Sunday, October 4, 2015

Mini reviews: the Films I Actually Liked Edition.

NH10 - I went in not knowing much about this one beyond the initial premise of an urban couple getting mixed up in rural violent disputes along the highway. I also probably won't ever go back to this one, such a brutal watch it was, but this one really nailed so many things I didn't expect it to. Anushka Sharma delivered a career-great (or career upper echelon but hopefully not the best we get to see out of her yet) performance. The mood was fantastic throughout, capturing the terror and the panic and the constant threat of violence looming over. The soundtrack underscores the mood, and the milieu is perfect for it, too. Enjoyable, but tough, precisely because of how real it feels.

Piku - This tale of bowel movement and road trip and family bonding and tentative romance feels like precisely the worst kind of "quirky" film you could imagine, and yet it's one I'll probably find myself recommending the most. The strength of the script, that immediately allows you to feel at home with these characters, added to the strength of the performances (Deepika has probably been this good before, and even so this feels special) simply makes Piku a delight. I just sat there, watching it, being awed and delighted by its world and its humour. Amitabh and Irffan are fantastic here, as well, but their value has been demonstrated before, whereas Deepika Padukone is making great strides as of late. I love that this was a hit.

Sunrise (2014) - A French-Indian co-production was one that I felt safe taking my Bollywood-hating friend to, as the whole thing clocked in around 90 minutes of running time and did not seem like your standard crime fare. Adil Hussain leads in this noir indie where rain is a constant and the narrative dips in and out of reality as we follow the cop Joshi chase shadows on the streets of Mumbai as multiple children are turning up dead. A sort of b-plot follows a group of dance girls in a heart-breaking portrayal of the underworld. I don't particularly want to get too deep into everything that happens, as the film (directed by Partho Sen-Gupta) is so small in scale and its objectives that it's best viewed without knowing too much. I saw it at a festival, so I don't know how widely it's been released yet, but worth looking out for.

Detective Byomkesh Bakshy - Sushant Singh Rajput had impressed me so little in his previous films that the poor man did not even have a tag on this here blog, following his debut in Kai Po Che and his second film Desi Shuddh Romance (which I hated). But with this Hindi adaptation of the famous Bengali detective novels, he's arrived in a big way, both to my graces and in the industry in general. I loved this Dibakar Banerjee film, in its 1940's Kolkatta milieu and noir style cinematography, the story in all its twists and turns and fantastic supporting cast. And that rocking soundtrack, by god. This might not end up being my favourite of 2015 but it'll probably at the very least crack top five, and I look forward to any possible sequels,