Tag Archives: cinema

Trapped (2017)

Trapped Review

written by Souranath Banerjee

Up above the sky so high, invisible to the world, you cry, whisper and sigh!   

My Ratings: 4.1/5

When was the last time you were in a spot where there was no food and water – like literally – ultimate survival crisis – and you have to hunt animals for food and go ‘Morarji-Desai’ for your drink?

I know what you will say – that such extreme situations are only for the celluloid; like the shipwrecked Tom Hanks in Cast Away, marooned in an island with no company other than the mute round-faced Wilson; then there was this young James Franco who accidentally put his leg in-between some boulders and sat stuck Trapped-Poster-5alone for 127 Hours. I think WALL·E also did a decent job, forlorned up in the space – but then, he didn’t get much hungry or thirsty, if you know what I mean!

Now what if someone gets ‘trapped’ in an apartment, an ordinary flat in a multystored and otherwise uninhabited building, right in the middle of the concrete urban jungle (say around Mumbai’s Prabhadevi area); cooped up for days, without food, water, phone or electricity, entirely cut off from the outer world – with a birds-eye view of the entire city but still invisible to everyone!

This is exactly what happened to Shaurya (Rajkummar Rao), when he by a twist of fate gets locked inside an apartment in a high-rise, without any hope of ever getting rescued!

Trapped-Poster-1And the most scary part in the film comes from the sensation that it can actually happen to any of us so called ‘city-people’ out here!

Salute to the writers Amit Joshi and Hardik Mehta for such a brilliant idea and script. And then what a marvellous ‘jugalbandhi’ from director Vikramaditya Motwane and performer Rajkummar Rao!

National Award winning actor Rajkummar Rao was outstanding in the film. The combination of Rao’s boy-next-door looks and his brilliant portrayal of someone desperate for survival is what makes the film so real.

And for director Mr.Motwane, with only one character to tell his story, that too pinned in one location, he still managed to successfully Trapped-Poster-3grasp the attention of the audience till the very end!

Another very interesting human psychology portrayed in the film is that, when someone is in the brink of possible extinction, it is the general human tendency to discover an unfamiliar longing for some of the most banal things in their lives.

For example in the film, Shaurya trapped for days, often hallucinating from stress and malnourishment, never desired or yearned for anything particularly unique or remarkable. Rather he wished to relive those regular day to day events; his journey to the office in those overcrowded Mumbai local trains packed with sweaty co-passengers, those crammed up buses with irritating conductors, a simple plate of pav-bhaji with a dash of butter on top – in the time of an inevitable Trapped-Poster-4catastrophe the most ordinary things from our life become so special and desirable!

Geetanjali Thapa, in the short role as the love of Shaurya’s life was commendable, though honestly I thought her character wasn’t really required in the film other than the simple incentive for Shaurya to hunt for a place.

Siddharth Diwan‘s cinematography makes the film look very real while Nitin Baid‘s editing keeps it crisp and to the point. Alokananda Dasgupta‘s music works well, very subtle and used only when required. 

I just thank God, Shaurya has musophobia (fear of rats) and not vertigo (fear of heights), or else, it would have all gone down pretty worse!

Poster courtesy: www.moviescut.com

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BEST PRISON ESCAPE MOVIES EVER MADE (10+1LIST)

Best prison escape movies ever made.

written by Sriram Sundar

Prison films are generally classified into two categories: the first type is the escape-drama where the jailbirds desperately attempts to break away from high security prisons, and the second category is more focused on the life inside the prison walls.

Now these Jailbreak movies are spiked with high dozes of suspense and tension; and most often you start sympathising with the convict and his desperate attempts for freedom – but then can he succeed in his attempt to break free or remain trapped in the system?

Well, let’s check out the fate of the prisoner in some of these Best prison escape movies ever made.

10. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hB3S9bIaco

Covering a period from 1946 to 1967, Shawshank focuses on the plight of a Maine banker, Andy Dufresne who sentenced to two life terms for the murder of his wife and lover.

Directed by Frank Darabont, this film was also nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Morgan Freeman as Ellis Redding, the veteran inmate of Shawshank State Prison who takes Tim Robbins (Andy Dufresne) under his wing. The greatest movie ever made..! Period.

9. Papillon (1973)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lW_IWHw3z-U

Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, this  movie is based on a book by the same name authored by Henri Charriere, a former convict and fugitive from Devil’s Island and though the work is fiction, the background is entirely based on real events.

Papillon  (Steve McQueen) is charged with a crime he hasn’t committed, and Luis Dega (Dustin Hoffman), a fraud banker is convicted on counterfeit charges. Bound by mutual necessity, they soon become friends during their journey to Devil’s Island.

8. Escape from Alcatraz (1979)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSS0fH9zzFY

Directed by Don Siegel, this film is a little slow and doesn’t move in a breakneck pace but still, it is listed as a “classic” on most movie review sites,

Clint Eastwood strolled through this movie naturally as Frank Morris, a soft spoken, solitary prisoner who was destined to escape Alcatraz. Been rated PG (“parental guidance suggested”) as it includes some explicit violence, bloodshed and obscene language.

