Written & Directed by Alfonso Cuaron
Rating; *** ½ (3 and a half stars)
The critics are going into a collecting swoon over celebrated Spanish cine-director Alfonso Cuaron’s latest film, an introspective brooding meditative study of the place of a house-help in a well-to-do family of Mexico.
I can understand the Western critics’ heightened impressiveness . The Faithful Maid is not something they meet every day. For us in Asian communities staunchly almost obsessively loyal house-help is not such a rare thing. My own Man Friday has been with us for 26 years.He will happily give his life for us, just like Cleo(Yalitza Aparacio, so real she is invisible) in Roma who, in one of the film’s most moving and edifying sequences, jumps into sinister seawaves to rescue two of the children of the family she considers her own.
Luckily for Cleo, the family loves her like one of their own. Curan portrays the dynamics of the household with immense intuitive warmth. Considerable time at the start of the film is spent constructing Cleo’s household routine and the unwavering rhythms of her day-to-day life. These are so lovingly detailed and so lingering you wonder where it is all leading to .
And after a point you accept the pointlessness of Cleo’s routine as being the point.
About 10 minutes in the beginning show Cleo washing the home’s driveway floor in the morning, preparing for the household to wake, serving breakfast etc. Then at the end of the film when a couple of dramatic high points have given Cleo’s story a cutting edge, she is seen climbing up the stairs to the roof to wash clothes. She vanishes from camera range while we watch patiently as the end-credits roll by.
Despite its long passages of selfindulgence, Roma is a not a boring film. Its exposition on the ennui of everyday chores is constantly kindred by a sense of unstated wisdom and comprehension of how life’s most mundane activities give it a heft in ways we can never describe. The domestic dynamics are brilliantly portrayed. Cleo is always an organic part of her employers’ household —witness the beautiful sequence when the lady of the house Sofia(Marina De Tavira) sits Cleo down with her on the sofa and holds her hand when Cleo tearfully announces her pregnancy.
But the subtle separation from the family, the class distinction, hovers at the edges ocassionallly bubbling to the surface.When Sofia in one dramatic moment,screams at Cleo she flinches slightly as though trying not to show her reaction to a slap.
Roma is finally a film that works for its silences. Long stretches of unspoken tranquil harmony punctured by bouts of political violence, give the narrative a feeling of a ruminative symphony.The lengthy sequence in the labour room where Cleo gives birth to a still born baby, haunted me not just for its obvious tragedy but the compassion that the doctors shower on the traumatized Cleo . Class differences are all but forgotten.
This is Mexico in the 1970s when hierarchy must have been supreme. The film circumvents the prejudices with much pride and affection . The vintage cars, single-seater theatres and revolutionary student groups are captured in the black-and-white cinematography by director Alfonso Curan himself, with a meticulousness which is hard to appreciate on a computer screen or , God forbid, a phone.
What stays with you is the protagonist’s selfworth duly preserved by her employers but badly battered by her boyfriend who in a bizarre sequence, shows Cleo his martial arts moves, and a lot more.
Why the full frontal nudity in a film that respects understatement in almost every frame? Or is this Curan’s way of telling us that aesthetic experiences are wont to be intruded upon by some display of crassness. At that moment the embarrassed Cleo becomes the cinema aesthete while her naked boyfriend is the hedonist who makes or watches Aquaman.
Made In Heaven Review: Possibly The Best Indian Webseries So Far
Made In Heaven(Amazon Prime)
Starring : Arjun Mathur, Shobhita Dhulipala, Kalki Koechlin, Jim Sarbh, Shashank Arora , Shivani Raghuvanshi
Directed by: Nitya Mehra,Zoya Akhtar, Prashant Nair, Alankrita Shrivastava
First things first. Made In Heaven is the sexiest webseries India has produced, no doubt about it. The love scenes, both hetero and homosexual , look real with the actors letting loose the kind of unbridled physical passion that was so far forbidden in Indian cinema.
Welcome to the hormonal revolution.
In fact one of the earliest episode of this 9-episode entertainer had the protagonist Shobita Dhulipala and her screen-husband Jim Sarbh with their hands legs and tongue all over the screen. Such lack of inhibition is most refreshing.Bring it on.
Say hello to this bracing antidote to repression. Every major character in Made In Heaven is waiting to break free from one form of repression or another. Shobita’s character Tara comes from a humble middleclass background, has married into money and now ‘Money’ is cheating on her with her best friend.You can’t have your diamonds without sleepless nights.
