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Call me by your name, a love story!

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This is a critique of the movie "Call me by your name". It has a few plot details that may be spoilers, if you have not seen the movie. 
On the same weekend when my city of birth, Mumbai, was observing the Annual LGBT Pride, I happened to watch "Call me by your name". Interesting coincidince: while the pride represents the struggle for a legal, dignified status for the gay community of my motherland India, the film is the
epitome of mainstream celebration of the acknowledgement, awareness and acceptance at a global level. While I was convincing my buddies on watching this movie, a new American friend, corrected me that I mustn't call it a "Gay" love story, but a love story. Touché!

Heteronormativity is either the curse of ignorance or a scared man's camouflage. This intrinsic need to outrightly dismiss any alternative viewpoint on intimate matters of sexuality today is as absurd as those who once laughed at the thought of the earth being a sphere.…

Where is the salt, Mister Bhansali? | Padmaavat Movie Review

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Spoiler alert! More than a movie review, this is a critique and has several plot details that you may want to avoid if you would so choose.

Let us all agree that at some point in a good movie, content should take over the form. No, it's not fair to say Padmaavat lacks story. In fact, there is a fairly detailed story with a couple of side plots too. But the film maker continues to wow us with his trademark visual wizardry where story somehow is on the back burner. 

It’s almost like Sanjay Leela Bhansali assumes that his audience cares more about slow mo sequences like that of a king being dressed for war by his (unblinking) wife than about characters, background and context. This kind of narcissistic commitment to treatment puts this potentially masterful director in the same league as Rohit Shetty (who thinks audiences only want to see cars topple) or David Dhawan (who loves cheap thrills) or Abbas-Mastan (who’re all about WTF twists and turns in the plot). I almost wonder if Bhansa…

Step out of your Khidkee | Khidkee Short Film Review

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Still frames, pensive silences and two open windows constitute the soul of Khidkee,  a masterful short film by Mumbai based director, Rohan Kanawade.

If you have lived in a crowded city, you are very familiar with spaces that are not exactly private - homes that awkwardly peek into one another, offering enough glimpses to spark your imagination about the people who might live there, but never enough to offer any insight - personal or real. This voyeuristic side of Mumbai's urban middle class lifestyle builds Khidkee's tense narrative that teases, and tempts the characters and audience alike.

Who are these men that visit her so often? Why does a scruffy young man drink all day? What are silhouettes telling you and what are they hiding? The characters yearn and the audience learns.

As a viewer, you hear both sides of the story and wish you could step in and clarify, or help. The tension, the anxiety, the uneasiness, engulfs you to a very potent climax ably held together with sh…

Baahubali 2 - the tale of a promising second date!

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You've been there. A wonderful first date. An experience you want to relive again and again. You think it can't get better and the date ends with the line, let's meet again. Soon. And then the wait begins. Waiting for Bahubali 2 has been like waiting for that date. 
As I waited, I relived the film many times. My eyes sparkled every time I remembered the larger than life waterfall, the breathtaking visuals, the sheer opulence. Will the second film be just as great? Will it have the same level of music, action and drama? Will it make me want to whistle, woot and scream, "Jai Mahishmati!"  


The second film, much like the second date, in my opinion, was weighed down by the greatness of the first one. Yes, in a single word, this is no comparison to the first film. So unlike the first date, I haven't come back feeling I've found something special. And in a way, I'm glad there's no part 3. 
Don't get me wrong! Let's call a spade a spade: the graphic…

Ae dil hai mushkil - nothing new, nothing terrible.

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(Spoiler alert.) 
Presenting the ae dil hai mushkil story loop: Boy meets girl Boy loves girl Girl doesn't love boy Boy demands love Girl DeniesGo back to step oneIn  the NRI (private jet owning NRI) world that Karan Johar weaves his stories in, there is little novelty in the content. "Pya dosti hai!", cooed a caricatured character Mrs. Briganza in the directors debut Kuch Kuch Hota hai. And here we are two decades and a handful of similar movies by the director later: the lead characters of Ae dil hai mushkil alizeh (Anushka Sharma) and Ayan (Ranbir Kapoor) argue exactly the same line, in a non caricature mode. That is perhaps the director's real personal achievement and growth on his own bio data - that while the subject hasn't changed , the intensity, passion, lust and love has all become more mature. It's not about cheerleaders going "rahul aur anjali ka jhagda" but middle fingers being shown to a bride. And tujhe yaad na meri aai, becomes the bre…

Ae dil hai mushkil - nothing new, nothing terrible.

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(Spoiler alert.) 
Presenting the ae dil hai mushkil story loop: Boy meets girl Boy loves girl Girl doesn't love boy Boy demands love Girl DeniesGo back to step oneIn  the NRI (private jet owning NRI) world that Karan Johar weaves his stories in, there is little novelty in the content. "Pya dosti hai!", cooed a caricatured character Mrs. Briganza in the directors debut Kuch Kuch Hota hai. And here we are two decades and a handful of similar movies by the director later: the lead characters of Ae dil hai mushkil alizeh (Anushka Sharma) and Ayan (Ranbir Kapoor) argue exactly the same line, in a non caricature mode. That is perhaps the director's real personal achievement and growth on his own bio data - that while the subject hasn't changed , the intensity, passion, lust and love has all become more mature. It's not about cheerleaders going "rahul aur anjali ka jhagda" but middle fingers being shown to a bride. And tujhe yaad na meri aai, becomes the bre…

Sairat - adorable yet heartbreaking, shaking, shocking.

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So I am no expert on Marathi movies. Haven't seen many classics to be sure of my cinematic references, but like everyone else, can tell a good film from a bad film. In the past few years I've loved a number of Marathi movies. My favorites have been Balak Palak, Jogwa, Natrang, Mumbai-pune-Mumbai; and more recently Katyar kaaljat ghusali and Court. By that list, you probably know that I don't follow the industry so closely, but whenever a movie gets critical or mass acclaimed, I end up wanting to watch it. 
Sairat - had acclaim from both masses and critics. Why last weekend I couldn't reach the box office to get tickets for another Hindi movie in time simply because the queue for this movie so long! So there, I was geared to watch what will unfold. 


With very little background I went in and what I experienced is so diverse that a small post wouldn't do justice. So a blogpost it is: Sairat navigates from a satire on rural Maharashtra to a cute teenage romance to a to…