Category Archives: Film

Jane Eyre, power shift and the other mad woman

The mood for period drama struck some time last week and I satisfied it by watching the 1983 BBC miniseries version of Jane Eyre starring Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clarke. Independence is a pivotal theme in Jane Eyre and each reading/watching leads to thoughts on this. Bronte’s concern with this is clear right from the beginning but comes into sharp focus when Jane leaves Thornfield Hall after her marriage to Rochester is abruptly called off. She has to leave him because staying would be contrary to her code of ethics. She sets off into the world with only a few coins and no job. One can only imagine how bereft and alone she must feel at this point. Continue reading


Filed under Books, Film

Resisting Coastal Invasions

Whose sea is it anyway? The question begs an answer. Increasingly, the coast is under threat from industries like sand mining, tourism and organized fisheries which erode the rich ecosystem and threaten the rights of traditional fishing communities. The only piece of legislation that stands between these forces and the sea is the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification of 1991 which regulates industrial and commercial activity on the coasts. Since its institution, the CRZ notification has been violated or diluted several times and in the wake of globalization, is being viewed as an obstacle to ‘development’. Continue reading


Filed under Film, Media, Places

The Shock Doctrine, KP Sasi and Ururkuppam

The Shock Doctrine is a short film by Alfonso Cuarón and Naomi Klein based on Klein’s book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. It is a severely disturbing look at the rise of free markets and corporate hegemony on the shoulders of disaster. What Klein says is this: people are in a childlike state when in shock. In the aftermath of a disaster — natural or otherwise — large masses of people are in shock. Governments use this to their advantage to push policies through, policies which in normal times would have been rejected. Continue reading


Filed under Culture, Film, Media

Andrew Lichtenstein’s ‘Never Coming Home’

One of my favourite sites, Alternet, has a photo essay here on Andrew Lichtenstein’s new book, Never Coming Home. This launches their new multimedia series and features a slideshow of some of the images used in the book as well as an interview with Lichtenstein.

Andrew Lichtenstein’s new book, Never Coming Home, shows the faces behind the daily casualty statistics in the Iraq war. Each week, these men and women killed in Iraq are buried and mourned, privately and publicly, in deeply personal scenes of love, loss and remembrance.

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Filed under Film, Media

Films of Desire and queer sexuality

Susan Sontag once said that “fear of sexuality is the new, disease-sponsored register of the universe of fear in which everyone now lives”. In India, this fear is buttressed by social conservatism and hypocrisy and our films, for the most part, are a reflection of this. Burdened by archaic censorship laws and the pressure of playing to the gallery, most Indian films approach sex and its attendant concerns gingerly, if at all. The recent ‘Films of Desire’ festival, organized by human rights organization CREA at Neemrana Fort Palace in Rajasthan was an attempt to foster a more layered understanding of representation, sexuality, gender and rights. Continue reading


Filed under Bangalore, Film, Gender

On Meeting Raima Sen

Fresh off a four-hour flight and amidst the smoke and noise of a crowded restaurant, Raima Sen still exudes an air of cool unflappability broken only once in a while by girlish giggles. Raima is in town to promote her new film, The Bong Connection, and feeling quite chatty despite the late hour.She talks excitedly about her upcoming releases including Aparna Sen’s new film, The Japanese Wife, in which she plays a widow with an eight-year-old son. Continue reading


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Anjan Dutt and The Bong Crossover

Bengali films have always been at the forefront of Indian cinema and now Tollywood has served up its first crossover film. The Bong Connection captures the ethos of new gen Bengalis using a light touch and plenty of satire. Writer-director Anjan Dutt is vehement that his movie is a far cry from the “slow, intellectual art movies” associated with Bengal. Continue reading

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Cheeni Kum, The Painted Veil and House of 9

Cheeni Kum

Slick, well-made and mostly real with just the amount of salt and tang that a rom-com needs. Tabu is lovely as usual and playing her own age for a change (after The Namesake, Astitva). Amitabh Bachchan fits the role and plays his part though I still find some of his expressions over the top (does he have to look like he’s splitting a blood vessel every time he’s angry?).

Zohra Sehgal is endearing. Paresh Rawal grated on my nerves and the kid left me with mixed feelings. Some sparkling music by Illayaraja. An impressive debut for director R. Balki. Just wish he had left out the Gandhian melodrama at the end. Well, can’t be all perfect, can it? Worth a watch. Go see.

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Life in a…Metro: The ways love flows

Life in a…Metro is more an exploration into sex, lies and relationships in a big city than a true expose of the average Bombayite’s life. Writer/director Anurag Basu’s dark tapestry of relationships is good in bits but stops short of being truly impressive. All the high dudgeon does not add up to a sufficiently moving experience. The whole is not as good as the sum of the parts, in other words, but the parts are definitely interesting in themselves. Continue reading


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Spiderman 3: ‘The battle within’

I saw Spiderman 3 yesterday, which was a satisfying experience though the movie has its flaws. I have always liked Spiderman the most of the three super heroes. Perhaps, this is because he is the most human of them–a nerdy, geeky guy next door who is insecure, vulnerable and well, even boring, except when his nifty little spider suit transforms him. In Spiderman 3, Peter Parker sheds the nerdy image to deal with more adult turmoil though. The movie weaves alter egos, inner battles, fate and choice, misunderstanding and forgiveness, and generous dollops of romance into the story and manages not to go haywire. Mostly. Continue reading


Filed under Film