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Friday, 12 August 2016

That's No Moon: Predictability is Rogue One's Secret Weapon!

Star Wars: Rogue One

Predictable for its own good

Just like much of the marketing has done, in the latest trailer for the Star Wars prequel [oh god! that's still a scary three words to say]; we are once again reminded of the impending doom that holds true in the time frame Rogue One sets itself in relation to the past and future of the Star Wars mythology. 

Barring any last minute twists or surprises [aka the heroes becoming the knights of Ren decades later]; the heroes of the Rebel Alliance tasked with the mission to retrieve the Death Star plans are dying. It's a sad inevitable that none of them are more than most likely to make it alive. 

In a blockbuster season that has been far underwhelming, this predictable ending comes as a bitter boon. 

In its latest trailer Rogue One promises a whole host of things. A slick recruitment process with a team that looks exciting not to mention the most unlikeliest of awesome droids to rival cute favorites BB8 and R2D2 as well as genuine cast camaraderie and chemistry. The grandeur of Star Wars sequences mixed with the grit of a war fought by soldiers on the ground and the return of the iconic Darth Vader; promising some terrible times ahead. 

Rogue One, like Force Awakens last year; promises to blow the mainstream gates of Hollywood out of the water in a year that has been far too timid or tepid even with Deadpool standards. 

Major deaths are promised, the ending is well versed across the galaxy yet ironically this is what will make Rogue One top dog this year. 

It's after all not the destination that matters, but the road taken to it and in the hands of a competent Gareth Edwards; Rogue One seems to be the Star Wars film no one asked for, but the one that probably is bound to pack the most punch [apart from that tearjerker of a Han Solo death scene].

'Nuff Said,

Aneesh Raikundalia

Wednesday, 25 May 2016



Okay, so let me first just put this out there...

I'm not a homophobic person.

This statement is important before the pseudo liberal people bash me over any medium for being so for my next batch of statements. [Liberals sometimes you guys are just bad as the right wing trolls on the Internet, you give those who fight the good fight; a bad name.]

Some might say, the fact that I have to make that statement indicates otherwise but in this generation of people that will unnecessarily without sense try to torch you for the smallest joke or indignation, it's important to come out with it. 

 My statement above is in regards to my defense in a position that has currently taken twitter by storm; 


It's a trend that is making round on Twitter with a frenzy as of now. 

I have a really big issue with this. 

It stems from the first fact that as far as the Marvel Cinematic Universe goes, Captain America as a character is already in a romantic triste with Sharon Carter, seen by their kiss in this year's Civil War movie. 

Prior to this, Steve shared what is possibly one of the best superhero movie romances with Peggy Carter and is still in search for that elusive dance. 

So sure, it doesn't mean he cannot love another man; specifically the twitter trends clamor to see Steve and his long time friend Bucky to fall for one another. 

This is where the hashtag for me personally takes a dark turn. 

I'd like to take you back, to my own experiences. There are many times in my schooling years, I have shared great friendships and camaraderie with my male buddy's. More importantly I always had this thing where for some odd reason, I'd have a "Best Friend", the one person I was always seen hanging out with. 

Now as school, whether high or otherwise, it is school and since I was always such an oddball character, no doubt the insults came pouring in. My best friend became my "partner", it became common to find myself paired with the said person and laughed at what we did "behind the curtains". 

Truth be told, with my constant need to be alone; nobody could be considered my "friend" as such, I barely felt like I knew anything about my peers to make a true genuine connect. [This is an issue to tackle some other day]. 

The fact of the matter is, this kind of bullying is common place for many people and the tag is to even among two not so close friends. 

It's this kind of thing that eventually snowball's into the whole issue of Toxic Masculinity and that men have got to be men, there cannot be any affection of an elevated kind between two friends and two brothers until they're mature and old enough for this affection to be seen as nothing more than brotherhood. Yet that mentality of keeping a distance and just enjoying each others company and nothing else is maintained. 

You can't share your feelings with a "brother", they can't know how much you mean to them or for the sake of it share an emotional moment. The world is slowly changing as we mature things are becoming better to the point that the word 'Bromance' is used for such relationships, I love that word but once again the title insinuates a relationship beyond friendship. 

