articles by Manik Sharma

Entertainment

Retake: Punar Janam, second chances and coping with life’s asymmetry through cinema

We've seen stories about rebirths and previous lives aplenty, but what do they say about us and our cinema.

Entertainment

Thar shows an India struggling to contemplate its own transition

Though moody and derivative to an extent Thar's view of two Indias, illustrates the histories we are scarred by and the future we are yet to confront.

Entertainment

Not quite Gullak But Home Shanti finds something new to say about the Great Indian Family

While its imitation of Gullak doesn't quite land as well as it could, Home Shanti manages to redefine its women as the anchors of familial aspirations.

Entertainment

Never Kiss Your Best Friend review: A decent antidote to the self-serious, gritty content of today's digital world

Never Kiss Your Best Friend season 2 earns its worth, not by being superior in a technical or performative sense, but by being breezy, maybe even passive through some of its most chastening moments.

Arts & Culture

Devil's Advocate | Faiz or no Faiz, poetry in schools needs an overhaul in its method of instruction and evaluation

Poetry in general is so lazily interpreted that it is a disservice to have poetry be taught in the classroom by teachers who struggle their way through history and heritage as if on a museum tour for the 100th time.

Entertainment

Twenty years of Arjun Rampal: A once promising actor now struggling to reinvent himself

When Arjun Rampal made his debut, his tonal departure was an antidote to the blaring '90s heroes Bollywood had inflicted on its audience. But it seems like now, he has simply been hard-done by the direction our cinema has taken.

Entertainment

Mai review: Sakshi Tanwar surprises with towering, nuanced performance in a rather unmemorable show

Mai successfully communicates the savagery of its world through moments, but fails to carve something memorable as a whole.

Entertainment

Let's remember Shiv Kumar Subramaniam as a fine writer of seminal cinema, rather than just 'that 2 States actor'

To reduce Parinda, Iss Raat Ki Subah Nahin, and Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi writer Shiv Kumar Subramaniam's work to "2 States actor" is similar to when publications referred to Girish Karnad as "Tiger Zinda Hai" actor.

Entertainment

Devil's Advocate | Yami Gautam's angst towards critical reviews for Dasvi is misdirected, but hardly surprising

Yami Gautam's frustration as a "self-made star" stems more from the film industry's tendency to reward industry kids for decades despite them being relentlessly repetitive. Case in point: her Dasvi co-star Abhishek Bachchan.

Entertainment

Beyond Sharmaji Namkeen: Acknowledging the many Sharmajis who can't cook to save their lives

For every Sharmaji who finds a sense of purpose in the kitchen, there are many who have perpetually laboured at the ask. It is true at least for the many Sharmajis in my life, including of course my father.

Entertainment

Gullak Season 3 review: SonyLIV show's nostalgia-centred escape route now feels tiresome, redundant

Gullak’s third season attempts to embody the larger-than-life messaging of its episodic epiphanies but it has evidently run out of nostalgia trips to travel back to.

Entertainment

Devil's Advocate | Lata Mangeshkar snub in Oscar and Grammy tributes only reflects Indians' inferiority complex

Acknowledging third-world talent has now become a white man’s burden. And really, we can only blame ourselves for this undue veneration for the westerner’s attention.

Entertainment

The bald type: Chris Rock joke is familiar territory for Indians; Bollywood, pop culture have long ridiculed hair loss

From Kulbhushan Kharbanda's Shakaal in Shaan to Sanjay Dutt's Kancha Cheena in Agneepath, Bollywood has always mocked or demonised baldness.

Entertainment

Oscars 2022: Will Smith's Best Actor honour is a timely reminder that he remains the biggest Black star of his generation

Hopefully Will Smith's performance, like his longevity and range, will tide over this latest moment of lowliness.

Entertainment

Devil's Advocate | Oscars 2022: CODA's win adds to The Academy's legacy of honouring less deserving Best Picture contenders

When disability (deafness in case of CODA) becomes the structure of the story rather than the fulcrum on which the narrative might pivot, it becomes hard to both morally and politically resist being trapped by its lasso of sympathy.

Entertainment

Devil's Advocate | What jars in the otherwise radical Jalsa is reinforcing of the noble servant stereotype

Ramu Kaka is back on screen again, and this time he is called Ruksana. Jalsa does not reengineer a status quo that has somewhat been challenged by international films like The White Tiger and Parasite.

Entertainment

Oscars 2022: Why a studio like A24 is recognised more by snubs over the years, than the seldom wins

A24, which broke through at the Oscars with the Best Picture win of Moonlight in 2015, is nominated only in one major category this year — Denzel Washington, Best Actor for The Tragedy of Macbeth.

Entertainment

How I Met Your Father review: HIMYM reboot is an unnecessary, gibberish detour from a better story

How I Met Your Father is so meanderingly passé and half-hearted, it might as well be called 'How I Almost Never Told You This Needless Story'

Entertainment

Oscars 2022: Writing With Fire's nomination is just the first step in a long road to recognition of the Indian documentary

While Writing with Fire may go where no film in India ever has, it also inadvertently illuminates the sobering reality about the documentary genre in India. Because neither is the format considered an asset, nor is it even considered cinema.

Entertainment

Oscars 2022: Snub to House of Gucci is the final nail in the coffin for the satire that's more moody than sombre

The Oscar snub firmly closed the lid on a film that is perhaps the craziest, most out-of-its-body satire of a world that most people struggle to take seriously. House of Gucci is preposterous and pompous, but maybe, that has always been the point.