Bappi Lahiri, who was rightfully called the Disco King for hindi cinema, is no more with us, and is hopefully swaying to his rhythmic beats in a better world. True, what he did to the disco phenomenon for hindi cinema is something that clearly sets him apart and laid footprints that would remain for life. But there is an utterly melodious side of Bappi Lahiri that often gets overshadowed, which should not be, because it has a bunch of gems, both popular and rare. Today, as we mourn the passing away of this prodigal music director, here’s looking at 12 of my favorite songs of Bappi Lahiri that stand firm, drenched in melody, and are equally a part of the legacy that Bappi Lahiri has left behind outside of disco. Just my personal choices, in no particular order, and there are many more that I could add to the list. But I just stayed with twelve for now.Continue reading “The Bappi Lahiri beyond his Disco Beats”
When the Pandemic came and hit us from nowhere in 2020, cinema was possibly one of the most impacted industries in terms to figuring out how to take quality and commercials forward. The entire world came to a standstill and naturally the impact of cinema was widely evident. So much so, that even the Malayalam film industry that has been consistently producing the best cinema in India for a few years now struggled to find its feet. After a terrific 2019 and host of brilliant movies, 2020 was relatively listless for them. But they came back in 2021 and how! 2021 will possibly go down as one of the strongest years of content for the Malayalam film industry and they played the game very smart by ensuring that most of their quality content was available through the leading OTTs of the country and hence they ensured that their consumer base increased far and wide all across India, initiating several cinema lovers to their magic. They played around with genres, periods, storytelling styles but always ensured that the content was always rooted to the local culture, always touched hearts and stirred souls. The plethora of excellent choices they offered also has inspired me to make an exclusive list of my 10 favorite Malayalam films of 2021 for the first time.Continue reading “Rewind 2021 | Favorite Malayalam Films”
2021 has not been a good year for hindi films. As the year was mostly spent in waiting for unlocking of theatres, most of the content was made available to us more through the OTT platforms and less through theatrical releases. But that was not really an excuse for great content not being available to us, as in a parallel universe, Malayalam film industry was dishing out gems after gems (more on that later). Yes there were a couple of exceptional films, but for the times where there is scope to experiment with so much of different kind of content, it is a shame that not much in Hindi cinema flashed this year. So here goes a round up of what worked and what did not work for Hindi films for me this year. Will keep this to just listing of the films for this year (with a link to the individual reviews if a detailed write up was done). As always this is a very personal list, and my 10 favorite films of 2021 is based on what I could watch based on availability on public platforms (and I have not watched a lot of available films by choice too).Continue reading “Rewind 2021 | Favorite Hindi Films”
2021 was yet another year in our lives where most of us were locked up for a large part of the year in our homes and most of the entertainment that was available to us also came through OTT platforms. This included both movies and web series and there was more content up there to consume than time available to get to all of them. Quantity however did not commensurate with quality and the web series content particularly paled given the previous year had given us content like Panchayat and Scam 1992. There were a few web series however that were really good and stood out on merit of their making and performances, and here we look at the 5 Best Indian Web Series of the year. This is again a very personal list and based on what I have watched in the year. It is hence worthwhile to mention that while in cinema, I indulged into a lot of great movies from all over India including Malayalam, Tamil, Marathi etc., my web series watching for Indian shows was more restricted to Hindi, English and Bangla only, so the list will be reflective of that. Also to be noted that there are a couple of critically acclaimed series that I have not watched this year and hence cannot comment how they are. This includes the hindi show Family Man Season 2 (skipped it because Season 1 did not work for me) and bangla web series Mandar (on the watchlist but haven’t got there yet). So based on whatever I have seen and liked, here goes my top picks for the year.Continue reading “Rewind 2021 | Favorite Indian Web Series”
Christmas and New Year is that time of the year where everything around us pretties up and everyone looks forward to have a good time around family and friends. There is warmth in the chilly air and with everything slowing down a bit for a break, it is the perfect time to sit curled up in our couches and enjoy some good movies, around Christmas or otherwise. Hence this seemed like a perfect time to list down some of my favorite movies that either have Christmas at its core, or have things happening around the Christmas time, or have some significant or important events happening around the Christmas time as part of the narrative. They are not necessarily all the sugary sweet feel good movies that we usually default ‘Christmas movies’ to, and a quite a few of them are very unlike the charming holiday movies we have in mind for this genre. Also, these are not necessarily the best Christmas movies made by any means, these may not include a lot of movies that are considered Christmas classics, these are just personal favorites and not ranked in any chronological order. So here my 20 favorite Christmas movies with quite a bit happening around Christmas, and the feel of the times distinctly staying back with us in one way or the other.Continue reading “20 Favorite Movies Around Christmas”