7. Anything for Her (2008)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBZVsLoSsDU

Police burst into the house of happily married schoolteacher Julien (Vincent Lindon) and arrest his wife, Lisa (Diane Kruger) on suspicion of murdering her female boss. She’s given a 20-year sentence and he’s left to raise their small son.  As time passes, diabetic Lisa stops taking her insulin in an attempted suicide and Lucien feels that time is running out to keep his family together. He goes about meticulously planning her escape – but how does one go about breaking someone out of prison?

Directed by Fred Cavayé, it is a fast-paced and engrossing thriller that gained a nomination for Best First Work at the César Awards in 2009.

6. The Great Escape (1963)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkwmIDx9RwQ

This movie tells the story of a group of prisoners of war who try to escape from a Nazi POW camp during World War II, with the help of a meticulous and ingenious plan. Steve McQueen epitomizes the attitude with his frequent shenanigans.

Directed by John Sturges, “The Great Escape” is regarded as one of the greatest WWII films ever. The movie starts  with the signature theme tune that is heard around many football grounds even today.

5. The Hole (1960)

Le trou (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oK7fZrSC6VA

Five prisoners housed in a French prison during the late 1940s awaiting sentence break through their cell floor, enter the insides of the prison, and get to the sewer system from where they can break into the regular sewage setup and finally freedom. But the best-laid plans are foiled by a newcomer who turns them in.

Sadly, this was Director Jacques Becker‘s last film – he died just a few weeks after filming on Le Trou had been completed.

4. Stalag 17 (1953)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T86RDFgzC5U

Directed by Billy WilderStalag 17 begins with two prisoners from the barrack who, after careful planning with the rest of inmates try to escape the camp but are discovered & shot down. It is  a light-hearted thriller drama that makes you laugh all along.

All eyes fall on Sgt. Sefton (William Holden) who frequently makes exchanges with German guards for small luxuries. To protect himself from a mob of his enraged fellow inmates, Sgt. Sefton resolves to find the true traitor within their midst.

3. La Grande Illusion (1937)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hctrYzVYmfM

Director Jean Renoir tells us the story of a group of French soldiers who are held captive in prisoner of war camps during the First World War, the war that was to end all wars.

Lieutenant Marechal (Jean Gabin) is a pilot and blue collar guy while Captain de Boldieu is an aristocrat. They are shot down by Captain von Rauffenstein, a German aristocrat, while flying a reconnaissance mission. This movie received an Oscar nomination for best motion picture of the year.

2. Midnight Express (1978)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buDEEC7tKv4

‘Midnight Express’ takes you into a world where the only thing that can keep you alive in this horrible real world is bravery.  This film also won two Oscars; ‘Best Music, Original Score’ and ‘Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.

Directed by Alan Parker, it is the true story of Billy Hayes (Brad Davis), an American tourist who gets caught trying to smuggle several kilos of hashish out of the country.

1. A Man Escaped (1956)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6nHFpKK6Lc

“When one is in prison, the most important thing is the door.”
– Robert Bresson

Based on the memoirs of André Devigny, who escaped from Fort Montlucin Lyonin 1943, during World War II, ‘A Man Escaped’ tells the story of Fontaine (François Leterrier), a member of the French Resistance who is imprisoned by the Nazis in Montluc prison after an unsuccessful escape attempt.

Director Robert Bressons masterpiece is still a pinnacle in French cinema.

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch.

+1. I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QvF2FZZftY

For director Mervyn LeRoy, with a career that spanned more than three decades, ‘I am a Fugitive from a Chain’ Gang represented one of his first major successes.

James Allen (Paul Muni) is wrongfully convicted of a crime and is sent to work in a chain gang where he first encounters this living hell. He spends years of being treated like an animal by the inhumane prison system. But he waits, biding his time for the perfect moment to make a break for freedom.

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BEST ROMANTIC FILMS Of Recent Times (10+1LIST)

Best Romantic Films of recent times!

written by Sriram Sundar and Souranath Banerjee.

‘We are most alive when we’re in love.’

Honestly, watching a saccharine romantic movie with THE special one by your side, a hot tub of popcorn within your reach, and then some chocolates and two curvy glasses of red wine – I don’t know about you but that definitely makes me feel alive. And how!

So, here is the special list of The Best Romantic films of Recent times – believe it or not, this list has been checked and approved by none other than St. Valentine himself!

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10. Annie Hall (1977)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqVgCfZX-yE

Best Romantic films

Annie Hall is widely regarded for possessing one of the finest scripts of all-time, and rightly so. This exceptionally funny and yet melancholy film is a miracle of comic writing and romance.

Woody Allen and Diane Keaton have the perfect chemistry and both create brilliant emotional parallels for their characters.  A must watch romantic film – one of Allen’s best Cinema ever!

 9. When Harry Met Sally… (1989)

 Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8DgDmUHVto

Best Romantic filmsMeg Ryan and Billy Crystal play Sally and Harry respectively, as they create an epic romantic chemistry on screen!

It’s 1977 and they share a ride from Chicago to New York. She’s fresh out of college, hoping to crack the journalism market; he’s romantically involved and onward to a political consultancy career. Are they compatible for love?

Directed by Rob Reiner, a fantastic film that defines what all romantic comedies should be! 

8. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmax1C1p660

Best Romantic films

London based Raj and Simran (Kajol) are happily leading their normal lives but a trip to Europe lands them into a surprise meeting with each other only to turn into love. While Simran’s father has fixed her marriage with his childhood friend’s son, Simran falling in love with someone else is not acceptable. Through this film, Shah Rukh Khan gave the name ‘Raj’ a whole new meaning!

Director Aditya Chopra, a historical film from India that will probably be watched for generations to come. 

7. Before Sunrise (1995)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25v7N34d5HE

Best Romantic filmsTwo people Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy meet each other, begin to talk and decide to spend the day and night together in Vienna. They spend some time in a church at midnight. They drink wine in a park. They find a way to exchange personal information by holding imaginary cphone calls with imaginary best friends. They talk about making love.

Directed by Richard Linklater, it is an ideal film for teenagers that keeps messing with your head long after it ends.

6. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05i3eIuJLaU

Best Romantic films

‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ chronicled the story of a mother, played by Rani Mukerji, who leaves eight letters for her daughter before her death, so that she can unite her father Shah Rukh Khan with his best friend, enacted by Kajol, as she believed he loved her.

Directed by Karan Johar created history when it released; not only was the film a roaring commercial success, it also brought in a wave of western concepts and style that were never-heard-before of in India! 

5. The Notebook (2004)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FC6biTjEyZw

Best Romantic filmsThis romantic drama, directed by Nick Cassavetes will make you fall in love and also make you cry for quite some time even after it ends.

The film recreated effectively the world of the 1940s in America, including the parental pressure exerted by the well-to-do family of Allie (Rachel McAdams) on whether to allow their daughter to pursue a young man from the other side of the tracks.  It moves between present-day and the 1940s. Ryan Gosling, as a patient suffering from Alzheimer’s is just brilliant. 

4. 50 First Dates (2004)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErjP5xMTc8I

Best Romantic filmsHenry Roth ( Adam Sandler) lives in Hawaii and spend his time wooing women who are visiting the island, simply because there is little chance of commitment. Then he meets Lucy Whitmore (Drew Barrymore). One day they hit it off, and the next she doesn’t even recognise him. It turns out that she suffers from short-term memory loss, and every day he tries to win her over once more.

Directed by Peter Segal, this film is a lighthearted take on the notion of amnesia, with the emphasis clearly billed around a love story.

3. (500) Days of Summer (2009)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsD0NpFSADM

Best Romantic films

Directed by Marc Webb, this one is not exactly your typical romantic film, but yet so full of Romance!

“This is a story of boy meets girl but you should know up front’ this is not a love story.” 

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is in love with Zooey Deschanel from the moment he met her.  But the relationship that lasts only for 500 days, is unfortunately a doomed one. the problem – he believes in love and she doesn’t!

2. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lj5_FhLaaQQ

Best Romantic films

Silver Linings Playbook opens with the release from a mental institution of the explosive Bradley Cooper after eight months’ incarceration. He’s been diagnosed as bipolar after beating up a fellow high school teacher.

Pain is the subtext of nearly every interaction in this film that is directed by David O. RussellWith Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro along with Brad this definetly is one of the very few feel-good movies that is so refreshing to watch even now. 

1. The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ItBvH5J6ss

Best Romantic films

Based on John Green’s bestselling novel, directed by Josh Boonethis film offers the first-person accounts of Shailene Woodley, a bright 16-year-old who can hardly remember not living with cancer.

When this incredibly charming 18-year-old Ansel Elgort appears to take a thing for her, at a mutual cancer support group, and soon their fates are sealed together. Do have some tissues ready when you plan to watch it!

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch)

+1. Titanic (1997)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2e-eXJ6HgkQ

Best Romantic filmsDirected by James Cameron, its $200 million budget shows in its glorious effects, dazzling camera work and lavish sets to name a few. ”Titanic” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). It includes partial nudity, one brief sexual situation, mild profanity and the soul-shaking sight of a great ship going down.

But the most important aspect of the film is the love story between Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet! This epic movie re-wrote the history of Cinema in numerous ways.

Poster courtesy:  www.imdb.com

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Silence (2016)

Silence Review

written by Souranath Banerjee

A film apparently waiting to be made for the last two decades; is it really worth the wait?

My Ratings: 4/5

Finally Martin Scorsese unfolds his latest, his so called ‘passion project’, and his third religion-based movie after The Last silence-reviewTemptation of Christ in 1988 and Kundun in 1997. And it’s an absolute beauty!

I pray but I am lost. Am I just praying to silence?’

Adopted from Shûsaku Endô‘s novel by the same name, it’s a tale about two Jesuit missionaries Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Garupe (Adam Driver) who travel all the way to Japan to confirm the fact that one of their mentors, Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson) has publicly denounced God!

‘The moment you set foot in that country, you step into high danger.’

An eternal conflict about faith, religion and theology that seems to have no conclusive ending, or may be there is one?

silence-reviewThe film manifests some top notch performances specially by Andrew Garfield who is undoubtedly the most promising young actor of recent times!

Adam Driver is also superb and Liam Neeson as the wise controversial Father excels without fail. Even the Japanese cast Yôsuke KubozukaShin’ya TsukamotoTadanobu AsanoIssei Ogata and Yoshi Oida – they all have made their presence felt in the film.

