Links: PK, Ugly and looking back at 2014

My review of PK, which is one of the bravest films to come out of Bollywood in recent times. It’s not surprising that director Rajkumar Hirani’s candy-floss-flavoured attack on godmen struck a nerve in some people. The good news is that more people chose to watch and cheer for PK. Everyone loved Ugly, but the film just didn’t come together for me. It’s not bad, but neither is it as compelling as a story like these needs to be. Looking back at 2014, it had some superb onscreen heroines. It also had some mindbogglingly confused women characters, including the nightmare that was Action … Continue reading Links: PK, Ugly and looking back at 2014

Links: A catch-up of movie reviews

September has been a pretty cruel month. The jury’s out on October. Mary Kom, directed by Omung Kumar and starring Priyanka Chopra. In one line: “To really tell Kom’s story, we’re going to need a braver and more talented film industry.” Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez; starring Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin, Eva Green and others. In one line: “It takes rare skill to take actors as talented as those in Sin City 2’s cast and present a film that is as forgettable as this one.” Creature 3D, directed by … Continue reading Links: A catch-up of movie reviews

Links: Prisoners, Besharam, Gravity, About Time

It’s update time again so voila the film reviews, in the order they were watched: Prisoners: If anything, the idea of a film about child abduction set in a depressing, non-descript American town probably sounds a little off-putting to most. Add to that a father who, with righteous zeal and desperation, takes someone prisoner and tortures him because he’s convinced the police’s politically-correct, non-violent interrogations aren’t enough to make criminals spill their guts, and it’s not a film that screams ‘general entertainment’. But barring a few shots, Prisoners is precisely that. The ideological debates and philosophical frills are secondary. It … Continue reading Links: Prisoners, Besharam, Gravity, About Time

Links: Fruitvale Station, The Good Road

My review of The Good Road: Somewhere in the middle of The Good Road, a truck driver’s assistant grumbles that if you pile 10 tons on a truck that’s meant to carry a six-ton load, then it’s bound to topple. This is effectively what is happening to The Good Road. Seen only as a debut film, rather than one bearing the weight of representing the nation and the stigma of having left people like Anurag Kashyap and Karan Johar heartbroken, The Good Road is inoffensive and has its moments. You can read the whole review here.   And last week, I … Continue reading Links: Fruitvale Station, The Good Road

Links: Reviews of Satyagraha, One Direction: This is Us, Shuddh Desi Romance

These three films ranged from meh to please-god-let-this-end-NOW. Ten things Satyagraha taught me, best summed up by the last point: The Anna Hazare camp must be truly desperate for publicity to suggest they’ve inspired an unholy mess like Satyagraha. Especially since it comes up with perhaps the worst slogan ever (presumably to mirror “I am Anna“) — “Janta Talks, Janta Rocks”. Janta also walks, out of the film. Morgan Spurlock’s documentary One Direction: This is Us is quite insipid, but when you have fans that can shriek like 1D fans can, who needs any more excitement? The young girls gathered hours … Continue reading Links: Reviews of Satyagraha, One Direction: This is Us, Shuddh Desi Romance

Links: Films, booze, books, art and caste

‘Tis the time to update. Here’s what I’ve been up to for the past few weeks. 1. A long interview with S. Anand, founder of Navayana publishing. The first part is all about publishing and among other things, he makes the rather pertinent point that books are not FMCG products so expecting to churn out the same kind of profits is absurd. In part two, he really sinks his teeth into the privileged Hindu. If you haven’t heard of Navayana, click here. Conservative Hindus who believe the caste system is a wonderful thing, Navayana’s books are not going to be … Continue reading Links: Films, booze, books, art and caste

The Mag This Week

In this week’s Books page, we’ve got reviews of Lenin’s Kisses by Yan Lianke, reviewed by Sanjay Sipahimalani (click on Sanjay’s name and read it on his blog) The Secret Children by Alison McQueen, reviewed by Alpana Chowdhury The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom, reviewed by Joanna Lobo. There’s also an interview with literary agent David Godwin who has just written a book, Breaking 80. Godwin was in Mumbai for Tata Literature Live! and made some time to chat about his book and more. You can read selected excerpts of the interview here. If you’re interested in reading everything he had to say, read … Continue reading The Mag This Week