Posts Tagged ‘film review’

(WARNING: Watch the movie first. May spoil it for you if you don’t.)

It feels a little strange to call a film titled ‘Andhadhun’ pointedly self-aware. But then if a Sriram Raghavan film won’t kill and resurrect irony a thousand times, then what will?

Just when the Nanas, Bahls and Kavanaughs of the world had you ready to throw yourself in the nearest gutter and die, there comes something so innocuous – a thriller film that ends up giving you hope about life. There is still some goodness left in the world and it’s all stuffed inside Sriram Raghavan’s film.

Wait, hope did you say? In a film full of darkness, little innocence and no redemption? What hope did I find in this universe of dystopia that is so dystopic it doesn’t even take its own dangers seriously? Enough so that I don’t get pimples due to all the invisible tension, you know!

Andhadhun is good for health
It is like anaar juice. You know, rich and full of texture and body wala juice that is actually just clear liquid. You drink and feel you are in heaven but the minute its over it is over. But you still relish it for a long time, that richness and the memory of the texture of the richness. It’s local but exotic at the same time, sweet and sour at the same time and dry and wet at the same time. Anaar juice is also very good for the liver, no?

And apparently, so are rabbits, full of vitamins and minerals. The vitamins and minerals of this film go far beyond the sharply written plot spiralling out of control every five minutes. Or so it seems because it never goes out of hand. The film merely teeters on the edge; as mercurial as Tabu’s performance, as lucid as Radhika’s and as fluid as Ayushmann’s.

What keeps it from teetering off the edge is the phenomenal love for the medium on display, the self-assured craft and the Raghavan moral universe that plays hand in glove with immorality as smoothly as the images, sound, music, words, places, people and performances play with each other; all the worlds he seems to understand equally well.

Such ingenuity cannot come without a distinct love and understanding of the medium and it cannot come without the accompanying genius of your team. Without K.U. Mohanan’s intriguing camera work, Madhu Apsara’s equally trippy and cheeky sound design and Pooja Ladha Surti’s shrewd editing, the film would not have been half of what it is eventually, a sheer treat of music and magic.

Such ingenuity also cannot come without a stronghold on the moral core of the story. Raghavan’s films may all be stories steeped in an immoral universe with equally susceptible heroes, where goodness doesn’t necessarily always get rewarded and evil isn’t always punished. Yet, they operate within a very clear and basic framework of right and wrong that never loses its focus, even when gutted and laughing at its own self.

A completely plot-driven narrative from start to finish, one then almost imagines Raghavan playing similarly with his film. Turning his hero from blind to not blind to blind to we-don’t-even-know-anymore, with a tongue firmly tucked in the cheek. Chuckling away at the absolutely delicious conundrum a murder-gone-wrong can become. Shoot the piano player! Shoot! No, not yet! Shoot! Missed! Run! Hit! Fall! Gotcha! No? Wait…What?! I want a time plus brain machine that can go inside SR’s head and tell me how it was working when he was writing this whacko piece of sheer art.

When the hat tipped and tipped
The film saves its tribute card for Chhayageet and Chitrahaar, very aptly personified as fondly remembered, dearly loved people now no more, with dates et al. (Oh yes, sir, yes!) All the love for Bollywood then flows freely as the thriller merrily turns itself into a musical tribute to Hindi films and films in general; noir in particular – SR’s pet territory. And here comes in Truffaut’s delectable, ‘Shoot The Piano Player’, a film whose language SR borrows from so gracefully and meticulously that he outdoes Truffaut at his own game in creating a unique piece of cinema at once tragic and comic, classical and unconventional, silly and smart but with the distinct impression of a directorial sleight of hand that is playing with his material as consciously as the film seems un-self-conscious while having a lot of fun himself. This is the real tribute, and it is delectable.

The film almost starts similarly, taking the noir trope of a gun chase set-up happening in some other universe and immediately cutting to the universe of the film. The chased in Truffaut’s film is the protagonist’s brother, a semi-central character that turns the film on its head, the chased in Raghavan’s film is a rabbit, a non-character that turns the film on its head. That’s how whimsical is his craft. And delicious!