2021 has been a disappointing year as far as Hindi film music is concerned. In fact, we can extend it to say that 2021 was as such disappointing for Hindi films too (other than one exceptional film, and a few good ones), but more on that later. Coming back to music, there wasn’t one single album which could even claim that it had three or four real good songs. Most of the times it was one good song here, another decent song there. Even the albums like Atrangi Re that had solid names associated with it finally delivered only a couple of good songs. As an album, Meenakshi Sundareshwar was possibly the best of lot with two or three very good songs, lot of freshness, but then there was so much mediocre and forgettable music all around, that anything slightly more melodious than the rest stayed back. One has to mention about the background score of Sardar Udham though, that was as brilliant as the film was, even though it didn’t have good songs in the offer and rightfully so. There were a few surprises thrown in from unlikely quarters, but overall the music scene was just dull. So much so that when I sat down to compile the best hindi songs of the year, I could not get to 10 songs even. So, here goes my pick of 7 Best Hindi Songs of 2021. It is of course a very personal list, and your choices could be very different than mine. Also it is not a ranked list in any chronology.Continue reading “Rewind 2021 | Favourite Hindi Songs”
Amitabh Bachchan – The Biggest Superstar ever of Hindi Cinema is a statement that may not change anytime soon, and remains a fact even after he completed 50 glorious years in Hindi cinema some time back! The range of his body of work is incomparable, and he has been tremendous in everything that he has done from Action to Comedy to Drama to Extrovert to Introvert to you name it. But my favorite ones have been his serious understated types! Making his debut as the voice narrator in Mrinal Sen’s award winning Bhuvan Shome in 1969 and then with an on screen debut with Saat Hindustani in the same year, the Maestro has come a long way! The Dadasaheb Phalke honour, Padma Vibhushan, 4 national awards, 15 filmfare awards, 41 filmfare nominations and a host of innumerable other accolades and counting, his journey continues! May be his performance of the lifetime is yet to come!
“Gulzar was a toddler of one when his mother, Sujaan Kaur, passed away. As there were no photographs of the lady to fall back upon, he does not even know what she looked like. That unseen face of a woman who brought him into the world is, in a very crucial way, probably the reason why the busy poet-filmmaker has never forgotten that otherwise little known, nondescript village which now lies on the Pakistani side of India’s northwestern border. It is a village that, in his mind, is associated with the mother whose visage he does not remember. So he clings on to whatever is remotely reminiscent of that tiny hamlet of his childhood.
His friends and associates often allude to his feminine disposition: it enables him to see relationships invariably from the standpoint of women. For a boy who attained manhood without the benison of maternal love, the feminist slant of his work is almost a dire necessity, an act of coming to terms with a chasm that has existed in the very center of his life ever since he can remember.“
– Excerpts from ECHOES and ELOQUENCES, The Life and Cinema of Gulzar – By Saibal ChatterjeeContinue reading “Dil Dhoondhta Hai : Gulzar, the Humanist Poet, and his Women of Strength”
Fahadh Faasil is the name that resonates pan India now as the Best Lead Actor working in Indian cinema today, and that coming from a place where Fahadh has still not worked in a single Hindi film (the language of films which has had the most pan India acceptance to date) makes it extra sweet. It is however not so suprising since the Malayalam film industry now makes the best cinema in the country for a while, and its realistic, lived in, matter of fact world perfectly complements the natural, understated and layered performance competency of Fahadh Faasil. The actor excels in non physical communication since he has the best expressive eyes in the country today, and wonderfully uses them and his charming persona to infuse all his characters with shades of grey, quirk, and natural believability with an effortless conviction, never coming across as trying too hard or ‘act’.Continue reading “The Best Performances of Fahadh Faasil – Ranked”
So just like that, six months of 2021 are already gone. And while we had hoped at the beginning of the year that 2021 would be the year of life opening up again including our regular visits back to the cinemas, sadly that was not to happen. The six months went by with us locked up in the corners of our homes, and watching a lot of cinema that saw their releases across digital platforms – big and small, across languages, genres and themes. There has been a lot to appreciate in what we consumed, quite a bit to feel disappointed, but the overall feeling has been of hope because cinema is becoming far more universal crossing the boundaries of languages and geographies and speaking to our sensibilities with their global human themes. As we are at the mid year checkpoint of 2021, here is then looking at a dozen films that stood out at the top, appealing the most to my sensibilities and making a very strong mark. As always, this is a very subjective list and may not match up with your favorites for the year, but it would be wonderful to know what were your favorite films of the year so far, so that I can also catch up on anything that I would have missed out.Continue reading “Top 12 Indian Films of 2021 – Mid Year Check Point”