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Deepa Deosthalee
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HARMONIOUS DISCONTENT Music historian Ashok Ranade defines a bandish as “a composition, which, due to its inherent completeness, can claim to be a map of a full musical growth, comparable to a seed carrying within it the complete potential of a full form.” Rajeev Naik’s Marathi play by the same... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Stage Impressions
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SHOOT AT SIGHT Most ageing actors are forced to resort to self-parody to remain relevant. So one walked into Shilpa Shetty's maiden production Dishkiyaoon hoping to see Sunny Deol put his dhai kilo ka haath to good use. That and the promise (?) of watching Harman Baweja’s ‘revamped’ avatar. Confession:... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2014 at Film Impressions
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A MIDDLING EFFORT Debutant Syed Ahmed Afzal’s Youngistaan gets my vote for two reasons—its makers had the grace to play a special tribute to Farooque Shaikh at the start of the film, and in its own ham-fisted way it exhorts the youth to vote. The film’s politics though is strictly... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2014 at Film Impressions
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CRAZY OLD FOOLS There’s a peculiar likeness between Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) of Alexander Payne’s Nebraska and Bauji (Sanjay Mishra) in Rajat Kapoor’s Ankhon Dekhi. Both are lost souls in a lost world. Woody’s much older, hence easier to dismiss as senile (with a King Lear-esque fuzziness about him). Bauji... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2014 at Film Impressions
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THE NAME SAYS IT ALL Worse than senseless films are those with the germ of a great idea squandered in pursuit of easy gratification. Nupur Asthana’s Bewakoofiyaan falls in this category. It picks up a topical theme and fails to make a halfway decent watch of it. Look all around... Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2014 at Film Impressions
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ATTAGIRL! An early scene in Vikas Bahl’s Queen reminded me of a similar one in Aditya Chopra’s Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995). A young woman wants to take a journey by herself for the first time and asks her father if he’d let her go. In DDLJ, the London-born and... Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2014 at Film Impressions
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By Y.M.Deosthalee The UPA Government has been aggressively propagating financial inclusion. They introduced schemes such as NREGA, compelled banks to open branches in remote areas, enforced priority sector norms for credit to underprivileged etc. But has this changed the country's social fabric? Have we forgotten caste, religion, and language-based differentiation?... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2014 at Film Impressions
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THESE WOMEN NO CRY Instead of the regulation item song, the end credits of Soumik Sen’s Gulaab Gang roll to inspiring stories of women who’ve overcome disadvantages of birth and of patriarchal oppression to find ways to fulfil themselves and help others. It’s a welcome change. Sadly, the founder of... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2014 at Film Impressions
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This article first appeared in Time Out magazine What kind of work would an actor of Sanjeev Kumar’s enormous talent but modest looks have attracted in contemporary cinema? Surely he couldn’t have played the six-pack flaunting hero of youth-obsessed love stories or a member of the lowbrow comedy club. Today... Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2014 at Film Impressions
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ROAD TO NOWHERE This review contains spoilers Dear Papa, I am writing to you from my new home in the mountains where the air is so fresh, the water so clean, the sheep so adorable and the women in ethnic costumes with cool folk music on their lips so trendy!... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2014 at Film Impressions
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ANOTHER TAME ROM-COM In principle I have a problem empathising with a heroine whose sole aim in life is to win a dance reality show. It didn’t work even when Rani Mukerji displayed such chutzpah in Bunty Aur Babli (2005) running away from home for a modelling contest. Add to... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2014 at Film Impressions
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THE REAL DIRTY PICTURE There’s something disconcerting about Ashim Ahluwalia’s Miss Lovely and it’s not just the grim environs in which his tale of C-movie lowlife is set. Locations more authentic one hasn’t seen in Hindi cinema — literally squeezing out every ounce of glamour from the city of dreams... Continue reading
Posted Jan 17, 2014 at Film Impressions
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LOVE IN THE TIMES OF MUSHAIRAS In Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine Cate Blanchett plays a down-and-out former heiress surviving on a staple diet of vodka, Xanax, rage and self-pity. She talks to herself and is rude to everyone in sight. But the character's vulnerability cuts deep and as you loathe... Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2014 at Film Impressions