Kent Jones in his piece on Truffaut’s film says it is a film, “in which all of his assorted gifts and preoccupations are in play and meshed into a uniquely idiosyncratic whole. The film offers powerful evidence of his love of American cinema and literature… There is that wonderful speed, a pleasure in and of itself, that amounts to a kind of worldview—actions, objects, places, and sensations glimpsed and seized on, almost spontaneously forming a vivid afterimage in the mind’s eye. And his high-velocity storytelling is intimately tied to the feeling of impending mortality, the sense of every given moment in time coming and going, never to return. As for surprise, Shoot the Piano Player is about as unpredictable from one moment to the next as any film I know.” Was he speaking of Andhadhun and Sriram Raghavan?!

Perhaps, it is the play of contrasts in the film that lends it its unpredictability and richness. Yoking seriousness with hilarity at every turn, the tonal quality of the film becomes a universally mocking one and freely so. This delicious mockery is directed at everyone, everyone is in on the joke, except the characters. That’s why as Simi’s character unfolds we revel in the knowledge she can never be Nurse Radha – part 2. I am assuming it is a play on Waheeda Rehman’s character in ‘Khamoshi’ (1970), that genteel, heartbroken woman yearning to love again. Lady Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, we say (not only coz it’s the perfect Tabu, the original Lady Maqbool) but until Dr Swamy calls her so we realise she is far away from that too; Simi is absolutely guilt-free, completely soul-less. But then, with the exception of Sophie and Akash, this entire universe is completely soulless. Even Bandu, that see-it-all brat, who quickly enough becomes the audience’s ally in getting to the bottom of this mystery-within-mystery. Until the film takes another crazy spin at interval.

Whose lens is it anyway?
The blind hero who was not blind has now officially turned blind. What is this seeing and unseeing business? It’s a smooth trick of genius-giri. We, as audience begin the film watching Akash’s story first through the innocent, naïve eyes of Sophie, then as we are wisening up to the antics of the film-maker he shifts our POV to a smarter lens, that of a precocious, oversmart Bandu. Just when we think we have caught up with him here too, the proverbial rug is off from under our feet and we are in the deep, dank, dark. Just like our hero. From then on and just like him, we are fumbling in the dark too, with all the secrets hanging around for us to grasp and unravel. Till we are back to being the gullible Sophie again left to put the pieces together. And we do, until a crushed coke can hits a rabbit handled stick and knocks that part of our brain that tells us when we have been played. Check-mated sir, and glad to lose! And that is why I disagree with every review that says the second half is weaker and loses steam. The second half in fact, is as perfect as the first, maybe even better, puncturing perfectly, all the balls of contrast constantly in air.

These contrasts play out on all levels, much like all the cinematic elements in the film, sometimes simultaneously, sometimes one after the other in rapid succession, moulding and remoulding the film as it goes. The permanent warm tone sets up an idyllic, small-town Pune only to open up into the brutality at its borders. Dramatic, operatic music punctuates dramatic scenes as well as turns them comic, and in the scene where Simi and Manu clean the traces of their crime as Akash plays away – tragi-comic (and brilliant!). The sound cuts, diegetic yet full of imminent danger, keep the excitement tingling as the film keeps playing with our senses and feelings. After a point, the musical bit in this ‘musical-thriller’ transcends from the world of Akash’s piano and starts creeping under our skin as it starts underlining the unfolding darkness, tragedy and comedy. I don’t think Beethoven himself could have thought of a better cinematic use for his 5th symphony. Very cheeky, but the classic ‘Teri galiyon mein‘ is now redefined for generations to come. And since we are talking about music, welcome back Amit Trivedi and Jaideep Sahni, it had been a while.

As the film draws to an end, you suddenly become aware of the smile on your face, pasted there with Fevicol for the past 2.20 hrs. You realise you are feeling happy and hopeful. You also realise you wanted the film to go on and on. Especially, since the ending is still open, still incomplete. But then as Sophie says, ‘Kuchh cheezein adhoori honese hi toh poori hoti hain.’

You get up, humming aapse milkar accha laga, bahut accha laga. And walk out giving out a silent, invisible bow. Ekdum liver se.

Fatema Kagalwala

Q’s latest film Brahman Naman premiered at the recently concluded Sundance Festival. Here’s all the buzz that the film generated at the fest – The fridge, the fish, and the fan!

