Wednesday, October 1, 2014

MARGARITA WITH A STRAW: Life's Intense Glow

A very special film has been all the rage this year at the Toronto Film Festival and has obtained the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema Award for Best Asian Film. Margarita with a Straw has been rightly called one of the strongest independent films India has produced in recent years. 
Margarita With a Straw hails from the talent of Shonali Bose, the film maker who was highly acclaimed for intense dramas, such as Amu and Chittagong. Her new film might be gathering attention partly because it explores topics that are rare to Indian cinema, such as disability or homosexuality. Nonetheless, the value of the film, which is Bose's most intensely personal project, starring Kalki Koechlin, lies well beyond its novelty. It is the writer and director's (aka Bose's) rare creative poise and humor that give her story a mature hue that is unique to films in India and around the world exploring similar topics, the last one I remember briefly and successfully exploring disability and sexuality being Babel (2006) by Gonzalez IƱarritu.
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Friday, April 4, 2014

JAL: A Majestic Tale of Human Truths

 
There must be something truly inspiring and epic about the Great Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. Films that have had scenes filmed in the austere landscape of the area have seen its strange beauty contribute to their trademark image (some examples are Lagaan or Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela), and Jal is the next in view.
A desert child myself, I was immediately drawn to the incredibly vivid cinematography of Jal from the onset, or should I say, from it's very first trailer.
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Friday, March 28, 2014

YOUNGISTAAN: Rule of the Candyfloss Young



 
Election season is ring-a-ringing and the films coming out these last couple of weeks have been bowing to the debate atmosphere. 
Youngistaan is a film that presents the premise of having India ruled by one of its foreign-educated nationals. It is essentially a love story set in the backdrop of Indian politics. 28 year old game developer Abhimanyu Kaul is a young and independent NRI. He lives in Japan with the love of his life, Anwita Chauhan, a bubbly, passionate and full of life summer intern. Their happy and content life faces the test of time, when blood ties and the pressure of being born into the first family of India tears a young Abhimanyu between his love for Anwita and a promise made to his dying father, the Prime Minister of India.
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Friday, March 7, 2014

Pink Power: QUEEN, GULAAB GANG and GULABI GANG


At a moment at which the limelight is turning towards women empowerment and women struggles in the media (see this week's post on celebrating brave women on Indian television), cinema takes part in this offering through documentaries and what this blogger would call "chick flicks with a bang". Whether it is in the form of Kangna Ranaut's layered big screen entertainer Queen, Nishtha Jain's serious documentary Gulabi Gang or it's Bollywood counterpart Gulaab Gang (starring divas Juhi Chawla and Madhuri Dixit), women are at the center of the discussion table as International Women's Day approaches.
Which of these films might be more effective as entertainment while also being socially inspiring? If we had only one film to pick this weekend to celebrate International Women's Day, which would we recommend? Let us briefly gloss through each plot and trailer.
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Friday, December 20, 2013

DHOOM 3 Review: Get Set... Dhoom!

A couple of hours drive through the California desert to reach San Diego had this lucky blogger enjoying an early Christmas gift from her best friend: a prepaid ticket for the first day and first show release of Vijay Krishna Acharya’s much anticipated Dhoom 3.
I have a confession to make. I would not say I am an action flick fan (I tend to find the genre a bit soulless) and have often been disappointed with the multiple attempts to achieve Hollywood-like results in Indian films or to create the ”Indian James Bond”. Not only do I believe Indian cinema need not use Western cinema as a measuring stick, but in my humble opinion, these attempts have met little success… probably less due to a lack of budget than to faulty scripts. So before starting this review, I wish to give my sincere applause to Vijay K. Acharya and Aditya Chopra for taking a giant box-office title like Dhoom and writing a script with soulful Indian flavor while creating a pretty consistent and entertaining action plot that can appeal to any audience.
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