Bombay Velvet (2015) Movie Review: All gloss and A Script Which Sleeps With The Fishes.

There are spoilers. Be warned and be pleased. 

Running Time : 149 Minutes | Language : Hindi | Director : Anurag Kashyap

There are “Beefeater” cartons stacked up behind the kitchen of “Bombay Velvet”, a place where Kashyap’s Hollywoodised Bombay’s jazz thrives, a center where the city’s big shots come and go, discuss their money and pass it on to each other. In the wake of the recent beef ban in Mumbai, it is a light chuckle inducing carton placement to show how different Bombay was to Mumbai. There’s little of the “Bombay” we know in Anurag Kashyap’s “Bombay Velvet” and almost none of the velvet that the title promises.Continue reading “Bombay Velvet (2015) Movie Review: All gloss and A Script Which Sleeps With The Fishes.”

Chappie (2015) Movie Review: Tin Man meets RoboCop

Language: English | Running Time: 120 Minutes | Director: Neill Blomkamp

There’s a very dystopian look looming over Johannesburg. When you realise this is a Neill Blomkamp film, it doesn’t surprise because his career has been developed building tales with rubble and despair taking over humanity. “Chappie”, his third feature film, is about the story of a robot who is artificially intelligent, becomes “conscious” and the resulting chaos and learning from the scenario.Continue reading “Chappie (2015) Movie Review: Tin Man meets RoboCop”

“Marry Go Round” Play Review

Language: English + Hyderabadi Hindi | Running Time: 90 Minutes | Director: Ashish Sen

If you are in your mid to late 20s, chances are your parents are talking to you about getting married, settling down with a nice lady from a good family,granting you the license to make babies and at the same time making it a an affair to rejoice that family line is perpetuating. An Indian male is more of than not pulled into this web by an indefatigable mother and lovingly clobbered into the union of marriage before he comprehends what’s being taken away from him. When you aren’t the person being pulled into this mockery, the charade is entirely hilarious. Ashish Sen’s “Marry Go Round”, based on the book by Sadiqa Peerbhoy, depicts the events that lead to the marriage of a man, Riaz(Rohn Malhotra), who is cornered by a steadfast mother, Sartaj Jehan Begum(a fantastic Rubi Chakravarti).Continue reading ““Marry Go Round” Play Review”

Badlapur (2015) Movie Review : Dark, Twisted and PMSing Noir Film.

This review contains spoilers. Tread lightly but do tread. 

Language : English | Running Time : 134 Minutes | Director :  Sriram Raghavan

Sriram Raghavan’s “Badlapur” starts off looking like he has been watching too much of Haneke’s “Caché” or Hitchcock’s “Rope” and it very well might be the shot of the year or atleast the best opening sequence in an Indian film this year. If in “Rope”, Hitchcock opens the film with a shot from the window, the viewpoint of a man looking down at the street opposite him and in “Caché”, Haneke shows us the vantage point of a street camera, in “Badlapur” Sriram Raghavan goes one further and makes the street scene seem like we are bystanders. The long shot gathers the workings of an ordinary Pune morning where two men bring down the shutters of a building, a woman is buying flowers with her child in hand, a guy is selling his wares and a cop is on his beat. Traffic is moving along on MG Road, Pune. All the while, we feel like bystanders who might be waiting for the bus or drinking tea from the neighbourhood tea vendor’s stall. There’s action but the enormity of the scene doesn’t register, not until a woman, Misha(Yami Gautham), is jumped and her car is used as a getaway vehicle by two bank robbers, Laik(Nawzuddin Siddique) and Harman(Vinay Pathak). In both “Caché” and “Rope”, the scene is supposed to show us the character’s eye, asking us to identify with the setting but in “Badlapur”, the sudden burst of action takes us by surprise, draws us in and rather than tell, Sriram Raghavan implies that there is something extraordinary taking place. And so we have the posters and the censor certified title of Badlapur always telling us “Don’t miss the beginning”, because here is Sriram’s best scene and one of the most magical of opening scenes I’ve witnessed. It’s beautiful, riveting and pulsating.Continue reading “Badlapur (2015) Movie Review : Dark, Twisted and PMSing Noir Film.”