Brahman Naman

– For Twitch Interview of Q and the cast, click here.

– Guardian has given it a three-star rating. Review is here

– Variety review is here

– Hollywood Reporter review is here

– Review on Twitch Film is here. Calls it a “fantastic facre”

– Netflix scooped up worldwide SVOD rights. Details here

– Interview on Film Companion where Q reveals that the film is really about caste system.

– Pillow Talk with Q and Shashank Arora (they are literally on the bed)

 

We have been tracking Abhay Kumar’s films for quite some time now. We had written about his short on the blog, and in earlier edition of MFF, when his another short was in Dimensions section, we had predicted his win too. Interestingly, this year he is back with a feature-lengh documentary, Placebo. And what a joy it is see a filmmaker making an impressive debut as he graduates from shorts to feature. One can easily spot some of the similar patterns in all his shorts and documentary.

And here’s Achyuth Sankar‘s review post on the film. This is his first post here.

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We’ve all thought about the question, “What are the few things you absolutely cannot live without?”. For me, and all of them in equal importance (I’m not going to write the obvious things like food, water, air, etc), they are cinema, and a few really wonderful and beautiful people, some friends, some family. Cinema figures that high in my list, as it does in the lives of more than a few people I know.

At 6:30pm today, in a house full screening at MAMI, I gave 90 minutes of my life to that cherished thing which I can’t live without, cinema. It was a documentary called Placebo. It’s about the one of the most prestigious colleges in India (not any IIT, I’d rather not get into any more specifics), where the filmmaker’s brother is studying. The brother gets into a serious accident, and during his recovery, the filmmaker decides to stay in his brother’s hostel and document the lives being led there, in an attempt to understand what led to that accident (I won’t be referring to it as an accident any more, it was a self inflicted hurt, severe hurt). He follows the lives of four people in the said hostel, seemingly without any greater aim. Sometimes, a story chooses its storyteller, especially when it’s a story that needs to be told, and that is what happens to the documentarian here. The lives he begins to document shape up to be a small, but essential picture about the lives of students who have chosen the path of the elite by joining there. People are pressurized, or they’re not. Sometimes, they stumble into the doorstep of a revered institution with lofty dreams, but to many of them, simply making it there summarizes their dream. What does one do after that? What does one do when they have no idea where to go? What guidance does one get?

I was contemplating, while driving back home, why do most of the absolute greats of cinema talk about serious things like depression, disconnect, alienation, fear. Why not happiness? The question has come up many times before, but no answer till today. It is because.. when things are good, when we are happy, we are already ready to share. But when things are going down the shit hole, not even a handful of us can talk about it and admit “Hey, I’m fucked up and I need help”. That’s why it is so much more potent, when a film talks about things that nobody likes to, wants to or knows how to talk about. Suddenly, we feel a resonance within that isolated corner of our mind.

That’s what Placebo is.

That slight resonance, which reminds us of the importance of our own feelings. But more than that, it talks about something a lot more. It’s a documentary, with the filmmaker going to a college to understand why his brother hurt himself as badly. But a story that needs to be told chooses its own storyteller, and this college, and the stories of all the students who’ve lived there, chose this filmmaker. One shocking suicide after another, and it’s no longer just about a personal exploration, it’s about all of us. All of us who’ve studied, who’ve felt pressurized. All of us who, I dare say, can’t even begin to imagine the true extent of desperation, where the phrase “give up” doesn’t mean settle for lower grades or go to a less reputed institute. All of us who have been lost, at one point or the other, looking at the sea of people around us filled with genius, as we catch ourselves wondering “How the fuck am I going to make a mark in all of this?”.

There is one particular part in the film, where a character says something along the lines of “We are all isolated. You’re here talking to me, but I’m isolated inside and you’re isolated inside. My words aren’t my exact thoughts. But only I understand my isolation. You know the fucked up part? You think you understand, but you don’t.”

Placebo is truly a story that begs to be told. You can see it evolve in itself. The original intent of the filmmaker wasn’t to talk about student suicides or the casual indifference of college management or depression. It was merely an investigation, a very personal one at that. But as the story begins to tell itself through the storyteller, you won’t care about the change of course. Because the story needs to be told, and we all need to let it.

