Netflix India’s Delhi Crime bags ‘Best Drama Series’ at the 48th International Emmy Awards 2020

Netflix’s Delhi Crime produced by Golden Karavan, SK Global Entertainment and FilmKaravan which is based on the 2012 gangrape-murder case, won an International Emmy in the ‘Best Drama Series’ category, making it the first ever EMMY for India. Delhi Crime, directed by Richie Mehta, starring Shefali Shah, Rasika Duggal, Adil Hussain, Yashaswani Dayama and Rajesh Tailang is a fictionalised crime drama. The story is based on the painstaking investigation into the 2012 Delhi gang-rape which dives into DCP Vartika Chaturvedi’s search for the culprits, as India’s capital city reels in the aftermath of the brutal gangrape.Continue reading “Netflix India’s Delhi Crime bags ‘Best Drama Series’ at the 48th International Emmy Awards 2020”

Kammatipaadam Movie Review: A Crime Saga from the Underbelly of Kochi

In today’s fast paced world we see tall skyscrapers housing residential or office complexes all around us. Gone are the days when this was a phenomenon restricted to the Metro cities alone, now it has even percolated down to all the State capitals & even further down. But have we ever bothered to know how these original cities once looked like? How the sites housing these large buildings once appeared to be as? A lot of these places were probably agricultural lands, wastelands or perhaps even slum dwellings where the poor lived, only to make way over course of time to these concrete jungles. Kochi or Cochin is one of those rapidly developing cities, a city that is becoming more and more cosmopolitan by the day. You hear people often say “Kochi ippol pazhaya Kochi alla” (Kochi now isn’t the same old Kochi like before) and perhaps Rajeev Ravi has kept all this in the back of his mind as he conceived his latest film Kammatipaadam, a tale that spans across three decades, taking us virtually into the underbelly of Kochi.Continue reading “Kammatipaadam Movie Review: A Crime Saga from the Underbelly of Kochi”

Qissa-The Tale of a Lonely Ghost Movie Review: Indian at Heart, International in Appeal

I had first seen Qissa during Mumbai Film Festival (2013) and was extremely pleased with Anup Singh’s sad yet haunting tale. For me it was definitely one of the best Indian films seen that year and was looking forward to its theatrical release sometime in 2014. Thanks to its good performance in the International Film Festival circuit I was hoping that Qissa would turn out to be landmark film for Punjabi Cinema in particular. No I wasn’t expecting the film to be a monstrous hit like a Punjab 1984 or Chaar Saahibzaade, but thanks to the star cast and the theme I felt that it could at least reach out to its target audience in a far better way than a totally art house film like Anhey Ghore Da Daan. Unfortunately despite the best efforts of Anup Singh and his team, this Indo-German film continued to wait for its theatrical release in India.Continue reading “Qissa-The Tale of a Lonely Ghost Movie Review: Indian at Heart, International in Appeal”

15th Mumbai Film Festival Diary: Day 1

After a wonderful opening ceremony followed by screening of The Butler; the 1st actual day of the festival (or the 2nd day as the organizers refer to) went off pretty well. Various members of MAM were seen to be feverishly making their plans and covering up films of their choice at all the 3 venues- Liberty and Metro at South Mumbai and Cinemax Versova in Andheri. Let’s take a look at what the team feels about the films seen at Day 1 of the 15th Mumbai Film Festival.

Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer

Pussy Riot A Punk PrayerOn February 21 2012, five members of of a Russian group ‘Pussy Riot’ , staged a protest song, what they call a punk prayer in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The same church was demolished during the Bolshevik regime. It was rebuilt after the fall of soviet Russia,one of the most important religious place in Russia. And it was the orthodoxy who were discriminated during soviet regime. Now orthodoxy are powerful religious groups, supposedly promoting and protecting Vladimir Putin. Pussy Riot members were protesting feminist issues, LGBT rights, policies of Vladimar Putin and mainly opposed support of orthodoxy church to Putin. And obviously they were arrested. And this documentary covers events leading to the event and aftermath.

Masha, Nadia and Katia, three performers, who are charged with criminal charges undergo trial. And filmmaker explores their childhood and upbringing, their political beliefs and consequences of their actions. This is a terrific documentary. This is how a documentary should be. Despite the focus on the group ‘Pussy Riot’ , it also gives orthodoxy a chance to put up their views. It also raises lots of questions about How moral it is to hurt someone’s religious sentiments in the name of protest? Why a religious institution which is politically and socially influenced, should not be targeted by protesters?  What is the definition of a secular state, which protects religious beliefs at any cost or the one who acts irrespective of it?