Sleepless nights , reminds me of Arjun Mathur’s character Karan Mehra who is a closeted homosexual yearning to come out, grappling with emotional and financial problems. Together these two very fine actors,Arjun and Shobhita, plot and plan through a string of affluent weddings, lavish on both food and feud,fuelled by desire and desperation and a longing to find a more relevant core in their plush lifestyle than what is affordable to the senses.
Some of these characters are wretchedly unhappy. I mean , how successful can a marriage be when the wife-to-be sleeps with a Bollywood superstar(wishful casting of Pulkit Samrat) who is invited to perform at her wedding? Or a tycoon’s sole male heir(the underused Pavail Gulati from the miniseries Yudh) who tells his parents that his wife is no goldigger and that the child she aborted in the past was his, when it was not?
Lies seem to fuel the passions of these inflamed characters .A simmer discontent underlines the well laid-out drama, like a still blue pool that whirls and swirls underneath. Accordingly the truthful moments shine brightly in the series. There is this epiphanous encounter between our hero Karan and his snoopy landlord’s zany daughter (Yashaswini Dayama, wish there was more of her in the series) when he catches her smoking and reprimands her, and she tells him he shouldn’t stay out all night.They both know each other’s guilty secrets and are comfortable in their knowledge.
The writing(Reema Kagti, Zoya Akhtar, Niranjan Iyenger, Alankrita Shrivastava, Vivek Anchalia) is fluent and feisty . The dialogues hit the right notes without putting too fine a point on it. While the surfaces glisten with gloss, this is not a series that wallows in superficial glamour. Not by half. Issues on societal hypocrisy(Arjunruns into a lover all set to marry an unsuspecting bride who when confronted hits back with, ‘Will YOU marry me?’ ) run through the series creating a tingling spine of revelations on topics that cinema refrains from exploring.
The performances range from outstanding to satisfactory, and the quality doesn’t depend on the length of the character’s role. Shivani Raghuvanshi has less playing time than the other protagonists. But she nails it as a small-towner Jazz(real name Jaspreet) revelling in the life of the rich and the privileged. Though a brunt of sniggers , it is Jazz who often comes up with solutions in deadlocked weddings.
For all its optical affluence and love for the lush, Made In Heaven tells us there is more to the workingclass than meets the eye. This is a series you will want to watch all in a go. So set side a whole day for it, and ignoreCaptain Marvel this weekend. Marvel is happening right in your homes. Take a bow , all you female directors(and one gentleman thrown in as token gesture).Your time starts now.
Luka Chuppi Is A Progressive Intelligent Comedy
Starring: Kartik Aryan, Kriti Sanon & A Stellar Supporting Cast
Directed by: Laxman Utekar
Rating: ****(4 stars)
Just when the smalltown comedy threatens to sag under the weight of over-statement there comes a fresh feisty take on a live-in relationship in this Progressive Comedy(not to be confused with the Regressive Comedy as in Total Dhamaal) .
Luka Chuppi doesn’t mind bending the rules of the rom-com genre as long the tilt doesn’t make the script look cross-eyed and waylaid.A sense of madcap adventure is constantly projected into the narrative without losing grip over the grammar of growing giggles.
Luka Chuppi doesn’t try too hard to generate humour. It doesn’t always make us laugh. But it never fails to amuse, as Guddu and Rashmi, two Mathura-based tv journalists, get hitched, fall in love and decide to give ‘live-in’ a chance before settling in permanently.
Egged on by his best friend/sidekick Abbas(Aparshakti Khurrana bang-on with his deadpan expressions) the couple decides to give live-in a try.The adventures thereafter are not as smooth as , say Badhaai Ho where middlclass mores were projected with unflinching accuracy. Luka Chuppi sometimes goes awry in its search for satire, but is not the least fearful of stumbling .
Guddu wants to do “everything” that live-in couples do. Rashmi isn’t biting the bait. But they do end up in bed and soon she whispers the four magic words, “Do we have protection?”. Guddu is ready with an assortment of condoms. Pyar kiya toh dalna kya?
In breaking the wall that separates love and sex in Hindi commercial cinema and in showing the lead couple with healthy hormonal instincts Luka Chuppi raises hopes for the Bollywood comedy where kissing is still seen as big deal, and audiences are actually said to count the number of times lips lock on screen.
Come to think of it , there are no kisses between Kartik Aryan and Kriti Sanon in this film. And yet they communicate a warm easygoing alliance that comes not from singing songs together but from recognizing your life partner for what she is.
Most of the humour is generated organically and without making strenuous efforts to induce humour into social statement.
