Earlier this month our website Mad About Moviez (MAM as we fondly refer to it) turned a grand decade old, having started operations way back in 2011 around this time. Back then the portal came up to fill a void of sorts, after the fantastic PFC (Passion For Cinema) shut down in the summer of 2011. With like minded film buffs like Ashwin Varma, Ajay Nair and Aditya Savnal joining me with the same mindset and enthusiasm, we began MAM in a small way. Though we did not set out with any particular goals, we soon realized that a portal like ours needed one or more focus areas. Covering conventional Bollywood and Hollywood cinema was thus relegated to the background, as we realized that doing justice to these broad areas would be tough. We were anyways late entrants and there were big, popular film websites with whom we would have to compete with.
By now we all know the importance of OTT/digital platforms and their impact upon our lives, the pandemic having the environment around us. With cinemas remaining closed for several months & with several issues plaguing the entertainment sector even today, it’s very unclear as to how things would turn out for the industry for the rest of 2021 as well. While the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has been in the news of late for the development of a ‘toolkit’ by 17 major OTT platforms, in line with the implementation of the self-regulation code that was introduced in 2020, now they have made a major announcement, all these 17 major OTT platforms will offer one month’s free subscription to Indian consumers.Continue reading “Breaking News: Leading OTT Platforms to Offer a One-Month Free Subscription for Indian Audience, Move Aimed at Widening Subscription Base”
The 67th National Film Awards were announced earlier today in New Delhi. This was after a long delay of a year or so due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The awards are for films from the year of 2019. The announcement event was organised by the Directorate of Film Festivals, which comes under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.Continue reading “67th National Film Awards (for films from 2019): List of Winners”
Aren’t we all used to watching movies in multiplexes and single screen cinemas where there is now a problem that is growing day by day, one that has been a threat to a serious movie buff’s movie watching experience? Well we are talking about the annoying mobile phone of course, a useful tool generally but a tremendous irritating factor at the cinemas. Haven’t you come across people talking loudly on their mobiles even in the middle of a movie, with the least amount of botheration for the people around them? Haven’t we seen people annoyingly playing games/checking their social media platforms/chatting or just randomly fiddling with their phone, without caring to see if the bright screen of their mobile phone/tablet is disturbing others or not? Yes multiplex chains in particular do carry advertisements requesting patrons to put their mobile phones on silent mode or to switch it off while watching a movie? But how impactful has this been so far? Nothing seems to work mostly and you end up having to ask the concerned person to refrain from using his phone, even if that means you may have to get into a nasty argument at times.Continue reading “Indian Multiplexes Now all set to Take Care of the Annoying Moviegoer”
Listing the ten best films I have seen emerge from Bollywood last year could be a little deficient as I could not get around to watch a few generally acclaimed films like 3 Storeys and Love Sonia in time. Nevertheless, here’s my list of 10 best films that were made in Bollywood in the year gone by.
Honorable mention goes to Rajkumar Gupta’s Raid for an engaging account of a…raid and Hichki where Rani Mukherjee overcomes a clichéd script to deliver a watchable movie.
10. Kuch Bheege Alfaz
I am not a big fan of coincidences as a plot point, and the entire premise of KBA rests on coincidence. But if you are willing to look beyond that, this is a nice, gentle romance. Bollywood specializes in this genre, but rarely do you feel the romance yourself. A combination of good writing, direction and acting achieve this rare feat.
(Disclosure: The writer of this movie Abhishek Chatterjee also contributes to this website)
Horror and comedy often go together by in most cases, the end result is a spoof of the horror genre. Rarely do they complement each other. The horror in Stree follows the standard tropes expected in a film like this, but it’s the funny bits in between that make the movie. The film features good performances by everyone, including Shraddha Kapoor. A confident feature debut by director Amar Kaushik.
The one flaw that I thought Raazi had was that the husband’s character wasn’t developed strongly enough. With a capable counterpart, Alia Bhatt’s spy would have seemed more credible. But this minor quibble apart, Raazi is a good watch with an apt balance of drama and thrills. Surely, Alia Bhatt can do not wrong from this point on in her career.
7. Sui Dhaaga
Having sort of honed his skills paying a small town bumpkin in the Dulhania duology, Varun Dhawan lends a humane touch and some maturity to his character here. He is ably supported by Anushka Sharma. The story of the triumph of the underdog may have been done many times in the past, yet Sharat Katariya’s take on it makes for an interesting watch. If nothing else, I hope it puts Raghuvir Yadav back in the reckoning as a sought out actor.
While watching this movie, I was constantly reminded of Richard Linklater’s Last Flag Flying where three individuals carry a dead body across a road trip. The more showy role here is played with aplomb by Irfan Khan. Dulquer Salman, in his Hindi debut, is the under playing anchor of the ship and Mithila Palkar is the loose cannon who makes the age gap seem obvious. This is a nice feel-good black comedy.
5. Veere Di Wedding
Four friends at different stages of matrimonial life is a premise for some witty writing. Add to that good performances by the four leading ladies (Swara Bhaskar steals most scenes) under Shashank Ghosh’s able direction and there isn’t a dull moment in this film.
