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Super 30, Review: Inequality, equality and variable quality

Super 30, Review: Inequality, equality and variable quality Two basic tenets form the paradigm of Super 30: a real-life story about a nondescript do-gooder who is a super achiever must strike a chord with audiences, and, secondly, any tale of a low caste and poverty-stricken protagonist, sacrificing his lady love and filthy lucre for the cause of educating fellow under-privileged ‘untouchables’ in his society, will have them rooting for the unlikely hero. How these doctrines pan o...

Shooting star

Marudhar Express, Review: Chain reaction

Marudhar Express, Review: Chain reaction You might need to look-up the meaning of Marudhar, even if you are a native Hindi speaker. It refers to the Marwar area of Rajasthan, and the Express is a train that runs between Varanasi, in Uttar Pradesh, and Jodhpur (Rajasthan), touching Lucknow and Kanpur, the two biggest cities in UP, with Allahabad (now renamed PrayaagRaaj) being the third. Now, lest you begin to think that this film is a travelogue or that events take place on the said train, le...

Hume Tumse Pyar Kitna, Review: Limerence, belligerence and incoherence

Hume Tumse Pyar Kitna, Review: Limerence, belligerence and incoherence A clutch of songs, exquisitely picturised, with little or no lip sync, linked together by a skeletal story about obsessive love, came to Mumbai cinemas today under the title Hume Tumse Pyar Kitna (How Much Do I Love You). Taken from a hit number from the film Kudrat that was popular in the early 80s, the title of the film is appropriate, and the original song itself occurs several times in the film, on the radio, or as a ...

One Day Justice Delivered, Review: Perhaps, but not today

One Day Justice Delivered, Review: Perhaps, but not today A judge dispensing justice by extra-judicial means immediately after retirement is not a common theme in Hindi films, and the novelty is undeniable. Sadly, that is just about where the merits of this film rest. Actors ham, the script meanders, co-incidences abound, dialogue disappoints and the climactic twist is of no consequence. One Day Justice Delivered espouses a noble cause but does more disservice than service to it. Ranchi High...

Malaal, Review: Tragic love saga, with cause for introspection, and some regret

Malaal, Review: Tragic love saga, with cause for introspection, and some regret Sanjay Leela Bhansali, producer-director of many a box-office mojo-maker and purveyor of a certain kind of stylised cinema, picks a 2004 Tamil film and sets it in 1998, the year of Titanic, and his own Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. If you can take a hint, three in this case, you will know that this is going to be a romantic tale of a disparate couple, with a tragic ending. That he casts two debutants and asks another d...

Shoplifters, Review: Only those who cannot study at home need to go to school

Shoplifters, Review: Only those cannot study at home need to go to school Through many decades, albeit once in a while, a Japanese film comes up in the rich tradition of Frank Capra, Vittorio De Sica, Satyajit Ray, Ritwick Ghatak, Mrinal Sen, and the better films of Hrishikesh Mukherjee. Back in the 30s, 40s and 50s, in the days of Yasujirō Ozu and Mikio Naruse, it was called neo-realistic cinema. Most of these films were made with non-star casts, on shoe-string budgets, had realistic styles...

Amazon Prime Video launching all-new season of original series Comicstaan, unveils trailer

Amazon Prime Video launching all-new season of original series Comicstaan, unveils trailer Comicstaan becomes the first Indian Amazon Original to launch a second season, which comes as part of Prime Day 2019 celebrations. The first three episodes of the much-awaited second season of Comicstaan are set to release on July 12, 2019, followed by a weekly release, only on Prime Video. Ace comedians like Zakir Khan, Neeti Palta and Season 1 host, Sumukhi Suresh, join veteran judges Biswa Kaylan R...

Noblemen, Review: Merchant of menace

Noblemen, Review: Merchant of menace Children in a classy public school are preparing a play for Founders’ Day, and the work chosen for the occasion is William Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. Our protagonist has been selected to play Bassanio, after an audition, and is waiting anxiously for the staging. His mother, a former Wing Commander, now confined to a wheel-chair, is likely to be cured in a short time, and hopes to attend her son’s big day, for the first time ever. O...

Article 15, Review: Beatings, gang-rapes, murder and other factual fiction

Article 15, Review: Beatings, gang-rapes, murder and other factual fiction Part III, Fundamental Rights, Rights to Equity, Article 15, of the Indian Constitution, declares that, ‘The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them.’ It further proclaims that citizens too shall not discriminate against each other on these bases, and specifies the areas with regard to which there cannot be any discriminati...

Angarey (The Burning Desires) The poster launch at Cannes 2019

Based on real events: Angarey (The Burning Desires) is a tale that revolves around two unusual characters, Maryam and Rufi... Maryam holds the burning desires to break out the the pre-determined set of values, the desire to question and protest against patriarchy, the desire to move beyond horizons and create her own universe - while Rufi is one of the most unconventional persons one can ever imagine. He is a sp

Anahita’s Law, Review: Parsee patriarchy, woes of women and law of the land

Anahita’s Law, Review: Parsee patriarchy, woes of women and law of the land Discrimination against women, and children of mixed religion marriages, are not phenomena that stare us in the face, like some of the basic needs of mankind: food, clothing and shelter. It is not even a second tier priority, like electricity, roads and water are. In a country struggling to provide these amenities to its population of 1.6 bn, implementing the fundamental right to practice the religion of your cho...

