• Baradwaj Rangan’s piece on Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaaya

    LOVE, FACTUALLY Gautham Vasudev Menon’s very real, very true-to-life, very messy romance is yet another effort, this year, that pushes the envelope far beyond the realms of “safe” commercial cinema. MAR 7, 2010 – WHAT A YEAR THIS IS TURNING OUT to be for Tamil cinema! Forget good films or perfect films or successful films or films that will be claimed as classics by aliens roaming the planet after humankind has become extinct – I’m simply referring to the unfettered ambition that has been leaping off our screens ever since the new decade dawned. Recent releases like Goa and Thamizh Padam and Porkalam have, in their own distinct ways, helped demolish the long-nurtured myth that the Tamil audience is toweringly traditional – with hair well-oiled

  • Baradwaj Rangan reviews Striker

    BOARD EXAM A carrom whiz is constantly tested by life in a beautifully textured docudrama that keeps us at an arm’s length. FEB 7, 2010 – SURYA (SIDDHARTH), THE MINOR-LEAGUE LEADING MAN of Striker – I hesitate to call him “hero,” for he stands resolutely, refreshingly life-sized – is someone with major dreams. He lives in the Mumbai suburb of Malvani (the film is based on true-life events, we’re told), where his best buddy Zaid (Ankur Vikal) smirks about not having stepped beyond Ghatkopar – but Surya envisions a lucrative future in Dubai. Despite his brother’s (Anoop Soni) admonitions that life isn’t wish-fulfillment fantasy, like the kiddie tales in Chandoba, Surya forks over a sizable sum to a dubious travel agent and, unsurprisingly, loses it

  • Baradwaj Rangan reviews Rann / Ishqiya

    The ever-tightening web of news-channel foul play forms the focus of an engrossing melodrama. Plus, a wickedly entertaining desi-Western that pulls its punches. Rann: RAM GOPAL VARMA’S RANN OPENS with the sun glowering on a sweltering metropolis. Inside the homes, however, the heat emanates from television, from news channels aboil with sensation mongering (underscored by shivering strings and pounding percussion more suited to the climactic battle in Macbeth). Within a short span, we are thrown amidst a battalion on the rims of the TV-news business – the patriarchal anchor Vijay Malik (Amitabh Bachchan), his smarmy competitor Amrish (Mohnish Bahl), Vijay’s son Jai (Sudeep), Vijay’s son-in-law Naveen (Rajat Kapoor), callow reporter Purab (Riteish Deshmukh), the buffoonish journalist Anand (Rajpal Yadav), go-getting news executive Nalini (Suchitra Krishnamoorthy),

  • Baradwaj Rangan reviews Tum Mile

    RAIN DEARS A love story set against a great downpour isn’t all that it could have been – but it isn’t nothing either. More Here

  • Baradwaj Rangan Reviews POKKISHAM (Tamil; 2009)

    EXCERPT: “I wanted to shake these bratty SMS-era youngsters by the shoulder and tell them that this story needs this pace – if it’s a slow film, it’s because it isn’t set in a fast world. I wanted to tell them that this was, after all, the 1970s – an India of tonga carts and unsliced loaves of bread and two-rupee notes, and when people had to wait for days to hear from one another, either through letters or the tiresome mechanics of booking a trunk call over staticky communication lines. How easy it was, back then, to lose touch with people, who didn’t leave permanent footprints of their journey through life on, say, Facebook. (Today, you cannot shake off even the friends you want


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