The story of the woman settling for an arranged marriage despite a passionate affair is a template already covered by the Woh Saat Dins, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanams and Dhadkans of the world. Yet writer Kanika Dhillon and director Anurag Kashyap find ways of adding complications to the story. Not all of it made sense to me but then I don’t suppose it was meant to. Superb acting by Taapsee Pannu, Vicky Kaushal and Abhishek Bachchan; in fact this must be Bachchan’s best role in years. He is more suited to these ‘serious types’ than comedy.
3. Badhaai Ho
This is a perfect example of choosing the right actor for the right role. What an ensemble cast this is! A late and unexpected pregnancy puts everyone in the household in an embarrassing situation leading to much mirth. Is this the same Amit Sharma who directed Tevar a few years ago? You don’t say!
I laughed so much with this movie my sides hurt. Three stories run parallel over the span of one fateful night. It’s a no brainer that they will come together at some point. This union is completely forced but by the time it comes, you are beyond the point of caring. Akshat Verma, who wrote the no-holds barred Delhi Belly, makes his directorial debut with even an even more ribald comedy. Sad it barely got noticed at the time of its release.
By now it may seem that I am an Anurag Kashyap fan boy. But really, what’s not to like about this story about a boxer who has to rise above caste politics to claim his right to fight. As always, the dialogues in Kashyap’s films are peerless. No one gets these North Indian landscapes right better than him. Vineet Kumar puts in a performance that should make all filmmakers sit up and take notice of his raw talent.
This is the time of the year when people like me are busy trying to hurry up with their year-end list compilations before heading out to celebrate the entry of the New Year. Usually I do try to go in for an in depth analysis of Indian Cinema, looking at the major happenings of the year in nearly all the dominant film industries, both Hindi and regional. But of late I’ve been caught up with all sorts of stuff; as a result I ended up being unable to come up with my mandatory year end posts for 2017, the one on Indian Cinema and the other one on Malayalam Cinema specifically. Hence I’ve decided that it’s time to play it wisely and focus mainly on the lists in particular and not the detailed anlysis. Why miss out on doing something that I am fond of altogether?Continue reading “The Best of Indian Cinema in 2018: A Perspective”
Lijo Jose Pellissery’s recent Malayalam film Angamaly Diaries has become an online favourite over the last couple of weeks or so. Thanks to screenings supported and promoted by filmmaker Bejoy Nambiar, people at 1018mb went on to organize a few screenings of the film in Mumbai. And there are already a couple of screenings lined up later this month. One has seen audiences thronging these screenings, this includes members of the film fraternity as well as media circle, and nearly everyone has only good things to talk about the film. It also helped that Lijo Jose Pellissery himself and a few others from the Angamaly Diaries team have been present for these screenings, indulging in a Q & A with the audience later on. This is not the first time that something like this is happening. It has happened in the past with Lijo’s own Malayalam film, Amen (2013). Once again it was thanks to a screening arranged by Bejoy Nambiar that people started talking about the film.Continue reading “Regional Cinema: What Prevents it from Reaching out to a Wider Audience?”
While the quality of most of his recent releases might be debatable, there is no doubt about Ram Gopal Varma aka RGV‘s ability to stay in the news. He is also someone who is quick to realize the potential in a topic that could be of relevance for a feature film. A recent example being his revelation on Twitter in terms of his intent to make a film on Sasikala, after all the controversial happenings in Tamil Nadu politics following the passing away of the former CM, J.Jayalalitha. But this latest news beats everything else in terms of whatever he has done so far. As per informed sources from his production house, RGV is now planning to announce a biopic on none other than Narendra Modi. Tentatively titled “Mann Ki Baat”, what is even more surprising is that RGV is already in talks with Aamir Khan to play the lead role of India’s PM. As we all might remember, RGV and Aamir Khan had earlier collaborated on Rangeela. While the film did turn out to be a commercial success, they had almost sworn not to work together again.This makes the news appear even more interesting and the project will soon be the most talked about film over the next few months for sure.
In a surprising development it has been learnt that Deepika Padukone is now part of the already huge team of S.S.Rajamouli‘s Baahubali: The Conclusion, the sequel to last year’s blockbuster, Baahubali: The Beginning. Already busy with the shoot of her first Hollywood film, xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, the 3rd film in the xXx franchise, Deepika is known to have shot for a couple of days recently in total secrecy for Baahubali: The Conclusion. While all the attention in the last few days regarding Deepika has been the discussion over whether she is disappointed at losing out the National Award (Best Actress) to Kangna Ranaut despite amazing performances in Piku and Bajirao Mastani, a little birdie tells us that Rajamouli was quite clear that the news of Deepika’s presence in the project was to be kept under wraps till a suitable opportune moment was to come across. Now that we know that Deepika is part of Baahubali: The Conclusion it becomes all the more clear that the project has just bigger in proposition, not just in Telugu and Tamil, but most importantly in the dubbed Hindi version. One might remember that Baahubali: The Beginning is the first and so far the only regional film to do an All India business of above 100 crores (nett) in the Hindi dubbed version.Continue reading “Breaking News: Deepika Padukone is now part of Baahubali: The Conclusion?”