Make no mistake about it. Luka Chuppi is a comedy with an underlying layer of dark satire and social statement on moral policing and communal biases in small towns. Director Laxman Utekar who has done the lucid cinematography in Gauri Shinde’sEnglish Vinglish and Dear Zindaagi, has a keen eye for smalltown quirks.He gets the mood right specially in the frequent aerial shots of the smalltown rooftops. But the stellar supporting cast is frequently let down by the persistent attempts to make them seem chronically hyper.Do these people have to say or do something all the time?
While some amount of hue-and-cry is raised over the vigilante treatment of romance , the subtle but sharp digs at the Muslim character is admirably on target. The way the Muslim film star at the film’s prologue is treated for espousing live-in relationships and in the way characters react when the hero’s Muslim friend is introduced, the film tells us we are a long way from getting away from our biases.
But hey , in the meanwhile there is the laughter. Probably not the best medicine.But it works in the right doses. Most importantly Lukka Chupi works for the lead pair. KartikAryan is endearingly guileless and eager to score, while Kriti Sanon is more worldly-wise and slightly annoying in her will to be the dominant partner. Together the couple is a scream.Albeit a stifled one.
The Exquisite Tapestry Of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Cinema
No one does it quite like Sanjay Leela Bhansali(SLB). His cinema weaves passionate dreams into the operatic language , creating a world so beautiful you wish it really existed.
In an industry where filmmakers think flying cars and smashing chorus dancers are the acme of aesthetics here is that rare creative genius in the tradition of V Shantaram, Raj Kapoor, Mehboob Khan and Bimal Roy who toils over frame and every costume of his incandescent heroine as if his life dependent on it.
Here’s looking at SLB enchanting oeuvre.
- Khamoshi: THE Musical(1996): Some say SLB’s first film about the beautiful vulnerable Annie(Manisha Koirala) trying to cope with the possessive demands of her deaf and mute parents(Nana Patekar , Seema Biswas) is still his most honest work. The truth is Khamoshi fell prey to dishonesty when the original tragic ending of Annie’s death had to be changed on distributors’ demand. The dark passionate redemptive tale was rejected on the day it was released. Rejection reminds us of Madhuri Dixit and Kajol…they both turned down the lead. Manisha immortalized herself with her porcelain looks and delicately nuanced performance.True to character, Nana d huge altercations with the director over the role’s interpretation.Salman sportingly slipped into a supporting role, just to give his friend a boost up in his directorial debut.
- Hum…Dil De Chuke Sanam(1999): Some say, this is SLB’s tenderest work to date. There is certainly a magic at work here, a magic that emanates from the elegant romance between Aishwarya Rai and set in the spicy aromatic bustle of a large upperclass Gujarati household. The fact that the pair actually fell in love helped add passion to the pristine relationship between ‘Nandini’ Aishwarya and ‘Sameer’ Salman . Ajay Devgn was surprisingly effective as Nandini’s husband who takes upon himself the task ofreunitiing his wife with her lover. The idea of such illimitable nobility was inspired by Mani Ratnam’s Moun Ragam. Salmanwas keen that his character ‘get’ Aishwarya at the end. He even sought Sooraj Barjatya’s help to convince SLB.
- Devdas(2002): 13 years ago made at a staggering budget of Rs 60 crores(which is today’s equivalent of Rs 200 crores) SLB’s version of the classic Saratchandra saga of love loyalty betrayal and redemption was a giddying opera ofexacerbrated emotions and heightened drama . The stunning visuals, the opulent sets and the mystical magical song and dance sequences made this version of Devdas a masterclass on ‘The Bollywood Dream’. Many found the film’s excessive emphasis on opulence to be overpowering. But to this day, Devdas remains SLB’s most patent work.
- Black(2005): Many think Black to be the minimalist counterpoint to the extravagance of SLB’s previous work Devdas. Nothing could be further from the truth. Though the film was outwardly the stark story of the relationship between a physically disabled/speciallyabled girl and her teacher, underneath the political correctness of the theme the film screamed with epic ecstasy in every frame. With extraordinary central performances by Rani Mukherjee and Amitabh Bachchan Black was a stunning ode to the spirit of resilience and tenacity, done in flamboyant shades .Even the snow flakes were measured in their beauty.
- Saawariya(2007): Intended as a play-on-film this exceptionally unorthodox experiment with form prompted boos galore from critics and the audience. Saawariya is SLB’s most misunderstood film to date . It creates a selfcontainedworld of fantasy landscape and wispy love, held together by the most spectacular debut seen in the last 15 years. RanbirKapoor as Raj , the waif with a heart of gold and feet like Fred Astaire was a prized discovery. The film needs a second less excitable reading.Go beyond the blue veneer and discover the multi-hued heart .