Naughty Gang, Review: Gang apes

Naughty Gang, Review: Gang apes We keep hearing at every seminar or conference that with the advances in technology, anybody, just anybody, can make a film. In various Indian film schools too, film-making has been so vehemently de-mystified that every year some 10,000 students pass out and are ready to shoot from the hip, the hip being where they keep their mobile phones. It is a no contest. If a 22-23 year-old fresher can make films, why can’t those who have been around on the fringes,...

Ahaa Re (The Two Lovers/Oh, Look at You), Review: Castle of love on bedrock of food

Ahaa Re (The Two Lovers/Oh, Look at You), Review: Castle of love on bedrock of food When you want to make a film about love, lost and found, romance, sublime and selfless, it is a good idea not to include components like villains, fights, item songs, crude comedy, sexual overtones and foul language. So what do you fill your screenplay with? How about conflicts and disparities, of many hues and various proportions? And food? Yes, food. Well if you are a foodie, and a romantic foodie, then why ...

Yeh Hai India, Review: NREye

Yeh Hai India, Review: NREye Indians settled abroad are called Non-Resident Indians, or NRIs. Not surprisingly, many of them still nurse feelings of love for the land of their birth, or of their fathers, and the often feel guilty pangs of separation from their motherland. Actor-producer-writer-director Manoj Kumar (real name Harikishen Goswami) made some hard hitting and box-office shattering patriotic films in the 60s and 70s, right till the early 80s, that earned him the epithet of Mr. Bhar...

Kavita Kaushik in a Pajama Party without pajamas

Kavita Kaushik in a Pajama Party without pajamas Pajama Party is a quaint, albeit oddball, title for a play about women empowerment. It was premièred at the thoroughly renovated, grand, regal Royal Opera House, in South Mumbai, on Saturday, 18 May 2019. And I had the privilege of being offered a seat in the first row, which I prudently turned down, to opt for a more vantage point in the third row. The play is in Hinglish and marks the stage debut of TV actresses Kavita Kaushik (CID, FIR,...

De De Pyaar De, Review: Differential calculus

De De Pyaar De, Review: Differential calculus Some films begin on a positive note, start developing into potential winners, and then squander it all away, with inane, inept, insane, insipid, inchoate, infeasible, indifferent, inexcusable, incongruous and inconsequential writing. Most likely inspired by a play, American or Indianised, or a Hollywood romantic comedy, De De Pyaar De (Give Me, Give Me Your Love) begins with a newish take on the age-old plank of Daddy Long Legs (1955) and Lamhe (1...

One month til Regular Deadline ends

Hey Everyone, so our regular deadline is a month away, so don't delay, get your film in before June 15th!  Frank Festival Director ...

Student of the Year-2, Review: Kya baddi kya baddi

Student of the Year-2, Review: Kya baddi kya baddi Kya baddi Karan Johar, what was the earth-shaking supersonic idea that made you cash in on the ‘The biggest franchise of Bollywood’ (imdb’s words, not mine) and redraw the Archie-Betty-Veronica isosceles triangle for the umpteenth time, after you yourself had milked it silica gel dry exactly 20 years ago, as Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (185 minutes), and launch a pomp-romp-stomp-clomp-chomp-whomp called Student of the Year 2 (mercifu...


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Well, this is my first time publishing a blog of any sort. Also, It is my first season of entering film festivals. It has been an interesting and eye opening experience into the world of the film festival business. The old adage, "If it looks to good to be true, it probably is." holds true here. I read one article that laid out the tell tale signs of what was going on with possible scams. However, I didn't need to read an negative article to become suspicious about what w...

Last Chance to Catch #Tribeca2019!

NEW YORK, NY:  Mustafa ÖNDER It's your last chance to catch #Tribeca2019!  There are still plenty of opportunities to see some amazing new films and events before It wrap up Sunday.  This year's Festival included 113 feature-length films, 63 short films, and 33 immersive storytelling projects representing 44 countries. Screenings of the award-winning films will take place throughout the final day of the Festival, Sunday, May 5th, at various venues. ...

Setters, Review: Questionable answers

Setters, Review: Questionable answers Job-oriented education has been a hot topic in India, where unemployment figures and poverty levels are very high. Corruption begins when a child is admitted to the kinder-garten class, with the help of a handsome bribe, euphemistically called ‘donation’. The spiral often continues till the graduation level, where the focus shifts to obtaining leaked examination papers, getting proxy candidates to appear on behalf of weak students, feeding liv...

Tarpan, Review: Pride and prejudice

Tarpan, Review: Pride and prejudice To draw even minimal audiences, films like Tarpan need three boosters: positive reviews, film festivals exposure and word-of-mouth publicity. They pick up dark subjects, rooted in current ground reality, write them for the screen in the realistic mode, stick as far as possible to factual references as against a fictional narrative, cast unknown or at least relatively unknown actors who would nevertheless deliver, retain a technical team that can put-togethe...


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