Tag Archives: Sayani Gupta

Article 15 (2019)

Article 15 Review

written by Souranath Banerjee

The most significant Indian Cinema of the last few decades!

My Ratings: 4.3/5

1949. Let us begin from the very beginning. A quick recap.

‘… shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of race, religion, caste, sex and place of birth.’ – Indian Constitution. Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar. Fundamental Rights. Right to Equality. Article 15.

Fast-forward to 2014. Badaun gang rape allegations –  a true incident that happened at Budaun district, Uttar Pradesh; two teenage girls went missing and the following morning they were found hanging from a tree. It was a case of gang rape and murder, which both the local police and the CBI tried their best to cover up. Why? Because the murdered girls were poor and belonged to the Dalit community (the untouchables). And the murderers were from the Upper-Class, the rich and the influential.

The film Article 15 directed by Anubhav Sinha (of Mulk fame) is based on the above mentioned tragedy. The movie also takes inspiration from a number of other incidents from across India where people are being humiliated on a daily basis, condemned and tortured, and denied justice just because they belong to a particular caste.

Agar sab barabar ho jaayenge toh raja kaun banega?” (If we all become equal, then who will be the king?)

Farq bahut kar liya, ab farq laayenge.

Ayushmann Khurrana (who has mastered the art of choosing great scripts) does a fabulous job portraying the man who is desperate to change the system by being a part of the system. Thankfully not portrayed as an outsider, otherwise the script shouldn’t have worked so well. Kumud Mishra, Ashish Verma – both play pivotal roles and plays them to perfection. Sayani Gupta and Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub, though having limited screen time still manages to make an impact on the audience.

But Manoj Pahwa is the man who grabs the spotlight; his performance as the corrupt cop eager to derail the case is an absolute delight to watch!

Let’s be Indians firstly and lastly.

Special mention to Ewan Mulligan’s cinematography which brilliantly escalates the suspense and also gives the film the much needed feel of reality. Music by Mangesh Dhakde is so well balanced, just enough to maintain the intensity of the film.

Since Satyajit Ray‘s exquisite drama Sadgati (1981) starring Om Puri, Smita Patil and Mohan Agashe, hardly any other filmmaker have attempted to touch the sensitive subject of Caste-discrimination. And thus Article 15, a superbly directed social-thriller by Anubhav Sinha is surely the most significant Indian Cinema of the last few decades!

A film that dares to shed light over the sinister shadows of our civilisation, on the darkness that a nation unanimously prefers to ignore, on a curse that have been burning human lives for generations. Someone needs to put out the fire that torches the innocents, someone must heal the wounds, and put an end to this vintage shame. Someone must help us regain our faith in humanity!

But as Article 15 effectively points out – the real problem is that we are still waiting for that ‘someone’.

That someone needs to be Us.

Article 15 Trailer. YouTube.

P.S. According to the study of NCRB data on Caste Discrimination in India, the atrocities committed against SC and ST women are disturbingly high; statistics of the year 2016 alone shows 2541 rapes and 786 murders. That too, only half of these crimes are said to be officially reported.

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

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.

Margarita, with a Straw (2014)

Margarita, with a Straw review.

My Ratings: 4.2/5.

Good news for the cinema-lovers.

Shonali Bose the director of Amu (2005) is back (almost after a decade) with her second film Margarita, with a Straw.

Co-directed by Nilesh Maniyar, the film Margarita, with a Straw is probably one of the best made films you will see this year. 

Margarita-with-a-StrawStory of a college-going girl named Laila (Kalki Koechlin) who is a talented lyricist and a gifted chess player; a girl who is not afraid to fall in love, even to explore outside the stereotypical norms of our society; who is determined to live life in her own way.

And also, Laila is permanently on a wheelchair, a young girl with cerebral palsy.   

Margarita, with a straw is one such rare cinema that treats a sensitive topic of disability with the right proportion of sympathy, dignity and sentimentality. Never goes over-the-top, so natural and intuitive, very emotional yet perfectly balanced.

And what a brilliant performance by Kalki Koechlin! Her innocence, her vulnerability, her dialogue delivery, her body language, expressions, her smile – she is the reason to watch this film.

All the other actors also did great – Revathy as Laila’s mom, Sayani Gupta as Laila’s girlfriend deserves special mention. 

Margarita-with-a-Straw-posterResul Pookutty comes in for sound design, great script, captivating performances and overall the joy of watching a good cinema.

A comparison with Aamir Khan‘s Taare Zameen Par (2007) is inevitable i guess.

The challenges and the determination to overcome these obstacles by a dyslexic kid Ishaan Awasthi (Darsheel Safary) in a certain way seems similar to that of Laila’s struggle to fit-in but of course due to the age difference of the characters their perspectives and needs are completely different.

And speaking of ‘needs’ and desires, Margarita, with a straw is probably the only Indian film that dares to explore the sexual urges of a disabled person and also makes us realize that their attractions and infatuations are in no ways different from any of us.

A 100 min film with an extraordinary first half, a good second half and a bit pretentious ending. Overall a must watch.