articles by MK Raghavendra

Entertainment

Super 30's flaw lies in turning an inspirational real-life story into 'social upliftment masala entertainer'

When a truly inspirational story about social upliftment is given ‘masala’ treatment, as in Super 30, all it demonstrates the filmmaker’s lack of faith in the subject, since he consigns it to the realm of fantasy.

Entertainment

Anubhav Sinha's Article 15 peddles a mythology rather than engaging honestly with the reality of caste

Article 15 tries to foreground the Constitution as a moral guide to caste relations, although it also describes caste as a 2000-year-old practice; the question is how something committed to paper around 1950 can undo something so ancient, the origins of which one can only speculate about?

Life

Gun Island: Amitav Ghosh's anthropological approach to fiction stops short of visionary in his latest novel

Amitav Ghosh's approach suggests that he writes fiction as anthropology, deliberately illustrating propositions through the characters and events in his novels. His latest novel Gun Island feeds us elaborate information about the milieu, including its myths and its past, but the characters do not stand out and we wait for the protagonist's emotional entanglements in vain

Entertainment

Kabir Singh: The fascinating ugliness of feudal power and how the film has captivated the young Indian viewers

Kabir Singh should rightly be shunned but it is turning out to be a super hit among young audiences composed of both sexes.

Entertainment

Chernobyl: Revisiting the disaster with the HBO series to understand how utopianism led to the gargantuan failure

The HBO miniseries pertains to the nuclear disaster in April 1986 at Chernobyl nuclear plant near Pripyat, Ukraine, inquiring into the causes and describing the subsequent clean-up efforts.

Entertainment

Bharat: Salman Khan's latest film, which addresses the working class, is nationalistic rather than patriotic

In Bharat, Salman Khan's character speaks broken English; the point being made here is that he can learn English if he so desires, but his loyalty is to his own kind. Similarly, he consents to a live-in relationship with chief engineer Kumud Raina, but never marries her. Marriage to someone above himself might have moved him out of his class and he needs to show solidarity with it.

Entertainment

Workplace ethics and Indian cinema: What do low productivity and unrealistically made films have in common?

Popular Indian cinema portrays situations and characters in an immediately recognisable way, familiar not from observation but from popular belief, and as ideals. This suppression of observation by idealisation and convention is a characteristic that one frequently encounters in real life in India. In Indian workplaces, the appearance of commitment is demanded rather than productivity

Life

Moscow, the loafer's way: Soaking in Russian culture in the city's pubs, flea markets and metro stations

A trip to a fine chinaware store, a Georgian restuarant and candid conversations with locals — the best of Moscow is lurking in corners where the first-time traveler would not look

Entertainment

At East-West Golden Arch 2019, an attempt to recognise Eurasian cinema — and celebrate it

East-West Golden Arch is a recent initiative to identify cinematic ‘Eurasia’ — Western Asia (Iran, Turkey and Israel) and Eastern Europe (the countries of the former Eastern Bloc plus Finland) — as a continuous cultural entity and organise a film festival around it, with Moscow as the epicentre.

Entertainment

Jordan Peele’s Us as a failed political satire: What the film gets right about America, and what it gets wrong

We read the doppelgängers in Jordan Peele's Us as a reference to the black majority left behind even as elites have emerged successfully as professionals, entertainers and sportspersons. It is the African-American liberal elite to whom the Obama persona appealed and that Peele partly satirised in Get Out.

Life

Literature for the Video Age: Haruki Murakami is a popular author, but what is his literary legacy?

Haruki Murakami is a gifted writer since one devours his books and little of what he writes rings false. But he is not from an age that prides itself in its literature.

Entertainment

Roma: Alfonso Cuarón has developed into an able craftsman but does not have anything of significance to say

What critics respond to most is the look of a film and it is only in its ‘look’ that Roma comes up trumps; still, the look of a film is not something it is long remembered by.

India

Examining oral tradition in India and its impact on society, from Vedic literature to larger-than-life actors, politicians

In narratives of oral tradition, such as Vedic literature, causality is weak and it is difficult to produce rigorous argument, since the tradition allows for colour and repetition rather than analysis

Entertainment

Mrinal Sen (1923-2018): Looking back at the filmography of the last giant from a key era in Indian cinema

Mrinal Sen was a major figure in Indian cinema, representing an aspect of great historical value but he will probably be most missed for what he was — a person who was almost legendary for his graciousness in a milieu where filmmakers and personalities are competing ruthlessly for honours and opportunities.

Politics

After a disappointing 2018, will Narendra Modi risk disapproval or court fringe elements as 2019 elections approach?

Even to his admirers, 2018 will seem a bad year for Narendra Modi, and not only because it concluded badly for the BJP in the state elections.

India

On Babri Masjid demolition anniversary, exploring post-liberalisation Hindutva, through the lens of cinema

The Babri Masjid demolition itself did not apparently leave a mark on film although the subsequent riots did, notably in Mani Ratnam’s Bombay (1995)

India

Dalit portrayal in cinema: Brahminical ideology has caused filmmakers to present a limited view of the community

Brahminism has defined the rules for Indian cinema in its portrayal of the Dalit experience, such that victimhood has been made the essence of Dalit life

Entertainment

Thugs of Hindostan is nothing but a failed masala film going through the motions of patriotism

Thugs of Hindostan proves that using impertinent, anti-colonial rhetoric is no more a reliable way of bringing audiences into cinema halls

Entertainment

GIFF 2018 is a valuable addition to the film festival circuit, but needs more local participation

There have been a number of smaller film festivals mushrooming in India — in places like Jaipur and Dharamshala — and one of the most recent is the Guwahati International Film Festival, which had its second edition between 25 and 31 October 2018.