That's why it's fun to see the kind of dichotomy in a friendship between two soldiers. Being a soldier is such a macho, manly thing yet the camaraderie between brothers in the army could be misconstrued in another part of the world. 

The kind that has fallen onto the eyes of the so called twitter and hashtag spouting pseudo equal rights supporters. Rather than focusing their strength on major issues that affect the free rights of gay men and women, they go for this. 

Look I'm not saying having a Gay Superhero representative isn't important, heck I feel cinema and pop culture is such an influential tool; it should be used to improve our view of the world and if we can do something to influence that improvement, then the better. 

Better yet, rather than force an orientation into an already established character; why not push MARVEL ENTERTAINMENT to do the opposite and bring in one of their other originally gay characters to the forefront of the the Cinematic Universe. 

That would be a real #TRIUMPH!

For those spouting this ridiculous trend, are those with no idea of what character consistency means, what the in house universe that has been built in these Marvel films means and have no idea how true friendship between two men [and even women] works. 

In the MCU; Bucky represents everything that Steve has lost, it's a childhood friend who fought the fights for him when Steve never could as a scrawny kid, he wasn't always the sexy chiselled Chris Evans you know?! 

Bucky is Cap's blind spot and hence the reason he and Iron Man go to war this summer.

Go back and watch all three Captain America movies, go back and understand what Bucky truly means to Steve; it's more than a relationship that can be defined by any label. 

It's something transcendent and you just want to make them Boyfriends, for what satisfaction? That inner happiness that you "did something" for equal rights? 

Please, just go home. 

Cap and Bucky are hopefully never going to be in a relationship due to a silly hashtag. 

But Cap and Bucky will be together...

...till the End of the Line. 

'Nuff Said

Aneesh Raikundalia


Thursday, 5 May 2016

Warriors Wrestle World

Warriors Wrestle World

It's a game of storytellers, it's an art form unto itself and now there's a special place for me to write about it and for you to read about it. 

Come one, come all. A shout out to all wrestling fans of the world whether it be for the juggernaut WWE, the indie sensations ROH and NJPW or the quirky cinematic masterpiece that is Lucha Underground. 

This is the place to be...


'Nuff Said

Aneesh Raikundalia

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

HIndie Awards 2016: Best Picture [Comedy/Romantic]

Best Picture



So here goes, the final award of the night!

Yes, I know Talvar made a hell of a statement with it's multiple big wins but this film also struck gold at important junctures and while might not be as technically brilliant was overall the better one.

I'd tell you why but then you'd say I'm bias, also you'd know then who the winner is.

Yet, the winner in advance in my opinion never should take away from the other nominees, it is after all a big deal to be nominated and get this far, maybe that's why I was always a loser at the annual Sports Day.

Still at least the nominees beat these ones to the cake;

Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar for Dil Dhadakne Do: Yes, a dazzling rich people problems film but one with some intriguing characters and ideas that burst through the seams of the comedic-ally inept and emotionally vulnerable family.

Salman Khan and Rockline Venkatesh for Bajrangi Bhaijaan: Khan takes a glorious slightly different turn reigning in his mass persona for a very sweet and likeable film that shines the message of peace this world sorely needs for this day and age.

Nila Madhab Panda for Kaun Kitne Panee Mein: The Little Indie that tried, KKPM is a fable like feature that highlights the profundity of true love in the backdrop of a satirical peer into water scarcity.

Those are it, but what of the big five...where do they stand in the scheme of things and who takes it all away...which distributor smiles his darnedest when their efforts bear fruit?

The HIndie Award for Best Picture [Comedy/Romantic] nominees are...

HIndie Awards 2016: Best Picture [Drama]

Best Picture [Drama]

Drama is the life of cinema. 

At its core, every film in essence is a drama. That should highlight how profound every film is no matter which genre conventions it adheres to. 

Even when that dramatic stance takes a more comedic approache. Yet for a sake of genre respect and distinction of deserving films unfrotunately judged by a certain bias. 

So then by pure nature, these five films nominated may take a drama status they are indeed rife with different genre elements. There is a crime film here, an investigative thriller, a coming of age tale, a spiritual subversive revenge thriller and a poignant thematic film that would fit somewhere in realistic cinema. 

