NAACHGAANA
  • A word on NADODIGAL (Tamil; 2009)

    I recently saw Nadodigal, and after all the hype, was quite disappointed. The film is quite well-made in terms of ambience, but uneasily straddles the line between old-school masala and “new” tamil cinema — and ends up with neither the energy and enthusiasm of the former, nor the rawness and “street cred” of the latter (not to mention that the film’s protagonists, chief among them Sasikumar, are not well adapted as far as the masala-end is concerned. What I did appreciate about the film — which centers on a band of friends who help a couple elope in the face of fierce parental opposition — was that this was the one film where the “heroes” were the characters who are peripheral in most love stories:

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  • Qalandar Reviews WANTED (Hindi; 2009)

    The passage of time does strange things, but not even Marcel Proust could have dreamed it would have this effect. I’ve spent most of the last two decades disliking Salman Khan. I mean, really disliking him, and everything about him: from his wannabe vibe, his faux-Bambi eyes, his breathless dialog-delivery, his weird English accent, and his non-existent acting skills. Needless to say, I wasn’t much convinced by his occasional half-assed attempts to do masala actioners; he was — and there’s no polite way to put this — just too puny for the likes of Garv, especially given that he was playing it straight, as opposed to using the sort of explanatory gimmick Aamir Khan deployed (namely, that he was a raving lunatic) in Ghajini. But

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  • Regional Film Songs – National award winners

    (I wrote this post on my blog, in response to a request by ‘pardesi’ here, and i thought it might be relevant to post on NG based on some discussion of lack of regional language content on NG). These are memorable songs from Tamil, Telugu & Kannada, which have won National award. It is just a pity that these songs do not get noticed as much as BW songs. Let me begin with “Naadamaya” from Jeevan Chaitra by Late Legendary Kannada Superstar Dr Rajkumar. He was a true superstar who was blessed with a beautiful voice along with unmatched acting talents. He sung most of his songs(for movies). Visuals are not great in the song, just listen to the song even if you do not

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  • Qalandar Reviews NAAN KADAVUL (Tamil; 2009)

    EXCERPT: “Naan Kadavul (“I Am God”) is the logical terminus of Bala’s concerns, which include a concern with the history of the Tamil masala hero persona (there can be little doubt Bala has cinematic history on the brain; the descent of a godlike star into the masses’ midst is a fleeting motif in Pithamagan, in the person of Simran playing herself in a medley of old film songs; in Naan Kadavul, there is another medley, with people — all beggars, I might add — dressed up as MGR, Sivaji Ganesan, and Rajni, not to mention an ultra-lewd man dressed in drag and cavorting to one of Nayanthara’s dance numbers; for the original video of that “Yammadi” song from Vallavan (2006), feast your eyes on this)

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  • Kamal & Lal Together in Unnaipol Oruvan (Tamil Remake of “A Wednesday”)

    [Thanks to GF for pointing me to this trailer. It's a good trailer — the opening shots impart a touch of Hephaestus to Kamal working in his subterranean lair…couldn’t help but smile at that English accent, that is vintage Kamal ha ha ha. Lal as expected underplays the role relative to Kher — there’s a certain world-weariness to this character, and at times I felt Kher seemed a bit too fresh in “A Wednesday" -- Qalandar]

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  • 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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  • Baradwaj Rangan’s Tribute to Kamal Haasan’s Cool

    REBIRTH OF THE COOL? Fifty years into an endlessly fascinating career, here’s a wish (no, make that a pipe dream) that Kamal Hassan would go back to having fun, being cool. AUG 23, 2009 – IN THE YEARS I WAS GROWING UP in a balmy nook of Madras – ensconced in an ethos that was part-Peter, part-Pattabhiraman – Kamal Hassan was, quite simply, one of the coolest people on the planet. (At the time, of course, the actor was adored by the mononym of Kamalahasan. The modification in the moniker occurred during the release of Vikram, his lavish Bond fantasia, perhaps owing to his attempts to simultaneously straddle the worlds of Tamil and Hindi cinema. He was trying, in other words, to be part-Pattabhiraman, part-Parminder.)

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