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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...



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'Nuff Said

Aneesh Raikundalia

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

HIndie Awards 2016: Best Picture [Comedy/Romantic]




Best Picture

[Comedy/Romantic]

 



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...



HIndie Awards 2016: Best Screenplay [Drama]




Best Screenplay [Drama]

It's all about the screenplay. 

Don't believe me? Ask the Writer that makes the script. 

Don't believe me? Ask the Director that visualizes this script. 

Don't believe me? Ask the Producer that approves that script. 

Don't believe me? Ask the Actor that translate this script. 

Without the script there is no film, or to put it better there's no good film at the least. Though yes a bad script can also make a bad film no doubt. 

Screenplay writing is it. 

Still don't believe me? then even watch these honorable mentions and see what the scripts can do...

Sudip Sharma for NH10: While it's "inspiration" becomes a bit to questionable, there's a lot of flavor that Sharma extracts from this screenplay by literally putting the target audience into the shoes of the protagonist in presenting both a hellish genre film but also a poignant reflection on regressive patriarchal traditions. 

Upendra Sidhaye for Drishyam: Destroyed by Nishikant's treatment of overblowing a very subtle and powerful film, it's buried by the screenplay itself of course but even amidst the butchering done by Sidhaye and his director sometimes the moral complexities of Jeetu Joseph's work shines through. 

C.P Surendran for Gour Hari Dastaan: Slowed down by some of the dry plotting of the film, that character exploration in Gour Hari Dastaan is however an interesting subject piece that is handled with dexterity and reverence for the subject. 

And now the five nominees for the HIndie Award for Best Screenplay [Drama]...



Monday, 4 April 2016

HIndie Awards 2016: Best Actor [Female] in A Leading Role [Comedy/Romantic]




Best Actor [Female]

in a

Leading Role [Comedy/Romantic]

 

 

Year by year, Hindi cinema is taking great strides in making sure female actors have prominent roles in cinema especially when it comes to headlining their own films. The Comedy/Romantic genres have always catered to this notion. 

This year once again, we have a list of five actors who comprise of women at the top of their game and some real genuine finds of the year. To this women and more, this award is dedicated. 

Speaking of the more, a small select of women couldn't make the top cut but their non-nominations are not a reflection on the flaws of their performance but rather how dazzling a year it has been in the progress of applause worthy female roles. Here are these honorable mentions; 

Sonam Kapoor for Doli Ki Dolly: She's growing from strength to strength, this one is a small step stifled by a terribly constructed film but still Sonam manages to leave a strong mark. 

Kangana Ranaut for Katti Batti: Mired by one of the most terrible films, Kangana doesn't manage to come out unscathed but kudos to her for trying as hard as she can [and this effort shows] with the material. 

Nushrat Barucha for Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2: Stuck in a rut with bitchy girlfriend characters, Barucha's talents in general not just for comedic gold, are being wasted. She's a fine actor and with a few changes to her character from the prequel version, manages to give a different performance all together.

Alia Bhatt for Shaandar: With such an affable and charismatic persona, Alia Bhatt catches your eyeballs despite how tedious Shaadar is. Giving it a little bit of spark, unfortunately not enough to light up the film completely. 

Deepika Padukone for Tamasha and Bajirao Mastani: A career best year, each role of Padukone's this year takes a spot in the top three with these two slightly missing the cut .


As you can see with the above listed names, most of them were affected by their respective films and the content delivered to them. It's a telling sign that there are hungry actors busting with talent that can send this equality matter to the stratosphere and toss it away once great content [which is slowly growing] blooms. 

Anyways, let's turn our eyes to the five. Now, the fact is simple; whoever wins this award gave the best Leading Performance and to be honest, Best Performance of the past year in Hindi cinema. That's a great statement. 

Anyways onto the nominees for the HIndie Award for Best Actor [Female] in A Leading Role [Comedy/Romantic]...