Happy 2015, it seems the world is still the same as we have people who want to ban films and books and in some cases kill cartoonists. It has been a great journey since the start of this portal,we have completed three years in 2014 and are still going strong. Thanks for your support and for reading our posts. In 2015 we hope to have even more better posts and continue our discussions on cinema across the world. For now we present you some of the best loved articles of 2014 which you people enjoyed.
I am no exception to the unwritten rule that the release of a Rajini movie has to bring along with it, delightful moments of excitement and cheer. Not that I qualify to be an ardent fan, but I have had some awesome ‘Rajni’ times right from childhood, celebrating the actor for the kind of entertainment he provides and aweing at the electrifying screen presence, he nonchalantly brings to the screen. I have liked some of his films in the past 15 years like Padayappa and Enthiran, and have not been fully satisfied by the rest, but the fact remains that I never ever got to see the powerhouse performer in all his acting glory in the theatres. Yes, I agree that he chose this ‘commercial’ path willingly in the early eighties, proceeding to become a super star, darling of the Masses and the undisputed emperor of the box office.
But then, is that a one-way track, a path of no return? Is our Superstar choosing his films fully out of free will, or has he been made a victim of commerce, where you had to sacrifice your talents and technique indefinitely for playing to the gallery, even at the cost of his health. Isn’t it time that the talented actor went back to his roots and started taking up sensible and powerful roles that suit his age and health. Isn’t it time that our favourite cultural icon displayed some boldness in decision making, and in some way supporting quality cinema? Isn’t it time that he realized that the magic lies in him, and not in the daredevilry that his dupe does? These are the questions that were eating my mind after watching Lingaa. And so I wrote an open letter to our Superstar.
I have always found Ravi Jadhav to be an overrated director. Though all of his films(including Timepass) have done very well commercially, it has been more due to the way they were packaged and sold than anything else, i feel. However, the marathi audience seems to be oblivious to this, as Timepass too went on to become one of the highest grossed marathi films ever, despite being the same case of packaging being better than the product. The audience as a whole didn’t seem to agree with my assessment as it got a whole barrage of comments disagreeing with me. –
It was a very special occasion for all of us, as MAM was completing its 3rd year. I share a strong bond with the website, though I may not be the most frequent writer. I have evolved as a film enthusiast and writer during my stint with MAM. So, when the idea of writing on film trilogies to celebrate MAM’s 3rd birthday cropped up, I was more than keen to participate. Initially, I thought of writing on Satyajit Ray’s “Apu Trilogy”, but developed cold feet pretty soon. After that, I started writing on Inarritu’s “Death Trilogy”, but didn’t feel inspired enough to continue. Somehow, I had forgotten about Linklater’s “Before Trilogy” though I have always loved it. And then, “Boyhood” happened. I saw the movie, felt deeply moved, cried profusely at places, and fell in love with Linklater’s films yet again. It struck me almost immediately that I could write on the three beautiful films starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy as the maturing lovers Jesse and Celine. And I finished writing it in the same evening. For its massive length and my despicable speed, this has been my fastest written post. And one of the special ones.
Mysskin as a filmmaker had always fascinated me right from his ‘Chithiram Pesuthadi’ days. While I was drawn by his ‘hard-to-miss’ unique screen language in his debut film, ‘Anjathe’ made me fall head over heels in love over his writing and maverick film-making style. This feeling only intensified after watching his ‘Yuddham Sei’, as then I strongly believed that never before (with few very exceptions), had a filmmaker put so much thought into the visual grammar of his movies, be it the camera angles, the distinctive writing or the subtle directorial touches. ‘Onaayum Aatukuttiyum’ literally blew me off with its avant-garde making, and nurtured hopes in me of a inventive auteur emerging in Tamil cinema. And then the ‘eureka’ moment hit me.
Mysskin had unknowingly given us a riveting crime trilogy that were so different on the surface, but dig deeper, what you find is simply astounding. The three films were subtly intertwined with three almost invisible threads in the form of similarities in themes, character arcs and visual grammar. The more I thought about it, the more this realization excited me. So when MAM decided to feature write-ups on trilogies as a part of its third anniversary celebrations, I happily pounced on the opportunity. After lots of starting trouble, weeks of taking notes and screenshots while watching the movie upteen times, organising the content, planning the final format, and days of writing, ‘Deconstructing Darkness: An Analysis of Mysskin’s crime trilogy’ happened. Even at the cost of sounding like a brag, let me still say that ‘The rest is history’ 🙂
Oh, how the mighty have fallen and how we still fail to recognise it. I have been irked and have had sleepless nights trying to “like” the last few albums from Rahman and I wanted some space to try and elucidate why I wasn’t liking his albums anymore and the grand departure from his extraordinary genius. I hope I managed to find the right things to point out. The fun part was when someone told me that I’d written it out of spite because I like Raja more. This is the kind of pettiness that ones finds on the internet these days, the immaturity that rules our lives. People expect us to choose one over another and then hate the one we’ve left behind. It doesn’t have to be anything like that. Rahman was my childhood, I also want him when I’ve grown old. This was to tell that.