Rodrigo Prieto does wonders shooting the mysterious foggy outdoors of Japan, and three times Oscar winning editor Thelma Schoonmaker creates magic with the images!

silence-poster2And composer duo Kathryn Kluge and Kim Allen Kluge truly do justice to the score of Silence.

Surprisingly non-commercial, even a bit too arty and poetic contrary to Scorsese’s usual raw, gritty and direct approach but then again it’s a 2h 41min of absolute visual brilliance.

It so much reminds you of Akira Kurosawa‘s work, not only because of Japan being the backdrop but also for the overall treatment and space used throughout the film.

‘I worry, they value these poor signs of faith more than faith itself. But how can we deny them?’

The premiere of Silence was held at the Vatican; and for me it matches up to be one of the best films directed by Scorsese till date – ‘Sometimes silence is the deadliest sound.’ 

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com.

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BEST THRILLERS OF 2016 (10+1 LIST)

Best thrillers of 2016

written by Sriram Sundar

The greatest fascination and thrill for any person is the study of human psychology and behaviour. Such mind-games for survival creates an extraordinary atmosphere of mystery and intrigue! There is no greater thrill than pitting one’s mind with a worthy opponent and staying a step ahead in the psychological war-fare.

Very often, thrillers have complex story lines and can be challenging to follow, so as a viewer you are always guessing what is going to happen next.

So let us begin the list of the Best Thrillers of 2016 where you can experience danger without actually being in danger.

10. The Eyes of My Mother

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gp2adx_ScA8

This one is not for the easily queasy audience. It is a stark, dreadful vision – but one that is fascinatingly executed, with a compelling central performance from Kika Magalhaes as a matter-of-fact monster!

Directed by debutant Nicolas Pesce, this is about a young girl exposed to unimaginable tragedy. And then being shot in black and white makes it more intense to watch!

9. Hush

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_P8WCbhC6s

A deaf woman takes on a psychopathic killer in a hugely effective film that recalls the opening of ‘Scream’.

Directed by Mike Flanagan, this film is about a mystery writer Maddie (Kate Siegel) who is unaware of her friend Sarah is being massacred feet away from her — pounding on her back door for help, too desperate to realize her Maddie can’t hear her! And then it’s her turn, to run, to defend herself or to fight it out till the very end.

8. The Boy

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpIbO6HEwr8

Greta (Lauren Cohan) arrives for a nanny job to a storybook mansion deep in the English countryside, to find dark corridors, creaking floors, mysterious owners, and a porcelain doll who is being treated as a person alive!

Director William Brent Bell masters the slow build, making us wonder throughout the film who’s crazy and who’s not!

7. The Girl on the Train

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkoEE1i0CX8

Rachel (Emily Blunt), devastated by her recent divorce, spends her daily commute fantasizing about the seemingly perfect couple who live in a house that her train passes every day, until one morning she sees something shocking happen there and becomes entangled in the mystery that unfolds.

A thriller about an alcoholic’s struggle to make sense of a close-to-home murder as well as her own mind. Directed by Tate Taylor, this film is based on Paula Hawkins’ bestselling novel.

6. Nocturnal Animals

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-H1Ii1LjyFU

When Susan (Amy Adams) receives a manuscript from her ex-husband, Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal) and as she continues to read she has flashbacks to how her own relationship!

(Click for review)

A violent thriller directed by Tom Ford, Michael Shannon being Oscar nominated for his performance in the Best Actor Supporting Role category. 

5. 10 Cloverfield Lane

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saHzng8fxLs

After getting in a car accident, a woman is held in a shelter with two men, who claim the outside world is affected by a widespread chemical attack.

(Click for review)

Directed by Dan Trachtenberg, this film does a spectacular job of capturing nightmare logic. You sense danger even if you can’t explain it.

4. Don’t Breathe

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76yBTNDB6vU

What can $300,000 make you do? Three teenage thieves – Rocky (Jane Levy), Money (Daniel Zovatto) and Alex (Dylan Minnette) – desperate to make enough money and leave for a better life in California, break into the house of a blind Army veteran Norman Nordstrom (Stephen Lang).

(Click for review)

Directed by Fede Alvarez, this isn’t just any old home invasion thriller but it understands the limitations of the genre and works wonders within them!

3. Hounds of Love

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tddlYXhgFoo

Ben Young‘s first feature is an unflinching immersion into the nightmare of a teenage girl Vicki (Ashleigh Cummings), abducted and tortured by a serial-killer couple. But it doesn’t end there!

The strange dynamics between the couple Evelyn (Emma Booth) and John (Stephen Curry) as seen from the eyes of their captive is the essence of the film. A raw tensed thriller indeed!

2. Hell or High Water

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQoqsKoJVDw

Toby (Chris Pine) and ex-con loose cannon Tanner (Ben Foster) stage a series of heists against various branches of the bank, all the while pursued by Jeff Bridges, on deliciously crusty form as a Texas ranger nearing the end of his career.

Directed by David Mackenzie, this film is highly recommended not only for those who like bank robberies and persecutions, but also those who enjoy a good, well narrated film with a clever script and good direction.

1. Elle

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-iBBgcp7PY

Michèle (Isabelle Huppert) when attacked in her home by an unknown assailant vows to track the man down, but soon they are both drawn into a curious and thrilling game – a game that may, at any moment, spiral out of control and destroy them.

