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Review of Vijay Anand film ‘Guide’ by film critic Lalit Rao (FIPRESCI) dated 30/10/2023

Vijay Anand's film ‘‘Guide’’ (1965) remains one of the most admirable classics of Hindi cinema that promoted secular values, emancipation of women and a philosophical approach to songs.     Hindi film ‘‘Guide’’ (1965) can be hailed as the first major, effective collaboration between an Indian writer writing in English and Hindi film industry. It is based on the novel by RK Narayan that won the prestigious Sahitya Academy A...

12th Fail, Review: Want to bet on it? The chances are 30 out of 2,00,000

Hara Vahi Jo Lada Nahi (only he who did not fight loses) is the tagline on the book, 12th Fail, written in Hindi by Anurag Pathak and translated into English by Gautam Choubey and Lalit Kumar. For the film version, the writing credits go to Vidhu Vinod Chopra (who has directed the movie), Jaskunwar Kohli (co-writer), Anurag Pathak (associate writer) and Aayush Saxena. A village student, Manoj Kumar Sharma, who failed his 12th exams, who does not know where his next meal is going to come from, ...

IPTA’s Inter Collegiate Drama Competition scores 50, marches on

IPTA’s Inter Collegiate Drama Competition scores 50, marches on Was it the first or was it the second? Was it 1972 or 1973? My introduction to the annual competition is nevertheless at least 49 years old. I had just finished college, and could not participate. How I wished I could! But I could watch the event, and, soon afterwards, write about it, extensively, in several publications, as a theatre critic. If memory serves me right, back then, it was called IPTA’s Inter Collegiate ...

DCIFF 2024 Submissions Open for features, documentary, short animation and web series to December 25th

DCIFF is the oldest independent film festival in Washington DC and acts as a forum for discussion around selected films. We combine a traditional competitive festival format with in-depth conversation around the films we screen - giving filmmakers a chance to connect, learn about the impact of their films and move their work forward. We have a wide range of relevant and up-to-date workshops, socuial events and lots of fun. Every year we welocme 60 or more filmmakers to join us. All submissions ...

Garden City, Kansas

Garden City, Kansas. Posted By Robin Menken Bob Hurst’s Garden City, Kansas Is a crime documentary about a foiled terrorist attack and a warning against the violence of Trumpist America. We meet Angie Haflich, the content editor of High Plains Public Radio which broadcasts to Kansas and four other states. Interviews with Haflich and other local citizens portray a conservative Middle American small town (mostly Republican) which, because of it reliance on farming and meat p...

The Great Indian Family, Review: Pandit pop’s bhajan singing son is a Muslim

The Great Indian Family, Review: Pandit pop’s bhajan singing son is a Muslim What a roundabout route it has taken to emerge as The Great Indian Family! It began with the 2010 British film The Infidel, starring Omid Djalili (the D is silent), directed by Josh Appignanesi and a cast that included South Asian sounding names like Archie Panjabi, Saamiya Nasir, James Krishna Floyd, Nabi Nasir, Mina Anwar, Amit Shah, Uzma, Ravin J. Ganatra and Niraj Naik. Five years later, we had an Indian ad...

Tibetan Hearts Premieres at TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood

Tibetan Hearts had its world premiere on Saturday, September 9th at the Silicon Beach Film Festival. It was wonderful to see the film on the big screen. Tibetan Hearts is a romantic drama about two lovers from rival sheep herding villages in Tibet. It was filmed on location in Tibet and provides a rare look at this isolated culture from their own perspective. The festival took place at the esteemed TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood. The premiere had a great turn out, with many members of the...

Jawan, Review: Eggs on the windshield

Jawan, Review: Eggs on the windshield You can be pardoned for believing that Jawan is Pathaan rebooted, if you walked in as ShahRukh Khan (SRK) is lying half-dead on a bed somewhere near the Indian border (with which country?) and a chinky medicine man is spending days, and possibly weeks, using all kinds of herbs and other local Ayurvedic medicine to revive him. It was exactly the same in Pathaan, where he was nursed back by a Pathaan tribe. Obviously, the makers thought once is not enough, ...

