Special 26 (2013)

P.S.: Although I’ve tried to avoid major spoilers, Special 26 is one of those films which works better if you enter the theater with no preconceived notions. So be warned! One of the defining aspects of Neeraj Pandey’s films so far seems to be his usage of offhand shots/scenes to establish his characters. How else can you explain Naseeruddin Shah’s conversations on the phone with his wife in A Wednesday!

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Kadal (2013)

P.S.: This is not a review. There’s too much going on in this film for me to talk about it without giving away spoilers. Before I begin, I’d like to point you to Baradwaj Rangan’s Raavan review and his brilliant book Conversations with Mani Ratnam. I don’t think I would have appreciated Kadal as much as I did if it weren’t for both. I completed the latter on Friday night just in time for the film, and although I do hope to churn out a review, I’d like to digress a bit here to say that there’s nothing better than reading a filmmaker, that too one as accomplished as Mani, deconstruct his own films.

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Life Of Pi (2012)

Watching Ang Lee’s breathtaking (in a purely visual sense) Life of Pi, I found it surprising that I was constantly reminded of that great survival motion picture of the last decade Cast Away, a film I’ve not seen in more than a decade. But what surprised me even more was that despite its trivial visuals, Robert Zemeckis’ film resonated much more strongly with me - even after all these years - than what I saw today.

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Les Misérables (2012)

I walked into Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables today fully conscious of the fact that I was about to watch a lavishly staged musical, a genre I’ve always been averse to. (Not only was this a musical but one that was also sung-through.) The only reason I wanted to put myself through it was to complete my 2012 roster. But something fascinating happened about halfway through the film that caught me unawares.

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Reevaluation of Film Viewing

Over the past month, I’ve had some deeply profound experiences with, and reactions to, art, which have changed my perception of art in all its forms. With this column, I am going to try and assimilate these, mostly disparate, thoughts into a unified whole. Michael Haneke’s Amour was the opening film at the 10th Chennai International Film Festival (hereafter referred to as CIFF). It was an exquisitely made and emotionally resonant film which addressed the concept of love for a couple who’re in their twilight years.

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Kumki (2012)

Films can disappoint you in a variety of fashions: By not living up to all the hype and excitement they generate, by being decidedly crap, or through an infinite number of other possibilities. But the worst sort of disappointment is when a film does what Kumki does: Collapse into nothingness after setting up a delicious plot full of several engaging characters in what seems to be a very interesting milieu.

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Rockstar (2011)

P.S.: It’s been more than a year since the film in question was released. This is more a summary of the emotions the film made me feel than a review, so approach it with the warning that there are spoilers. Rockstar’s titular character Janardhan “Jordan” Jakhar (Ranbir Kapoor) begins the film as an innocent college student aiming to make a career out of music and ends it having achieved that.

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The Impossible (2012)

Forget the human drama, which is so moving. Forget the Oscar-worthy performances. Forget the film’s tagline, “Nothing is more powerful than the human spirit.” Forget everything else that Juan Antonio Bayona’s The Impossible does so efficiently. If there is one reason you should stop reading and go out to watch the film right now, it is the harrowing recreation of the Tsunami that struck the coasts of quite a few Eastern countries on December 26, 2004.

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The Unspoken Resolutions

What is it with New Years and resolutions? Why can’t we people decide on something and just stick with it? Why do we need the first of every year to decide we ought to do something? And then we end up never doing them. My mom always tells me, “If you want to do something, better do it right away. Later means never!” And she couldn’t be more right. Yet, here I am.

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English Vinglish (2012)

English Vinglish is a throwback to the good old days of Tamil cinema when heroines were not just treated as objects of the hero’s obsession, had well-defined roles written specifically with them in mind, and, can you believe it, actually had the acting talent to pull them off. With heroines coming and going by the numbers nowadays, it is refreshing to see a feminist film with arguably the Queen of Cinema herself as the centrepiece.

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