Romanticism aside, it took (in the filmmaker’s own words) a 1000 hours of handycam footage and constant questioning of intent to bring out this 90 minute long story. 1000 hours, vs 90 minutes. To look for that story which has revealed itself to you, and to do it justice, that’s no easy task. Because it’s not something you’ve concocted in your head, it’s all there. It’s all already there. The loss of aim, loss of hope and dreams, the crisis of faith and loss of ideals, the pressure, loneliness and depression that we students face. It’s all there. We don’t know how to talk about it. This film just showed us how to.

There was approximately a 3 minute standing ovation at the end of the film, followed by a Q&A session. In it, someone asked the filmmaker about how personal the subject was, and how he could keep filming while everything was so close, especially since his own brother was severely hurt. The filmmaker said that whether we like it or not, when we hold a camera, it will create a barrier. That’s the price one has to pay for the story. You’re in it, you’re affected by it, but you’re still separated by that invisible inch.

Abhay Kumar is that filmmaker, and he stayed in the hostel of that college for two whole years, filming as much as he could. He and his partner in crime (his own words, not mine), Archana Phadke then spent another year finding the needle in the haystack, and all the other needles too, in order to tell this hard hitting story. If there is one thing, and absolutely one thing I can learn from this, it’s “Get a camera and go make a fucking movie. It takes a lot of effort, but what’s stopping you?”

Abhay, you’re honestly one of the best filmmakers out there at the moment. I haven’t made a single piece of cinema, I don’t know how it’s done, I’m no authority. But films mean a lot to me, you’ve just made it mean more.

Thank you so much.

Achyuth Sankar

(PS – You can watch Abhay’s shorts here (Just That Sort Of A Day) and here (Life Is A Beach)

(Born in Trivandrum and having spent his last 8 years in Bombay, Achyuth discovered his love for cinema here, thanks to affordable unlimited internet plans. His pass times are blowing up all his savings on purchasing Blu Rays, going for a morning show at some PVR, or eating good food and having a cold Bud. He moonlights (or rather, daylights) as a final year Engineering student, with a severe love for Harley Davidson motorcycles. He fell in love with movies after watching Good Will Hunting. The only thing he loves as much as cinema is his Labrador, Cindy)

A Vishal Bhardwaj film is an event for us. He is our tent-pole movie. With his latest one, Haider, he has left his contemporaries far, far behind. A bold and uncompromised take on a complicated subject with a master craftsman weaving magic on screen – dark, depressing, violent, poetic, and gloomy. How else do you like your VB-film? Who else can do it better than him? Over to Nadi Palshikar who just watched the film and jotted down her thoughts.

An MBBS doctor by training, Nadi has also done the screenplay writing course at FTII. She is currently doing Gender Studies at Pune University. Sutak is her first novel which has recently got published. This is her first post on mFC.

haider

Innocence has betrayed him ; Haider’s hands are tied by the red scarf made by the innocent one.

He has been captured by the trickster, the two faced Janus – comic and now revealed to be cruel.

Two funny photographers with the same name are used to depict a two faced trickster.

The trickster working at the periphery of the state.

Periphery, the two photographers (the two Salmans) have not got ‘permanent’ posts yet, but serve.

They have once bestowed a favor – they came and took Haider away on a motorcycle, they took him away to safety.

Now, they are driving him in a vehicle owned by his enemy, they are taking him away to death.

He overpowers them, but after a scuffle, they escape.

Haider now picks up a stone and aims it at the (two) trickster(s). We see in the background that the landscape is full of stones. Hurled by those who had no other defence against the powerful state.

A stone for a bullet. And yet, the world took notice.

For the first time, India’s lack of capabilities to handle law and order situations in an appropriate manner came to light. Surely, firing is an out-of-proportion response for stone throwing, asked citizens.

For 20 years, the biggest threat to security forces was militancy, now it is these stones youngsters are hurling at the speed of 40 kms per hour said the Chief Minister. The age old form of dissent (probably inspired by the Palestinian Intifada) had worked.

To the world was presented a clear picture, literally a picture of who was the strong Goliath in this confrontation.

But back to Haider, and the landscape heaped with stones.