(Click for review)

Directed by Paul Verhoeven, this film is one hell of a erotic thriller!

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch)

+1. The Neon Demon

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cipOTUO0CmU

 Sixteen-year-old Jesse (Elle Fanning) arrives in Los Angeles with dreams of being a model. She struggles to assert herself, making it a necessity for Dean, and concerned make-up artist Ruby (Jena Malone) to become more than just foils.

(Click for review)

Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, the women in this movie are all impossibly beautiful and incredibly shallow at the same time. Stellar performances, amazing visuals and a unique storyline will cement this as a cult classic.

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

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In Conversation with Sanjeev Gupta – director of the award winning film Q

In Conversation with Sanjeev Gupta – director of the award winning film Q

interviewed by Souranath Banerjee

Hello Sanjeev, welcome to Cinema Forensic.

Thank you!

Your debut film ‘Q’ have already taken rounds in some of the most prestigious national and international festivals, and now it’s being released on Netflix! How do you feel about it?

Ya, it feels great!

sanjeev gupta photo 1Q has been selected in many festivals around the world and the response has always been positive.

Earlier I did plan for a theatrical release for my film but while waiting for the CBFC’s response I got the opportunity to show it to Netflix. And I instantly went for it and it got selected as well. I feel so lucky that they have picked up Q. Netflix, as a platform, has a huge audience across 180 countries. That’s the best part. With a deal like this, you know your film will be internationally watched.

Congratulations on the film’s release! Now tell me something about your film Q, what is it about and how did you come up with this concept?

Q is a film about a little girl and her relations with people surrounding her, and then those who come in contact with her, and their combined destiny as the characters go through an incredible journey that comes to an unpredictable end.

Actually I keep watching many documentaries and take much interest in the news and other world affairs. So this concept of Q is Q landscape posterinspired through many such real events that I happened to notice over the time. Though not based on one particular incident, my film is a fictional version of many such realities of life.

And since it’s a very realistic story it needed a realistic treatment as well. No background music used in the film, only Foley sounds and on location recorded natural ambience sounds. I wanted to make sure the audience feel the realism and be a part of it.

That’s  brilliant! Tell me something about you, how did you get inclined in making films, when did you decide to be a filmmaker?

I grew up in Agra and was always into films but never thought it will be my profession of course (smiles).

But then I watched one particular film Shatranj Ke Khilari by none other than Satyajit Ray and it did change something in me. I started gollapudi-srinivas-national-award-2014-111looking at films in a different way! Then, after my degree in Media Studies from Pune, I came to Mumbai and tried to assist people to learn the craft of making movies. But since I had no connection in the film industry I didn’t get any exposure. I did various odd jobs and side by side went on exploring filmmaking.

Finally I wrote my own script and started to narrate it to individual producers and production houses. Then after facing numerous rejections I finally met my producer who believed in me.

And that is how my first film ‘Q’ got made (smile).

Don’t you think that with films like Q you Independent filmmakers are the reason why the indie-film scenario is improving in India?

Yes may be it does. But honestly I have a problem when some filmmakers are called independent filmmakers and some not.

IMG-20140929-WA0006Today I choose to make “Q” and tomorrow I may choose to direct a fantasy film or a VFX film, may be even supported by some production house. But ultimately it’s my films, my story and my way of telling them. I even don’t like such categories like, festival film, theatrical film or an online film – films are films, stories are stories and filmmakers are filmmakers!

All the images are exclusively provided only for the use of this article.

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Lion (2016)

Lion Review

written by Souranath Banerjee

 A passionate narrative that celebrates both emotions and technology at the same time!

My Ratings: 4.1/5

80,000 children go missing in India every year never again to be reunited with their families, unfortunate indeed.

But then how many of these lost children are fortunate enough to get adopted by some kind-hearted couple from Tasmania, who are lion-poster1not only willing to give them their family name, but also enough love and affection, education and freedom to relive their own lives?

Well, Saroo a kid from rural India who loves Jalebis, happened to be one such unfortunate, yet fortunate soul!

At the age of five an unintentional train journey took him to an unknown city, alone in the streets, miserable and hungry, missing his family, and on the verge of getting exploited. But then, he survives, was sent to an orphanage and from there taken for adoption by Brierley family from Tasmania!

The first half of Saroo’s tale is dramatic enough to be made into a motion picture but the story doesn’t end there!

lion-posterAfter 25 years Saroo decides to find his roots, his village, his people, his family – he comes back to India in search of his brother and mother!

Exceptional performance by Dev Patel as Saroo, supposedly he had spent eight months preparing for his role! But more surprising was debutant Sunny Pawar‘s role, who played the part of young Saroo and stole the show!

Then of course Nicole Kidman (a great come back for her), David Wenham and Rooney Mara all made their presence felt. The Indian actors – Tannishtha ChatterjeeNawazuddin SiddiquiDeepti NavalKoushik SenAbhishek Bharate all shined in their cameos. But again the performance of Priyanka Bose as Saroo’s mother deserves a special mention, she is so natural yet subtle!

lion-poster2Brilliantly shot by Greig Fraser and edited by Alexandre de Franceschi. And also well complemented by the music of Volker Bertelmann and Dustin O’Halloran.