The documentary  is so well balanced, that a religious Christian would find it to be criticising the group, where as an atheist will find it a powerful story of protest against oppression.

Wajama

Wajama is the name of an Afghan girl, our protagonist. She falls in love with a waiter,  Mustafa and then a hide and seek love story develops in contemporary Afghanistan. It is actually more of a social film than a love story. Wajama gets pregnant and Mustafa disowns it. She is now caught by her angry father and a particular scene where her father beats her up with his belt, is emotionally distressing. Just as the film turns out a little cinematic, the director infuses some realism into it.

Wajama’s father, who has a job to defuse landmines in south Afghanistan, goes back. He tries to talk with Mustafa and ends up beating Mustafa. And on the advice of prosecutor, he decides not to avenge family honor and kill Mustafa. Prosecutor also tells him that if he presses charges against Mustafa, Wajama could also end up in prison. The film shows glimpse of some medieval Afghan laws and even throws light on prosecutors functioning there.

The film is shot on HD camera, not even DSLR and suffers from production value. But the perfomances are pretty good. With better camera and production values, it could have been much better. It also won screenwriting award at the Sundance festival.

Blackfish

BlackfishThis documentary highlights the conflict which happened after the death of Don Brancheau at Seaworld. Seaworld is a leading American chain of marine mammal parks. They are known for stunning and breathtaking Orca shows. But what goes behind it and the  death of expert animal trainer Don Brancheau, blows the lead. It is very traumatic to see how wild Orcas are captured, trained and treated. Although there is mention of Orca being intelligent and a spiritual animal, the documentary oesn’t show much of this aspect. It is more about malpractices at Seaworld than about what drives Tilkum, the killer orca, to do the crime. The screening was  interrupted by a bad Blu Ray projection, so I could be missing something. But when it resumed it wasn’t very satisfying though it was an emotional experience.

The Keeper of Lost Causes

The Keeper of Lost CausesScandinavian thrillers are usually well written and/or made. They have done a good job with it so far. The Keeper of Lost Causes has been garnering rave reviews all across the globe for sometime now. It is a  thriller narrated in non linear way. The film has all the elements which you will see in thriller, a cop coming to terms with his past, a mentally disturbed brother and beautiful girl who is victim of crime. The film’s theme is inspired by Korean hit – Old Boy and the director also pays tribute to Old Boy in one scene. Overall not an original film, nonetheless it keeps you engaged for it’s duration.

In the Name Of

When a film opens with a scene where a bunch of boys without shirts are fooling around, chances are homosexuality is going to pop in at some point. Polish film In the Name Of  by director Malgoska Szumowska (pronounce that!) tackles this theme fairly well.  Most horror films have little purpose but to scare. Similarly the fledgling genre of films on homosexuality aims at little else but shock value. And now it’s not even shocking anymore.  In The Name Of barely registered on the viewer’s consciousness. The only thing it did was to make one a little skeptical on a visit to the Cinemax loo which does not have partitions between urinals :).

The Wait for Elephants

The film wasn’t worth the wait. The DVD was faulty, the movie was slow and there were people among the audience openly snoring. It was yet another take on the world through the eyes of a little boy. But no one left the hall mid way. Why? Because who wants to give up on the cosy comfort of the Red Lounge sofas and roam around in the sun.

Village of Hope

Thai film Village of Hope appeared to be another Uncle Boonmee. But why slot a film on the basis of its country of origin. A soldier returns to his native village to witness the abject lives of his relatives. The arrival of a well to do uncle only underlines the difference. Director Boonsong Nakphoo has shot it in B & W and this serves no apparent purpose. The film ended exactly the way it started. It introduced a lot of interesting characters but never did anything interesting with them.

All is Lost

All is LostIf you think the story of humans stranded at sea has been done to death, you have to see this one. The film begins with a monologue by a weary voiced Robert Redford where he explains his hopeless situation.  He is the only actor in the film so there’s barely any dialogue. Except natural sounds not much background music either.  Just Redford doing what he needs to do to survive a shipwreck. We usually complain when characters aren’t given enough of a back story. Here it makes sense to directly cut to the action. Looks like Uncle Oscar’s going to come a knocking.

