Favorite films

  • Shoah
  • High School
  • Rebels of the Neon God
  • The Long Day Closes

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  • Anek

    ★★½

  • Knives Out

    ★★★★½

  • Spider-Man: No Way Home

    ★★★

  • Johnny Gaddaar

    ★★★★½

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  • Sardar Udham

    Sardar Udham

    ★★★½

    Interrogations into history - both personal and socio-political - are always subjective, colored by the very form in which people express them. One can choose to look at revolutions and tragedies forensically, excavating personal facts about someone's past from documents like passports, employment certificates, and other paperwork. This form of investigation is a detached one, governed most strongly by the desire to attain some form of tangible, understandable truth. The more personal methodology is that of interviews. Here too, though,…

  • The Disciple

    The Disciple

    ★★★★½

    the first time i heard sharad hearing maai's recordings as he coasts by the (shockingly!) empty streets of Mumbai, i naturally assumed that Tamhane and The Disciple would continually attempt to justify her teachings. that the film will deify the purity of this spiritual artform whose mastery requires so much devotion that one ought to disconnect from people and reality around them entirely even to have a chance of achieving it.

    part of this assumption was based on Tamhane's aesthetic…

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  • Thar

    Thar

    ★★½

    remains most interesting if seen as a somewhat dour, though perfectly watchable, off-shoot of the conflict hinted at in AK vs. AK between senior and junior Kapoor. or, as a representation of Hindi films' ongoing struggle in embracing masala cinema or Bollywood's restrained "Hollywood"-style cinema.

    the casting, writing, and performance styles make the parallels crystal clear. senior Kapoor yearns to be the hero of a 70s B'wood Western. Harshvarrdhan (again unconvincing in a serious dramatic role) is going for something…

  • Dhuin

    Dhuin

    ★★★

    was underwhelmed by Gamak Ghar because of a personal disinterest in (1) films that reveal what they are about at the beginning and then continue to emphasize that throughout the runtime in thuddingly obvious ways, and (2) anthropomorphized narratives (yes, did not like The Red Balloon too). i had liked the form in places, especially the third act that uses wide-shot compositions to paint bricks falling from the top of a worn-down house as a visual equivalent to that of…

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  • Thappad

    Thappad

    ★★★★

    The rise in production and consumption of "social-message movies" in Bollywood of late has given birth to some actors' careers (Ayushmann Khurrana), and somewhat resurrected flailing ones (Akshay Kumar). But, if there is one person, this movement has entirely changed (arguably liberated), it is director Anubhav Sushila Sinha. Take his output before the still hauntingly effective Mulk (2018) and tell me that you saw a filmmaker who wanted to use the medium of cinema to make a change or challenge…

  • Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar

    Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar

    ★★★★

    Dibakar Banerjee's Highway in that it is not a journey of self-realization through India's scenic mountains and forests, but a consistently tense coming-of-age ride through the long-winded roads of Delhi and Pithoragadh with toll stops at every other turn run by the prototypical government official. that is, a man who believes in not minding a "dictatorship," values money, watches Bhai's movies and engages in casual misogyny.

    when that is the accepted definition of man and woman in this world, to be "Faraar" seems like the (only) reasonable response for Sandeep and Pinky.