Since Saroo used Google Earth to try and locate his origins, Google have helped in the production of the film and gave the crew satellite imagery access and other technical support.

Director Garth Davis‘s Lion will remind you of Slumdog Millionaire but then for me it’s an entirely different treatment and story, after all it’s based on a true story!

P.S. – But why does the film named ‘Lion‘? Well, for a very good reason but you have to watch it to find it out!

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com.

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IN CONVERSATION WITH SALONY LUTHRA FOR HER UPCOMING SHORT FILM ‘KAJAL’

In Conversation With Salony Luthra For Her Upcoming Short Film ‘Kajal’

interviewed by Sriram Sundar

Congratulations Salony on your brilliant performance in the short film ‘Kajal’.

Thank you very much!

Tell me something about your role in the film?

‘Kajal’ was a special journey for me!

It’s about a woman’s personal strength. And there are a lot of people who try to curb that, but then once you realize your inner power, it’s a totally different scene all together.

While I was doing the film I realized that we let so many people kill our personality and dominate us. Somebody will say something not nice to you and you start feeling you are not good enough. If that keeps happening over a period of time, you tend to lose your existence. It has happened to me as well, so ‘Kajal’ became a personal journey where I once again realized that I need to make something out of my life and not do something just for the sake of others!

Nowadays there are a lot of films based on women empowerment and ‘Kajal’ is also on those lines. So do you think the situation here in India is getting better or is it still the same?

In India, the conditioning of women is very different to the women in the west. As women, we are brought up in a way where our parent’s happiness and dreams are more important than our own. Our social structure is like that. After marriage, if your husband is liberal then you get to see a different side of life otherwise it’s going to be the same mundane lifestyle for you. Parental pressure for women is such that you forget your own personality. As women, we are very powerful but in India, we are not made to understand that. Hope people change their attitude towards women after this.

How did you prepare for the role? How hard was it to get into such a character?

Pakhi Tyrewala sent me the script when I was shooting for a Tamil film in Singapore. She also wanted me to put on weight for this.

I started observing women around me, like in bus stops, trains where they do not say much and just let things happen to them. Silence can be captured only when you are genuinely silent and it is more about what is happening inside you. So I guess I have given my best and done proper justice to the role (smiles).

What is your dream role?

My role in Tamil film ‘Sarabham’ is once in a lifetime kind of a role. The play that I am working on now is a two-actor play that any actor would break her legs for. I look for roles that empower me at the end of the day.

I have been fortunate to get the roles that I have done till now. I would also love explore World Cinema like French or Iranian films as I don’t feel the language as a barrier!

You gave us an award-winning performance in Tamil film ‘Sarabham’, you are part of several advertising campaigns and you are also doing theatre. So what kind of similarities or differences do you find between theatre, ads and movies?

All are beautiful forms of expression according to me. I had to do a lot of preparation for the Tamil films, as I was not familiar with the language. I like doing performance oriented roles but I will do commercial films if there is something interesting for me to perform as an actor. In theatre, being on stage with dialogues and so much happening around you is just a different feel. Ads are also very realistic and natural. For me, they are all very different and interesting mediums.

Great! And what are your upcoming projects?

Tamil short film ‘Oliyum Oliyum’ is doing the festival rounds right now. My play “Blackbird” is happening at National School of Drama’s (NSD) reputed International Theatre Festival ‘Bharangam’. I recently shot for an international film called ‘Forbidden’ which is also about the journey of my life. So those are in the pipeline.

Wish you all the best Salony and thank you very much for talking to CinemaForensic!

Thank you! Thank you so much.

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BEST HORROR FILMS OF RECENT TIMES (10+1LIST)

Best horror films of recent times

written by Souranath Banerjee

Be afraid of the dark, be afraid of the dazzling light; be afraid of the spirits and demons, and the devil who takes the human plight. Yes, believe it or not, a bit of evil exits in everyone of us, even in our shadows and specially in the absence of it!

Similar Interest: Best Asian Horror Films

Similar Interest: Best horror Comedies

And the following list is of the Best Horror films of recent times that will make you admit that ‘fear’ has no form, and the best thing to do is to accept its existence and surrender to it.

At least for now, surrender to these Horror Films – embrace the terror and enjoy the list!

10. Lights Out (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LiKKFZyhRU

Best Horror films of recent timesSomething supernatural that exists in the darkness, haunts and hunts only when the light is out!

Directed by David F. Sandberg, this is the story of a kid terrified by some presence that soon needs to be investigated.

A creepy movie with lots of jump scare moments and cool editing along with the flickering of light and darkness. A decent one time watch.

9. Annabelle (2014)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paFgQNPGlsg

Best Horror films of recent timesAnnabelle being the ugliest collector’s item is gifted by a caring husband to his loving pregnant wife but soon enough Annabelle gets cursed by some blood thirsty Satan lovers.

(Click for Review)

Directed by John R. Leonetti, this is a prequel of the popular Conjuring series –The Conjuring and the latest The Conjuring 2.

8. The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYKANIDQlwU

Best Horror films of recent timesA father-son coroner duo, trying their best to identify the unidentified body of a young woman and while doing so they accidentally unveil the mystery surrounding her death!

