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Showing posts from 2018

KGF: Chapter One

Director: Prashanth Neel

In my opinion, It would take years to understand, let alone replicate the narrative framework of KGF. I say this with confidence because we still dismiss the screenplays of Sholay and Baahubali (Part One alone) as a grand masala caper. At the surface, KGF is just another hero worship film, filled with lines of adulations and over the top actions. But Prashanth (writer-director) employs a very unusual mix of genres to bring out an original screenplay that is parts stream of consciousness, parts mythical fantasy, parts epic and parts philosophy. While many have attempted movies covering these narrative styles, what sets KGF apart is how Prashanth plays with each style of storytelling and eventually pushing their boundaries to areas seldom visited.

As safe as it gets, Prashanth initially frames the story of an orphaned boy who becomes a don and then by the turn of events a messiah, through the narration of the author of a banned book. But the audacity of the dir…

Vishwaroopam: What it could have been

Director: Kamal Haasan

When Wissam (Kamal) and his wife Nirupama (Pooja) enter the elderly care to meet Wissam's mother, an Alzheimer's patient, we see that her world of four walls is adorned only by her son's images. It reminded me of another member of the extended Haasan family's film, OK Kanmani.  There too a key character, suffering from Alzheimer's, had a loved one as an anchor. But Kamal the director pushes this trope further. Through a twist of fate, she isn't able to recognise her son standing in front of her. Akin to how Wissam is hit by flashes of images from the past throughout the film, this plot point took me back to the various moments prior to this scene in the series where Wissam is alienated.

Wissam's alienation starts when his father leaves him as an illegitimate baby; the Indian Army disavows him so that he can be an espionage agent; his colleagues want to get rid of him at the drop of a hat; his jihadi brethren feel he has betrayed them…

Kaala: A regular Rajini one man show with the best parts reserved for others

Director Pa Ranjith
By the time the first song in Kaala comes on screen, Pa Ranjith skillfully establishes the conflict in the film. While on surface the conflict is about the right to property, as one digs deeper, Ranjith taking a leaf from Godfather, sets up a world where the aging don, Kaala, guards Dharavi against upper-class politicians with his righthand man-cum-elder son, while his younger son attacks the same problem through a liberal framework with his more efficient girlfriend. To further drive the point home for the Tamil audience, Ranjith names the relatively subdued younger son, the name of a Soviet Revolutionist and his elder son a Tamil name. Ranjith thus establishes early on that the film is going to talk not just about land politics with race and colour as extensions, but also an inner conflict as to how to approach the common problem.
As the film progresses with class conflicts on one end and a subtle and effervescent love triangle at the other end, it’s the inner con…

Why Avengers: Infinity War is 'marvel'lous

Director: Russo Brothers

When Civil War came, I was one of the few to not be impressed by the outcome, not just because of my over expectations, but also because the Russo brothers went for a subaltern formula compared to the one employed in the best Marvel movie, Winter Soldier which they helmed. With Infinity War, they are back to their best formula, viz. episodic thriller.
Let’s just digress to understand what an episodic thriller is. An episodic film is one where each block of the film is treated as an episode with an ending that pushes the stakes up for the next episode. When a thriller element is added to this type of screenplay, besides upping the ante through a singular goal tying all the episodes together, it makes the audience focus on what’s next rather than nitpicking any shortcomings.
In Infinity War, this format solves a perennial problem of star-studded films (DC please take note). It takes the focus out of the individual stars and puts the spotlight on the goal, thus av…