- Guzaarish(2010): SLB’s third and last film about the desperate longings of the physically disabled, this one starred Hrithik Roshan in a stellar, if somewhat all-knowing performance as the paraplegic who would rather die than remain progressively dependent on his beautiful nurse, played by Aishwarya Rai. There was much to be admired about the way the director cut his scenes to bring out the fugitive anxieties of a protagonist on the brink.But somehow this remains SLB’s most unfinished work.
- Goliyon Ki Raaslila Ram Leela(2013): A raunchy GujjuRomeo & Juliet with Ranveer Singh and Deeepika Padukonesexing up their on-screen chemistry with loads of innuendo and bawdy backchat. Deepika has recently said that there is a raunchy side to her director. She’s right. SLB gave free rein to that side of his personality, bringing a rumbustious irreverence into the reckless romance between a pair separated by ancestral animosity.
- Bajirao Mastani(2015): The director is in full form .A grand royal epic about two extremely volatile warriors from enemy territory in love,Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukonebring to the epic saga a kind of hate-to-love-you compelling conflict that we last saw in K Asif’s Mughal-e-Azam. Tonally tempestuous and yet eschewing the operatic extravagance of Devdas, Bajirao Mastani shows its director at the peak of his powers. What next, Mr Bhansali?
Gully Boy & Ranveer Wow Berlin
Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy has scored big at the Berlin Film Festival where the eagerly-awaited film was screened on Saturday night.
Ranveer Singh who attended the screening along with his co-star Alia Bhatt, director ZoyaAkhtar and producer Ritesh Sidhwani was quite simply “blown away” by the audience reaction.
He watched the film with the Berlin audience and then answered all their questions on the cultural references in Gully Boy.
By the end of the screening and the interaction Ranveer had the Berlin audience and critics making curious inquiries about his whereabouts and antecedents.
No doubt a new Bollywood star is born in the West.
Says producer Ritesh Sidhwani , “It was sheer madness.We got an excellent reaction from the Berlin audience. There was whistling and clapping whenever the songs came on.”
Writing on the film after its screening at the Berlin Film Festival the Hollywood Reportersays, “Zoya Akhtar …. directs with flair and passion and, aided by explosive performances from a right-on cast, triumphs over the familiarity of the star-is-born storyline. Her main asset is Ranveer Singh, who broke into Bollywood with the rom com Band Baajat Baaraatand who here shows a pleasingly full emotional range that extends to drama and hip hop. With his hair combed over his eyes and noticeably muscle-bound, he is heroic but mild-mannered, rarely exceeding the sphere of believability.”
Ranveer, we hear, wants his new bride Deepika Padukone Singh and his parents and only sister to be the first ones to see Gully Boy in India.
After two blockbusters Padmaavat and Simmba in 2018, it is evident that Ranveer Singh will commence 2019 with yet another remarkable success.
It’s An All-Out War Between Film On Kashmir & The CBFC
While Ashvin Kumar , the intrepid filmmaker whose Kashmir chronicles have constantly run into trouble with the censor board, claims his new film No Fathers In Kashmir has been blocked by the CBFC, the CBFC refutes the charge.
Says Tushar Karmarkar, Regional Officer, CBFC Mumbai, “”Contrary to baseless rumours and false news about the delay or denial in certification of the film ‘No Fathers in Kashmir’, this is to put across clear and straight that this film has gone through the due process of examination and has already been recommended an A certificate.The film was unanimously found suitable for a mature audience by the members of the committees, and the same has already been communicated to the filmmaker for his compliance.”
Ashvin, however, has another story to tell.
Says the filmmaker, “the CBFC orders, and I quote ….. ‘the film is not suitable for unrestricted public exhibition but may be suitable for public exhibition restricted to adults provided you carry out the excisions/ modifications in the film .’ They are saying my film is not suitable and certificate is denied as the film can not be shown in public. In common parlance this is called a ban.”
Ashvin further denies the CFBC claims, “CBFC claims that they have offered an A certificate.It is manifest vide orders above that the A certificate has not been offered. As per order above, it is firstly conditional on cuts and affidavits that they have asked for. Further, the use of words ‘may be’ indicates that should we even go ahead with these cuts, which we have refused as below, even then, an (A) certificate itself is not assured. Given the above order couched with conditions and prerequisites, if CBFC still claims that certificate has not been denied then it must be a typo (twice – for it appears in both the orders) and I am very happy. They may please let me know when I can come over to collect the certificate for unrestricted viewing. If not, then they should apologize for misrepresenting the facts in the media and contradicting their own order, not once but twice.”
