Blog Archives

Baaghi (2016)

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The thing about trying to appeal to several lowest common denominators at once is it often turns films into cinematic fast food of the highest order. Low barrier to entry, high calorie count. That’s why it’s called broad entertainment. But man alive if it doesn’t go down a treat on a Friday or Saturday night. I’ve been pining for the 80s heyday of Hong Kong action-comedies of late, the kind of movie where the plot is an excuse to cram … (read more)

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Dangal (2016)

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You can’t keep a good man down. Or a good woman. Especially if the good woman is the daughter of the good man. That about sums up the energetic crowd-pleaser Dangal, for better or worse — but overwhelmingly better.

Having only seen one film from India before (two if you sneak in Slumdog Millionaire) and being only vaguely familiar with the behemoth that is the Indian film industry and all its sub-categories, Dangal came across this cinematic explorer’s … (read more)

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Kothanodi – The River of Fables (2015)

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An adaptation of a group of folk tales from Assam in India, Kothanodi is an intriguing confluence of old and new elements: traditional stories given a moody, modern interpretation, with the second half of the production funded via Indian crowdfunding platform Wishberry. It’s already screened at film festivals around the world (beginnings with its premiere at Busan in 2015), and it’s now being distributed directly by online platform MovieSaints, who kindly gave me the opportunity to review the film.… (read more)

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Court (2014)

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My first film at this year’s Sydney Film Festival was Chaitanya Tamhane’s Court, an Indian film that packs a great deal of social commentary — with an intelligent, understated touch — into a courtroom drama.

Narayan Kamble (played by Vira Sathidar) is an ageing folk singer in Mumbai who divides his time between teaching in the surrounding cities and performing fiery protest songs on makeshift stages with a troupe of musicians. As the film opens, we see one such … (read more)

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Monsoon Shootout (2013)

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Monsoon Shootout, which screened in competition at this year’s Sydney Film Festival, is the first feature film from Indian director Amit Kumar. A dark, introspective crime thriller, it takes as its subject the moral dilemma faced by a young policeman working in Mumbai’s slums, where gangland thugs face off against cops who don’t like doing paperwork.… (read more)

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Gangs of Wasseypur (2012)

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Gangs of Wasseypur, from Indian director Anurag Kashyap (Black Friday) was the first Indian film to screen in official competition at the Sydney Film Festival, and a serious commitment for festival moviegoers. It’s an epic in two 160-minute parts, scheduled back-to-back on the last Sunday of the festival, and SFF director Nashen Moodley greeted the audience as ‘the bravest of the brave’ with a smile when he came out to introduce the film.… (read more)

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Trishna (2011)

Trishna opens nationwide on May 10, 2012 — check your local cinema for details.

Trishna is a contemporary adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles from English director Michael Winterbottom, with quite a change of scenery. It transplants the story to India, swapping industrial England for rural Rajasthan and urban Mumbai as India modernises.

Freida Pinto (who made her film debut in Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire) plays Trishna, a young woman living in with her family in … (read more)

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3 Idiots (2009)

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There are three guys in this film trying to make their own independent, free-thinking mark in life. Apparently that’s what makes them idiots according to their elders. Only an idiot would give up a high paying engineering career to become a photographer. Only an idiot could possibly fail to overcome the fear of failure that stops him from achieving high grades when his impoverished family’s future is at stake. Only an idiot would want to take a conceptual approach to … (read more)

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