed Dangal: it was fantastically well-made, uniformly well-acted, and pulled off the difficult feat of making wrestling interesting, even deeply engrossing – that’s creditable, when you consider that most sports movies rely on the built-in appeal of sports that are already popular, with great cultural resonance. Heck, to even make a sports film – i.e. a film in one of the most hackneyed genres – half decent, let alone excellent, is pretty darn impressive.

And yet, when I (more than once, and over a period of a few months) sat down to write a review of Dangal, I found I had nothing to say. Which might make this piece nothing more than a narcissistic exercise in my writer’s block, but I’d like to believe there’s more going on here. The “nothing” is symptomatic of a wider issue, namely that Dangal is a very impressive film – just not a very interesting one. Continue reading

The Soviet Union and Indian cinema

Posted in the good on February 16, 2017 by Satyam


“Many younger viewers found the physical types foregrounded in Indian films worthy models of emulation, whether it was trying to style their hair or dress in a fashion similar to their screen idol. Young Katia Marginovskaia considered film star Rekha to be the single most important recollection she had of an eighties film. ‘I remember vividly the colour of Rekha’s sari … apple green. In our grey lives, we literally happened into a fantasy world…. I had never seen anything like this.’”

for more follow the link…

Mani Kaul on Ritwik Ghatak’s Titas Ekti Nadir Naam

Posted in the good on February 7, 2017 by Satyam


“Traditionally there is the epic form, and in opposition, there is the dramatic form. When we speak of the dramatic form it is motivated towards a result, towards a goal. About ninety-nine percent of films, whether made by serious filmmakers or Hollywood, are actually dramatic films.

Dramatic films could be psychologically, sociologically determined, or just determined by a plot – let’s say a thriller. They could be comic or belong to any other genre. A dramatic film must proceed to an end. So the argument that it raises between characters, or in the plot itself, must be resolved, and then it heads towards kind of a convergence, a climax. Say the conflict between good and bad is resolved in the end.

The epic form is just the opposite, which means that the narrative is usually very thin, very spread out and at every stage that it develops, it tries to have wider perspectives. Not just concerning the characters but also about nature, history or ideas. These are not just a description of society, but visions of epochs that have gone by. So it cannot be just a simple movement, a narrative moving forward, but as the story is narrated, it must also embrace and spread out.”

for more follow the link..

An Jo on Raees

Posted in the good on February 4, 2017 by Satyam

I think reacting and writing is my therapy..some thoughts on RAEES..

— SPOILERS, MILD, or SPICY depending on your mood–

In one of the pre-release interviews of Dholakia, I had heard that RAEES floated as an idea for an indie film with a few Gujarati US investors who just wanted to make a film on prohibition in Gujarat in the ‘80s. Somewhere, he said, the film grew ‘organically’ into a big-budgeted film with SRK and Sidhwani entering the playground. And I heard this interview after I saw the full-on masala trailer of RAEES. It sounded intriguing, as well as ominous. I didn’t like Dholakia’s PARZANIA for ideological reasons but loved his focused-take on the subject through the mental trauma of a couple. LAMHAA, where he climbed two rungs-up toward commercialism, was a very uneven film and one could feel Dholakia’s uncertainty when it came to welding serious issues with commercial Hindi cinema with stars in their own small galaxies like Basu and Dutt. And then, he decides to leap-frog to one of the Khan triumvirate, Shah Rukh Khan, with a movie that began as an indie! You know, this is no longer the SRK from Mani Kaul’s Dostoevsky’s adaptation of THE IDIOT or even IN WHICH ANNIE GIVES IT TO THOSE ONES: Heck, this is no longer even the SRK form PAHELI: He is someone trying to break desperately into some crore-club. It’s an irony but I don’t know whom to call Dostoevsky’s idiot; Dholakia for trusting that his vision of an indie would remain unfettered with SRK as the hero in his film, or, SRK, for thinking that he would manage to make Dholakia give an ‘engaging’—I am not talking of massy here—film within the commercial diktats of Hindi cinema. Continue reading

Sandy on Raees

Posted in the good on January 27, 2017 by Satyam

Saw Raees. Thought it was an interesting concept, with plenty of potential to be an excellent masala crime thriller, undermined by uneven, unclear characterisation of the central character. The first half is good enough, but it is the second half where most of the real tension occurs. The first half devotes time to Raees’ ascent and there are a few scenes that uplift the drama. The action sequence in the meat centre is stark, raw and chilling. Also, you get a rare glimpse of Raees’ vulnerability when he sees a new side to his boss, Atul Kulkarni at the card table. But I was disappointed not to get a real sense of who Raees really is. I wish I could call him complex or fascinating. But without knowing him at all, how can one tell? What are this character’s motivations? Why does he feel compelled to take to crime? His mother’s words that no dhanda is too small keeps getting repeated, as if to justify what he does. But surely, there needed to be a stronger motive here. Why would you cheer for a criminal otherwise? Why would you celebrate him being able to get the better of Nawazuddin (brilliant!) each time? A criminal’s story has to have a strong emotional core –take Deewar, take Satya. The compulsions are weak in Raees. And that is part of my frustration with this film. This aspect could have been taken care of by paying more attention to character development.
Continue reading

Oscar 2017 predix

Posted in the good with tags , on January 24, 2017 by abzee

With a little over 3 hours left to go before the Oscar nominations are announced for the 89th Academy Awards, in keeping with an annual tradition, here are my last-minute predictions across 18 major categories.

Best Film

If the Academy nominates 6 films, then the film that gets in will be
If the Academy nominates 7 films, then
If they go with 8 films,
If 9, then
And with 10,
Continue reading

A Brief Note on Visaaranai (Tamil; 2016)

Posted in the good with tags , , , , on January 18, 2017 by Qalandar

I just saw Visaaranai, and I don’t think I can write a review of the film.  Or rather, there’s something obscene about (merely) reviewing this terrifying representation of four migrant laborers caught in a criminal justice system so pitiless, so oppressive, “corruption” is a banal term for it, banal and lying in its suggestion of hope that the norm might be something else; obscene, because Visaaranai does not so much indict “the system” as it does everyone who allows himself to consume uncritically a news report or a police story of gangs busted, terrorists nabbed, or policemen feted.  The most charitable thing one can say is that a great chasm of unknowing separates us, should separate us, from trust in such news stories: Visaaranai demonstrates, with almost mathematical precision, that any other response is unethical.  There are plenty of other reasons to watch this film: as a naturalistic representation of a politicized police force, it is unequalled by anything I have seen; the acting is uniformly good (perhaps none more so than Samuthirakani as Inspector Muthuvel); and the direction by Vetri Maaran superb, but these are not essential: the implicit proof that it offers of our own degraded complicity in the charade, is. I haven’t seen a better film in years, and I haven’t ever seen a more necessary one.

A huge thanks to Chandrakumar for writing this, and for affording us the privilege of hearing his voice at film’s end, and really to everyone associated with this film (including Dhanush, who gets a producer credit) for making this film possible.  Thanks also to Netflix for making this film available in the US (I can only hope it’s available at Netflix India as well).