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Category — Filmmakers

The madness of Ram Gopal Varma?

Image of RGV with Surya

Ram Gopal Varma with Surya (Image from Wikimedia)

Ram Gopal Varma has been panned and flamed by critics for his mediocrity (here), being hysterical and gimmicky (here), and like the prodigal son who has lost his way (here). There is also the reported trading of insults between Karan Johar and RGV (here). The proverbial dirt from the laundry is all over the web for interested voyeurs to unravel. This post is not about what are considered RGV’s failures. While we are aware of his abilities to make thrillers and cult characters (Shiva, Satya, Company), his abilities in directing films that subtly poke fun at the “Indian film” without upsetting the “average viewer” are perhaps under-explored and with good reason. The background noise from his many films with the B conventions obscure his record in making some interesting comedy films that do not reduce filmmaking to a series of skits. Three films that come to my mind are Kshana Kshanam (Dir, Telugu) and Rangeela (Dir, Hindi) and Money (Prod, Telugu).

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March 17, 2013   No Comments  

Shyam Benegal at the British Film Institute

Smita Patil in Bhumika

Over the weekend of the 9th-10th June, the BFI is honouring Shyam Benegal, one of India’s leading directors. Considered one of the founders of India’s ‘New Wave’, Benegal began his film career in the 1970s. From then to this day, his work has successfully trod the line between Bollywood and art cinema. [Read more →]

June 9, 2012   No Comments  

Melodrama of Melancholia

by Priyaa Ghosh

Freeze the time and slow down its passage, I am mourning my own death;  I am afraid to meet with the moment…cripplingly alone. This is what I took home from Melancholia,

I AM DEAD BY MOURNING IT.

From Terminator to Day after Tomorrow, Hollywood had already churned out a gamut of “end of the world” films playing out the threat of natural disasters and invasion of the aliens on our planet. Lars von Trier takes off from that legacy, but does he really propose a trajectory to the great threat to human existence, advancing the  American obsessive fear  of being wiped out, the fear of the limitations in putting things under control.  Perhaps for the film, the approach of the planet melancholia, only partly emanates from this discourse and the rest of the deeply entrenched nihilism emanates from a shadow of the self, looming large and threatening. It is  a disintegration of the Nietzschean figure of the all controlling superman.  Melancholia is in us, a part of us, which is sent to retreat in the unconscious depths of the mind, by the exuberance of an assurance of rationally generated happiness, wholesomeness and a well being predicated on visibility and control. The impossibility of sharing the suffering of death is the primary predicament which sows the seeds of futility and decay in the film. The impossibility of meaningful communication aggravates the suffering to a state of paranoia and neurosis. [Read more →]

January 4, 2012   No Comments  

Thoughts on That Girl in Yellow Boots

 Let’s get the obvious out of the way right here right now. Anurag Kashyap’s That Girl in Yellow Boots is a good looking film. This is the story of Ruth (Kalki Koechlin)—the British girl who comes to India in search of her father who left his wife and daughter unceremoniously after his step-daughter committed suicide at the age of 15. Looking for this figure who will love her unconditionally, Ruth bases herself in Bombay, working in a seedy spa where she offers handjobs (handshakes and happy endings as she calls them) to her customers for an additional sum of money. [Read more →]

September 9, 2011   5 Comments  

Mani Kaul passes away

Noted Indian filmmaker Mani Kaul died this morning in his house in New Delhi, India. He was suffering from cancer.

A graduate of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Kaul was among the most well-known names of the group of films and filmmakers that constituted the Indian New Wave that flourished mainly in the 1970s. Kaul’s films are remembered for their deliberation on concepts of space and time and also movement.

His films, Uski Roti (1969), Ashadh Ka Ek Din (1971) and Duvidha (1973) won the Filmfare Critics Awards while Siddheshwari (1989) won the National Award for Best Documentary.

I first met Mani Kaul in 2007 when he was working with the Film House at Osian’s. He spoke to me about his time at FTII and the influence of his teachers on his life and work. We met again in 2009 when he invited some film studies students to organise small events around specific films during the Cinefan film festival. [Read more →]

July 6, 2011   1 Comment