Directed by André Øvredal, this film has the rare ability to scare you not only by it’s visuals but also through the sound effects intelligently put together to get the maximum effect on the audience.

7. It Follows (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ymoh5SIqgtw

Best Horror films of recent timesThe after effects of a sexual encounter can sometimes go very wrong, even disastrous. But this particular film takes the after-sex complications to a different level altogether!

A young girl is being followed by some supernatural powers since she had a fun-filled night. Directed by David Robert Mitchell, the film has numerous panic moments and overall a perfect overall sense of tension.

6. Crimson Peak (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLWsNDZqXpo

Best Horror films of recent timesDirected by Guillermo del Toro, a film that is a perfect blend of fear and deception, hatred and revenge, and horror of course.

(Check for Review)

An ancient house that has memories to share. And when the newly married girl comes to stay in there, she is automatically the chosen one who opens the gates of the past gloomy tales and reveal many unpleasant secrets.

5. The Wailing (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43uAputjI4k

Best Horror films of recent timesIn a remote village a series of unnatural deaths perplex both the villagers and the police. And an investigation begins!

(Click for review)

Directed by Hong-jin Na, this South Korean horror movie is visually pleasing or rather unsettling; dark images, often pretty violent and savage, perfect for the overall mood of the film.

4. Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HxEXnVSr1w

Best Horror films of recent timesA prequel to the first two installments of Insidious, the very root of the Lambert family’s trouble, the reason why they were repeatedly being haunted and tormented by all these evil spirits.

(Check for Review)

Directed by Leigh Whannell, the film focuses on the gifted Elise Rainier who tries her best to relieve a young girl from the clutches of the demons. 

The previous instalments being Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013) and Insidious (2010) and they both are worth your time and scare.

3. The Conjuring 2 (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFsmuRPClr4

Best Horror films of recent timesParanormal investigators Lorraine and Ed Warren is back and this time they end up in Northern London to help a single mother with four children who are being terrified by some evil spirit.

Directed by acclaimed horror-director James Wan, very tensed and creepy, this film manages to give you some very good scares mostly through brilliant editing and perfectly timed music.

2. The Witch (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjBN0ByAqDk

Best Horror films of recent timesperiod horror drama based in 1630s, when a family in New England becomes the victim of witchcraft, evil forces, black magic and possession.

(Click for review)

A chilling string of events including a missing newborn and the failure of the crops which eventually leads to fear, paranoia and brutal injustice. Director Robert Eggers‘s take on infamous “Salem Witch Trials” of Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 

  1. Under the Shadow (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHVFP80Upxw

Best Horror films of recent timesSet in the backdrop of the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, a mother daughter living in Tehran struggles to cope with the war as well as some mysterious presence in their apartment that keeps haunting them.

(Click for Review)

Directed by Babak Anvari, this Persian film is probably the most well made horror film of the recent times. A must watch! 

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most disturbing and realist one. A must watch).

+1. Before I Wake (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ho2Z0LtXsbY

Best Horror films of recent timesIf dreams could become reality the world would have been such a beautiful place. But then, what happens when you have the nightmares?

(Click for review)

Directed by Mike Flanagan, this terrifying film is based on an orphan boy whose dreams (and nightmares) come to life. And his new foster parents desperately need to find the source of the young boy’s disturbing nightmares before it’s too late!

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comen.wikipedia.org.

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In Conversation with Sridhar Rangayan – the National Award winning director of Gulabi Aaina.

In Conversation with Sridhar Rangayan – the National Award winning director of films like Gulabi Aaina and Breaking Free!

interviewed by Souranath Banerjee

Hi Sridhar Sir, Welcome to Cinema Forensic.

Thank you so much!

You made the path-breaking cinema ‘Gulabi Aaina’ back in 2003 and sadly enough it was banned in India for all these years. Finally in 2017 it’s getting released on Netflix! Tell me all about the journey of this film!

Ya Gulabi Aaina was my first film. We made it in 2002, because there was hardly anything in terms of LGBT cinema apart from may be few films like, Riyad Wadia’s Bomgay (1996).

Back then, we pitched this concept about ‘two gay people in love’ to several channels but they kept rejecting it because of the content. For them it was not appropriate for the family audience. And so, finally we only decided to make Gulabi Aaina, it was a self-funded project.

We shot on a shoestring budget, and we got help from many friends of ours who believed in the project. Also before this, I did a lot of In Conversation with Sridhar Rangayantelevision, so I kind of had a goodwill too. But that time we did not have any aspirations like who will be the target audience or how are we going to promote this film, festivals or release or this and that. All we wanted was to make the film!

Getting somebody for the character of ‘Samir’, who plays this bisexual guy in the film, was a little difficult because no body wanted to play that role. Getting the drag queens were relatively easy because I knew them, I mean they were real life drag queens whom I asked to act in my film.

And then the Indian Censor Board said it was vulgar and offensive, but the fact is there’s absolutely nothing vulgar in Gulabi Aaina!

Actually the problem was that they were just not used to seeing men dressed like women and yet being so comfortable; not at all apologetic of who they are! The film also questions patriarchy; like in In Conversation with Sridhar Rangayangeneral it is the men who prey upon women but here the drag queens are preying upon a man who is reduced to a mere sexual object. I guess that really made them uncomfortable.

