Archive for the the good Category

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

Salim’s Viewing! (updated)

Posted in the good on November 18, 2017 by Satyam

Spiderman: The Homecoming
Really enjoyed it – it’s basically an American highschool movie merged with the Marvel universe (Tony Stark acting as mentor to a teenage Spiderman) slightly thin on plot and perhaps not as many greatly written lines as the best superhero films, but Tom Holland is fantastic as the 15 year old Peter Parker, desperate to prove his credentials amongst his superhero peers (his best-friend / awestruck-sidekick Ned is a riot). The casting director seems to have taken the idea of racial diversity a little too far (was their mission statement to have no white characters other than Spidey?) Overall, very watchable (other than twenty painful minutes of an endless noisy climactic battle sequence) and a refreshingly welcome departure from the generic films of this genre that are served up multiple times each year.
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.

An Jo’s Random Note on KBC 9

Posted in the good on October 12, 2017 by Satyam

I bought-in a subscription to SLING only to watch ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ 9 primarily, and secondarily the India versus Australia matches. [Somehow, it is India facing Australia on Australian pitches boosts the adrenalin in me and not that highly vice-versa.]

I am amazed by the vibrancy the show still generates after 17 years and with that same, French-bearded man heralding the show. It requires a special strength to under-play one’s over-whelming influence on people as a cultural icon and let the common man take center-stage: How Amitabh does it, is not only his secret but also a testimony to two facets of his: a) a pan-Indian cultural icon who is still in touch with his roots inspite of annoying wealth and a whopping fandom at his disposal; b) and that of being an out-standing star-actor still not dampened by the sands of time. Whether one picks a) or b), it doesn’t matter; cynicism or fondness, the winners in the end turn out to be the audience and the common man.
Continue reading

Amitabh Bachchan turns 75: How the veteran superstar established a strong south Indian base (FirstPost)

Posted in the good on October 12, 2017 by Qalandar


“Unlike the rest of India, the south always had its home-grown superstars. Though Anand and Aradhana made Rajesh Khanna a household name in Tamil Nadu, it was Amitabh Bachchan who made his firm mark in South Indian cinema, with his brooding countenance and deep baritone in Zanjeer (also because MGR starred in its remake Sirthu Vaazha Vendum).

Tamil Nadu, in the mid-70s, had more room to accept a Hindi star because Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth were just emerging actors then, Sivaji Ganesan had progressed to donning older roles and MGR had become the Chief Minister.
Continue reading