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  • 28-Mar-2015 | Jai Arjun Singh

    Attuned to the times

    Gulzar composed a gentle, meditative song for a classic like Bandini more than 50 years ago, also won an Oscar

  • 14-Mar-2015 | Jai Arjun Singh

    Nostalgia trips and lasting morals

    The similarities between Naseeb Apna Apna and Dum Lagaa ke Haisha are really just skin-deep though

  • 28-Feb-2015 | Jai Arjun Singh

    Canvases on celluloid

    Amidst the Oscar hoopla of the past few weeks, and the accompanying burden of expectations on a critic - that most of one's time should be spent analysing the relative merits of award favourites Birdman, Boyhood and The Grand Budapest Hotel - one of ...

  • 31-Jan-2015 | Jai Arjun Singh

    Nihilism in a medical ward

    There is, of course, satirical exaggeration in this portrait of a medical ward as a purgatory for confused souls, administered to by angels whose faces keep changing

  • 17-Jan-2015 | Jai Arjun Singh

    Love, virtually

    If Her is a bone-chilling romance between a man and a machine, it is also a comment on how human relationships are changing in an increasingly tech-dependent world

  • 03-Jan-2015 | Jai Arjun Singh

    A case for new sermons

    The protests against PK only strengthen the case for preachy actors

  • 20-Dec-2014 | Jai Arjun Singh

    The joker and his disguises

    Mera Naam Joker is seen as one of Kapoor's most personal films

  • 06-Dec-2014 | Jai Arjun Singh

    Connecting the dots

    Usually, when a book is adapted into a film, the scriptwriters don't assume that their viewers have read the source text; the movie should work on its own terms

  • 22-Nov-2014 | Jai Arjun Singh

    A child in time

    Though a scripted, fiction film, Boyhood was made in installments over 12 years and captured the actor's own growth from age seven to age 18

  • 08-Nov-2014 | Jai Arjun Singh

    What dreams may come

    Passages from Rajorshi Chakraborti's Or The Day Seizes you reminded me of Fellini's 1963 film, Eight and a Half

  • 25-Oct-2014 | Jai Arjun Singh

    Breaking the wall

    The most Brechtian film I have seen from that period is Ketan Mehta's debut feature, Bhavni Bhavai

  • 11-Oct-2014 | Jai Arjun Singh

    To die, to sleep: two dark princes

    One can't help but note the connections between Shakespeare's prince of melancholia and Stoker's Prince of Darkness - both are preoccupied with death and afterlife. Seen here is a poster of the 1931 f

  • 27-Sep-2014 | Jai Arjun Singh

    Made for each other: Kishore Kumar and Madhubala

    Kishore Kumar and Madhubala's is one of the most unusual - yet also oddly poignant - romantic pairings in Hindi-movie history

  • 13-Sep-2014 | Jai Arjun Singh

    How a critic was fooled

    During a class I recently taught about film criticism, an ancient, all-too-familiar question surfaced like a Kraken bursting foully from the ocean's depths

  • 30-Aug-2014 | Jai Arjun Singh

    Being connected, in a moral haze

    One of the funniest and scariest scenes in Anurag Kashyap's 2004 film Black Friday - about the investigation that followed the 1993 terror attacks in Bombay - had a bunch of policemen pursuing a suspect named Imtiaz through a massive slum. Towards ...

  • 16-Aug-2014 | Jai Arjun Singh

    Fun comes, 1980s style

    When I researched the 1983 black comedy Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro for a book a few years ago, a question that often arose was: why was JBDY such a one-of-a-kind film in its own time? Why was there nothing else like it in Hindi cinema? Kundan Shah's movie ...

  • 02-Aug-2014 | Jai Arjun Singh

    Technicolor fantasies

    Details of the earliest use of colour in Indian cinema are a little unclear. As a trivia-seeking film buff in the pre-Internet age, I remember being under the impression that Mehboob Khan's 1952 film Aan - a florid costume drama with Dilip Kumar in ...

  • 19-Jul-2014 | Jai Arjun Singh

    In search of Dadasaheb

    Is a filmmaker who dabbles in fictions and fantasies a bit like Brahma, the Creator, who was once accused of being a liar? Is there more magic in theatre than in cinema? After all, when you film a Dostoevsky story featuring Russian bridges and ...

  • 05-Jul-2014 | Jai Arjun Singh

    Casting the final stone

    Here is a short list of some of the constituent elements of the National Award winning Marathi film Fandry. A black sparrow. A trapped piglet. A makeshift kerosene lamp. A pair of jeans. A carrom board. Talcum powder. A broken bicycle. A village ...

  • 04-Jul-2014 | Jai Arjun Singh

    Casting the final stone

    Here is a short list of some of the constituent elements of the National Award winning Marathi film Fandry

  • 21-Jun-2014 | Jai Arjun Singh

    Saved by the screen

    In Nitin Kakkar's Filmistaan, which has recently developed a word-of-mouth following, there are many familiar platitudes about Indians and Pakistanis being essentially one people with a shared culture, a shared passion for cricket - and for Hindi ...

  • 07-Jun-2014 | Jai Arjun Singh

    Horror and its layers

    "Tod Browning lay in his grave eating malted milk balls," goes the opening sentence of a gripping chapter in David J Skal's book The Monster Show. What is happening here isn't as otherworldly as that bald sentence makes it sound. The year was 1901 ...

  • 23-May-2014 | Jai Arjun Singh

    Watching the wheels

    In his first film as director, the 2011 Stanley ka Dabba, Amole Gupte cast himself as a school-teacher with a wolfish appetite who bullies children into sharing their tiffin lunches with him. Any child would have reason to feel scared of this big, ...

  • 10-May-2014 | Jai Arjun Singh

    Notes of harmony

    In one of those coincidences that stalk movie buffs, last week I happened to re-watch two films in which a man is discouraged from pursuing his interest in music

  • 25-Apr-2014 | Jai Arjun Singh

    How I met Norman's mother

    Iam not usually enthusiastic about having a camera aimed at me. Even when travelling in scenic places, I'd rather someone just took a candid shot instead of expecting me to grin moronically at a lens. Which in no way explains why, if you chanced to ...