Review: Vivek Agnihotri’s Buddha In A Traffic Jam

Dear Indian Right Wingers, You have my sincerest condolences. Propaganda films can be dangerous, influential, misleading — and that is what they intend to be. The one true requirement of a propaganda film is that it be effective. Emphatic instruments of (mis)information and awareness, instruments geared to trigger a change in mindset, to squelch a […]

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Review: Maneesh Sharma’s Fan

Who could do this film but Shah Rukh Khan? Conceptually, the basic idea propelling the narrative of Maneesh Sharma’s Fan appears deceptively simple — that of an obsessive fan, a bit of a cross between Misery and The King Of Comedy — and, judged from the surface, this film works like a slickly efficient Darr […]

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Review: R Balki’s Ki & Ka

As a Bengali, I have traditionally struggled with the Hindi language, and particularly its ideas of gendered grammar, the stree-ling and pul-ling. Growing up, I was flummoxed by the fact that the word Police, in Hindi, is a feminine one, which doesn’t quite match up to the visuals of mustachioed constables demanding a little something […]

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Review: Shakun Batra’s Kapoor And Sons

A plumber trying to fix a water-main, is harangued by the lady of the house who — with some justification — thinks he needs watching over. Her husband disagrees, and the two begin to bicker, a domestic squabble that snowballs into a mountain-toppling argument about fidelity and finances. It is at this inopportune time that […]

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Review: Ram Madhvani’s Neerja

One minute into Neerja, and Sonam Kapoor disappears. We meet, instead, Neerja Bhanot: a poised and cool Rajesh Khanna fangirl, a doted-on daughter, a neighbourhood favourite, a young girl who enjoyed smiling for the cameras. She loved her job, making it up the Pan Am ranks to become a Head Purser before she turned 23. […]

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Review: Abhishek Kapoor’s Fitoor

People age oddly in Fitoor. A small Kashmiri boy with innocent eyes and a Saleem Sinai nose becomes a natural artist but, as if working with unreasonably heavy paintbrushes, emerges also a musclebound dimwit. A haughty young girl with a National Velvet self-confidence morphs into a red-haired waxwork unable to pronounce words that came so […]

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Review: Milap Zaveri’s Mastizaade

Why is Mastizaade not in 3D? I’m stunned that the producers of this insanely exploitative flick missed out on a cheap trick that obvious. For this is a pointedly stupid film, a sloppily written paean to horndogs, a work of juvenile perversion. A hundred-minute excuse to stare at a woman while constantly eating bananas, Mastizaade […]

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The best actresses in Hindi cinema, 2015

2015 may just be the year we started writing good roles for women. There are always a few great characters, certainly, but this could be the year when mainstream cinema allowed for experimentation on a larger scale, for a whole slew of female characters who were liberated, self-assured, opinionated and unapologetic. The roles came and […]

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Review: Bejoy Nambiar’s Wazir

Watching truly skilled chess players going at each other is an experience both lyrical and violent, as they bleed and behead across the sixty-four squares like duelling ninjas in slow-motion. Watching a game between people who only believe they’re good at chess, however, is plain infuriating. Bejoy Nambiar’s Wazir — based on a script by […]

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The Worst Hindi films of 2015

When our filmmakers go bad, they go full-on unwatchable. But before bringing out the claws, a quick disclaimer: I try to keep this list sane by not counting b-movies and sticking to films that have some potential to be decent (though I do agree that in some cases that potential is buried rather deep). Also, […]

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