Ashvin refuses to take the cuts ordered by the CBFC. “ According to us the cuts are arbitrary, against the viewers’ right to know and my right to speak under Article 18 and in fact against the superior courts’ legal precedent. In the first round theCBFC banned the film on 12/10/18 grounds .We appealed to the Tribunal on 09/11/18 date and vide their order dated 11/12/18 the Tribunal sent it back to CBFC because we were not given a proper statutory hearing. An opportunity was therefore required to be given to the applicant to express his views on the proposed cuts and excisions. We are satisfied on seeing the record that in this case such an opportunity has not been given.”
Ashvin awaits anoter date from the CBFC. “In view of our finding regarding non grant of opportunity of hearing to the Appellant regarding proposed cuts the impinged order is liable to be set aside on this short ground. However with the consent of the parties impunged order is set aside. We direct the CBFC to grant a hearing to the Appellant within a week from today. After hearing the appellant on the cuts and excisions as directed and hear the appellant also on its claim for an UA certification within a week from today…. It is stated by the Regional Officer that within 10 days from today they shall pass a speaking order after giving a hearing to the Appellant.In reality, therefore, despite the Regional Officer giving an undertaking to FCATthat a speaking order will be passed within a deadline of 10 days before the FCAT — CBFC delayed even that screening. They finally passed the order on the 03/01/19 defaulting on their own deadline of 10 days, a further 3 weeks (11th of December till 3rd of January) delay, in disregard of The Tribunal’s directive. It was only on basis of this deadline that RO of CBFC had committed to during our hearing at the Tribunal that we consented that the film may go back to CBFC. In other words, our consent was entirely based on the deadline agreed to by all parties given the 6 months of delay we had already endured. Thereafter, I was informed on 25th of December, Christmas Day (a public holiday) that the hearing / screening will happen on the next day 26th of December – it was less than 24 hrs notice. I was out of town so informed CBFC that I would be sending my lawyer to represent me. There was no objection at the time but when my lawyer appeared at the screening hall to be heard,CBFC refused to allow my lawyer to represent me, even though legal representation is a fundamental right and CBFC’s own rules permit a film maker to be represented. So, Please note : the arbitrary and ad hoc manner in which rules were specially made up as we go along.
Ashvin questions the process of certicaton. “ The Tribunal themselves have rarely sent a film back to the CBFC. It was done on this occasion because the Learned Judge found that we were not given a just hearing and that affects our fundamental rights as well contradicts the rules of the CBFC. The delay of 6 months when CBFC’s own website puts a period of 68 days, is also pertinent. The CBFC’s assertion in the public domain that ‘due process’ was followed is also incorrect. Bizarrely, the cuts the CBFC the felt justified a ban found zero mention in the second decision of the Revising Committee and for altogether new reasons the CBFC banned the film — for a second time. Having won two National Awards for my earlier films on Kashmir I had to miss this year’s deadline for submissions.I’ve also been forced to wait, our funds tied up for excruciating delays made for no reason – hard, as you know, for any independent filmmaker.”
Ashvin wants a’UA’ for No Fathers In Kashmir. “We require a UA certificate because the film is about two innocent 16-year old millennials whose story will resonate with teenagers across India. It is our attempt to create a sense of compassion and empathy between young people based on the realities of what is going on in Kashmir so a new generation can start the process of truth telling, dialogue and ultimately peace.
The whimsical and frivolous nature of CBFC arguments suggest that they have failed to appreciate the overall intent of the film, but not knowing how to ban or restrict a film without nudity, violence, obscenities, drug abuse etc they have resorted to a well rehearsed system of delays, harassment and nonsensical objections.”
Ashvin reminds us and the CBFC that this isn’t the first time his film has been banned. “I’d like to mention here that both my National awarded films Inshallah, football and Inshallah, Kashmir — both about Kashmir– were also originally banned by CBFC. Given the delays, putting aside original objections and coming up with totally fresh new ones and the frivolous nature of objections (both times) gives a feeling that CBFC seems to be grasping at straws with arguments based on prejudice rather than law.”
Shreyas Talpade’s New Look In ‘My Name Ijj Lakhan’ Promo Gets A Thumbs Up
Actor gets into the Action Avatar With the New Show.Shreyas Talpade who will soon be seen as the protagonist in an upcoming Hindi television show titled ‘My Name Ijj Lakhan’ is already receiving praises for his unique and zany look in the promo. Ever since the promo of the show has been out, the viewers can’t get enough of his new avatar in the show. The fiction show will be aired in a 26 episode format on SAB TV during weekends.