Then as if the stones have joined to become formidable, a big rock. And Haider uses this rock to destroy the cruel shape shifting monster.

We leave the scene with an image of stones, stones…

Beautiful, but strange..like the landscape of Kashmir, this tribute to the young men who risked the bullet to hurl a stone..

Just writing down my response to one scene in the film. The film is full of such scenes, making meaning – so many meanings. What an excellent screenplay by Basharat Peer (Curfewed Night) and Vishal Bhardwaj.

What it achieves – An unlikely adaptation of  Shakespeare’s Hamlet – Unlikely and effective. The setting so difficult, yet so believable.

Every little thing, every spoken word has a purpose, a meaning. Even simple lines of dialogue which may seem just ‘funny’ lines reveal insight. e.g- Haider is at a very low point. He is mentally breaking down. And his girlfriend asks him “kya haal banake rakha hain?” To which his quick and laughing retort is ask me “kuchch lete kyun nahin?” Those of you who were born then, do you remember the 80s Coldarin advertisement? This is 1995, and these two young people were are childhood friends.

They shared this dialogue, laughed about it, when they were children.

Also, those were happier times, easier times.

Now at a very difficult point in their life he calls that line from the past.

Also, for us, as audience – the writers are after all Vishal Bharadwaj who will not have anything purposeless, meaningless in his film, and Basharat Peer who has written Curfewed Night about his personal experiences as a child inKashmir.

He knows that History is not just what you find in textbooks. History is personal accounts. History can be what we experienced in popular culture at a particular time.

As audience we remember that ad – we see Haider remembering that ad.

We shared that experience.

This Kashmiri young man, and us.

The same ad is aired over a geographical location.

We shared it.

We are a part of the same history..

A political stand taken by the film- 

I will state it simply – Haider’s monologue about AFSPA is the politically bravest piece of writing that I have seen in film in a long time.

The ending – Even as he ‘hears’ his father’s voice calling for revenge, he also ‘hears’ another voice – his Grandfather’s saying that revenge only leads to more revenge. How can revenge make us free?

How can it give us Azaadi?

Speaking of the AFSPA, remember, when the present government had ruled out changes in the AFSPA?

There was a statement by the army chief which had hurt me then.

He called it an “enabling act” because he said “AFSPA gives Army additional powers to operate in an environment which is marked by very high degree of uncertainty and complexity and an asymmetric environment where you cannot differentiate between a friend and a foe as the terrorist merges with the backdrop and hides amongst the locals.”

A statement that I did not like and now a screenplay that has moved me. See how Kashmir was described?

“environment which is marked by very high degree of uncertainty and complexity and an asymmetric environment where you cannot differentiate between a friend and a foe”

The structure of the screenplay is Exactly that.

Uncertain,

Complex,

Asymmetric.

The screenplay Is Kashmir.

– Nadi Palshikar

shuddh-desi-romance copy2

Since we have become a generation of Buzzfeed and because “listicles” are still not dead, am going to pick the easy route. Here are the top 10 reasons why i loved Shuddh Desi Romance and why you shouldn’t miss it.

1. Jaideep Sahni – I was wondering if he will deliver or not. This is a virgin territory for him – a full throttle romantic film. And more suspicious because he was talking like my another favourite screenwriter, Charlie Kaufman. Love versus love portrayed in films, expectations versus reality and all that jazz. Well, he not only delivers but pushes the envelope and sends it out of the park. Terrific lines all over, all that which seems so natural that it’s difficult to believe someone actually wrote it. And especially at a time when everyone is taking this dialogue route, at least in mainstream hindi cinema space.

2. Morality is Dead – A friend got a sms from a veteran journalist – SDR’s morality is falling faster and lower than the rupee. Not surprising. This film might be shocking for the conventional theatre going crowd and especially when it’s not set in any Tier-1 city. Aha, what fun, to piss of those old holy cows.

3. Marriage is Dead – Commitment is fine. But why do we need the shackles to remind us that we are “committed”. Ironically, this one comes from the same production house which is in shaadi-binness. U-Turn? Hell yeah! Mommy, are you listening?

