TASHER GHAWR : Intriguing. Intimate. Ingenious.

Meet Sujata. She is just another next door woman whose life has become stuck in a time capsule because of the ongoing pandemic. The lockdown has pretty much locked her existence down in an enclosed space she calls home, but one that subjects her to various levels of unbearable trauma because of her spouse who physically and mentally abuses her, cheats on her, and doesn’t bother to acknowledge her agency as an individual. Their relationship is purely transactional and Sujata is just there to render her services, right from the breakfast in the morning to routine sex in the night. All this isn’t new in her life though, but the pandemic has ensured that this torture now happens round the clock, twenty four by seven. There is a Sujata living in all our neighborhoods, and we get to see their linen drying up from our terrace everyday, just that we are not bothered to find out the dirty stories behind them.

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C U SOON: See It Soon!

Mahesh Narayanan‘s new Malayalam film ‘C U Soon‘ perhaps wants you to see the film soon through its wordplay on the title. Backed up by Fahadh Faasil and Friends, Nazaria Nazim and Fahadh Faasil produce one of the better films of the lot that was shot and processed entirely during the lockdown, and thankfully they don’t tell a pandemic laden lockdown story, like many other efforts during the period attempt to.

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MASABA MASABA: Cool and Confident

Masaba Masaba is that chilled out show that Netflix had always promised through its tag line!

Experimental and edgy, lighthearted and liberated, funny and fresh, the show never thinks twice to make fun of the pompous and pretty world it sets itself in, and yet lends itself authenticity in the way it draws from such genuine moments of affection and care between the mother and the daughter.

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CHURAILS: Where Sassy Witches Dare

Subah ki kirnon ko roke jo salaakhein hain kahaan…
Jo khayalon pe pehre daale.. Woh aankhein hain kahaan…
Par khulne ki deri hain.. Parinde udd ke jhoomenge…
Aasman aasman aasman…..

It is fascinating how filmmaker Asim Abbasi‘s new ten part Pakistani web series on Zee5 called Churails borrows seamlessly from Amitabh Bhattacharya’s poetry to string together a montage of courage for a group of fearless women in Karachi; each of whom have lost so much in a journey to discover treacherous personal truths, unearth the ugliest secrets of their existence; but have eventually found peace with themselves. It is the common annhilating pain that has worked like a invincible bond between them to stand for each other, and give them the courage to fight for themselves and for a world of other suffering women around them brutalized systemically by a glitteringly perfect world of class, aristocracy and elegance.

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GUNJAN SAXENA: THE KARGIL GIRL – Soars High in the Sky

Early on in Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl when young Gunjan tells her folks for the first time that she wants to be a pilot, Anup Saxena, an army officer by himself, and Gunjan’s father very subtly tells his condescending elder son Anshuman “Jab plane ko faraq nahi padta ki use kaun udaa raha hai, to tumhe kyon padta hai barkhurdar..”. It is one heck of a statement delivered with the sweetest calmness, and immediately sets the tone of writer director Sharan Sharma‘s debut film. Full credit to him that he maintains that even tonality and pace throughout the film, and delivers a highly satisfying cinematic experience with a beautiful emotional core and a strong message, that challenges the ingrained patriarchy of our homes, our societies and our workplaces on one hand, and strongly rebukes the generic template of jingoistic patriotism on the other.

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RAAT AKELI HAI : Solitary Shades of Darkness

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In Honey Trehan‘s debut feature film Raat Akeli Hai, a dysfunctional family, with a rich socio-political backing, is facing the mysterious murder of its patriarch on his wedding night. But that is not the only mystery that inspector Jatil Yadav, in charge of solving this case, is dealing with. There are at least five other deaths that we encounter as a part of the unfolding narrative over two timelines, that have their own flavors of murder, revenge or redemption; and there are more lives on the line who have been used, abused and exploited in their own ways.

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Pancham – Dual Version Songs

The genius of R. D. Burman is remembered in terms of how he brought in a new sound to the world of contemporary or film music. Even if there were inspirations, he would take them and convert them into something totally different. He also kept reused his tunes, some times even within the same language. So Humein raaston ki zaroorat nahi hai (Naram Garam) easily metamorphosed into Saagar kinare (Saagar), of course this particular tune has had so many versions by so many composers. He kept reusing the prelude or interlude tunes of his songs to make new songs as well and there are again plenty to quote there. But the biggest bucket of Ek Sur Do Geet from Pancham’s discography comes from how he kept making twin songs in Bangla and Hindi from the same tune.

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AARYA : The Rise of the Phoenix

“Dukan phir se khul rahi hai…”

As Aarya Sareen raises a toast in anger, helplessness, fear and utmost strength during her party, Sushmita Sen basically announces back to the entire world boldly that she is back in the business and how! Without any doubts, it is the most definitive performance of her career, and she nails down the complex concoction of a varied range of emotions of Aarya in every single scene. This is classic Sushmita Sen at her resilient, fearless, terrified, graceful and affectionate best, and helps raising an already solid writing of a highly engaging show to the next level. Sushmita with Aarya, and Aarya with Sushmita, flies and soars, in all her shades of a mourning wife, a helpless but super protective mother, a smart and sharp thinker, a vulnerable woman, and a go getter, never losing her focus or poise in her messy and challenging journey.

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GULABO SITABO : Jeevan ka Khela

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In general, our movie watching experience is often driven by a few things especially when we talk about the slice of life genre – How likeable are the characters? Can I emotionally root for one of them? How attached are the characters to each other thereby evoking compassion or sympathy? Is it explicitly making me laugh, feel sad, get angry? Is it aligning with my preconceived notion of how I am supposed to feel for this film? Sometimes when we don’t have clear answers to most or any of these questions, there is a chance we will dismiss the film as uninteresting, bland or confusing. But Shoojit Sircar and Juhi Chaturverdi are not interested to find a happy path to these questions and create a feel good laugh out loud comedy to satisfy everyone. For the fourth time in a row, they present another deeply layered observational film packaged unconventionally yet again, this time as a dramedy, on the futility of attachments and running behind the eventually inconsequential things for a lifetime. Life is often about its nothingness and a goose chase to feed our desires, and the whole pointlessness of the entire journey and its disappointment is what one is left with in the end. Gulabo Sitabo shines because Shoojit Sircar and team intricately weave in this deep philosophy as the melancholic soul of the film, with an effortless ease into the everyday ordinariness of a seemingly brewing cacophonic premise.

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CHOKED : PAISA BOLTA HAI – waivers its potential

When the human moral compass waivers, and greed chokes the ability to feel anything else, the relationships go down the drain!

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