The teaser promo features Shreyas playing an interesting and boisterous character in the show. In order to distinctively portray the character and lend authenticity to it, the actor attended various workshops which helped him get into the skin of the character and bring out the character effectively that one sees in the promo.
Shreyas loves to experiment with different roles across various genres and that is pretty evident through his role in the show. The show which has an amalgamation of comedy, drama, action, emotions, and tragedy is touted to be a full-blown masala entertainer.
Shreyas was last seen in the 2017 comedy film ‘Golmaal Again’ and will next be seen in a serious role in director Ashwini Chaudhary’s ‘Setters’ as well as a slice-of-life light-hearted family entertainer titled ‘Teen Do Paanch’.
Beautiful Boy Is Deeply Flawed But Must Be Watched
Starring Steve Carell, Timothy Chalamet
Directed by Felix Van Groeningen
Rating: ***(3 stars)
There is so much that this heartshattering drama about a distraught father coping with his son’s drug addiction, could have done. Instead Beautiful Boy plays it safe. It casts beautiful-boy Timothee Chalamet as Nic Sheff, a teenager trying to shrug off his addiction even as he sinks lower and lower into the abyss of drug abuse.
Chalamet takes care of all the sympathy that the plot needs to muster for us to go along with his nervewracking journey into selfdestruction. The film is based on Nic Sheff’s account Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines as well as his father David Sheff’sBeautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction,so we ought to have been provided with a spectral double view of a family tragedy that unfolds over a period of several years during which time the young addict’s life comes apart at the seams.
Soon, as I watched the honest but not memorable film, I realized this is not Nic’s story. It is his father’s story of coping with a crisis of unimaginable proportions as his family life falls apart. How much of himself can David Sheff give to his son’s problem before giving up the fight? The film,in its own somnolent style, shows us the threshold of parental patience. And Steve Carrell is fine if not memorable, as the father. This is more his story than his son’s.
It’s easier to follow the father’s ‘feud’-steps as he moves further and further away from his son’s emotional axis. There are sequences that are designed to bring us close to tears.But we never gte that close to the characters to feel their pain. The emotional responses never emerge organically from the plot characters. Carrell and Chalamet playing the estranged father-son routine seem to say all the right things to each other with just the right pauses and punctuations. It’s almost like watching them do a translation of the real emotions in digestible terms.
I missed a sense of unrehearsed spontaneity in the dialogues . In addition, the unhurried pace and the repetitive mode of unveiling the inherently-dramatic dysfunctionalism(drug addict comes home,disappears, comes home…) makes Beautiful Boy more remarkable for what it sets out to say rather than the way it says it.
Not that the film is without its moments. In some sequences we see Nic’s naked anguish as he stares blankly into his own future. Chalamet, so effective as a man-boy discovering gay love in Call Me By Your Name is deeply effective though not as impact-driven as Lucas Hedges in Ben Is Back , that other recent more powerful drama of a parent coping with the son’s drug addiction.
Beautiful Boy is riddled with problems, none of which are related to the protagonist’s drug addiction. It jumps back and forth impatiently creating a breach between the characters , their problems and our empathy for them. But the background score is magnificent. The narrative uses insistent pounding rock sounds to echo Nic’s psyche and settles down for a quieter musical statement at the end when all options for redemption are exhausted.
So, to be honest, are we.
5 Worst Films Of The Year 2018
1. Patakha: It’s been downhill all the way for Vishal Bhardwaj who for some strange reason continues to hold a messianic moviemaker’s reputation in spite of churning out dud after dud. If you thought it wouldn’t get any worse for Bhardwaj after the colossal fiasco Rangoon, then you were wrong. Monstrously wrong. Patakha was even worse than Rangoon.And that’s saying a lot. The story of two warring sisters, played with do-or-die frenzy by SanyaMalhotra and Radhika Madan, the flare-ups between the two grimy unwashed uncouth sisters were shot likekabaddi matches. Only, this was no Dangal. What WAS Patakha???!! I am still trying to figure out its dusty filthy ambience with dialogues to match. While Sanya and Radhika rolled on the floor in a raging fury, Sunil Grover clapped and cheered them on.Clearly he lacked genuine entertainment in his life. So did we. For almost three tortuous hours as one sister went blind, the went deaf,we just went numb watching an accomplished director lose hismojo .