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FLAWED YET HEART-WARMING Hindi films about the elderly are almost always focussed on suffering—uncaring children, loss of loved ones, illness and the fear of mortality etc. Such preoccupations are no doubt inevitable with advancing years but our cinema doesn’t allow characters to live, grieve or die with dignity like in... Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2013 at Film Impressions
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HOLE IN THE HEAD It would be easy to dismiss Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Bullett Raja as a lazy studio-funded collaboration between a reasonably talented director-star duo. Sadly, it doesn’t seem a mere aberration. More likely Dhulia and Saif Ali Khan have run out of ideas and are desperate to cash in... Continue reading
Posted Nov 29, 2013 at Film Impressions
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A PEEK INTO HISTORY India doesn’t have a particularly good record at preserving film history. Shivendra Singh Dungarpur’s insightful biography of legendary archivist P K Nair, Celluloid Man (2012) chronicles how Ardeshir Irani’s son sold the film negative of the first Hindi talkie Alam Ara (1931) as scrap. In one... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2013 at Film Impressions
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JAB V SHANTARAM MET DADA KONDKE AT THE DESIGNER VILLAGE NAUTANKI When you walk into a Sanjay Leela Bhansali film you have to leave your inhibitions at the door. The guy expects unconditional surrender to his grandiose vision, wound up characters, over-wrought emotions, and operatic sets and costumes. You can’t... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2013 at Film Impressions
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THE JADOO HAS LEFT THIS FRANCHISE First the good news. Krrish 3 has by far the best special effects one has seen in an Indian film; Dhoom 3 better pack enough fire-power to outdo the mind-boggling wizardry of chameleons morphing into human forms, gravity-defying spins through Mumbai's streets and a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2013 at Film Impressions
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A TALE OF TWO B.R.’S The poster of B.R. Ishara’s Chetna (1970) advertised the filmmaker’s intent upfront. Debutant Anil Dhawan, standing at a distance was framed between Rehana Sultan’s bare legs. The director was enticing audiences but also being cheeky about the Adult certification granted to his breakthrough film. Interestingly,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2013 at Film Impressions
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LIVES UP TO ITS NAME I get it. Abhinav Singh Kashyap’s Besharam has been designed to expand Ranbir Kapoor’s mass base. And in the process take a few pot-shots at the ageing movie gods he hopes to dethrone. So he’s doing just the things middle-aged boys of the 100 cr.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2013 at Film Impressions
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NOURISHMENT FOR STARVED SOULS Ritesh Batra's The Lunchbox opens with a crisscross of overhead wires that keep Mumbai's lifeline––its local trains––running. Tracks intersect, seemingly randomly, taking people to their familiar destinations. Everyone who's lived here long enough has experienced this life at some point, journeying on trains to work and... Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2013 at Film Impressions
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MARRY-GO-ROUND "Marriage is a wonderful institution. But who wants to live in an institution?" Groucho Marx famously declared. The characters in Maneesh Sharma's Shuddh Desi Romance might agree with this pronouncement. Barring, of course, Goyal (Rishi Kapoor) the caterer and decorator whose business is clearly in jeopardy if this line... Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2013 at Film Impressions
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LOST CAUSE If Madhur Bhandarkar scavenges on the Page 3 circuit, Prakash Jha picks his themes from the day’s headlines. Sadly, he’s content projecting the bold print (or its screaming-ranting equivalents on prime time news), never showing the slightest inclination for introspection or analysis. With four films in as many... Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2013 at Film Impressions
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ANATOMY OF A KILLING The constraints under which Indian filmmakers have to operate can be crippling. Especially when it comes to political subjects, given the state’s indifference towards providing an environment conducive for free expression and the increasingly violent pitch of dissent and prejudice. Recently the release of Kamal Hassan’s... Continue reading
Posted Aug 23, 2013 at Film Impressions
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*In which I revisit Smita Patil's forgotten films WHAT IS IN A NAME? I watched Ravi Tandon's Jawaab in 1985 when it first released. Not out of Smita-love but because we couldn't get tickets to Rahul Rawail's Arjun which was running to packed houses. Disappointed yet determined, my dedicated film-watcher... Continue reading
Posted Aug 16, 2013 at Film Impressions