Kaala, Trailer launch: Reverse osmosis – turning white money into black

Kaala, Trailer launch: Reverse osmosis – turning white money into black There has been an ongoing illegal operation conducted in India over many a decade: it is called the generation and circulation of ‘black money’. ‘Black money’ is unaccounted wealth, on which no tax has been paid. Most black money transactions have been conducted in cash, to avoid leaving any trace. There is no record of the amount of money that has been floating in the market, as black money....

Goldfish, Review: Without your memory, you are like a goldfish out of water

Goldfish, Review:  Without your memory, you are like a goldfish out of water Probably used as a metaphor for the memory lapses of its central character, who is suffering from dementia, the goldfish, believed to have a memory span of three seconds, has, in fact, a rather long memory. On the website Live Science, the short-memory theory has been debunked, “In reality, goldfish (Carassius auratus) have much longer memories — spanning weeks, months and even years. And the science...

Love All, Review: Goodbye badminton, Hello badminton

Love All, Review: Goodbye badminton, Hello badminton No, it’s not about love as is depicted in Hindustani films. And it certainly does not propagate the noble axiom, Love All. The ‘love’ here is derived from the French, l’oeuf, which means an egg, but is pronounced very nearly like love. Since the score 0 (zero) in games like tennis and badminton is the starting point for the players, these games begin with Love All. After a dozen films on cricket, footfall, hockey, sp...

One Friday Night, Review: Cheat on wife, pay with life

One Friday Night, Review: Cheat on wife, pay with life Get captivated by the Pawna Lake hilly region, close to Mumbai. Watch Raveena Tandon and Milind Soman in a first time pairing. Sit back as Vidhi Chitalia enters the scene, playing the ‘other woman’, the third angle of the triangle. And go along with the flow, as One Friday Night works towards the only real twist in the tale, the climax. That is if you care for this narrative and cast. If not, don’t spend One Friday Night...

Goldfish, Trailer launch: Mind matters

Goldfish, Trailer launch: Mind matters Splendid Films yesterday released the trailer of their internationally acclaimed film, Goldfish, followed by a panel discussion, in association with Mpower Minds, an initiative of Aditya Birla Education Trust. Goldfish, which was shown at IFFI 2022, is set to release in India on 25th August, 2023. The event was held at Birla Centurion Business Centre, in Worli, Central Mumbai. For once, I was late. Very late. The venue was absolutely new to me and there ...

Dream Girl 2, Trailer launch: Meet Ayushwomann, the body behind the voice

Dream Girl 2, Trailer launch: Meet Ayushwomann, the body behind the voice Meeting Dream Girl 2 was not easy. In fact, it was 3 times as difficult as one would have imagined. First hurdle was the location hunt, as the invitation just said Meta Office, BKC. BKC is a huge settlement, and it took us (me and my friend Prasad Sovani, who had come down from Pune) a while to locate the venue, though we still managed to arrive on time. Secondly, we had to wait about 45 minutes to get identity badges a...

Made in Heaven, Season 2: "Marriages are made in heaven, so are thunder and lightning"

Made in Heaven, Season 2: "Marriages are made in heaven, so are thunder and lightning" Although the quote comes from Clint Eastwood, you can say it again, for this is Season 2. And unlike most marriages in real life, on OTT you get a second chance, to revisit heaven. After a successful Season 1 (2019), the team from Excel Media and Entertainment, and Tiger Baby Films, is back, with Season 2. Many characters are retained, and a few are added, to make these marriages work, I presume, ...

Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahani, Review: All rhyme, no reason

Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahani, Review: All rhyme, no reason When a film tries too hard to please too many viewers, it shows. When it has too many stars, including stars of yesteryear, predictably, its length grows. When the maker goes back three generations and sets one chunk of the story in 1978, the public knows. When a layman at a bus-stop on a rainy night tells you lots about a film he has not seen because, perhaps, he has seen the trailer and read stuff about the movie, you know that&rs...

72 Hoorain: Untouched, heavenly virgins, 72 of them; go, have a blast!

72 Hoorain: Untouched, heavenly virgins, 72 of them; go, have a blast! That is what the title of this film means. It is derived from the preaching of some misguided Muslim religious leaders, who brain-wash impressionable Kashmiri youth into becoming terrorists, and set-off bomb-blasts, in the hope that 72 hoorain will be waiting for them in the hereafter. It is not a documentary, but claims to be inspired by true incidents. The makers describe it as a tale that delves into the depths of the h...

