articles by MK Raghavendra

Entertainment

Chaitanya Tamhane’s The Disciple is an elitist take on the 'market' for classical music

The Disciple seems to take its elitist viewpoint from a ‘Brahminical’ position that does not envisage the necessity of a ‘public’ for any kind of artistic practice.

Entertainment

The unbearable sterility of Pather Panchali in colour: Unpacking the row over changes to Satyajit Ray's masterpiece

The coloured version of Pather Panchali invited the ire of purists who wish to see Satyajit Ray’s masterpiece only in its original form

Life

Book Excerpt: In Locating World Cinema, MK Raghavendra examines the role of socio-cultural context in a film's creation

MK Raghavendra's Locating World Cinema: Interpretations of Film as Culture highlights the importance of understanding the local context within which a film was created and the ensuing naunces it conveys to viewers.

Entertainment

Amid César Award win and #MeToo backlash, an analysis of Roman Polanski's An Officer and a Spy

An Officer and a Spy is a painstaking retelling of the Dreyfus affair, impeccable in its recreation of period detail and acting, and invaluable for its political insights.

Entertainment

Why Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite is a satirical masterpiece watered down by incongruous social optimism

Korean films are extremely violent, and the worst kind of brutality is casually portrayed in them. However, in Parasite, director Bong Joon-ho seems to make a serious compromise when he takes the film to a violent climax, which is not really ‘disturbing’, and ultimately concludes with ‘hope’.

Entertainment

Sam Mendes' 1917, for all its horrors, is casual entertainment, its mood at odds with his melancholy oeuvre

1917 is visually spectacular and there is no horrific effect the film does not spare, but in the end it is unaffecting. If one is lamenting the horror of war — as World War I films are wont to do — there seems to be little sense in showcasing technical wizardry, which is what Sam Mendes is doing.

Entertainment

With Chhapaak, Meghna Gulzar takes laudable stance on a worthy cause without probing social realities

Despite its weak treatment of social realities, the details in Chhapaak are inherently ideological in today’s context and one cannot pretend they are not.

Entertainment

The Irishman: Scorsese's decision to cast charismatic stars as gangsters compromises film's politics

In The Irishman, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel draw attention only to themselves without making us understand anything of how unions were once run, or why there was an association between the truckers’ unions and organised crime

Entertainment

From Takashi Miike’s First Love to Kantemir Balagov’s Beanpole, introspecting on cinema at IFFI 2019

IFFI showcases the latest in world cinema as well as Indian art cinema, but when one receives the screening schedule, one cannot really make an educated guess on what films might be worth watching; one usually runs into noteworthy films entirely by accident.

Entertainment

Terminator: Dark Fate — As franchise's possibilities diminish, its continued future requires infusion of imagination

Schwarzenegger may be the best thing about Terminator: Dark Fate but it is still difficult to identify with him. It is the human element that the earliest films had — apart from their inventiveness — that is missing here and that’s a huge loss.

Life

Girish Karnad’s last play Crossing to Talikota engrosses, but stops short of being politically audacious

A scrutiny of Girish Karnad's plays hardly shows him taking an adventurous path as a writer and he can broadly be taken to be ‘Nehruvian’ in his outlook, essentially showing faith in the post-independence ideology of the government, roughly describable as ‘anti-colonial nationalism'

Entertainment

The Sky is Pink fails to do justice to a true story by succumbing to gross generalisation on caregiving families

The Sky is Pink, directed by Shonali Bose, is based on a ‘true story’, which has us wondering: should not a ‘true story’ contain personal detail specific to some people? The strange thing about this ‘true story’ is that none of the above is made evident, and its trajectory might hold good for any family dealing with the same illness. In order for the film to touch us with its story of human mortality, it would have needed to make it unique, instead of pandering to generalisation. But this is something it doesn’t even try to do.

Entertainment

Todd Phillips' Joker straddles genres of psychological realism and superhero fantasy — therein lies its flaw

The Joker is an extravagant character out of a cartoon strip and was perhaps correctly played by Jack Nicholson (Batman, 1989), but since then there has been a misunderstanding of the possibilities that the character offers

Entertainment

Hustlers harnesses animosity against Wall Street, but devolves into celebration of mindless spending

Hustlers is good entertainment, but it provides evidence of the mindless lifestyles promoted in free market economies

Life

William Dalrymple’s The Anarchy offers a vivid reconstruction of Indian history under East India Company

William Dalrymple's new book The Anarchy: The East India Company, Corporate Violence and the Pillage of an Empire deals primarily with the East India Company, its history and doings in India, concluding with its final triumph when it defeated the Marathas and directly or indirectly controlled all of India under Richard Wellesley

Life

Quichotte book review: Salman Rushdie struggles to bring the sprawling satire to life

Rushdie has continued in quasi-fantastic, magical-satirical vein but his new novel Quichotte is a development in that it is not positioned as magical realism but explicitly as satire. Whatever ‘magic’ is in evidence is decidedly authorial conceit.

Entertainment

Saaho's release and success raise questions about the condition of Indian film, what drives big-budget movies

Saaho is an illustrative example of how today, when it comes to big-budget films, the trust is placed on marketing strategies rather than big directors. Though it has been described as visually impressive, its frames appear monochrome and the stars muscular people with small screen presences

Entertainment

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: Tarantino, increasingly tangled in false existence of a celebrity, supplants reality

Tarantino is a celebrity and this has implications to a creative artist, a figure so encrusted in glamour that rather than attend to the world he/she sees himself/herself as the object of the world’s attention.

Life

Malevolent Republic: In new book, KS Komireddi's opinions and prejudices lead to contradictions

KS Komireddi is a gifted writer but he arms himself with opinions and prejudices. Although he tries to be fair they get in the way of his judgement and lead to contradictions.

Entertainment

Kurukshetra movie review: The Mahabharta is told more with more focus on flesh, than the spirit

Kurukshetra produces evidence of phony piety floating, of being a Mahabharata of the flesh.