And I’m back

…which means I have blogpost full of links to put up. So here we go…

bobby_jasoos_vidyaMy review of Bobby Jasoos:

There’s an effervescent sweetness to Bobby Jasoos, written by Sanyukta Chawla and directed by Samar Sheikh. It’s Sheikh’s first film, but his direction is assured and he has marshalled his technical team smartly. Hyderabad looks beautiful without seeming fake. The pace of the film is spritely and not for a moment during its two hours does Bobby Jasoos drag.

Chawla’s done a wonderful job of putting together a simple, imperfect story that ties its loose ends and is filled with memorable characters. It’s not watertight and it doesn’t necessarily make complete sense, but this is Bollywood. As long as it’s fun and convincing, we’ll go with it.

Read the whole piece here.

My review of The Fault in Our Stars:

The Fault in Our Stars has the technical sophistication of a film made by a high school student with their handycam. The cinematography is flat and uninspired, which is a feat in itself since a large part of the film is set in the beautiful city of Amsterdam. The script by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber is not only awkward and dull, it actually manages to make the original novel seem very flawed in its logic. Why, for instance, does Hazel, with her intensive knowledge of the cancer-verse, not wonder about Make-A-Wish granting Augustus’s wish with such haste when his cancer is in remission? And why would anyone travel from Holland to America only to hand deliver the printout of an email?

Read the whole piece here.

On the latest effort to score some publicity by using Disney princesses:

The posters present a ‘what if?’ scenario. What if the loving father is actually a pervert? What if the happily-ever-after reveals itself to be violently-ever-after? There is undoubtedly a great need to increase awareness about CSA and encourage those who have been abused or been threatened with abuse to come forward and break patterns of violence. However, would this poster make a child feel like they can report what they’ve undergone?

Read the whole piece here.

Trying to figure out what Yo Yo Honey Singh thinks is hip hop.

Remembering RD Burman‘s wonderful, wonderful music on his 75th birth anniversary

When the whole brouhaha with Dr. Harsh Vardhan and his views on sex education started, the general opinion was outrage that he was against the idea. I was more mystified by how he seemed to suggest yoga was a substitute for sex education. After I wrote this, suddenly everyone was talking about the yoga-sex education link. Giggle.

Complaining that he was “disappointed” with how the New York Times had used his quote, Vardhan clarified in a public statement on Facebook that the reason he recommended abstinence is that condoms can break.

This is true. Condoms can indeed break, but that happens very, very rarely. Don’t believe the Mills & Boons. Condoms work way more often than they fail. Also, if you know how to use a condom properly, the chances of it breaking are reduced even further. And how would one know about using a condom? Well, you could go to a sex education class. There an instructor would tell you that you shouldn’t use old condoms, that you’ve got to be careful to not tear the condom while opening the packet, and that you must always leave space between the tip of the condom and the head of the penis.

Contrary to the suggestion in Vardhan’s document of replacing “so called ‘sex education’” with compulsory yoga, that ancient Indian practice does not offer these critical pieces of information. It does, however, improve your flexibility and focus, which, if Sting is to be believed, can help one’s sex life considerably. (As usual, his wife’s take on the whole matter is a little different.)

On words as weapons of abuse, Preity Zinta and Ness Wadia:

Words are not powerless paper planes, idling through the air. Depending upon the intent of the speaker, they’re more like drones — targeted and lethally damaging. They stick to people, damage psyches and colour reputations. Words define us. Good girl, momma’s boy, slut, iron man, pappu — we see ourselves and others through lenses made of words. Just as the praises stick, so do the abuses and frequently, the latter can inflict great damage. Except now, with so many reports of serious physical violence being inflicted upon women, the damage from words doesn’t seem serious enough to warrant a reaction.

Read the whole piece here.

On Humshakals, idiocy and box office success.

My review of Humshakals.

Talking to Uday Chopra about becoming a Hollywood producer:

On the basis of his experience so far, Chopra acknowledges that the way the industry works in Los Angeles is “very different” from what he is used to back home, but Chopra doesn’t feel he is at a disadvantage. “In terms of the creative process, because of my background here [in Bollywood], it wasn’t much of a learning curve,” said Chopra.

Read the whole piece here.

My review of The World Before Her:

Pahuja halfheartedly tries for a political angle at certain points in The World Before Her, but the film’s strength isn’t in the statement it makes about Hindu nationalism or the role that camps like Durga Vahini play when there’s communal violence. The power of The World Before Her is its sensitive alertness to how these two very different platforms for Indian women both appear to be rotten planks. For all their apparent differences, Durga Vahini and Miss India have a lot in common.

Read the whole piece here.

From NYIFF, a review of the documentary, An American in Paris:

This is filmmaker Ellis R Dungan’s life, as remembered in An American in Madras, a documentary directed by Karan Bali. Back in the 1930s and 1940s, India was home to a number of Americans and Europeans, many of whom worked in the film industries of Bombay and Madras despite not knowing the language in which the local movies were made. Dungan is one of them. He could manage broken Tamil at best, but despite this limited knowlege, he directed 12 Tamil films, edited most of them himself and is credited with bringing professionalism and modernism into the industry and movie-making. Among his most celebrated works is Meera, starring MS Subbulakshmi. Dungan’s films were also launching pads for the careers of legendary figures like Karunanidhi (as a scriptwriter) and MG Ramachandran (as an actor).

Read the whole piece here.

From NYIFF, my review of Anurag Kashyap’s Ugly:

There’s a little bit of Fargo, a hint of The Killing and a lot of red herrings in Ugly. It’s not a startling original film in either concept or execution, but it’s engaging enough in the first act. After that, the pace falters and the film becomes increasingly slack. One can’t help wondering if Kashyap stretched the film to 128 minutes because it would make the film seem more value for money than a 85 or 90 minute film.

Read the whole piece here.


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