Tag Archives: Rajshri Deshpande

Sacred Games ( TV Series)

Sacred Games Review

written by Anu Gopinath

The series takes a dark undertone from the word go and it’s highly appreciative of the directive duo for discussing the subjects of sex and violence with such level of authority!

My Ratings: 4/5

Long has been the content driven cinema taken a backseat and was pulled into the eroding deluge of memories of a lost generation who
revelled in their Bajaj and bell bottoms! Long has been the pride of Sacred-GamesIndian cinema taken a beating when the world was presented with the narcissistic, megalomaniacal and voyeuristic version of our life and cinema. The same pride that we earned and the respect that we commanded from the world cinema, which took eons of pain and hard work to achieve but still demanded the sacrifices of the lifetime of works of some of the greatest auteurs of Indian cinema like Satyajit RayGuru Dutt, Adoor Gopalakrishnan and company!

And when I completed watching the new web series Scared Games starring “the content “ in the lead, it is with absolute relief and pride that I can say, that all hopes are not lost for Indian Cinema!

Directed by two of the brilliant visionaries of contemporary cinema, Vikramaditya Motwane and Anurag Kashyap, the first Indian Netflix Original TV Series – Sacred Games tells us the story of the intertwined lives of a mafia don nearing the twilight of his life and the struggles of an honest cop trying to do right amidst a corrupt system. The series bears the rare stamp of authenticity and manages Sacred-Gamesto hit all the right tones in its adaptation of the Novel of the same name written by Vikram Chandra.

The series hinges on the story of the rise and fall of gangster Gaitonde, played brilliantly by Nawazuddin Siddiqui and how his life is intertwined with life of the honest cop, Sartaj Singh performed by Saif Ali Khan.

The TV series takes a dark undertone from the word go and it’s highly appreciative of the directive duo for discussing the subjects of sex and violence with such authority that was seldom seen in Indian cinema and has to be considered as one of their masterstrokes. The story deals with religious terrorism with a brilliant screenplay which has a heavy dose of bloodshed, sex, gore and violence and the end product which is devoid of any unwanted transgressions by the censor board, makes it a compelling watch.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays the gangster with such elan and composure of an artist who is in control of his creation, taking his Sacred-Gamesown time to paint the shades of white when in love, dark when he’s avenging his enemies and grey, when keeping his comrades in line.

Saif Ali Khan has finally found his calling and he’s absolutely brilliant as the inspector Sartaj Singh and to his credit, underplays his role of a cop who is constantly being harassed, degraded and kicked around by his corrupt seniors. He in no way comes across as a conventional hero who fights the villains single handedly and saves the day. But he is our below average common man who is scared and thinks a hundred times before taking a step, an under performing overweight policeman who has a conscience, a simpleton who runs towards the warm embraces of his mother when things get too tough for him. And he absolutely delivers the goods with an astounding performance and
Sacred-Gamesfinally is given the platform to display his talents – the same talent which we had a few of the fleeting glimpses in the brilliant Omkara and Ek Hasina Thi. The Nawab is back and how!

But, when brilliance of Nawazuddin Siddiqui is always expected and Saif’s performance is worthy of appreciation, it’s the work of the supporting cast that completely steals the show and is what makes this series apart! Such is the depth and brilliance of their acting that one has the feeling of sitting in an Opera House and has been accorded the rare honour of seeing the brilliant performances of one sopran after the other, with each trying to outplay the other with the performances of their lifetime.

Sacred-GamesSpecial mention should go to Jitendra Joshi who was an absolute hoot as the constable Katekar, Rajshri Deshpande as Subhadra, Kubra Sait as Kukko, and then Neeraj Kabi and Geetanjali Thapa. Each and every single one of them gave a performance worthy of an ovation and carries the story on their shoulders and keeps the story moving.

Radhika Apte, the crown jewel of parallel cinema is surprisingly left with a role that is not as meaty compared to her colleagues but the woman holds her fort whenever pitted against the brilliance of Saif and the cast.

Superbly written by Varun GroverVasant Nath and Smita Singh, cool camera work and brilliant editing compounded with unique storytelling and absolutely mind blowing background score by Rachita Arora and Alokananda Dasgupta makes this thriller an Sacred-Gamesedge of the seat affair. Not to forget the perfect casting by Mukesh Chhabra Sacred Games is probably the best thing to have come out of Bollywood since Gangs of Wesseypur!

Sacred Games is, by no means over and with the serious talents of the likes of Pankaj Tripathi waiting in the wings and with a plot line left at an interesting juncture, one can expect a cracker of a second season in the cards!

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com, Sacred Games Facebook page

BEST INDIAN FILMS TO WATCH AT MAMI 2017 (10+1LIST)

Best Indian Films to watch at MAMI 2017

written by Souranath Banerjee

Best Indian Films to watch at MAMI 2017.

