Reviews of movies from India & around the world
I love movies, but am highly selective of what I watch. In this section, you will find reviews of fascinating movies from around the world with considerable Indian bias, of course. There are also a few general articles on movies and several lists (e.g. great Iranian movies, etc.) that may be of your interest.

Cyrano de Bergerac Year: 1990 Writer: Jean-Claude Carrière, Jean-Paul Rappeneau Director: Jean-Paul Rappeneau Length: 137 mins Category: Drama Rating: 4 out of 5 Beautiful French movie about a man in love who is unable to express it through his life since he thinks he’s ugly. Cyrano, a poet, soldier and a man highly accomplished in many things has an unusually long nose. He is in love with his cousin. Just when he musters courage to tell her, she seeks his help to get in touch with a handsome man in his company. Christian, though handsome, does not have a way […]

Cyrano de Bergerac: Moving

No Man’s Land Year: 2001 Writer: Danis Tanovic Director: Danis Tanovic Category: Drama Rating: 4 out of 5 Three wounded soldiers Ciki, Cera (Bosnians) and Nino (Serbian) get caught in a trench in the no man’s land. Cera is lying on a mine that would burst if he moves. There is tension as well as friendship between the three. Nino went to school with Ciki’s ex-girlfriend. They both are trapped in a deadly situation that they want to escape from. But they blame their predicament on each other, keeping them suspicious and leading to periodic breakout of fights between them. […]

No Man’s land by Tanovic: Gripping

This post is in reaction to a friend’s post about Mani Ratnam’s brilliance when it comes to handling children.  Citing Kannathil Muthamittal and Anjali he says, The master director’s known for his ability to extract the best from the kids – Anjali had proved that way back in eighties. But, then “Kannathil Muthamittal” truly showed how Mani Ratnam can ellicit complex adult emotions from a child. I think his choice of movies could not have been worse.  For MR kids are only noisy, perpetually-running, yelling, brats. I sometimes feel that he merely takes a an adult character, adds a lot […]

Children in Mani Ratnam movies

American Visa IMDB Year: 2005 Director: Juan Carlos Valdivia Category: Foreign Rating: 3 out of 5 What better movie could I review waiting outside the US Consulate for an American visa? This satirical comedy is about Mario’s dreams to join his son for a comfortable life in the United States. After elaborate preparations, his visa to the US is denied. He then tries to commit a robbery to gather the money to get a visa from the black market. In the meanwhile, he meets a philosophically inclined prostitute who loves Bolivia and finds heaven where she is. Most of the […]

Review of Bolivian “American Visa” as I wait for mine!

Mozhi Year: 2007 Writer: Radha Mohan Director: Radha Mohan Length: 152 Category: Drama Rating: 4 out of 5 Entertainment with purpose – to the hilt Mozhi is one of the finest Tamil movies to come in this decade. It’s worth watching, and watching again. Karthik (played by Prithviraj) falls in love with Archana (Jyothika) by just seeing her in action. He learns soon that she is hearing and speech disabled. In a bid to win her love, he accosts her. As they become friends he grows to admire her for growing beyond her disabilities into a confident person. A rift […]

Mozhi with Jyothika: Fantastic Tamil movie

O India produz mais filmes que todos outros país do mundo… …Muito mais. Tal vez tu sei que há muitas linguas na India. Muitos disso tem um grande indústria do cinema. O muito famoso é o indústria do Bombay chamo “Bollywood”. Muitos estrangeiros pensem que só Bollywood produz filmes na India; mas ha muitos outros centros do produção. O grande centro é Madras no sul do India. Também há Hyderabad, Calcutta, Kerala e outros centros. Tal vez, o filmes do Bengal são o mais famoso depois que o Bollywood. Begal é famoso para produzir os filmes artísticas e seu director […]

Introdução aos cinema Indiano

As big budget movies with huge marketing costs become popular and movie halls change, will the big drive out the small? Diwali is a time for new movies in India.  Two big budget movies this time decided to go for huge spending on marketing.  OSO and Sawariya together spent over Rs. 10 crores on marketing, swamping the media.  Money was clearly spent on public relations rather than overt advertisements.  “King Khan” was all over the place: watching cricket, dancing with cricket stars, doing shows, and being in any place that attracts public attention.  Even if OSO were not mentioned overtly […]

Developments in Hindi cinema: Will the big kill the good?

Sindhu Bhairavi Year: 1985 Writer: K. Balachander Director: K. Balachander Length: 2 H 50 M Category: Drama Rating: 5 out of 5 A classic Tamil movie that’s almost perfect Sindhu Bhairavi is a rare love story where the relationship between the man and the woman is based on an intellectual craving. JKB, an acclaimed Carnatic singer (played by Sivakumar), has a beautiful wife (played by Sulokshana) who has no knowledge of music or interest in it. He discovers a fan of his – Suhashini – a keenly intelligent woman who thrives on music. Her knowledge of music, willingness to confront […]

Sindhu Bhairavi by Balachander: A treat for every sense

Many good movies have come out of Indians living abroad in the last decade. Monsoon Wedding is highly known, but there is a lot more to look at. Here are five such movies. Most of my American and European friends have seen Monsoon Wedding by Meera Nair. This is by far the most popular movie till today by an Indian director based abroad. But there are many more good movies that are worth watching that are much lesser known. Here’s a quick introduction. The acclaimed Meera Nair has taken quite a few movies. Among these, I am fond of Salaam […]