HAHK is one of the most iconic films in the history of Indian Cinema and there’s no denying its place irrespective of whether the film worked for you or not. With the film celebrating its 20th anniversary I decided to go down memory lane and talk about my experiences of not just watching the film but around the whole phenomena that it went on to be post its release. For a film that’s 20 years old and memorable in many ways I saw no point in ‘reviewing’ it now or even analysing why the film worked. We know all that by now,don’t we? Rather I saw this as an occasion to reflect upon the kind of euphoria that was generated those days as HAHK went on to be an integral part of our lives during the period of its theatrical run
I feel rather aghast when people say that it’s the best time or the Golden Age to make Hindi films. This is at a time when some of the biggest films are Kick, Bang Bang and Happy New Year, with the last one just about managing to be enjoyable, which the other two can’t. This is also at a time when big ticket producers like Karan Johar openly declare their aversion to make smaller meaningful films because of commercial aspects. I understand the monetary aspects, but even in comparison to the 1970s and I950s, we’re faring rather poorly in churning out films managing both commercial and intellectual sensibilities. Yes, we’re possibly making films better than the ones made between 1985 and 2000, but we’re far from being a position to be contented. The poor slate of films in 2014 make that even clearer. Where’s the golden age when we can’t even be what we were 30 or 50 years ago?
I have a massive problem with misleading portrayals of Love. Ours is an immaterial country, and people are not only regressive in a lot of things but they also tend to believe in most star endorsed products. Recently, the Alia Bhatt advert of Returning Home, directed by Vikas Bahl, left me fuming, though I realised that the intent of the advert was good. But, if those ogling men who look lecherously at the girl are our ideals just because they don’t rape her, then I have a problem. I had a severe issue with the much applauded “Raanjhana” and even more with the Salman Khan starrer “Tere Naam” — films that glorified the stalker even at the cost of the other person’s plight. The problem isn’t that such films are made; the problem is that such characters are immediately idolised by a lot of young men who know nothing better than aping celebrities.
In 2013, it as the death of Roger Ebert, a man I deeply admired, that shook me. I am generally unmoved by death of people I know personally at some level but the death of someone famous, someone who helped you forget your daily troubles always brings a reaction in us which is more than indifference or a simple register hitting the notes. Robin Williams’ death was a huge hit for me. He was this mammoth figure that made me see light and the joy in forgetting your diseased mind. As I type this, I am smiling remembering his wonderful stand up at the Met. The famous remain in some form to still moves, we’ll always remember them even after they’ve gone but the loss is always there, always sad and deeply disturbing.
When an industry known to objectify women and saddle talented actresses with thankless cardboard roles decides to turn a new leaf everyone notices. 2014 would go down as the year in hindi cinema where actresses finally got their due. Not just ‘women centric ‘ films but roles that were more than just song dance and crying on cue. We saw real women on the screen , vulnerable manipulative strong and enigmatic. From Madhuri Dixit as the lesbian Begum Para to Kangana as the rajouri garden bred Rani ; from the free spirited Alia in Highway to the scintillating sexuality of Tabu, hindi cinema pushed the limits for its heroines like never before. As writers broke conventions 5 leading ladies took risks and experimented’ irrespective of the box office fate of the end result. Madhuri,Tabu,Rani,Kangana and Alia in my view towered over the heroes this year, revelling in roles fearlessly delighting us audiences no end.
First of all I don’t know why my post has been nominated in this list here as deservingly no one has read about it. It is a kind of post which will always remain in the draft without a start and end like a pseudo intellectual film and so a little scribble of a sentence each day for a whole month took it past the finishing line.
So I wrote about this “Bill”shit piece because I wanted to make Bill the hero and protagonist along with changing the dynamics of this revenge flick by showing Beatrix Kiddo in a little poor light. A broken heart and mind is maybe as potentially dangerous than a battered and bruised body. And I was writing after more than a gap of 8 months so the only inspiration that I could take was from a film that I seriously LOVE to watch every year.
Written and Directed by Frank Darabont, The Shawshank Redemption is still at the No.1 spot in IMDB’s list of Top 250 Movies Ever, after many years of its release in 1994. We must wonder, why and how? In this post, I use excerpts from the film’s analysis I did for a class and combine it with a in-depth breakdown of the film’s key incidents and devices that make it a compelling watch even after so many years. Not only that, it is one of the most articulately crafted prison break films of all time.
This is a post which i am very proud of, it is first of sorts when a Marathi film director has agreed to share his screenplay publicly for film students and screenplay enthusiasts, i am hopefully we will have bank of such screenplay posts in 2015 for our readers