Archive for Baradwaj Rangan

Rangan Reviews VIKRAM VEDHA (TAMIL; 2017)

Posted in the good with tags , , , on July 22, 2017 by Qalandar

EXCERPT: “An ordinary masala movie would pit a god against this demon – and indeed, the first half of the title (R Madhavan) does come across like the scourge of evil, a saviour. He’s an encounter cop, but he’s able to sleep guiltlessly because he’s convinced the men he’s pumping bullets into are bad men who deserve to die. But slowly, the paint starts peeling away. Rather, the colour of his tees undergo a change. During the first meeting of Vikram and Vedha, the former is in white, the latter in black. By their last meeting, Vikram is in grey. He knows now that it isn’t a clear-cut line between good and evil.

The notion that cops and gangsters are but two sides of the same coin isn’t new: Michael Mann’s Heat is a brilliant exploration of how a cop who thinks he is doing good may be more messed up than the gangster. But Pushkar-Gayatri have decided to tell their story through the prism of the Vikram/Vetaal folklore – hence the title. The film opens with an animated stretch with the king Vikram high up in his castle, and soon, in pursuit of the vampire Vetaal, he plunges deep into a lake, a metaphorical hell. The creature latches onto his back and begins to narrate stories that are the old-world answer to a grey T-shirt: there’s a moral conundrum at the end.”

Complete article HERE.

Qalandar debates Ishqiya

Posted in the good with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 3, 2010 by Qalandar

in response to the post here

Qalandar Reviews RAAVAN (Hindi; 2010)

Posted in the good with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2010 by Qalandar


It doesn’t begin at the beginning, but, like a Greek epic, in the thick of things, by way of a jumble of images, from a serene Beera (Abhishek Bachchan) atop a cliff to policemen facing a road-block, to lust and ambush at a village fair, leading to a shocking image of men being burned alive, to, of course, to Ragini (Aishwariya Rai) in a boat, under threat from a larger vessel manned by Beera — framed against the sun, more silhouette than man. The cycle begins with Beera, and ends with him, and involves his contact with three of the traditional elements: earth, air, and water. As for the fourth — fire — that is Beera himself, as he himself suggests later on in the film when he is consumed and confused by his desire for Ragini. The succession of images, colors, and characters is determinedly non-linear: we all know the Ramayana, and so we know what must happen here, but the order (or lack thereof) unsettles our expectations. After five or more minutes of ravishment, its compression unequalled by any other sequence in director Mani Rathnam’s illustrious career (just about every principal theme is introduced in this overture, that must surely rank among Hindi cinema’s most memorable), the camera finds itself below the surface of the water, gazing up at the two boats nearing each other. At the moment of collision, debris (or is it blood?) drips onto the now black screen, as backdrop to the word “Raavan”, even as A.R. Rahman’s addictive “Beera” song navigates the darkness, illuminated only by print-like images of the title character.
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Baradwaj Rangan on ROCKET SINGH

Posted in the good with tags , , , , , , , , on December 12, 2009 by Qalandar


“So it’s certainly ironic that the most unvarnished, underplayed performance of [Ranbir Kapoor’s] young career comes in a film where he opts for a profession that’s typically dominated by shrill hucksters. In Shimit Amin’s Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year, Ranbir plays Harpreet Singh Bedi, a Commerce graduate who just about scraped through his exams. In a beauty of an opening scene, he sits in front of his computer, scanning his college web site for his name, and when he realises he hasn’t flunked out, he doesn’t do what he’d do in another movie, which is to pump a fist in the air and rush out, with whoops of joy, to lift up his protesting grandfather (a completely charming Prem Chopra). Harpreet just leans back in his chair, digesting this most minor of achievements – and it takes a few seconds for a smile to light up his face. Continue reading

On the Trail of Mani (Baradwaj Rangan on PAA)

Posted in the good with tags , , , , , , on December 12, 2009 by Qalandar

[Thanks to mansi!]


“‘EVER SINCE R BALKI BEGAN TO CROW about his stunt casting – father becoming son, son becoming father – I’ve harboured apprehensions about Paa, and the self-congratulatory trailers didn’t exactly help. From Amitabh Bachchan’s creepy-crawly laugh (after he announces the film’s title, or calls out to his paa, or perhaps both) to the supposedly life-affirming, heart-warming, throat-lump-inducing “monkey dance,” everything pointed towards syrupy disaster. . . . The major miracle of Paa is that this concern is rendered blithely redundant. It appeared, at first, just another cutesy gimmick that the promos proclaimed “introducing Amitabh Bachchan” – but sometimes, it seems, there is truth in advertising. Continue reading

Baradwaj Rangan reviews POKKISHAM (Tamil; 2009)

Posted in the good with tags , , on August 30, 2009 by Qalandar


“I wanted to shake these bratty SMS-era youngsters by the shoulder and tell them that this story needs this pace – if it’s a slow film, it’s because it isn’t set in a fast world. I wanted to tell them that this was, after all, the 1970s – an India of tonga carts and unsliced loaves of bread and two-rupee notes, and when people had to wait for days to hear from one another, either through letters or the tiresome mechanics of booking a trunk call over staticky communication lines. How easy it was, back then, to lose touch with people, who didn’t leave permanent footprints of their journey through life on, say, Facebook. (Today, you cannot shake off even the friends you want to lose.) It wasn’t unusual to graduate from school or college and have an entire set of people – and along with them, an entire part of your life – vanish into the ether, oftentimes without the comfort of closure. That’s the era this film attempts to evoke. When Lenin does not hear from Nadheera for weeks or months, we need to feel the length of this time elapse on screen – and the noonday-lethargy pacing of Pokkisham is very much a part of its design.”

Read the complete review HERE.