Lively ‘Desi Movies’: Going beyond Monsoon Wedding

Page 3 IMDB Year: 2005 Director: Madhur Bhandarkar Category: Drama Rating: 5 out of 5 A fantastic out of the box movie from India ‘Page 3’ by Madhur Bhandarkar is one of the nicest Indian movies I have seen in the last five years or so. The plot of page 3 is available in many sites, and I will not write about it here. I shall concentrate instead on some aspects that liked most in the movie. Unique story line The story, to begin with, is refreshingly different, and is a drastic shift from the typical formula-based movies. This does […]

Page 3: Madhur Bandarkar & Konkona Sen scintillate

Here is your window to some of the best movies in the world, in my perspective. The following ratings are not by a trained movie critic, but by as passionate movie buff. So, if the ratings reflect anything, it reflects my taste. In general, I tend to like movies with good stories, powerful but subtle dialog, good music that’s not conspicuous, acting that’s not overly dramatic and stories that “could have been true”.  I thought of putting it together both as record for my own sake and to share a list of movies with those who may share my taste. […]

List of great movies: India and international (brief reviews)

Pride and prejudice IMDB Year: 1940 Writer: Jane Austen Director: Robert Z. Leonard Length: 117 Category: Drama Rating: 3 out of 5 Many movies have been taken on this brilliant book by Jane Austen. The best in my opinion is the version produced by BBC (click here for review). Being a television serial, it has the advantage of time – and so is better able to do justice to the novel. I feel that Leotard managed quite a bit in 117 minutes. The trouble though was not with time, but with Hollywood. Rarely can a Hollywood movie escape the pressures […]

Pride & Prejudice by Leonard: Reasonable

Colour of Paradise IMDB Year: 1999 Writer: Majid Majidi Director: Majid Majidi Category: Drama Rating: 5 out of 5 Another great product of Iran’s movie revolution. A master piece on the struggle between a bright blind boy and a father who is ashamed of his disability Mohammad is a curious young boy who is constantly discovering the nature around him. He is bright and has picked a remarkable ability to read using braille. He is loved by his young sisters and nurtured by his grandmother. The local school is proud of the boys academic abilities. His father though is ashamed […]

Colour of paradise: Majid Majidi’s Masterpiece

Manhattan IMDB Year: 1979 Writer: Woody Allen Director: Woody Allen Rating: 2 out of 5 The movie starts with a forty something Woody Allan and his seventeen year old date at a dinner with his friend Yale (played by Michael Davis) and his wife. Yale confides to Woody that he is having an extra marrital affaire with a bright Journalist played by Diane Keaton. The movie then takes us through a tangled web of relationships, betrayals, insecurities and a dash of humour now and then. I decided to watch Manhattan after seeing the fantastic rating it had in Rotten Tomatoes. […]

Woody Allan’s Manhattan disappoints me

Children of heaven Year: 1997 Writer: Majid Majidi Director: Majid Majidi Category: Foreign Rating: 5 out of 5 Children of Heaven is a product of Iran’s movie revolution. Ali goes to get his sister’s shoe cobbled and looses it on the way back. He’s too scared to tell this to his parents since they are too poor to buy another pair immediately. He convinces his sister to keep it from the parents and shares his sneakers with her. But this is not easy since his school starts immediately after her school ends and the children run to and from school […]

Majidi’s Children of Heaven: A child’s lost shoe becomes a ...

Ganga Jal IMDB Link Year: 2003 Writer: Prakash Jha Director: Prakash Jha Length: 150 Category: Drama Rating: 4 out of 5 Though it is based on an age old plot of a police officer fighting against crime, Gangajal takes it to a new height in how it is executed I wish this move were not as violent as it is – baring that, it is close to a perfect movie. In this movie inspired by the Bhagalpur Blindings, Ajay Devgan plays an IPS officer who takes on the local gangster – Sadhu Baba, and expectedly, wins. In this he is […]

Gangajal Hindi Movie with Ajay Devagan:Old plot, new refinement

Iran has produced some of the best world movies in the last decade or two. This is a short note on some great movies from Iran. I have listed below some of my favourite Iranian movies.  These movies deserve detailed review that I’ll try in the near future.  I’ll link them to good reviews when possible. For the moment, I’ll leave you with a list of movies, and a few links. List of movies Colour of Paradise:  A bright blind child who enjoys school is forced by his father to quit school and take up carpentry with a blind carpenter.  The story […]

Great movies from Iran – list and brief descriptions

This list consists of some formulaic movies and some that are innovative. I am working on the list and hope to build it over time. Some of my most cherished Indian movies require a contextual knowledge. The best of Tamil movies involves a play of words that cannot be captured by subtitles – and in any case the subtitles of most movies leaves us wanting. So, each time a friend asks me what’s a good movie to watch, I am left dumbstruck. I’ve finally decided to put together a list on which I can receive some help – and some […]

List of Indian movies for my non-Indian friends

The last few years have seen some dazzling movies that have boldly departed from the mainstream. A movie historian in Tamil Nadu once said (perhaps Randor Guy) that most movies in the language (and I am sure in Hindi as well) revolved around 8 basic plots. These new movies have a bold new plot – but that’s not all. Many of these have given up a formulaic approach of making commercial movies in India (atleast in Hindi and Tamil): a little glamour, some songs, some dancing, some comedy (even if it’s totally unrelated), a macho hero, sexy heroine, fights (called […]

Moving beyond the formula: Bold new Indian movies