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‘Sonchiriya’ review: The Die is Caste

Reading Time: 4 minutes Set in the roiling year of Emergency in India, ‘Sonchiriya’ takes a long, steady, unnerving, and deadly look at caste and gender suppression down the barrel of a smoking gun, making it one of 2019’s best.

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‘Kalank’ review: All Sparkle, No Spark

Reading Time: 5 minutes In this period set-piece opulence trumps content in every scene. As a result, director Abhishek Varman stuns you in a highlight sequence, creating a stunning mosaic with colors, dance, drone shots, choreographed dancers who rise from underwater with bows and lit arrows, the story of Dussehra narrated in contrasting plumages. Elsewhere, the actors look for inspiration and get mostly undercooked roles in a story that’s as predictable as the alphabet book. But predictability is the least of ‘Kalank”s problems. It’s in not using the potentially scintillating situations and actors, landing them, instead in an uninspiringly long-drawn tepid affair.

‘Badla’ review: The Story’s in the Details

Reading Time: 4 minutes Director Sujoy Ghosh lays out a detailed, conversational thriller that’s high on the quality of ingredients, even if the flavors are all too familiar and predictable. But the point of ‘Badla’ isn’t to surprise you as much as it is to make you pay attention and revel in the atmosphere. Plus, of course the top notch acting that rivets, diverts, and then delivers a climactic scene that’s more heartbreaking triumph than a twist.

‘Gully Boy’ review: Joan of Story Arc

Reading Time: 5 minutes In a movie that runs for a considerable length of time, director Zoya Akhtar creates story arcs that rivet you and stay with you long after you’ve left the cinema hall. And she’s supported by a stunning casting coup. Every one of her actor seamlessly flows into the director’s vision of rebellion and flight of ambition, even if their runway’s paved with hopelessness.

‘Ek Ladki Ko Dekha To Aisa Laga’ review: Of Inspirations and Subtlety

Reading Time: 6 minutes Director Shelly Chopra Dhar makes a breezy first half that takes the best of a Wodehouse story and comes up with a sunny, happy entertainer. It’s when she takes on societal prejudices and throwing light on a couple but continues to take the pre-interval approach that the cracks in her missus begin to show. And even though her lead actress does a sincere—but skimming the character’s surface—job, it’s the rest of the cast that shines and props up the movie all through. Meanwhile offscreen, the movie’s producer continues to don the mantle of a life and music coach.

‘Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi’ review: Blaze of Glory

Reading Time: 4 minutes Kangana Ranaut is so movingly magnificent, she earns this review an extra point. In a movie not without flaws, hers is an act that’s packed with sizzling energy and ferociousness; she touches you and stuns you all at the same time. In perhaps what is fitting irony and tribute, the queen’s (Ranilaxmi’s, not Ranaut’s blockbuster movie) fight against patriarchy and society’s campy behavior is what the actress faced in real life to complete this movie, and that’s the negative energy she seems to turn around and harness to blaze ahead in this project.

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