Archive for the the good Category

Salim’s Viewing! (updated)

Posted in the good on February 20, 2015 by Satyam

Mississippi Masala
A girl from a Hindu family of Ugandan Asians, now living in America, falls for a black guy. I found the early scenes showing the expulsion quite moving because my family also went through the same thing. Sharmila Tagore plays the girl’s mother – she looks so beautiful and elegant.

I really enjoyed this Bengali film, which tells the story of a debut director who wishes to remake Ray’s Nayak. Nandana Sen is awesome and the film too is very intriguing
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Twinkle Khanna on Our Unending Ability to be Offended

Posted in the good with tags , , , on February 16, 2015 by Qalandar

Thanks to agyaat for sending this my way — Qalandar


EXCERPT: “In my heart my city will always be Bombay because that is what I have known it as, and it does not antagonize me that a political party decided that it needs to be changed to Mumbai because according to them it was a legacy of the British rule, but a few weeks ago even the word Bombay was bleeped from poor Mihir Joshi’s song and I have not been able to wrap my head around that.
In the last few months, we have been offended by Obama’s chewing gum, Modi’s suit, Kiran Bedi for various reasons and, of course, by the infamous roast.
If I had to be offended by a live show I would rather be offended by Arnab who invites people on his show and then doesn’t let them speak. I saw an episode where he is asking the education minister a question and then screaming over her answers.
Now that’s just bad manners, at least in the AIB roast they called guests over, let them say their bit, people laughed and went home. But we still have to get outraged even though they had made it clear that the show is for adults only.
We now also have an assortment of people up in arms about the gags made on a person’s sexuality but shouldn’t we be more offended by the fact that homosexuality is considered illegal in India and that Section 377 still exists?”

A Reflection on Shankar and ‘I’

Posted in the good on January 24, 2015 by Satyam

A lot of what follows should also be read as a ‘sequel’ to this earlier Enthiran piece..And incidentally there are absolutely no spoilers here..

It ought not to be a deeply philosophical observation anymore to state that at the very moment when, in our age, the human is becoming increasingly android-like, dependent on a whole range of technological supports, that at this very moment there is also a spectrum of biological research and practice that also renders the human more animal-like than ever before. That which brings the human closer to the machine but also that which is already machine-like in biological processes relating to human evolution. In the same way that which is animal-like in the human because of biological possibilities inherent in the latter. Techno-biological manipulation then brings to the fore the ‘robot’ in the human, the ‘animal’ in the human, finally the ‘inhuman’ in the human. It is not that we just lose the traditional and comforting sense of being human. The true horror is that being human was always about being a kind of animal and being a kind of machine. In an analogous vein the brain sciences reveal how certain kinds of physical or emotional trauma can also render make the human ‘inhuman’ by canceling out all kinds of psychic economies. In any case, if such are the stakes of our age, our present moment, it might well be that Shankar is the contemporary Indian commercial director who has intuited this better than anyone else and Vikram in turn is the commercial star whose history represents this intersection in exemplary fashion.
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Saurabh’s 2014 list

Posted in the good on January 14, 2015 by Satyam

My “favourites” from Indian cinema (yet to see Iyobinte Pusthakam, Njan Steve Lopez, Sulemani Keeda, Burma, Happy Journey etc):-

Favouite Film: Fandry (Marathi); Honourable Mentions: Ankhon Dekhi, Haider, Ugly, Pisaasu (Tamil), Munnariyippu (Malayalam), Jaatishwar (Bengali)

[Hindi films I liked (in no particular order)- Ankhon Dekhi, Haider, Ugly, Highway, Mardaani, Bobby Jasoos, Filmistaan, Queen

Tamil ones I liked- Pisaasu, Saivam, Pannaiyarum Padminiyum, Naan Sigappu Manithan, Madras, Jigarthanda
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Man of Steel (Rangan’s Vikram profile – Caravan)

Posted in the good on January 12, 2015 by Satyam


“You don’t usually hear confessions of weakness from the really big stars—especially the ones in Tamil cinema, whose fans are devoted to their heroes, welcoming each film with firecrackers and giant cutouts of their idols, which they worship with ablutions of milk. The really big stars like to talk about upcoming films, or about their family, but are careful about saying anything that could disturb the macho façade that their fans buy into. Confessions such as Vikram’s sense of fear as he was wheeled into the hospital lift could be considered weakness, and it’s not something you expect to hear from him—not because he doesn’t have weaknesses, and not because he won’t tell us that he has them, but because he won’t tell himself that he has them. The relentless positivity and equanimity, the extraordinary manner with which he’s conducted himself through the low points in his life, make him seem less a flesh-and-blood person than an amped-up motivational poster.”


Posted in the good with tags , , , , on January 11, 2015 by Qalandar

Agyaat alerted me to this film, and it looks like a must-watch — thanks! — Qalandar

Kush — Official Website

hindustantimes: “Shubhashish Bhutiani’s 20-minute drama about the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, ‘Kush’ has won the Best Short Film award at the 70th edition of the world’s oldest, Venice Film Festival in Italy
It was the only Indian film to have made it to the Orizzonti (Horizons) section dedicated to new trends, which had 30 other films competing for a Jury Prize besides Best Film and Short Film at the August 28-September 7 festival. …”

A quick note on PK…

Posted in the good with tags , , , , , on January 10, 2015 by Qalandar


The biggest intellectual issue I take with PK is one I often have with very many “well-intentioned” Hindi films, namely that it re-characterizes a straightforward political position into notions of fact/falsehood, even more so sincerity/insincerity. Thus the trope of the two-faced politician is a common one in Hindi films, but also in Indian society (I couldn’t even begin to count the number of times people have told me that communal statements by politicians don’t matter because what these chaps are “really” interested in is making money); the resulting cynicism has the virtue of not accepting the authority of those in power as a given, but is associated with the vice of paralyzing any kind of political thinking — since the practice of politics ends up viewed as essentially the deployment of a kind of hypocrisy. PK’s godmen suffer from the same problem: although the narrative arc initially seems to target the un-reasonableness of religious practice (and, delightfully, its complete relativism: the wine that is the blood of Christ itself becomes disgusting when transposed to a Muslim context), by the end it muddles into questions of fraud, and these take over the film. Any number of other issues are also loaded onto the charlatan (played with trademark comical nastiness by Saurabh Shukla), and before too long we also find in him the Muslim-baiter, the media manipulator — in short, he becomes the very bete noire of the (imagined?) liberal audience. But Continue reading