Locke

Locke Poster 2Tom Hardy tries to save the day for himself simply by using his car phone and maintaining his sang froid. A one night stand that led to a pregnancy has become due. So has the biggest construction job his company has ever seen. And he also has to break the news about his dalliance to his family. Hardy’s performance and Steven Knight’s dual role as writer, director make this a memorable watch.

Closed Curtain

Closed CurtainWinner of the Best Script award at this years Berlin Film Festival, Jafar Panahi’s Closed Curtain is a very personal film and reflects the state of mind with which he is currently working. Completely shot in & around a seaside villa, the film has very few characters and eventually brings in a blur between fact and fiction, reality and the not so real World. A little too abstract for comfort, the film also has Jafar Panahi playing himself in the film.

A special screening of Kamal Haasan’s Hey Ram was started on time (12 noon) at Liberty Cinema, but 15 minutes into the film the screening was stopped for some technical reasons with a promise of a rescheduled show later.

A master class involving noted French filmmaker Leos Carax where the audience got to hear him talk about his entry into films, all about his various films and his films including the most recent Holy Motors was one of the better aspects of the day.

Qissa

Qissa PosterAnup Singh’s Qissa was one of the anticipated films of this year’s MFF and the film lived up to the expectations generated by the trailer. A tale of a Sikh family led by Irrfan Khan who make the transition from Pakistan to India during the partition and rebuild their lives in the best way possible, or so as they think so, this Punjabi film is wonderfully multi-layered and filled with metaphors, magic realism and wonderful performances from Irrfan Khan, Tisca Chopra, Tillotama Shome and Rasika Dugal. Definitely a recommended watch.

Blackmail 

This 1929 film from Alfred Hitchcock was an experience indeed as not only was it a digitally restored crystal clear quality print from BFI, it was also accompanied by wonderful live music to go with the mood of the film.

Liar’s Dice

Liar's DiceActress turned filmmaker Geetu Mohandas’ Liar’s Dice has a good premise and wonderful locales (Himachal Pradesh) to boast of. The casting is also spot on as all 3 main actors- Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Gitanjali Thapa and Manya Gupta are wonderful. A simple enough tale that’s more like a road film, the treatment is a bit of a let down and you end up feeling that the promise has not been completely met.

 

Qissa: Trailer


Anup Singh
’s Qissa, a co-production between India/ Germany/ The Netherlands/ France, is having its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival which is on right now.
Born 1961 in Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania, Anup Singh grew up in a Sikh family of Punjab origin. Their forced displacement is one of the main sources of inspiration for Qissa. Anup’s previous films, The Name of a River (2002) and Lasya- The Gentle Dance (2011) have done well in the festival circuit.

QissaA Punjabi film set in post-colonial India, QISSA tells the story of Umber Singh (Irrfan Khan), a Sikh, who is forced to flee his village due to ethnic cleansing at the time of partition in 1947. Umber decides to fight fate and builds a new home for his family. When Umber marries his youngest child Kanwar to Neeli, a girl of lower caste, the family is faced with the truth of their identities; where individual ambition and destinies collide in a struggle with eternity.

Apart from Irrfan Qissa also features Tisca Chopra, Tillotama Shome and Rasika Dugal. Based on a screenplay written by Anup Singh and Madhuja MukherjeeSebastian Edschmid is the DOP and Bernd Euscher is the editor. Béatrice Thiriet has provided the original music while Manish J.Tipu has composed the songs and Madan Gopal Singh has written the dialogues and lyrics.

The film will be releasing 20th February simultaneously in select cinemas, online and on DVD. We have caught the film at MAMI last year and would definitely recommend it.

Check out the trailer of the film-Continue reading “Qissa: Trailer”

My Experience with ‘Kshay’

By Rasika Dugal

Over a lazy cup of coffee in Versova, just before I was about to begin work on Kshay, I was asked the question that most actors hate to answer – but hear all too often – “So, what are you working on next?”

“A film,” I said, noncommittally.

Out came the barrage of followup questions: Who’s directing? Who’s producing? Who’s the co-actor? What’s the budget?
Advice was shortly to follow.

When I told my interrogator about Kshay, I got a frown, a ‘hmmm’, and finally ‘that’s not a film, it’s an illusion’.

Even at the time, I have to admit I found the line funny. But looking back, I see how Kshay could have been just that- an illusion- had it not been for Karan Gour’s perseverance.Continue reading “My Experience with ‘Kshay’”