Wild Tales/Relatos Salvajes (2014) Movie Review: Szifrón’s Cynical and Excellent Commentary

 Language: Spanish | Running Time: 122 Minutes | Director: Damián Szifrón

Apparently, there was a 10 minute standing ovation at the end of the screening of Relatos Salvajes a.k.a Wild Tales at Cannes, where it was in competition. After watching the movie, it is easy to see why. It is wild card, unlike anything that Cannes had in its catalogue, unlike anything that released in 2014 or quite a long time. Anthology films have a basic problem of disconnect due to either the theme not being elaborate or not evoking the heart and soul of the city or country it is set in. We’ve seen “Coffee and Cigarettes”, “Cities Of Love”, “Eros” suffer from this fate. Wild Tales, in 6 short vignettes of absolutely maverick and maniacal stories about ordinary men and women setting out in vengeance as they lose momentary control overcomes the general pitfalls.Continue reading “Wild Tales/Relatos Salvajes (2014) Movie Review: Szifrón’s Cynical and Excellent Commentary”

Yennai Arindhaal (2015) Movie Review: Well, The Same Old Menon World

Language : Tamil | Running Time :  176 Minutes | Director : Gautham Vasudev Menon

A Gautham Vasudev Menon film. It isn’t a phrase that makes me go gaga but I look forward for this man’s films. I look forward because there is almost no other filmmaker who caters to the urban middle class youth like he does with his self portrait of a hero who remains courteous to women, walks beside them with his hands in his pocket, shuffles like a 17 year old crushing on the hottest girl in school when he finds the love of his life, has the sentimental attachment to a scooter his dad used and takes his kid on it, be this man of honor and sensibility that makes you smile and feel like it might be a reflection of you. But more importantly, I look forward to his portrayal of the heroine.Continue reading “Yennai Arindhaal (2015) Movie Review: Well, The Same Old Menon World”

Shamitabh (2015) Movie Review: Shhh… It’s Always Amitabh.

Language: Hindi | Running Time: 150 Minutes | Director: R Balki

Amitabh Bachchan attired in a suit that has seen better days and a voice that sounds like scotch married marmalade, comes out with a philosophical outburst claiming whiskey runs without water but water cannot work without whiskey. You could close your eyes at this moment and have him tell his dialogues in the manner that he does, regal and disarmingly egoistic and it would be difficult not to worship the owner of this majestic baritone. It is this voice that Balki worships and his God gives it to him liberally, too easily and too liberally that he makes it both the strength and the weakness of his third venture, Shamitabh.Continue reading “Shamitabh (2015) Movie Review: Shhh… It’s Always Amitabh.”

Birdman (2014): The Virtue of Art

Language : English | Running Time : 119 Minutes | Director : Alejandro González Iñárritu

Everytime I look at Johnny Depp and Robert Downey Jr. today, I wish the former stopped trying to make his “acting” about make-up, feathers and bowlegged walking and the latter, I wish there is more than just the smooth and fast talking person inhabiting the screen. These men were artists who could live the smallest of men and make them larger than life. One could be the director Ed Wood and humanise him while the other could fill in the shoes of Charlie Chaplin. These men were superior actors and 20 years later that might feel the same weight down their heart that Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) feels here and also lament about the lost time and opportunities. We might be labeling art, as superior or inferior at our convenience but Alejandro Iñárritu takes this label seriously and builds a narrative about a washed out commercial star trying to assert meaning as an actor.Continue reading “Birdman (2014): The Virtue of Art”

Exodus:Gods And Kings (2014) Movie Review: Irreverent Gods And Awful Kings

Language: English | Running Time: 150 Minutes | Director: Ridley Scott

Our hero, Moses(Christian Bale) is told by a petulant, child God that he is one of the people who doesn’t agree with everything He has to say and then asks him to drop the hammer he’s holding if he disagrees with the need for laws for the people he has liberated. Moses continues chalking away stone and the child God approves. With any other filmmaker, I wouldn’t have been as lost as I was after watching this exchange. But this is Ridley Scott‘s “Exodus: Gods and Kings” and so I am perplexed that the exchange was so ordinary, so without any action to assuage importance. Ridley Scott’s “Kingdom Of Heaven” is a movie which dealt with religion and the Crusades in particular. It had an ordinary hero with an extraordinary tale but every scene in the movie had an importance not just in words but the way a scene filled the screen. Exodus : Gods and Kings has further convinced me that Ridley Scott’s masterpiece Kingdom Of Heaven is one rare movie.Continue reading “Exodus:Gods And Kings (2014) Movie Review: Irreverent Gods And Awful Kings”