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Posts in category Cinema/ TV

At Last, Women Who Speak And Are Not Spoken For

At Last, Women Who Speak And Are Not Spoken For

A girl in a burkha (Plabita Borthakur in her breakout role as Rihanna) in search of a stairway to heaven and a Led Zeppelin high, wearing her real self like a shade of red on her lips, and then wiping it off to disappear into the dungeon like tailoring shop of her father where at the […]






Vinod Khanna: The Unshackled Superstar

Vinod Khanna: The Unshackled Superstar

  Yesterday, for some reason,  I hunted for a DVD I had bought many years ago but never watched. And then as Aruna-Vikas’ little known 1978 murder mystery Shaque unspooled, I realised, the film in a way exemplified Vinod Khanna’s approach towards fame. He did not give a damn about it. He did love the […]






The Eternal Seeker Finds Moksha

The Eternal Seeker Finds Moksha

There is a telling anecdote about Kishori Amonkar’s early years as a classical sensation when she was rattling off the number of shows she had been booked for and her mother and guru Mogubai Kurdikar, herself a legendary disciple of Ustad Alladiya Khan’s Jaipur Atrauli gharana, heard her out and asked her if her calendar had […]






Rangoon: Unwieldy And Bloody Long  

Rangoon: Unwieldy And Bloody Long  

  There is a big noise in the media about just who Vishal Bhardwaj’s Rangoon belongs to. Well, it does not belong to either Kangana Ranaut or Shahid Kapoor. Or Saif Ali Khan for that matter. It belongs to no one and well, nowhere because Vishal Bhardwaj, whose Maqbool and Omkara cohesively wove Indian narratives into Shakespearean […]






Those Who ‘Defend’ History Know Nothing About It

Those Who ‘Defend’ History Know Nothing About It

Those who filmed themselves proudly as they broke cameras, vandalised property and beat up Sanjay Leela Bhansali on the sets of Padmavati know nothing about the culture they claim to be protecting. So let us begin with a slice of history. With the story of a man who was a devout Muslim and a bhakt […]






No Place For ‘Nakaabil’ Folks In Hindi Cinema

No Place For ‘Nakaabil’ Folks In Hindi Cinema

Ordinary people do not interest Hindi cinema anymore and that is why even if Mani Ratnam’s artifice free protagonists from OK Kanmani (who did not think it was necessary to interrupt their love story to endorse Vero Moda, Coca Cola and Anita Dongre’s wedding wear) are channelled in Ok Jaanu (a Karan Johar production), they […]






Raees: A Brave Film That Plays It Safe

Raees: A Brave Film That Plays It Safe

There is a scene in Rahul Dholakia’s Raees where Vijay, the symbol of conscientious idealism in Salim Javed’s cinematic universe of the 70s, appears for a few seconds on a screen in an open air theatre to take a greedy capitalist to task for a coal mine that has caused poverty, death and persecution of […]






Yes, Artists Must Dissent And So Must We

Yes, Artists Must Dissent And So Must We

While performing a street play in Sahibabad township, on 1 January 1989, Safdar Hashmi, a member of the Communist Party of India , a playwright and activist, was attacked and murdered by the followers of an election candidate. What followed was unexpected. During the staid Doordarshan coverage of  the National Film Festival Awards, Shabana Azmi […]






A Reality Check Called Om Puri

A Reality Check Called Om Puri

A few days before Om Puri passed away, I shuddered past a YouTube video (obviously fake) that speculated if he had converted to Islam. No prizes at all for guessing why the video had been created. To fan the hate that his support for Pakistani artists had kindled amid patriots whose claim to nationalism is trashing […]






Dangal: Celebrating An India We Have Forgotten

Dangal: Celebrating An India We Have Forgotten

The opening scene of Nitesh Tiwari’s Dangal has a young Mahavir Singh Phogat priming himself up for an office brawl. He has left wrestling but we are told, wrestling has not left him. And so like a fighter in an akhada, he crouches, his eyes focused and unblinking and makes a little gesture to pull […]






Befikre: Cold Like A Bowl Of Cereal

Befikre: Cold Like A Bowl Of Cereal

It is official. The award for the most unlikable male character of 2016 will be shared by Ranbir Kapoor’s Ayan in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Ranveer Singh’s Dharam in Befikre. These are clueless boys with the emotional and intellectual depth of a nine-year-old with the tumultuous hormones of a teenager and are paired with […]






Dear Zindagi: A Conversation We All Need

Dear Zindagi: A Conversation We All Need

The patchwork  of unfinished relationships, replaceable snapshots, the short-lived high of opening a new package, restless online scrolling, things that we don’t need but must buy, a flurry of vodka shots, a life lived from one plane hop to another, one missed connection to another. It is easy to dismiss Gauri Shinde’s Dear Zindagi as a […]






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