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Geek. Dilettante. Over-analyzer of Hindi movies. World music addict & DJ. Anthropologist of enthusiasms. Other stuff.
Interests: At the moment: India and Hindi films, languages and linguistics, world music, world history, health and fitness
Recent Activity
यह नज़दीकियाँ Dir. Vinod Pande I have watched quite a few rotten movies out of love for Shabana Azmi. I did not enjoy the dour, crotchety Avtaar, which tries to send a message about respecting one's elders, and winds up... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2014 at Filmi Geek
Hello folks - I've got a review or two in the pipeline but in the meantime please read and share my latest column in Outlook, about that wonderful feedback loop between visiting India and watching its movies. Also, Filmi Geek... Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2014 at Filmi Geek
Hi PC, thanks for the comment! I'd love for you to unpack your comment about being biased after "The Dirty Picture" - biased how? Has it made you dislike Naseeruddin Shah, or prefer him in certain kinds of roles? Very curious about this interesting statement. :)
Toggle Commented Oct 9, 2014 on Finding Fanny (2014) at Filmi Geek
I like your reading of Bobby and her thoughtless acceptance of Khan's offer. I wish the script had been just a little more explicit about that, to make it clear that this is character-illustrating point, something about Bobby, rather than just lazy writing. I'm looking forward to watching the movie again and seeing whether the cuteness hold up on second viewing.
Toggle Commented Oct 9, 2014 on Bobby Jasoos (2014) at Filmi Geek
Thank you so much love <3 I will try to fit in time to post a response! Lots to do these days.
Toggle Commented Oct 9, 2014 on Positive Outlook at Filmi Geek
Smair, thank you so much for this wonderful comment. Your contemporary memories of Jewel Thief from India and Iran are priceless! I do love this movie. It is one of those rare movies that I can watch any time, even if I just watched it yesterday! I love every second and every frame of it.
Toggle Commented Sep 16, 2014 on Jewel Thief (1967) at Filmi Geek
You might be right. I'm giving him credit because of the physicality in his performancethe role - he seemed to know what to do with his body, so perhaps what he was doing with his expression was also willful? Or, maybe Homi Adajania just cast him thoughtfully, as Savio is more than a bit of a dope. ;-)
Toggle Commented Sep 16, 2014 on Finding Fanny (2014) at Filmi Geek
There is some real talent among the young women in the movies these days - Deepika, Parineeti Chopra, Alia Bhatt, Kangana Ranaut ... I hope that filmmakers can and do keep giving them good stories to tell when they all reach the other side of 30.
Toggle Commented Sep 16, 2014 on Finding Fanny (2014) at Filmi Geek
Dir. Homi Adajania Finding Fanny is a self-consciously quirky story about weird, broken people. At times it tries a little too hard, but for the most part, its peculiar humor works. It is not as sinister as Homi Adajania's earlier... Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2014 at Filmi Geek
Hello johalr, thanks for this. I had to watch the song again to refresh my memory. I agree with you that it is a gorgeous song with lovely visuals but I cannot get over the fact that it is embedded in a disgusting story. It could be so lovely to see a stressed and damaged young woman rousing herself to life in the open air and countryside, the way that song attempts to show. But in the context of the worn-out "manic pixie girl softens the heart of the meanest criminal" yada-yada, it is, like everything else good about Highway, an utter waste of a whole lot of very fine craft.
Toggle Commented Sep 15, 2014 on Highway (2014) at Filmi Geek
"I hold Gulzars movies to an unfairly high standard." I understand that. Sometimes I can be harder on a movie that is almost-great than on one that has more modest ambitions and turns out to be a fun watch without much substance. And I can't really disagree with any of your critiques of Aandhi. Even I detected Suchitra Sen's Bengali accent which must mean it was horridly jarring to someone who actually knows what she's listening to. And you are absolutely right about the timeline - it wasn't as carefully charted as it could have been. Yet I was so blown away by the movie's substance that I just couldn't stop thinking about it afterward. It's likely I'll watch it again in the not too distant future and then maybe these weaknesses of craft will be more present.
Toggle Commented Sep 15, 2014 on Aandhi (1975) at Filmi Geek
Anu I agree completely on Iqbal - I liked it but I also felt there was something missing in it, and I am suspicious of some of the narrative choices Kukunoor made in it. In my review of it I didn't go all the way to calling it manipulative but I think that is a reasonable interpretation of some of those choices. I haven't seen Gulab Gang yet. I couldn't fit it in for some reason when it was in the theater, and the reviews were so lukewarm that I haven't brought myself to look at it yet, despite wanting more of Juhi and despite the usually irresistible pull of Madhuri.