As the Mumbaikars bid adieu to the colorful Navaratri and Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations and await for the dazzling Diwali fiesta to begin, there is another very important Festival that the film-lovers of Mumbai couldn’t afford to miss!

A unique festival of Cinema that promises to entertain us for seven days in a row, from 12 to 18 October!

Yes, the 19th Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival is here, and it’s raining films from all across the globe! To be more specific there are in total 220 films from 49 countries and in 51 languages!

Indian-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017Along with a number of prestigious movies under the World Cinema and the International Competition category, MAMI also offers a great selection of Indian Cinema under the sections India Gold and India Story. Other categories are the Half Ticket (for children), Spotlight, Restored classics, After Dark (focused on the horror/fantasy genre) and many others.

Konkona Sen Sharma being one of the Jury member at MAMI this year.

Be specific of which films you pick and I hope this list helps you to choose among some of the Best Indian Films to watch at MAMI 2017. Make sure you don’t miss any of these!

10. Mukkabaaz (2017)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zg1CMYVhR9o

Indian-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017The return of director Anurag Kashyap with his 13th feature which is also the opening film of the festival!

As the title suggests the film is based on the story of a lower-caste boxer from Uttar Pradesh (Vineet Kumar Singh); his career and his love-life, focusing on both his professional and personal struggles.

Already had its world premier at the Toronto International Film Festival, don’t you miss the Asia Premiere of this highly awaited movie!

9. Ajji (2017)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9OZI1SQFJc

Indian-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017This film deals with the issue of child-rape and its aftermath; the repercussions of such a heinous crime on the society and also what the child and her family goes through.

Directed by Devashish Makhija, his second feature is a dark and gritty film; bold, brutal and yet with a hint of retribution.

Already screened at the Busan International Film Festival, undoubtedly one of the most interesting Indian films to look for!

8. In the Shadows (2017)

Film trailer: Not available yet.

Indian-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017Already selected at the Chicago International Film Festival and Busan International Film Festival, and finally ready for the Indian audience!

Directed by Dipesh Jain, the story of a man lost in the maze of the numerous lanes of an old city (Old Delhi), and then his mind plays tricks on him! Manoj Bajpayee, Ranvir Shorey, Neeraj Kabi and Shahana Goswami – with all these brilliant actors put together this one is definitely a film to look forward!

7. Pushkar Puran (2017)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pn9xigYlIoo

Indian-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017Director Kamal Swaroop‘s cult classic Om Dar-B-Dar was a film far ahead of its time!

And after three decades the filmmaker comes back to his hometown (Rajasthan) to film this unique documentary on Pushkar!

The brilliant visuals blended with certain innovative soundtracks and ambiences – this one will be a memorable experience for sure!

6. Kaccha Limbu (2017)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjgTnBIkg0o

Indian-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017An emotional movie that tells the story of a family, their joy and sadness. Most of film being shot in black and white, very much set with the overall mood of the film.

Directed by Prasad Oak, and starring Ravi Jadhav, Sachin Khedekar and Sonali Kulkarni guarantees superb performances.

In the Marathi Talkies section this film is definitely worth your time.

5. The Hungry (2017)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gfg8gGR-3oA

Indian-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017An adaptation of the Shakespearian tragedy Titus Andronicus.

Set in the contemporary New Delhi, the backdrop being an extravagant surroundings of an Indian wedding, this film is a brutal tale of patriarch and corruption.

Directed by Bornila Chatterjee, and starring Naseeruddin Shah, Tisca Chopra, Antonio AakeelSayani Gupta and Neeraj Kabi among others. 

4. Sexy Durga (2017)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07a0pUkktBc

Indian-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017A young couple – Durga, a north Indian and Kabeer, a Keralite are running away to catch a train at the middle of the night. But how safe is it to travel in the dark!

Starring Rajshri Deshpande, Bilas Nair, Arun Sol, directed by Sanal Kumar Sasidharan this is one movie that has managed to create a lot of curiosity and also some controversy regarding the name of the film.

3. Village Rockstars (2017)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTov2nVgXaU

Indian-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017Based on a 10-year-old young village girl, who has grown up in deprivation, as she learns to fend for herself in the hostile surroundings while nurturing her dream to own a guitar and eventually forming a band with some local boys – the official ‘Village Rockstars!’.

Shot, directed and produced by Rima Das, the film had its world premier at the Toronto International Film Festival!

2. Zoo (2017)

Film trailer: Not available yet

Indian-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017The film depicts lifestyles in and around the ghetto co-existing with the people residing in the upmarket, high-rise buildings of Mumbai.

Directed by Shlok Sharma, starring Shweta Tripathi and Shashank Arora this will be an interesting film to watch out for.

