Sunday, 29 December 2019

Vlog: So you want to react? Part 2/2

‘So you want to react? Watch this first!’ (Part 2 of 2) is the second part of a brief introduction to Hindi cinema (Bollywood) for non-Indian reaction-video makers. Whether you are just curious or you want to find out more background information about Indian cinema in general and Hindi films in particular, begin by watching this video. This video (Part 2 of 2) includes sections on stars of Hindi cinema, must-see films, and a list of resources… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jYUEIYra9g

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Vlog: So you want to react? Part 1/2

‘So you want to react? Watch this first!’ (Part 1 of 2) is the first part of a brief introduction to Hindi cinema (Bollywood) for non-Indian reaction-video makers. 

Whether you are just curious or you want to find out more background information about Indian cinema in general and Hindi films in particular, begin by watching this video.

This video (Part 1 of 2) includes sections on languages, evolution of Hindi cinema, and songs & dances:

https://youtu.be/yBX56nH3N04

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Film ratings & reviews on IMDb

As I have said, the internet and TV have entered into holy matrimony.

Their union will be a sealed deal as soon as we are able to get rid of money-guzzling satellite dish services.

Already, this (h)App-y marriage has produced many bonny bundles of joy: Netflix India, Amazon Prime, Zee5 and Hotstar, with many more siblings to follow.  

Through these apps I have gone about catching up with some of the finer films that we only get to hear about during award ceremonies, but never actually get to watch.  This is apart from the usual commercial films that we have access to.

Old or new, documentaries or films, genre-based or not, Hindi, English or regional languages, they're all included in the watch-list under my profile, gruvy-muvy on IMDb.

Also find my reviews of select films under the same profile.

A rough guide to my ratings on the database goes like this:

Stars (out of 10)
My reaction
5 or below
What’s all the hype about this one?
6-9
This is worth seeing
Perfect 10
You’re nuts for missing this!

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Indian cinema arrives


As I have often surmised, the marriage between Internet and TV has almost been solemnized and the two have already given us many babies: apps that give us access to quality international, national and regional content.  

What a relief from TV's old affliction: K-serials

From among the few that I have seen recently on these apps, two offerings from Indian cinema are setting the tone for others to emulate:



Tumbbad (2018)


and


Sonchiriya (2019)

Tumbbad is all red and fiery; a superior take on mythology and greed set in an obscure rainy Maharashtrian village.  The locations, cinematography, story, acting, music, production values are all first rate.  It even has a moral that it delivers without being preachy.  Background score by Jesper Kyd and Ajay-Atul's music are exceptional, especially the title track.

Sonchiriya, a sordid tale of betrayal and tragedy among dacoits in the ravines of Chambal is gritty and hard-hitting.  All the cinematic virtues I have listed under Tumbbad are applicable to Sonchiriya too.  

I have to also make a special mention of Badhai Ho for taking up a bold subject and delivering it well.  It's easily the best of mainstream Hindi films in 2018.  

On the other end of the scale, there was that expensive turkey which I was unfortunately dragged in to watch in a multiplex, shelling out hard-earned but easily-wasted money: Zero.  

Had I had my way, that's exactly the amount and time I would have spent on this thought-disordered fantasy that neither entertains nor delivers any message.  

Sample this: a wheelchair bound genius cerebral palsy afflicted scientist (which in itself is an unrealistic take on Stephen Hawking since CP is associated with mental retardation), rides her wheelchair in a red wedding sari on American roads to meet her dwarf ex-boyfriend who has just won a ticket to Mars aboard a misspelt NASA rocket.  'Nuff said!  Easily the worst film of 2018.  Can't believe they spent 200 crores on this drivel.

So, what sets apart good Indian cinema from bad?  There is no secret sauce that works all the time, but comparing the above films, I could glean the following:
  • the will and vision to execute collaborative efforts bringing together great professionals across all areas of film-making, regardless of the box-office outcome of these ventures
  • painstaking pre- and post-production work, such as script, story, screenplay, locations, production values (post-prod work in Tumbbad apparently took > 2 years)
  • authenticity of story-lines and settings: Indian culture/society depicted with realism; not the usual pseudo-western take on urban India
  • both Tumbbad and Sonchiriya DO NOT have egoistic super/hyper-stars with legions of blind fans nor any undeserving star-kids who need to be showcased to the world over and above the supporting cast and script 
  • both revel in quality film-making undertaken for the sheer pleasure of the craft
And it shows. 

Mainstream filmmakers, watch Tumbbad.  This is how all Indian cinema should be made...








Image sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58398243
https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58034304