R S Prasanna

Spam that tries to be literature.

Friday, January 30, 2009

"The Young Indian Filmmaker"
Reelshow International / the best film schools, student films and graduation films - Saturday, 31 January 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

"Berlinale What?"
Reelshow International / the best film schools, student films and graduation films - Sunday, 25 January 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


A spark of fire once I chanced upon

I hid it in the hollow of an old, rotting tree

Hah! In a flash I saw the forest burn down!

Is there ever a spark too small?

- The legendary Bharati, from "Agini Kunj Ondru Kandaen". A humble translation of a migthy poem.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Overhyped Millionaire

I saw "slumdog millionaire" finally.

For those two or three people who do read this blog (my mom and dad including), heres my two cents review.

The concept of the whole movie, in terms of the structure, the story device, is very interesting. I remember Meena, a friend guide and philosopher-wannabe, had read this book almost two years ago. She had told me to read it too, and she asked me to adapt it to screen. Apart from a smirk, I did not give it much thought. Not as if if I wanted to adapt, I could have. :)

Anyway, so I loved the basic premise of the movie. Hats off to Vikas Swarup for coming up with a very nice idea.

I loved the frenetic direction of this movie. The sound design of the movie was top class. For all those who say cinema is a visual medium, and underplay the importance of sound, this is another example added to the long list of good movies that use sound design as an integral part of the film "watchers'" experience.

I loved the first 30 minutes of the movie. The shots, the editing, the color-schemes, and the sound design, and some of the acting... Also, this is when the central story device is revealed, so that adds to the freshness of the opening.

Coming to the acting. I was terribly disappointed with most performances. While I can understand (and discount for) the need to use English, and I understand that it may tinge the performances a bit, I don't understand why they could not have used a more natural dialog style? Why were the English dialogs so "written" and spoken like a college English production? I mean Jamal speaks more like a corporate managaer than a slumdog. He could have used broken English at the very least?

The kids in the first 30 minutes gave the best performances. This could be again because they spoke their natural language. But that's no excuse. Mira Niar has directed better English performances in her movies. Way better, actually. Monsoon Wedding and most parts of Namesake are a case in point.

Rahman's score was hardly impressive. It was sufficient, but hardly elevated the movie. "Jai Ho" was atrociously lame, but it fitted in with the equally bad dance, and the even more atrocious desision to include this song as an end to a "realistic, gritty" movie!!!

All this has nothing to do with it winning laurels.

Given the bad state of writing in Hollywood, I am sure this movie could easily be way better than most. And it certainly is a good movie, no doubting that.

I am only saying that I think this movie could have been way better, and easily so, that's all. And it is riddled with flaws.

Anyway, I learnt a lot while watching this movie. And I am very happy India is hot on the international circuit. That could have added largely to the hype about this movie.

The movie certainly deserves accolades. But not to the level some stupid critics are saying.

Finally, I was amused at the trope borrowed from "Bollywood". The word "Destiny" is used so much, to explain away tough screenwriting problems. Must say that these guys are smart! They took the one thing from "Bollywood" that suited them the most. Reduces their workload! "Destiny!"

Keeping with the downward slide of the movie, the silly Bollywood dance in the end was a fitting finale to the stupid ending. This is what danny Boyle would have liked about "Indian Cinema" so much, that he chose to use this to spoil an already mediocre, rushed-up ending.

So, overall, my two cent verdict: a good movie that could have easily been way better.

There are many cinemas in India. Bollywood is one of them.

There is another little cinema, that actually was looking at the west, as sort of a greener pasture.

And that cinema may now start worrying.


Kudos to the Slumdog Millionaire team. It's not your fault that the world is hyping your film. Enjoy it while it lasts!

And hey, I'm not complaining!

"I am an Indian director, Hire me tooooooo!!!!"

Monday, January 12, 2009

Why I may become a Slumdog Millionaire quicker, because of Slumdog Millionaire

First things first. I am not a slumdog.

Second things second. India is burning hot.

Not the weather, but in the international movie market.

My guess is you will see Shantaram finally getting made. (Mira Nair may be given Dimiki and Danny Boyle may replace her, but that's another prediction)

I see no other reason why Danny Boyle's film 'slumdog millionaire' has garnered so much critical and BO attention, and now the golden globes.

Don't get me wrong. I am only saying, given 5 equally good films, economics of market may form a huge factor in tipping the pointer towards one film. Especially if it is a film from a piping hot, new market.

This film is certain to be the harbinger of many (bad) India-centric films, but i am not complaining.

There will be demand for Indian talent on the international scene like never before, even directors and writers.

As always no one event can lay claim to a revolution. Each event plays its part. But one event finally acts as a trigger, or comes at the tipping point and pushes the wheels finally over the steep cliff.

So, kudos to many many 'cross-over' directors and talent; Mira Nair comes to my uneducated mind immediately. There are others. Many many others.

God, am I lucky to be born at a time like this!

Of course, I am gonna have it a lot easier now.

Or this could be my famous last words.\


Either ways, it has something to do with fame, so I'm happy!