Pixar reclaims its place atop the animation throne with its powerful and emotional ‘Coco’

A string of wonderfully creative and thoroughly entertaining films in the ‘00s helped establish Pixar as an animation powerhouse that was creating some of the finest family-friendly animated movies of the decade. But the studio was unable to maintain its momentum as it developed a disappointing case of sequels. Instead of coming up with interesting new releases, the Disney subsidiary chose to build its franchises by revisiting its most popular ideas. This resulted in the making of films that admittedly weren’t bad by any measure but simply lacked the imagination and spark that had made the studio’s best work so ...

Read Full Post

‘Fukrey returns’ is neither logical nor thought-provoking, but is definitely an all-out entertainer

Bollywood is now an industry that is strong enough to experiment with quirky genre films. At times, these experiments do not seem to make any sense whatsoever, yet sometimes, they turn out to be immensely popular and successful with audiences. Fukrey (2013) was one such instance, where a film launched with four comparatively new faces and no hype prior to its release, and managed to wow audiences and attract them to movie theatres. The film became a sleeper hit as well as a cult classic, despite its hard to believe storyline and faulty narration. This success is why, four years later, the team ...

Read Full Post

The Sinner: A cinematic equivalent of a literary page-turner

The ‘whodunits’ have been a staple of modern mystery fiction ever since the genre became widely popular through novels during the early parts of the 19th century. Even contemporary media is replete with TV shows and films where the core ingredient is a crime that needs to be solved by figuring out the identity of the perpetrator.  But recently, there is a major shift in how this genre has been handled. Even last season was all about ‘who,’ with Emmy Award winners The Night Of and Big Little Lies, but this year is predominantly about the ‘why’ when it comes to TV shows dealing with ...

Read Full Post

With its emotionally-charged story of inclusion and #ChooseKind, ‘Wonder’ is what the world of today needs

Stephen Chbosky, celebrated novelist cum director, is the man behind the bestselling coming-of-age novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower (1999), and the musical romantic fantasy Beauty and the Beast (2017). This time, his latest venture is the seemingly predictable yet heart-warming story about a bright little boy, Auggie Pullman (Jacob Tremblay). Based on RJ Palacio’s novel of the same name, Wonder is about a boy born with Treacher Collins syndrome, a rare genetic disorder characterised by facial deformity. The story is an overemotional anecdote of a family struggling to give their son a normal life, and focuses on ...

Read Full Post

A case of ‘whydunit’, Mindhunter enters the dangerous minds of notorious serial killers, leaving our inquisitive minds piqued

There is only one thing I enjoy watching more than serial killers and that is viewing these serial killers in a period milieu. Call me eccentric, but no other work of fiction fascinates me like the ones dealing with this particular genre. So when these homicidal maniacs were placed in the 1970s setting by a director who knows this cinematic category like a serial murderer knows his victims, for me it was Eid, Christmas and Diwali all rolled into one. Having already helped Netflix become a respected player in original programming with House Of Cards, acclaimed filmmaker David Fincher returns ...

Read Full Post

With its lingering scent of cinnamon and fresh sweet apples, this easy apple crumble is the perfect winter fix!

Winter is finally here! This weather provides the perfect setting for the perfect dessert: apple crumble. A few weeks ago, life landed me in the picturesque town of Salisbury, home to the Salisbury Cathedral. At 404 feet (since 1549), the cathedral has had the tallest church spire in the United Kingdom – I can attest to that having climbed all 330 steps to the top! It is here where my friend Alice grew up and where her family still lives. After the descent from the spire, her mother Lucy was kind enough to host us for a classic English tea, which ...

Read Full Post

‘Victoria and Abdul’ wittily and poignantly portrays the bond between an authoritative British queen and her Indian-Muslim munshi

Victoria and Abdul, the latest offering by director Stephen Frears, is a cautiously patterned yet realistic biographical drama about the deep friendship between the Queen of England and her Indian-Muslim servant. The story of this rather unbelievable bond is all about reminiscence and loss, making it immensely pleasing to watch a historical narrative presented with such convincing solemnity. Based on eminent author Shrabani Basu’s book of the same name, Victoria and Abdul is set in 1887 against the backdrop of the queen’s golden jubilee – the 50th year of her ascension to the throne of England. Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), ...

Read Full Post

Justice League is a work of two different directors and it shows

I get a lot of grief from fan boys for being super critical when it comes to comic book adaptations. But truth be told, I judge these movies on their cinematic merit rather than having a blinkered view by being a devotee of any particular character. Although I  understand how any movie from the superhero genre could develop a cult-following, but those are just fans who are so happy to have their favourite superhero recreated in flesh and blood on screen that they are willing to overlook all the flaws associated with the craft of filmmaking. So for all you ...

Read Full Post

Have you heard about the “Chinese” dish called Chicken Manchurian? Because people in China haven’t!

Pakistan is known for its desi-flavour infused Chinese dishes. Chicken Manchurian is a popular dish in Pakistan but funnily enough, people living in China have never heard of it, let alone consume it. This came as a surprise to me when I was visiting Beijing, China for a documentary shoot. My hosts from China Central Television took great care of my needs, including my meals and accommodation. At the end of the first day, when we were sitting in a halal restaurant in Beijing, my hosts asked me if I had a specific dish I wanted to have for my dinner. Since ...

Read Full Post

Celebrating the Queen’s platinum anniversary with delicious and easy traditional English scones

Since it was Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s 70th wedding anniversary two days ago, a friend (read royal family enthusiast) asked me why not serve up something traditionally British! Clotted cream with scones, frilly raspberry tarts, lashings of lemonade are all the things that come to mind when I reminisce about Enid Blyton’s world of afternoon tea, picnic lunches and midnight feasts. Moonface and Silky the elf are familiar names to those of us who grew up on a staple of her books – The Famous Five, The Wishing Chair, Malory Tower, to name a few. The British ritual of afternoon tea ...

Read Full Post