2. Race 2: By the time Salman Khan ripped off his short and Bobby Deol followed suit, I was ready to rip off my hair in exasperation. This maddening mishmash of hot babes and cool guys(including Anil Kapoor who lets his beard grow grey and his accent falter from angrezi to Bhojpuri, all for a cause) was a roaring grunting mess of a movie.Trashy beyond endurance, loud beyond the threshold of tolerance and outrageous beyond all definitions of lowbrow entertainment,Race 3 gives a bad name to the Salman Khan brand. Just when we thought he was trying to build a more durable variety of mass entertainment by reinventing himself in Bajrangi Bhaijan , Sultan and the unfortunate Tubelight, Race 3 came along to remind us with infuriating aggressiveness, that when it comes to Salman Khan there is a very thin line between rationale and absurdity.He skips jumps and crosses over into the kingdom of crassness with such daring impunity that you wonder what lies ahead in store for this hero of the masses who it seems, has decided to abandon all efforts to give a performance. Here in Race 3 Salman was so indifferent and openly bored by the bustling balderdash he makes no effort to make sense of the tangled mess of a plot.Sensible decision. Race 2 makes as much sense as Rakhi Sawant quotes or Aamir Khan’s nose ring in Thugs Of Hindostan.
3. Baaghi 2: This was an overblown, padded-up and puffed-out adaptation of the engrossing Telugu hit ‘Kshanam’ about an NRI who is summoned back to India by his former girlfriend to find her kidnapped daughter. Tiger Shroff somersaulted over flying choppers, flipped over conifers, flew across cars and vanquished adversaries with the quick-thinking machismo of a sumo wrestler thrown into a ring with a cunning and dangerous canine.
Tiger’s Ranveer stops at nothing. The trouble is, the film doesn’t know where to stop either. The original plot had some interesting twists and turns in the kidnapping drama.In the remake the drama of a distressed mother (DishaPatani, so one-note and so pale and pretty your heart reaches out to her for all the wrong reasons) and her saviour is converted into a loud scream-fest where everyone has a ‘bawl’.There is so much sound and fury in the storytelling that I was convinced it signified something . Alas, all I came away with was a convoluted attempt to regurgitate a solid thriller by injecting large doses of bombast and melodrama into the original.
4. Thugs Of Hindostan: Not done! You can’t take two of Bollywood’s biggest superstars Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan together for the first time and then make a film that confounds your senses, boggles your mind and tries your patience.Thugs Of Hindostan did all of this, and more. It was guilty of many crimes, not the least of them being the rather strange attempt to pass off the corny as the epic, and the dishevelled as the spectacular. This is an overblown, undercooked piece of abomination masquerading as majestic when it is nothing of the sort. Speckled on top and hollow and dull inside this is the kind of con-job which a door-to-door salesman for an icky brand of perfume sells to you when your olfactory nerves are not working.
5. Love Soniya: This well-intended melodrama about human trafficking and child prostitution had its heart in the right place . Sadly, the perversities that ought to have galvanized the director into action, seem to finally drag the film down to the very level where the sub-human culture of the flesh trade exists.There is something fundamentally amiss in a film where a posse of capable actors get together to create a messy tribute to the Bleeding Heart’s Club. The narrative seems to be a diehard fan of its own righteousness. Often times, the sexual violence is repugnant not for being excessively graphic(which it is) but because the sadism seems to be disturbingly gratuitous,leading us into believing that in some cases , cinema about sexual violence gets so close to its subject that it loses its dispassion and ends up celebrating rather than abnegating the violence.Love Sonia meant well. No doubt about that.Regrettably , so does the guy who randomly shoots down innocent people in a pub as what he thinks to be solution to ethnic inundation.
India Misses The Oscar Again
Village Rockstars the Indian entry to the Oscars 2018, has not made it ininto the Oscars’ shortlist.This snub has become an annual ritual for us.
I am not surprised about the rejection , though. Village Rockstars peddles the Great Indian Poverty for Western audiences. For long stretches, nothing happens in this film about an impoverished little girl in Assam who dreams of owning her own guitar. Inert silences are considered a huge asset in films that glorify the Great Indian Poverty for a certain section of the Western audience which sees India and Indian cinema in two ways: either there is too much singing and dancing or there is too little to eat and to hope for.
Village Rockstars falls into the latter category. It fits in rather snugly with the western audiences’ perception of an impoverished India. A pre-pubescent girl Dhunu (Banita Das) wishes to own a guitar and form a musical band. It isn’t very clear where and how Dhunu’s yearnings sprouted into a veritable passion. Or how and why she wants to play rock music and own a rock band. The aspirational peg gives the debutant director a peg to pan her inquisitive camera across long stretches of silently stirring paddy fields and shots of adolescents running across middle hinterlands.