Satyaprem Ki Katha: Tittleation

Satyaprem Ki Katha: Tittleation A title like this would be an anachronism, had it not been for the surfeit of ‘shudhha’ (pure/chaste) Hindi that can be heard in most places, of late. Be thankful! The film was originally titled Satyanarayan Ki Katha, which is a religious ritual among the majority community. But move a little eastward and you will find a film called Ballabhpurer Rupkotha (ignore the o in kotha, please). So, if they can get away with it, why can’t our guys? To ...

Tiku Weds Sheru: A ‘Senior’ artiste weds a ‘Junior artiste’

Tiku Weds Sheru: A ‘Senior’ artiste weds a ‘Junior artiste’ By all accounts, Nawazuddin Siddiqui is a senior artiste. He ranks on the high rung and is 49 years old. That he started as a junior artiste is now stuff that legends are made of. Avneet Kaur is said to be 21, though I find that hard to believe (17-18 is more like it), did a couple of film roles and a couple of cameos. By comparison, in terms of age and experience, she is a ‘junior’ artiste. In th...

Chidiakhana, Review: Of all the animals in the zoo…

Chidiakhana, Review: Of all the animals in the zoo… Made under the Children’s Film Society masthead, now merged with the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), Chidiakhana is not a zoo story. It won’t do much good to the reputation of NFDC. Stretching logic a bit too far, the makers justify the title by having the lead character imagine human beings as animals. And the animals talk with human voices. Guess what the core subject is? Football. And when you are making a...

Aazam, Review: “I want to be the next Don, and stop me if you can”

Aazam, Review: “I want to be the next Don, and stop me if you can” Ministerial power often stems from a ‘healthy’ give and take with underworld Dons. There is a popular belief that legislators play one gang against the other, and like to work with just one Boss, rather than a multitude of Mafiosos. Then, there is the power and succession struggle between gang members, often resulting in brutal killings. Choosing these elements as its theme, Aazam builds a narrative th...

“On Matriarchy Lake” is a true Motion Picture made in Mosuo

“On Matriarchy Lake” is a romantic drama about star-crossed lovers in an isolated village in China. The lovers are Li Fei, a young worker stationed in the village and Na Zhu, a local Mosuo woman. The Mosuo are a matrilineal ethnic group with a tradition of ‘walking marriages’, in which husbands visit their wives at night, but live apart during the day. What starts as a sweet love story about cultural differences becomes tragic when Li Fei is forced to return to the c...

8 am Metro, Review: One train, many tracks

8 am Metro, Review: One train, many tracks Firstly, it is not about a train. Secondly, the journey of the lead characters changes so many tracks that it ultimately derails, and it takes a long-drawn climax to get it back on track. Even then, it ends on half a track. And yet there is something about 8 am Metro that is endearing and fresh. Coming not too long after Pierre Filmon’s French film, In Between Two Trains/Long Time No See (2019), it is likely to have been inspired by the French ...

Chatrapathi, Review: Axe Rated

Chatrapathi, Review: Axe Rated Should have been spelt Chhatrapati, buy never mind. As a remake, it has carried over the spelling of the Telugu original. The title is a reference to Shivaji, the Maratha King of the Bhosle clan, who fought invaders and rulers and lived from 1630 to 1680. Honoured as a local hero, he was given the title Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, and continues to hold a high place in the hearts and minds of many Indians. The Mumbai airport and the biggest railway terminus in t...

Mother Teresa & Me: A stunning Swiss portrait of an Indian Saint

Mother Teresa & Me: A stunning Swiss portrait of an Indian Saint He comes across as a youngish, genial uncle, with a deadpan sense of humour. Answering to a name like Kamal Musale, he had to be at least part Indian. This Swiss-Indian film-maker’s Swiss company – Les Films du Lotus Sàrl – and his Indian company – Curry Western Productions Pvt Ltd – produce movies with Indian content, for western taste. Mother Teresa & Me transcends any such boundari...


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