All in all some films ripe with great drama.

There are also some neat honorable mentions to consider...

Baby: Featuring Akshay Kumar at his finest and a film that takes the spy genre to another level in Hindi Cinema, Neeraj Pandey's interesting take makes great subversion of tropes as well as remaining patriotic but not jingoistic despite the Argo/Zero Dark Thirty inspirations in plot.

NH10: A shot in the arm for genre cinema with one hell of a protagonist boosting a thrilling horror ride.

Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!: It falters with plot but there's no denying the cinematic quality is top notch in this noir thriller.

Bombay Velvet: It fails on many levels but the sheer audacity of Bombay Velvet is too hard to ignore.

Gour Hari Dastaan: An eye opener, Dastaan misses by a whisker because Mahadevan is unwilling to add some zap to what is an intriguing premise yet doesn't fail to be true and just to his subject which is admirable.

Main aur Charles: If only this could be a prequel to explore more of Charles Sobhraj, or be a mini-series because there is more material on the exciting serial killer despite how honest his portrayal is here through the eyes of Amod Kanth.

Now onto the big award of the night, the HIndie Award for Best Picture [Drama] nominees are...

Saturday, 9 April 2016

HIndie Awards 2016: Best Director

Best Director

It's been a phenomenal year for film directors in Hindi cinema, specifically the debutantes/breakthroughs who shone so much that like I mentioned before; the five could easily have captured a spot here on the nomination ballot.

Outright the breakthrough direction winner; Neeraj Ghaywan was the best director of the year. That might read counterproductive, but it is the truth. It still doesn't take away from the fact that these five have accomplished a hell of a film with their efforts and in fact the five are so neck to neck, this is the only award I haven't pre-decided before I write [or before I wrote] this post.

Yet, it is not only these five that make the cut, here are some dazzling honorable mentions;

Neeraj Pandey for Baby: Making some neat subversion of film tropes and reeling tension from some terrific espionage moments, acting as a slick addition to the growing genre; Pandey once again proves he is one of the finest today. 

Anand L Rai for Tanu Weds Manu Returns: To blame on a narrative front, a lot of repetition and enhancement of characters to unrecognizable decibels doesn't denounce the fact that Rai really is a master at handling ensembles and providing moments of true genuine emotional heft e.g. Ja Ja Bewafa sequence or the Meeting of Kangana's moment. 

Zoya Akhtar for Dil Dhadakne Do: It might be made for a selective market, but kudos to Zoya Akhtar for once again bringing together a cast of game actors into a very well distributed ensemble piece packaged with some beauty and not resting on the laurels of its locales but rather the drama within as well.

Those three didn't hit the mark, but these five did; the nominees for the HIndie Award for Best Director are...

HIndie Awards 2016: Best Screenplay [Comedy/Romantic]

Best Screenplay [Comedy/Romantic]

Heading into the other half of the screenplay section, one can't help but see how effectively Comedy/Romantic films are all created in true essence on paper. There's no like resting on the laurels of simplistic gags, cliche tropes or even the improvisation of stellar actors. 

The films listed here are indeed a writers triumph and that's what makes the evolution of Hindi cinema so appealing. 

There's a plethora of writers here who are both making big head ways in Hindi cinema as well as newbies making a big crack. 

The difference of course however is that not all these five made a statement in the whole big picture ballot, that doesn't take away from how great this screenplays are or the fact that they aren't winners. 

Before that, here are a few that just didn't make the cut;

K.V. Vijayendra Prasad, Kabir Khan and Parveez Shaikh for Bajrangi Bhaijaan: Baradwaj Rangan puts it best, Southern filmmakers understand and respect Masala cinema much better and it shows in the story elements of Vijayendra Prasad's Bajrangi, however with some hiccups in its presentation level; it still maintains a good enough essence to be here. 

Imtiaz Ali for Tamasha: It has huge flaws no doubt on the scripting level, but Tamasha comes straight from the heart and how Ali bleeds the pen on paper is what makes this film a very innovative experience allowing the space for his visual flair to flow. 

And then there's these five, the HIndie Award for Best Screenplay [Comedy/Romantic] nominees...