Toggle Commented Sep 15, 2014 on 3 Deewarein (2003) at Filmi Geek
Swati thank you so much for this lovely comment. :-) I try to remain aware of my cultural biases and potential for misunderstandings when I approach Indian films - and sometimes turning off the feminist critique part of my brain is easier than other times. At any rate, over the years I have been lucky enough to have more people engaging with me than attacking me so I can't be doing TOO badly at it. I am so glad you enjoy my writing - and in turn let me thank you for your always thoughtful comments! On 3 Deewarein: What you say about Naseer doing this role in his sleep - I find that a lot with him, that his performances often seem a bit by-the-book or phoned in. He's such a talent and presence that even in those roles he is still enjoyable to watch, but there it is. Upon reflection I felt very much that way about his role in Iqbal too. Perhaps Kukunoor's direction doesn't draw him in an unusual direction. That said, I just watched Finding Fanny yesterday (review to come) and thought his performance was wonderful in it, a very different flavor from the slick charmer type of character he plays in 3 Deewarein or the Ishqiya movies.
Toggle Commented Sep 15, 2014 on 3 Deewarein (2003) at Filmi Geek
३ दीवारें Dir. Naganesh Kukunoor Maybe it's just the character that Naseeruddin Shah plays – the charming criminal with a penchant for poetry and philosophical ponderings – that gives 3 Deewarein the feel of Ishqiya if Isqhiya were not a... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2014 at Filmi Geek
Hello Samir, thank you so much for the kind words. Thanks for reading too - please comment more! :D Anyone who loves Jewel Thief is a friend of mine. I love your observation about Guide, Abhimaan, and Aandhi. I wish I had thought of it myself! :D I will make a related observation. One of the things I love about Sanjeev Kumar is that he has a kind of natural, every-man appeal. He has a lot of charisma without projecting the air of a superstar. It makes him very relatable across a variety of roles - a kind of straight-laced old-fashioned guy in Seeta aur Geeta, a loner with a good heart in Namkeen, a comic doofus in Manoranjan, a stern man with a mission in Sholay. And I guess part of that sensibility is knowing how to get out of the way when the story is not primarily about his character.
Toggle Commented Sep 12, 2014 on Aandhi (1975) at Filmi Geek
Raza thank you so much for your comment :) I wonder if I should tell you that I was much gentler on DDLJ in that review than I would be today. It was a long time ago, and I was more hesitant in those days to criticize beloved, popular movies than I am now. But I am very glad that you have read and enjoyed what I wrote! Please comment more :D A few people have recommended KHKN to me in the last few weeks. I'll take that as a sign and actually put it on the list to watch one of these days.
Toggle Commented Sep 12, 2014 on Positive Outlook at Filmi Geek
Very well said, Pritam - I agree completely. Half-baked is a very apt description.
Toggle Commented Sep 10, 2014 on The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014) at Filmi Geek
Hello Pritam - thanks for the comment. :) I did mention the songs briefly - I even embedded one of them - but you are right that I didn't discuss them in detail. They are very lovely and I am glad you highlighted them for me. Sanjeev Kumar is a favorite of mine, whether in masala or otherwise. After Aandhi he did a number of other wonderful non-masala films like Angoor, Namkeen, Shatranj ke Khiladi. I love them all.
Toggle Commented Sep 10, 2014 on Aandhi (1975) at Filmi Geek
Hello folks! I have some news, for those of you don't follow Filmi Geek on Twitter or Facebook: I'm going to be writing a regular column for Outlook Magazine's web edition with my thoughts and ideas about the movies. My... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2014 at Filmi Geek
आंधी Dir. Gulzar That a nation has anointed a female leader or two is in no way a sign that the women of that nation are treated with equality or full respect by either the powerful or the public. The... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2014 at Filmi Geek
Hari both Mardaani and Siddharth are good movies, though very different. Both are worth seeing. I was not familiar with Prisoners either so I looked it up. It is interesting how many movies there are addressing this subject. It is a very primal fear, that I bet many parents share. The movies tap into that.
As Anu said, it's pleasant, if not terribly flavorful. Adjust expectations accordingly and it's not a bad way to spend a rainy afternoon.
Toggle Commented Aug 31, 2014 on The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014) at Filmi Geek
Dir: Lasse Hallström This Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg co-production is pleasant enough while it is happening, but like an empty meal that leaves you hungry an hour later, doesn't stand up to much contemplation afterwards. It is so watered-down... Continue reading
Posted Aug 28, 2014 at Filmi Geek
You should see it if you have the chance. It's really only the very ending that is a little much (although walking out of the theater being fairly appalled and saddened by it wasn't the highlight of the experience for me). Rani does well with what she's given; it's one of her best performances. I didn't see Taken either; I have woefully little knowledge of non-Indian film.
Thanks for the comment! I can see watching the movie again from time to time, especially if you fast-forward through the most cringeworthy bits. As I said in the comment above yours, there are bright spots in the movie that made it stick with me longer than I might have expected.
Toggle Commented Aug 27, 2014 on I Can't Think Straight (2008) at Filmi Geek