articles by Kuzhali Manickavel

Entertainment

Allegedly Problematic: The feminist analysis of Ramarajan's Paattukku Naan Adimai no one asked for

One of my favourite kinds of Tamil cinema is the heavy-handed, predictable and alarmingly dramatic kind with aggressive songs, precise, staccato dishum-dishum sounds and wounds that look like smears of ketchup. Paattukku Naan Adimai was one of those movies.

Entertainment

Revisiting Ramarajan's 1990 film Paattukku Naan Adimai: Of village heroes and small-town favourites

Paattukku Naan Adimai was released in 1990 and stars Khushboo, Rekha and Disco Shanthi, which means there will be an item number. Which is awesome. Which is also probably problematic to say.

Entertainment

Revisiting Singaravelan: Nine thoughts on watching '90s Kamal Haasan-starrer 

Singaravelan was released in 1992, a time when in our little corner of the world, the only options for entertainment were the non-AC cinema theatres and hanging out at the railway station. If you were a dude, I mean. If you were not a dude, lol.

Entertainment

Singaravelan: Was Kamal Haasan's 1992 film swashbuckling bucket of family fun, or sexist stalking saga? 

Singaravelan was released in 1992, a time when in our little corner of the world, the only options for entertainment were the non-AC cinema theatres and hanging out at the railway station. If you were a dude, I mean. If you were not a dude, lol.

Entertainment

Monisha En Monalisa was labelled among Tamil cinema's lowest points. So I rewatched the film in 2020

I wanted to watch Monisha En Monalisa because I remembered it from my youth and I wanted to assess its problematic-ness in the clarity of adulthood. This proved to be a little tricky because problematics aside, this is a really, really bad movie.

Entertainment

On loving problematic Tamil cinema, and where 1999's Monisha En Monalisa fits on that spectrum

In this column, we'll be assessing the alleged problematic-ness of a movie called Monisha En Monalisa. Those who are familiar with the oeuvre of T Rajendran and remember this one may be saying, oh my God why in the actual everloving heck.

Lifestyle

India Syndrome: What you get when you fetishise a country and its culture while subscribing to stereotypes

No one wants to hear that their country and culture, as a whole, is responsible for deranging people when they come for a visit.

Lifestyle

Mythical or mystical? Revisiting India Syndrome, which afflicts well-meaning, spirituality-seeking Westerners

India Syndrome is defined as the delusional behaviour which “hits people from developed Western countries who are looking for a cultural space that is pure and exotic, where real values have been preserved”.

Entertainment

The Love Guru: Racism of Mike Myers' 2008 film is just one sparkling gem in its diadem of problematic-ness

We’ve covered some pretty God-awful films in this column and even otherwise, I have watched some really, really bad movies in my lifetime. The Love Guru managed to stand out among all of these as a truly horrific feat of cinematic putrescence. | Kuzhali Manickavel writes

Entertainment

Allegedly Problematic: Mike Myers' 2008 film The Love Guru shows us that white dudes really can do anything

If I were to categorise The Love Guru, I think it would come under ‘white-dude-makes-movie-about-India/Indian-things- without-knowing-anything-about-these-things’. This is an extremely popular genre among white dudes. | Kuzhali Manickavel writes

Entertainment

Basmati Blues: Brie Larson-starrer is particularly befuddling in an era when we are supposed to know better

In this gilded age of internets and computers and the burdensome necessity of being woke, we have in Basmati Blues a movie where the happy Indian villagers proudly live up to the stereotype of being happy Indian villagers and nothing else | Kuzhali Manickavel writes

Entertainment

Basmati Blues: 'Just how did this get made?' and other thoughts, on watching Brie Larson-starrer

'I was, of course, scared to watch Basmati Blues,' writes Kuzhali Manickavel. 'While one sort of knows what to expect from racism from the 1800s or the 1980s, the mind boggles to consider what the new millennium will offer: is this going to be about white people coming to save the Indians except there’s internet? Do the Indians need saving because they are Indians, even though they have cell phones? Is India going to scare the woke white person, like it usually does? Why does India do that anyway? And is it racist for a country to be scary to white people?'

Entertainment

The story of Black Narcissus, 1947, is set in India. But it's a film about white people and their feelings

Black Narcissus is really only about the white people and how they feel and all about their feelings. Everything is hard and different. They get weird rashes, they forget to plant vegetables, the atmosphere of this strange place is just so strange and as a result, so many feelings | Kuzhali Manickavel writes

Entertainment

Can a cinematic masterpiece also be racist to Indians? 1947's Black Narcissus proves, yes it can

Black Narcissus, which came out in 1947, is about nuns in the Himalayas and local people who don’t know anything because they are brown. And one of the nuns goes crazy. And there’s an English guy | Kuzhali Manickavel writes

Entertainment

The Tiger of Eschnapur thrives on the idea that an accurate representation of India is not worth worrying about

Wading through all the heavy-handed exotica of The Tiger of Eschnapur, one can’t help but feel that sometimes, India only seems worth talking about if the story-teller gets to make up their own version of India.

Entertainment

The Tiger of Eschnapur: Fritz Lang's 1959 film is peak white dude's vision of a made-up India

In this column, we'll whine about how yet another obscure old movie — The Tiger of Eschnapur — was being mean to India | Kuzhali Manickavel writes in #AllegedlyProblematic

Entertainment

'Stray Cat Blues' to Ted Nugent's 'Jailbait', a compendium of popular Western music's most problematic songs

Today, we head into a fun topic — old dudes behaving inappropriately with underage girls, in popular “Western” music! Just to be clear, it is generally agreed that this is something which is not ok. But does that stop old dudes? It does not! Here are a few songs that distinguish themselves as being grosser than the rest.

Entertainment

From 'Lemon Incest' to Prince's 'Sister', songs that make you wonder, 'What were they thinking?'

Like “Eastern”, “Northern” and “Southern” songs, “Western” songs can sometimes be pretty problematic. There are songs about incest! Violence! Murder! Homophobia! Racism! These songs are a veritable cornucopia of problematic awesomeness.

Entertainment

Revisiting Murder by Death: 1976 film showed how not to play race, sexuality for laughs

In Murder By Death, the homophobia is served up by the character Sam Diamond, a parody of the fictional detective Sam Spade.

Entertainment

Murder by Death's problematic depictions don't detract from its fun quotient; or do they?

When it comes to Murder By Death, I’m profoundly guilty of saying things like 'Sure it’s racist/homophobic, but-', which is basically a roundabout way of saying yes I enjoy this problematic thing but I tut-tut at the right places and know those are bad so it’s fine.