  1. The Song of Scorpions (2017)

Film trailer: Not available yet

Indian-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017Though featured in the ‘Spot Light’ section, but this film is set in the backdrop of the vast deserts of Rajasthan is a brilliant tale from the Indian director Anup Singh.

Starring Irrfan Khan, Tillotama ShomeWaheeda RehmanShashank Arora and the Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani this is a unique story of love, retribution and the power of song. A must watch!

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

+1. Ask the Sexpert (2017)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yRR1_VU1cQ

Indian-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017Mahinder Watsa, a 92-year-old gynecologist and obstetrician, and also the daily adviser on matters related to sexual behavior in the Mumbai Mirror tabloid for the last 40 years!

Directed by Vaishali Sinha, this interesting documentary is about how the Mumbai’s oldest and best-known sexologist shoots to popularity when the Indian schools in many states puts a ban on comprehensive sex-education!

A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings by Prateek VatsReturning to the First Beat by Surabhi Sharma and Ralang Road by Karma Takapa.

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com.

Angry Indian Goddesses & Kajarya – the voices of the Women of India

Angry Indian Goddesses and Kajarya – the voices of the Women of India.

This week, the voices of the women of India are doubly intensified!

written by Souranath Banerjee

It has always been a paradox that in a country like India, whose gender has been proudly defined as ‘female’; our beloved ‘mother land‘; where people visualize and worship the female form as their Goddesses but at the same time issues regarding angry-indian-godesses-poster2women empowerment‘ are still been a topic of considerable concern!

And it’s about time that the current Indian filmmakers should focus on these various dilemmas and intolerances faced by the women of our country, and portray the female sentiments, their grievances and exasperations, their demands and desires, and even their vulnerabilities on celluloid.

And the good news is, that’s exactly what they are doing!

kajarya-poster2And the result is the release of two ambitious films this week, Angry Indian Goddesses and Kajarya.

Apparently, both the movies concentrate on telling stories based on the lives of the Indian women of our current society but then again, these two films are poles apart in the way they are made and also the amount of impact they make.

Firstly, let’s talk about the much hyped film Angry Indian Goddesses made by renowned director Pan Nalin (of Samsara fame).

It’s a relatively easy-going masala film with spicy dialogues and peppy music, in a way showcasing India to the world (pretty much tailor-made for the International festivals), and definitely The ultimate manifesto of feminist problems. My Ratings: 3/5.

angry-indian-godesses-poster1Six friends (along with a maid) get together to celebrate the wedding of one of them in the ultimate fun paradise of India, Goa. And there, they not only open up to each other and discuss all their individual problems, but also get into some tough situations themselves.

And eventually the current male-dominated society makes them very angry and by the end of the film they have all become ‘Angry Indian Goddesses’ (a direct reference to the angry Hindu Goddesses Kali).

Scoring points for the film are the effortless acting by the girl team Tannishtha ChatterjeeSandhya MridulSarah-Jane DiasRajshri DeshpandePavleen GujralAnushka Manchanda and Amrit Maghera And also Cyril Morin‘s music.

The film’s energy level and intention is no doubt commendable but the quest to tap on every possible female related problems along with an extra dramatic (illogical) ending; well, at least it’s entertaining but a bit too mainstream to expect from Pan Nalin i guess.

On the other hand, the film Kajarya, made by debutant writer/director Madhureeta Anand focuses on the specific problem of ‘female infanticide’ (the deliberate killing of newborn female children) and churns out a thrilling tale surrounding the issue. My Ratings: 4/5.

kajarya-posterIn a village not far from New Delhi, a young ambitious reporter named Meera (Ridhima Sud) tries to investigate a suspicious case of child sacrifice and soon meets Kajarya (Meenu Hooda) who shares some terrible facts that eventually becomes the prime media story.

But in this whole incident of finding the gruesome truth and then in the process of punishing the guilty, the lives of these two women, Meera and Kajarya become entangled in a strange way.

Brilliant acting by the two main characters, good story telling and direction, and powerful score by Richard Horowitz.

Though the ending is a bit too hasty for me but Kajarya surly raises some important questions for our society to answer, a film that doesn’t shy away from addressing such serious issues with enough courage and honesty.

Overall both the films solve their purpose, they are made for different kinds of audiences and I am sure they are successful in their own ways.

More such powerful Indian films should be made and encouraged; but then again, they shouldn’t be treated simply as a trend or the latest formula to box office success.

‘We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back’ the perfect words of wisdom by Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai.(also recommend He Named Me Malala, a documentary recently made on her courageous life).

Poster courtesy: www.koimoi.comwww.imdb.comfilmicafe.coindiannerve.comthereviewmonk.comwww.india.com.