4. Parineeti Chopra – Mommy, if you still insist, can you try her. I have been skeptical about her main-chulbuli-always-smiling-full-on-enthu avatar in the last two films of her. Are they going to typecast her? But three films down and i think we can easily brand her as “show stealer”. Put her in any film, she is bound to walk away with all the glory while making it look oh so easy. Girl, you are going far.

5. No Melodrama – It’s never been our strength. To keep it minimum, to keep it subtle and yet pack a punch. Now, just see what all can a “thanda” do in situations where there is huge scope for such drama. Am not going to explain the scenes here to kill the fun. But i wanted to get up and applaud in the first “thanda lao” scene. I don’t remember when was the last time someone played it so smoothly in such a loaded scenario.

6. So much silence – Again, another rarity in mainstream bollywood. What do you write on those blank pages where your characters look into each other and say nothing and give those strange expressions that is difficult to define. It comes only with those weird situations that you get into. SDR is full of those and director Maneesh Sharma knows how to capture them.

7. No dil-jigar-dard-tukda song – what a relief. Dil hi toh hai saala, tutne do. Devads is over and out. To quote Sahni from another favourite, Rocket Singh, bikhre nahi toh kaise nikhrogey, uljhe nahi toh kaise suljhogey.

8. Climax – 2 couples and 4 characters – what a masterstroke. The way 4 characters are stuck at the same crossroads and the dialogues were criss-crossing, it reminded me of my favourite scene in That Girl In Yellow Boots – two telephonic conversations going on at the same time. Also, the climax doesn’t try to follow the conventional route. It sticks to its core idea that its prescribing from the beginning.

9. The “repetitive” tool – I read some comments saying that lot of it is “repetitive”, especially the dialogues. I thought that was brilliant writing – to use the same stuff with different characters. You know the lines, the character doesn’t. It happens more than once and the funniest is when Sushant and Parineeti try to find out about each other from Rishi Kapoor.

10. Pigeons, Monkeys and Milieu – As the film started, i kept on smiling as it played the montage filled with these various creatures. It’s been a while since our kabootar did ja ja for Mister Saajan. They are not just props, they slowly construct that rare thing which is difficult to achieve – milieu. And being aware of the world around you always helps.

All hail Jaideep Sahni! At a time when the market is flooded with fucking remakes and sequels with the sole intention of making money, here’s the one with the original voice and daring content.

Chanchal mann, ati random
De gayo dhoka sambhal gayo re
Phisal gayo re…

– Posted by @CilemaSnob

With any Anurag Kashyap film, one thing is for sure – a debate. A divided house. We are also swinging from one side to another with every new post on the film. This is Salik Shah‘s first post here. Read on..

That Girl In Yellow Boots is Kalki Koechlin’s debut as a filmmaker. It’s written all over the film. Anurag Kashyap just happened to be there while Rajeev Ravi was busy setting up his camera on the ‘stage.’ Except for one scene where Ruth smokes against the dazzling red screen, the audience never notices his camera tricks. There is one scene though — where they abruptly cut from a close up to a mid shot of the two protagonists who seem to have finally accepted the tragedy of their solitary existence— which seemed to be an attempt to tease the audience by not allowing them to have their ‘emotional cumshot’ exactly where they needed it.

Pulp Fiction is an old trick—but can provide little ‘happy endings’ in otherwise an unhappy film. The happy diversions in That Girl In Yellow Boots are just that. The sad thing is the mistiming. In an otherwise comic scene, where Ruth spins a story about her father’s death, a little mischief was desirable. A camera angle or two, hinting at her playfulness, where she appears brutally honest to the innocent criminal but palpably mischievous to us, might have been forgiven by the neo-realists. Excess is bad, but so is overt restraint.

Sound is a tricky affair; the jarring background score wasn’t called for at key scenes—or was it placed there to deny the audience any sympathy for Ruth? How I wish I could mute to listen deeply to Ruth’s silences… A minimalist approach might have further polarized the audience—but the result might have been a rewarding experience. Years ago, I couldn’t understand Nobody Needs to Know (Azazel Jacobs, 2003), but the expressionless, unfathomable face of its female lead has stayed with me. That Girl In Yellow Boots works in silence, often brilliantly.

