SECTION 375 : A muddled perspective

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Surprisingly the thing that lands the most in Ajay Bahl’s Section 375 is its gaze towards the ‘Me Too‘ and ‘Men Too‘ narrative. It is sensitive & balanced, and even though it does take a final side, it does not humanize or demonize the accused or the victim with unidimensional broad strokes. Bahl infact succeeds in creating an engaging courtroom drama, where both versions of a reported rape play out in a Rashomon style. And the narration has enough meat and logic for the audience or the judiciary bench to not take sides blindly at any time, or feel terribly compromised on wokeness, even if one may want to accuse the film of an unreasonable conscience. In fact, the film does well to lay out the distinctions between law and justice, and how both of them (especially the later) can get muddled by personal perspectives and biases.

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AHAA RE : The Lingering Aftertaste of Life

In one of the memorable sequences of Ahaa Re, expert chef from Dhaka and the protagonist of the film, Farhaz Choudhury, demonstrates how chocolate cake becomes a flavorful delicacy only when the senses of taste and smell work together in perfect conjunction. The specific finding is a new learning for the master home-cook Basundhara Ganguly. However, both of them know that the magic of food, just like love, works only when it finds its roots in the authentic ingredients; the passion and imagination to create something delectable is in full play; and when all the senses of taste, smell, touch and sight feel it in right proportions. Filmmaker Ranjan Ghosh is merely using this suggested expertise of the chefs to reiterate how a story when told with the right proportions of empathy, warmth, respect and soulful goodness, blended in a generous bout of subtle compassion, can become a beautiful love letter to life.

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SHANTILAL O PROJAPOTI ROHOSHYO : A Messy Transmutation

Shantilal o Projapoti Rohoshyo uses the butterfly in its name to seek metamorphosis into an end goal that isn’t what you expect it to be. The film’s name and the way it has been marketed throughout will build expectations of a taut and intense thriller for most viewers, which it is not. In fact, it never wanted to be one of that. Just like its protagonist Shantilal who is stuck in a line of journalism where he does not belong and always dreams of something bigger and more intense, the film also tries to fit into a genre that doesn’t do justice to its thought. Pratim D Gupta sets his aim to make a film about emotional and behavioral study of complex characters on much broader themes of dreams, marginalization and survival, with a constant subtext of hypocrisies rampant in the entertainment and journalism industries; but chooses a treatment garb of a thriller that somehow dilutes the overall impact significantly. It is one of those tricked cases of mismatched intent, expectations and execution.

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JUDGEMENTALL HAI KYA : Does Not Raise Itself Above Judgement

Bobby Batliwala Grewal in Judgementall Hai Kya is almost like a reel embodiment of the real life actor trying to make a statement – “Don’t judge me with my on the surface psychic and narcissistic behaviour, I can often see things that you can’t, and all you need is the right perspective to sense what is more dangerous around.

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ARTICLE 15 : When Change Begins with Each of Us

In one of the most impactful scenes of Article 15, Anubhav Sinha wants to expose the caste hierarchy deeply rooted within the system even amongst the protectors of law of our country. Most of them are not corrupt police officers per say, but they are just conditioned in a way since birth – so unconsciously aware not just of their castes, but even of the subdivisions within the highest and lowest stratas of that hierarchy. This is the team who have switched themselves off to a part of India that co-exists with them, but they turn a blind eye to ‘their‘ life and death problems, even without realising that their own life will become a dumpster without ‘their‘ help. This non-chalance and convulated thinking is baffling for their privileged and idealistic officer, and his extreme frustration shows up as he is at a loss of where to start cleaning the mess from. This is the India that has become.

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SUNO : A Call of Conscience

Shubham Yogi‘s new short film SUNO is extremely relevant and timely for today’s times as it brings the conversations around marital consent, entitlement and domestic violence to the center stage. The film becomes far more effective as it chooses to tell the story in an urban elite setup, where it is almost considered a given that both partners in a marriage will be far more woke and empathetic in their understanding for each other’s agency and concurrence for a conjugal encounter.

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TOY STORY 4 : A Heart Tugging Tale of Existentialism

When a twenty five year old animation franchise feels as fresh, lovable and heart warming even in its fourth outing that is here after nine long years since the last Toy Story, you don’t get surprised at all. After all, it is a happy family of cute, vibrant, dynamic, helpful and extremely matured bunch of toys who only want to feel loved at all times, and want the same for the kid they belong to. Their’s is a magical world where they are far more humane than the humans around them, and thrive by the emotions of togetherness, loyalty, wanting to make the world a wonderful place for the kids, and themselves. They also live with the biggest fears of obsolensce – of not being loved any more, of becoming a rejected lost toy, or of their datedness making them less relevant and desirable with time as they get passed over to new kids or new toys come and join the universe. But even in these most trying times and a struggle for existentialism, they still stick on to their wholesome goodness, united and loyal, to make this world a better place – to infinity and beyond!

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A MONSOON DATE : An Emotional Ride

Tanuja Chandra‘s new 20 minute short film A Monsoon Date is a thought provoking portrayal of a tensed and yet confident woman fighting the demons of her life and searching for acceptance for who she is. Written by Ghazal Dhaliwal, the film traces a rain drenched monsoon evening of Mumbai, where the protagonist Konkona Sen Sharma is on her way for a date with a man she has met about a month back.

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VINCI DA : A Thriller without Thrills

Vinci Da – Quick Take…

So I finally watched Vinci Da on Prime Video and thought it was one of the weakest films of Srijit Mukherji in 2018-19. It is a thriller without any thrill, and is predictable from start to end.

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Feluda : 50 Years of RAY’s Detective – A nostalgic trip

Let me begin by stating that for a generation of Bengalis, Feluda is not just a detective or the first childhood hero. Feluda is a much larger emotion. He is you growing up through your childhood, Topshe is you making Feluda an integral part of that childhood. And through the world of Feluda, somehow the genius who created this icon became far more accessible to you even during your growing up years, when some of his other work was more complex and aspirational for the young mind. For many like me, Feluda (who in a way impersonated the maker himself) was our first introduction to the magical world of Satyajit Ray.

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