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PHOTOGRAPH (HINDI/ENGLISH)

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Mahatma Gandhi soulfully believed “the future of India lies in its villages”, invisible in “Photograph”, director Ritesh Batra (“Lunchbox”) achingly, hauntingly, throughout the film, references the poignancy, simplicity, pains, banes of rural existence; yearly, millions of young men and women flood major Indian cities, live in squalor, sending their negligible rupees back to their bereft families. “Rafi” (sublimely subtle, Nawazuddin ... Read More »

KALANK (STIGMA) HINDI: ENGLISH SUBTITLES

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Director Abhishek Varman’s ravishing epic, highlighting a triangular love affair in Lahore, Pakistan before the 1947 partition from India, scores with its whimsically wonderful cinematography, elaborate, exultant chorography and staggeringly sensational performances: Varun Dhawan, “Zafar” with well-oiled, pneumatic pectorals, is the illegitimate offspring (Kalank) of a Muslim/Hindu assignation who woos “Roop” (naively, pungently sensitive Alia Bhatt) in an arranged marriage ... Read More »

ROMEO AKBAR WALTER (HINDI: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

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Bollywood’s hunky heartthrob John Abraham (“Force” films) dons three nom du plumes for this spy thriller revolving around the 1971 Indo-Pakistani war (12/3/71-12/16/71)  resulting in the birth of Bangladesh; Abraham is introduced as a droll banker “Romeo” who substitutes his income as an impersonator; he is recruited by RAW’s (Research And Analysis Wing) Chief “Shrikani Rau” (Jackie Shroff at his ... Read More »

KESARI (SAFFRON), (HINDI: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

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Bollywood strokes its historical conflicts with iconic reverence, immense spectacle, lionization of its heroes, spectacular cinematography plus gifts adulation and exaggerated license, especially in India’s march towards doffing the shackles of British domination (“Gandhi”, “Mangal Pandey”,”Padmaavat”); “Kesari” vibrantly speaks to the “Battle of Saragarhi” between Sikh soldiers of the British Indian Army and Afghan Pashtun tribesmen; the film concentrates on ... Read More »

BADLA (HINDI: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

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If you have seen “The Invisible Guest” 2016’s Spanish version of the same theme you will not be shocked by “Badla’s thrilling conclusion; except for switching the gender of the protagonists, this is a consummate clone,  every bit as titillating; starring, in his finest role in years Amitabh Bachchan as “Badla Gupta” a lawyer hired to defend “Naina Sethi” (remarkable ... Read More »

GULLY (STREET) BOY (HINDI: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

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Incredible story, splayed across the screen, the entire spectrum of India’s predilections, intransigent traditions, contemporary culture; miraculously, even if you have never graced this remarkable, multi-faceted country, “Gully Boy” brilliantly, presciently, metaphorically, gifts viewers a redolent insight into the real India; director Zoya Akhtar stunningly, visually portrays in 2 1/2 hours what authors Salman Rushdie, Amitav Ghosh, Jhumpa Lahiri, Vikram ... Read More »

URI: THE SURGICAL STRIKE & MANIKARNIKA: QUEEN OF JHANSI (HINDI: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

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Bollywood reveres and perpetually energizes its myths, gods, heroes and heroines, ancient and contemporary; their films pulsate, stun and elucidate audiences, Eastern and Western. The Ramayan and Mahabharata through centuries of repetition, still hypnotically enchant viewers; the movie versions keep the stories, myths, warring factions vibrantly alive. An epic film featuring  “Asoka, The Great”, ruler of India’s subcontinent (268-232 BCE) ... Read More »

SIMMBA (HINDI: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

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Rape. On December 12th, 2012, a 23-year-old physiotherapy student was gang raped by six men and later died of her injuries. In the same year approximately 25,000 rapes occurred, most offenders, known by their victims; there is a lethal disparity between those charged and convicted.  “Simmba”, directed by Rohit Shetty is a valiant slap at the nefarious perpetrators, prosecutors, and ... Read More »

K.G.F: CHAPTER 1 (HINDI: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

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Choosing between two Bollywood blockbusters: “Zero”, Shah Rukh Khan playing a mini-version of himself or “K.G.F: Chapter 1”, my vote for the latter resulted in over 2 1/2 hours of bombastic, cacophonous, tumultuous entertainment. Writer/director Prashanth Neel’s tale of oppression commences in the early 1980’s; cutting to the chase with a limited script, “Rocky” champions the oppressed, inciting their rebellion ... Read More »

THUGS OF HINDOSTAN

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Bollywood Goliath, Aamir Khan, stars in this 3-hour, monolithic saga, revolving around English/Indian travails in the late eighteenth, early nineteenth centuries; costing 200 crores (topping 2 billion dollars) the film is a total dud, and the worst movie Khan has ever made; his character “Firangi” weakly reminiscent of Johnny Depp’s in “Pirates of the Caribbean” is a conniving, duplicitous buffoon; ... Read More »

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