So we applied for the censor certificate three times before finally giving up (laughs).

So what was your next step, what did you do?

How long can you stay with one film, you need to move on. So we moved on to make my our next film Yours Emotionally!, which was actually sexual in content; Gulabi Aaina was a saintly film compared to this one (laughs).

Yours Emotionally! is actually about lust and how it develops into love, you know. And also the film questions ‘what is identity in India?’ All these identity boxes – gay, bisexual, transgender – they all come from the west. Earlier people just lived their lives here without being categorised and identified by such terms.

Anyways, so this film, we didn’t even submit to the censor board (laughs). It got screened outside India and distributed in the DVD market – that was a very big thing for us!

Though I have tried a lot of different genres in television, i mean In Conversation with Sridhar Rangayanthrillers, comedies, hetero-normative stories and all. But then I felt that making LGBT films – it’s a niche that I want to occupy, and it gives me the most satisfaction. It didn’t give me money though (laughs).

But ya, coming back to Gulabi Aaina, it even went on to become a part of a university’s curriculum on ‘gender and studies’. And now it got released on Netflix! Great!

That’s really great! Tell me something about your latest documentary “Breaking Free” which recently won a National Award for editing, right? How did it all begun?

Yes!

The thing is that my earlier two films Gulabi Aaina and Yours Emotionally! were both self funded films but then how long can you fund your own films? It doesn’t work that way. It is very challenging in India to make LGBT-themed films. So my third film 68 Pages got the funding from the Humsafar Trust and Solaris Pictures. We had a In Conversation with Sridhar Rangayangreat cast Mouli Ganguly, Jayati Bhatia and Joy Sengupta. But we didn’t manage to get a release because it dealt with HIV/AIDS.

And then I had a long gap from 2008 to 2014. I did not feel like making a movie at all.

At that point to time I started documenting LGBT events and lives, doing documentaries, as they are comparatively far cheaper than doing narrative films. And being a gay man myself, I had easy access to our community and of course, everyone felt that these stories are needed to be told. So from 2008 onwards I started documenting the community like interviewing them, talking to them. I had 300 tapes of my recordings that said different stories of people!

All that first led me to do Purple Skies, a Public Service Broadcasting Trust funded project which told all kinds of powerful stories from our community, some angry stories talking about violence and injustice, while other stories were happy and romantic. The film went on to several festivals and was shown on Doordarshan too!

Then at the same time Supreme Court said that the Delhi High court verdict on Section 377 is not valid, and it was a very difficult time for our community. Being an activist for the last twenty years, I personally felt that with one stroke all our hard work has been demolished and it was back to being ‘you are illegal’. The documentary Breaking Free talks about the effects of Section 377 on the community. It traces right from the first case till the latest and shows how the law had been misused. How many LGBT persons are being blackmailed, how the police are twisting the law in order to abuse and harass the innocent people.

But like all my films, Breaking Free also has happy stories of young people coming out, being romantic and everything. Being part of the In Conversation with Sridhar Rangayancommunity, it is an insider saying the story, and the film was also a great personal journey for me. It got premiered in 2015 at the KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival and went on to screen at several international film festivals. It was a great surprise and joy when it got selected for in the Indian Panorama section! And then it went on to win the National Award for Best Editing, which was like a crowning glory!

It was an honor to receive the National Award in Delhi; my family had come there when I received it from the President, it was a moment of my life!

While Breaking Free has won accolades and acclaim, not a penny has come through the film till date, but we need to see about its release and distribution as well.

A great honour indeed, congratulations to you Sir!

Thank you so much!

And finally when did you decide that you wanted to be a filmmaker? Were you interested in cinema from your childhood?

Well, I used to watch a lot of movies in my childhood. Though I am from South India, my mom and I used to watch Hindi films.

In 1980’s, we had only two options in India, either you become a doctor or an engineer. So after getting done with my engineering, I In Conversation with Sridhar Rangayandid my Masters in Visual Communication from IIT Mumbai. From there onwards I was interested in making films.

Then I did a lot of television – Rishtey, Gubbarey, Kagaar, Krishna Arjun, Pyaar Ki Kashti Mein and all, before finally deciding to make films.

For me the whole idea of using Cinema is to pass on social messages in an entertaining format, that really is what intrigued me. Every scene that I write till now is to get an emotion or a reaction back from the audience!

Overall an interesting journey till now, I have always taken roads which I didn’t know where it will lead me to. Even when I came out as a gay man it was a complicated decision, it was in 1990 when very few people used to come out.

If ‘Gulabi Aaina’ was made now, what do you think, i mean could it get released?

Gulabi Aaina being a 40 min short film it maybe challenging; you see, very few documentaries or short films in India gets actually released in theatres. Distribution system neither supports short films nor the movies that are away from the mainstream. If Gulabi Aaina was made now and sent to the Indian Censor Board, I know it would have got an ‘A’ certificate.  But with ‘A’ certificate, you can barely get theatres for release.

So I personally think Netflix is a much better option for this film as people can watch it how and when they want to watch it.

Our latest film, Evening Shadows on which I am currently working will be a theatrical release though (smiles).

All the images are exclusively provided only for the use of this article. 

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