Wednesday, December 3, 2014

HAPPY JOURNEY: Love Goes for a Spin!

Happy Journey is one of those little gems whose scenes one likes to allow our imagination to revisit again and again... A haunting tale whose value slowly permeates the viewer's consciousness for days, weeks or years to come.
Sachin Kundalkar's film in Marathi explores the life of Niranjan (Atul Kulkarni), whose childhood is filled with a constant outpour of innocent and pure love for his newborn little sister Janaki (Priya Bapat). Time goes by and just as he is growing up and discovering the joys of his first teenage romance, Niranjan's sentimentally rich journey is brutally truncated when his parents suddenly send him off to Dubai to earn money for his family. The result is a growing feeling of abandonment that makes Niranjan a hurt and detached young man who gets easily exasperated with his family obligations. It is this angry man who comes back to his hometown when the family is faced with difficult times. Once in India, his charming sister Janaki (Priya Bapat) will take him on a fantastic trip that will ignite an inner discovery.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


A very special film has been all the rage this year at the Toronto Film Festival and has obtained the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema Award for Best Asian Film. Margarita with a Straw has been rightly called one of the strongest independent films India has produced in recent years. 
Margarita With a Straw hails from the talent of Shonali Bose, the film maker who was highly acclaimed for intense dramas, such as Amu and Chittagong. Her new film might be gathering attention partly because it explores topics that are rare to Indian cinema, such as disability or homosexuality. Nonetheless, the value of the film, which is Bose's most intensely personal project, starring Kalki Koechlin, lies well beyond its novelty. It is the writer and director's (aka Bose's) rare creative poise and humor that give her story a mature hue that is unique to films in India and around the world exploring similar topics, the last one I remember briefly and successfully exploring disability and sexuality being Babel (2006) by Gonzalez IƱarritu.

Friday, April 4, 2014

JAL: A Majestic Tale of Human Truths

There must be something truly inspiring and epic about the Great Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. Films that have had scenes filmed in the austere landscape of the area have seen its strange beauty contribute to their trademark image (some examples are Lagaan or Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela), and Jal is the next in view.
A desert child myself, I was immediately drawn to the incredibly vivid cinematography of Jal from the onset, or should I say, from it's very first trailer.

Friday, March 28, 2014

YOUNGISTAAN: Rule of the Candyfloss Young

Election season is ring-a-ringing and the films coming out these last couple of weeks have been bowing to the debate atmosphere. 
Youngistaan is a film that presents the premise of having India ruled by one of its foreign-educated nationals. It is essentially a love story set in the backdrop of Indian politics. 28 year old game developer Abhimanyu Kaul is a young and independent NRI. He lives in Japan with the love of his life, Anwita Chauhan, a bubbly, passionate and full of life summer intern. Their happy and content life faces the test of time, when blood ties and the pressure of being born into the first family of India tears a young Abhimanyu between his love for Anwita and a promise made to his dying father, the Prime Minister of India.

Friday, March 7, 2014


At a moment at which the limelight is turning towards women empowerment and women struggles in the media (see this week's post on celebrating brave women on Indian television), cinema takes part in this offering through documentaries and what this blogger would call "chick flicks with a bang". Whether it is in the form of Kangna Ranaut's layered big screen entertainer Queen, Nishtha Jain's serious documentary Gulabi Gang or it's Bollywood counterpart Gulaab Gang (starring divas Juhi Chawla and Madhuri Dixit), women are at the center of the discussion table as International Women's Day approaches.
Which of these films might be more effective as entertainment while also being socially inspiring? If we had only one film to pick this weekend to celebrate International Women's Day, which would we recommend? Let us briefly gloss through each plot and trailer.