The film looks and feels like Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali, one of the three Indian films so far which have been shortlisted in the Oscars’ Best Foreign Language film categoryBut it lacks the vision and lyricism of Ray ‘s exposition on rural poverty.Director Reema Das seems to use the theme of Indian Poverty as a peg for her aspirational story. The narrative even at a conservative 90 minutes, clocks up a heft of tedium. I couldn’t get myself involved in Dhunu’s story. It wasn’t her fault.Village Rockstars has some quaint heartwarming passages among the village children who want to form a musical band. But by the time Rima Das threw in a flood sequence and a menstruation ritual I knew the director was in this for the long haul. More than her little protagonist’s yearning for a guitar it is the director’s craving to take rural Assam’s destitution to a salivating western audience that propels this overrated film forward.
In 2016 the Marathi film Court directed by Mahesh Tamhane headed to LA for the Oscars after being selected by a jury headed by Amol Palekar, and returned home empty-handed.
Last year the Tamil film Visaranaai was similarly snubbed at the Oscars.
Ketan Mehta who headed the jury for the selection of India’s official entry into the Oscars in 2017 says, “We’ve to understand that selection of a film is only a part of the process towards winning the Oscar. Marketing the film in the US, pitching it to the Oscar jury in Los Angeles is very important.”
Here is where Indian entries get thwarted and expelled from the Oscars race.
Everything Kartik Aryan revealed on No Filter Neha!
Sparks between Sara and Kartik at a party?
I think Saif Sir was also there, so it was all eco-friendly
This weird thing Kartik liked watching as a kid
So I was in Jabalpur and wahan elephants lekar aate the ek garden mein. Wahan ride hoti thi elephants ki. Toh who jo elephants ko log dekhne aate the toh main bhi dekhne jaata tha. Lekin I used to watch their shit, watch how they shit. So I had that interest during my childhood, I don’t know why. And my nani used to take me to see how elephants shit. It’s the weirdest thing.
Why Kartik Aryan changed his name
I was called Kartik Aryan Tiwari, so it sounded like KAT in short form
Kartik Aryan nicknames
They call me center shock because my hair…they are always up. And then Koki is something that I hated throughout my childhood
Kartik Aryan wanted to have babies with Katrina for this reason!
Yes, I just said that, ya I have a thing for accents, so that’s about it and she (Katrina Kaif) has a good accent so that’s about it.
Why Kartik declined a Dharma film
It was a fabulous film, it’s just that at this point of time I didn’t want to be a part of it. That’s it. Sometimes there are films that are fabulous in their own way, it’s just that you have to connect to your character. Maybe somewhere down the line, I didn’t connect to it myself.
Kartik’s matrimonial ad for Katrina Kaif
Main handsome hain, smart hain, witty hain, aur isko Sheila ki Jawani bohat pasand hain
Kartik Aryan does not drink!
I’ve been doing that all my life. When I entered the industry, I learned this trick that I’ve to do this otherwise everyone is going to say are ek drink pee le, ek drink pee le, kya hojayega, yeh nahi peeta, isko pilate hai. So that’s what everybody does. So what I do is with the bartender I just tell him that give me a glass of water, put nimbu in it and some ice and jo colour ka mujhe lag raha hota hai drink hoti hai logo ki, alcohol ke color ka I just mix an orange juice or something, so that it looks like a proper… But pata nahi mein kyu bata raha hun, kyuki agli baar log check karenge.
Guess what Kartik Aryan thinks he’s good at?
No, I’m very good at kissing. Self-taught.
Kartik Aryan’s mom is the reason his girlfriend was upset with him
So she was in touch with my ex-girlfriend. So my current girlfriend got pissed with the fact how she is in touch with her because I thought I was more close to her and I was in a situation where I don’t know what to do, what to say because I can’t suddenly say mom please delete her. So I don’t get into it but she is in touch with everyone. I mean she is touch with everyone. It’s not a long list though.
Kartik’s mom’s no filter questions
She just once asked me tune sex toh nahi kar liya hai. Matlab, she thought she was whispering but actually, she was so loud and she doesn’t know the difference between a whisper and being loud. So my mom always thinks out loud. She says whatever comes to her mind.
Kartik’s alternate career
Bawarchi ban jaunga. Araam se ban jaunga. Main sab bana lunga – Indian, Italian, jo chahiye.
Why Kartik is an aunty magnet
I love it, I enjoy it. I enjoy all the female adoration. I think it’s got to do with my characters. It’s not me.
Ms. or Mr. Admit you’re together already
Ms. or Mr. Delete your social media
Sushant Singh Rajput
Couple of 2018
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