Sunday, February 1, 2015


Aside from the films competing for the next crores milestone at the box office, the year 2014 had a few shiny film pearls appear on screen. It is these that make the audience truly vibrate to the emotions evoked by directors, actors and a good story. Here is our pick:

Director: Ritesh Batra
Cast: Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazzudin Siddiqi
The Lunchbox is an Indian film that conquered audiences around the world in 2014. With its high octane casting and a subdued approach to matters of the heart, it carried universal appeal and struck gold at many festivals and amid audiences in India too. One word: Unmissable.
Director: Vishal Bhardwaj 
Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Tabu, Kay Kay Menon, Shraddha Kapoor, Irffan Khan
Haider is another one-man exploit, with Vishal Bhardwaj at the front of directing, scripting and producing a new adaptation of a Shakespearian drama. Suffering, insanity, right, wrong and jaw-dropping landscapes are the backdrop of a very well shot and emotionally compelling Haider.
Director: Vikas Bahl, 
Cast: Kangna Ranuat, Lisa Haydon
Who does not feel for Rani, an innocent girl from Delhi, when she is shoved aside by a heartless groom? The tale that follows her evolution after heartbreak is empowering and inspirational. Every girl, but also every boy, should make a point to watch this. In the end, it is more than just a chick flick. It is a tribute to human resilience that does not take itself too seriously, therein its timeless charm.
Director: Rajat Kapoor
Cast: Sanjay Mishra, Namit Das
Aankhon Dekhi honors critical thinking at the same time pinpoints its ridiculous pitfalls. The wise Bauji asks relevant questions and brings change into an otherwise peaceful mini-society, inviting the audience to rethink their existence.
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Director: Nitin Kakkar Cast: Shabir Ahmed, Inaam Ul Haq
When people who claim to be from fundamentally different backgrounds discover they are in reality much more alike than they would like to think, the setting is right for intelligent comedy. Based on the relationship between Hindi speakers on both sides of the Indo-Pakistani border and their common love for cinema, Filmistaan is an opportunity to embrace that every human being is fundamentally equal. 
Director: Homi Adajania Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Deepika Padukone, Pankaj Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia, Arjun Kapoor
Stolen moments in Goa's off-the-beaten-track locations with one thing in mind: recovering lost love. Homi Adajania's Finding Fanny is a tale of distinctive characters and experiences. The cast, the images, the music result in a journey that is one of a kind.
Director: Abhishek Chaubey Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Arshad Warsi, Madhuri Dixit, Huma Qureshi
When tight writing as well as a tried and tested mega-talented cast are put together, one can expect the likes of a film such as Dedh Ishqiya despite the fact that most sequels are usually not what garners the most critical acclaim. The film has been ravely reviewed across the board and ingredients such as social critique, action, comedy and romance make it a surefire entertainer.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

HAPPY JOURNEY: Love Goes for a Spin!

Happy Journey is one of those little gems whose scenes one likes to allow our imagination to revisit again and again... A haunting tale whose value slowly permeates the viewer's consciousness for days, weeks or years to come.
Sachin Kundalkar's film in Marathi explores the life of Niranjan (Atul Kulkarni), whose childhood is filled with a constant outpour of innocent and pure love for his newborn little sister Janaki (Priya Bapat). Time goes by and just as he is growing up and discovering the joys of his first teenage romance, Niranjan's sentimentally rich journey is brutally truncated when his parents suddenly send him off to Dubai to earn money for his family. The result is a growing feeling of abandonment that makes Niranjan a hurt and detached young man who gets easily exasperated with his family obligations. It is this angry man who comes back to his hometown when the family is faced with difficult times. Once in India, his charming sister Janaki (Priya Bapat) will take him on a fantastic trip that will ignite an inner discovery.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


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.

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.

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.