Ponniyin Selvan: 1 (2022)

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Viceroy’s House (2017)

Gurinder Chadha presents a period film this time round, from the perspective of the Mountbatten family. Always a touchy subject, the partition is seen from the stories of staff inside The Viceroys House.

Palatial and luxurious, it has its own political dynamic, which is threatened by the eminent handover of the country. While the destiny of India is battled out by the leaders, a romance blossoms.

It’s a delicate tale told with dignity, without getting caught up in the violence and gore of the time. The film has a strong cast which delivers on every count.

A well made film which is a departure from the directors usual style and technique.

3/5

The hundred foot journey (2014)

Writer Richard C. Morais probably didn’t imagine such a stellar cast and rich production would be given to his novel. Two beautiful worlds collided in this film, where Indian spices and flavours gave age old French recipes and classic culinary a delectable twist.

The story is neither predictable, nor are the characters. Helen Mirren plays the Michelin Star restaurant owner who has new ‘neighbours’. They have opened ‘Mumbai Maison’, an Indian restaurant 100 feet from hers. There starts a journey which no one could have foreseen. Director Lasse Hallström’s repertoire of the ABBA videos and his impressive filmography show a flair to balance such contrasting elements.

Besides salivating throughout the film, and laughing at ‘Papa’ Om Puri’s exquisite ‘Indian-ness’, we are treated by the stiff and snobby Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren) and the vulnerable yet talented Hassan (Manish Dayal). They are ably supported by Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon) and a small yet adorable cast playing both Hassan’s family and Madame’s staff and town folk. Sensitive bonds, breath-taking French locales, cinematography that captures our own emotions and feelings set this film apart in 2014.

We take with us the tastes of both cultures, but above all, the lesson that good food never goes unrewarded. Prejudice takes a back seat and talent takes centre stage. Produced by Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey and five others, with music by A.R.Rahman, this is one masterchef you cannot afford to miss.

Running to packed houses in limited cinemas with even fewer shows, savour it now!

3.5/5

Million Dollar Arm (2014)

Disney brings us the true story of RInku and Dinesh, two boys who win a competition in India to play baseball back in the USA. This was a last attempt to save a flagging career by sports agent JB Bernstein, who travels through India with a novel concept to recruit young men.

The strength of this movie is that its based on a true story, which makes it more real than aspirational. It is handled sensitively, showing a more rural and congested India, but not as gritty and stark as ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. What starts off as unique strategic move, turns into an evolutionary journey for all those who are on it.

Classic ‘sports film’ moments, the well placed highs and lows, the background score, make this film predictable, yet enjoyable. The casting is very impressive, with a host of talented actors present, but not necessarily impactful.

In the end I think this film was more of a culture exchange, rather than atheletic, which gave it its warm fuzzy Disney feel.

A strong pitch with a soft heart.

3/5