There are people as they are—and many of AK’s assistants have verily filled in as Ruth’s steady customers. Prashant, however, is the film’s most visible link to the theater. The words he chooses, the way he moves—all seem to be a reminiscence of an era behind us. Be it in the Skeleton Woman, Ek, Do (FTII) or That Girl In Yellow Boots, he is there—loud, unchecked, mimicking himself. You can see that he is acting—a constant reminder of the film’s limitation.

Cinema is not an actively participatory experience like the theater. When the human contact is lost, you’ve to employ literary, theatrical or cinematic techniques to fuel the audience’s imagination to fill in the gaps in the visual narrative. That is why you get the unborn child manifested in Three Monkeys. That is why whole sequences in After the Rehearsal are devised to ‘mesmerize’ the audience. Here we get face to face with Ruth and Ben as they are—helpless, victims of their own doing, hopeless—all in a very straight-forward, good in a theatrical way.

If anything, it’s an exercise—for Anurag Kashyap, for you and for me. Why should it be anything else? Making a film is all that matters to him; while we go to great lengths to obtain and frame a fake poster of a pirated film! Strip the cinema of its greatness, please. Today every man with a camera is a filmmaker. While I don’t expect them to be Wong Kar-Wai or Tarkovsky—which they might very well be; they don’t need to be—I do believe if given a chance, they could be more authentic. It’s a good thing for cinema. It’s the new pen of our times; let them write; let us write with it. That’s indie. And no one seems to understand this better than this father of ‘Hindie.’

Keep shooting.

 — Salik

The name is La-zmi. KhatNi La-zmi! She is known for starting her ”stars” count from three. Give her any movie to review and it will be three. We follow a simple thumb rule when it comes to her star ratings. La-zami’s 2 stars = zero. So, 3 = 0+1 = 1, 4 = 2 and 5 = 3. Try it out for any movie and it works every time.

Plus, she also has the distinction of being the only film critic in India who even plagiarised a film review!  Ooh la la! What a Tale it was, Shark Tale. And that too from Roger Ebert’s review. Aur bolo ? And if you were in your nappies those days, you can click here and here to read more about the scandal. If you are reading the first link, do check out the comment section (4th comment) for complete proof of her xerox machinery!

And after all this, she still has her job with India’s one of the biggest media group (ok, giant). Plus,  there is more! Remember how her Kurbaan review suddenly made it to the front page of Bombay Times on that bloody friday!

We are exactly not sure who get to make how much for every “star” that matters and for moving the review from Page 8 to 1st Page! But someone surely is busy counting.  And it cant be only her!  But here comes the best part – it didn’t help the makers and distributors of the film any bit. The film bombed and how!

Ask any Delhiwallah and they will happily tell you how exclusive screenings are held for her. Ok, she may be plus size (or XXXL or whatever) but she surely doesnt need the entire theatre to herself. Why aren’t other critics invited for the same ? Brownie “stars” & more! It happened during Paa too. And when some of the Delhi based critics raised their voice, Amitabh Bachchan apologised about the same. Now after all that history, here is the latest dope!

We are sure, cent percent sure! The makers of Raajneeti have already shown the film to her. Only her. Almost a week before the release. And she has confirmed her rating to them! Four fucking stars! Not sure who fucked whom, where, how and in what position but its gonna happen. We are willing to bet! Unless our blogpost manages to make enough noise for her/publication to change it from 4 to 3.5 stars! But if the group is involved and cheques have been passed, then aandhi aaye ya toofan, its gonna be four, fucking four!

And its not only her and the publication, the makers of the film are no lesser culprit. BTW, do we see a pattern here ? Its from the same production house! Have they cracked a “stars” subscription deal ? Looks like. As the dude sang, The Times They Are A-Changin’…..just that we didn’t realise that it will go to the other extreme!

UPDATE – We returned home and switched on the tv, it was Bambai se gayee Poona, Poona se gayee Patna n blah blah blah on SetMax. That was Juhi Chawla. But guess who else is singing…delhi se gayee bambai, rating meri bhi bik gayee! Same old Khat-Ni Lajmi. We got lil wrong on the location info. It seems she was shown the film in Mumbai and NOT in Delhi. And the makers flew her from Delhi To Mumbai to screen the film for her. Now, we are gonna bet its 4.fucking5 stars!