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Interview: Mira Nair #Profile #OpenMagazine #QueenofKatwe

Mira Nair: Breaking the Colour Code

Mira Nair’s new movie is a daring rejoinder to racial prejudices

Note: This piece was written by Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoonfor Open Magazine. An edited version of the piece can be found here: https://goo.gl/bhuR62
““Irresistible” is one of those adjectives that critics should handle with utmost care,” reads the very first paragraph of the review of Mira Nair’s Queen of Katwe, by the New York Times’ chief film critic of over a decade, A.O. Scott. “But if there is anyone out there capable of remaining unmoved by this true-life triumph-of-the-underdog sports story, I don’t think I want to meet that person.”
It’s been a month since the tenth feature-length live action film of arguably the most accomplished and feted international director of Indian origin, Mira Nair, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, where the festival’s artistic director Cameron Bailey spoke of how the world has been catching up with Nair’s stories. Bailey went on to proclaim that Nair’s time is “now”, and ever since, the accolades for both her and her new film haven’t stopped.Being a four-quadrant-pleasing inspirational Disney biopic of an underdog chess prodigy, Phiona Mutesi, from the slums of Kampala, Queen of Katwe may not be the standout movie of Nair’s remarkable career that counts, among its many highlights, the Oscar-nominated Salaam Bombay! and the screen adaptation of Jhumpa Lahiri’s beautiful exploration of one’s roots, The Namesake. And yet, it is, by all means, just as important as every other story Nair’s chosen to champion through her distinct cinéma vérité style of filmmaking.Because this is the year in which the American film industry is still reeling from the embarrassment and backlash of the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag, where all 20 acting nominees at the Academy Awards were white, for the second time in a row, since 1998. It is also, lamentably, the year where US Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric against anyone who isn’t a straight, white, American male, has managed to sway a significant part of his highly-educated first world country into advocating for him.In such a time, so fuelled by class divide, prejudice and racism, here’s a film by the most successful of the ‘Big Six’ American film studios at the moment, featuring an all-black cast led by a 16-year-old debutant non-professional actress from Uganda, set almost entirely in Africa, and directed by a woman filmmaker of Indian origin. In any other year, a film like this would have been an anomaly, but in 2016, when the world seems to Benjamin Buttoning itself into a de-evolved, Neolithic version of itself, the very fact that Queen of Katwe was made, is akin to a miracle.

But that’s exactly what attracted Nair, never been one to shy away from challenges, to the story in the first place. “If you see Africa on any screen, even within Africa or without Africa, it is always to do with dictatorship or beastiality or child soldiers and violence; it has nothing to do with the kind of everyday life in Africa,” she says, over the telephone, in a conversation that took place minutes before her film’s European premiere at the BFI London Film Festival.

“I think it’s so important to break the ignorance, the myopia, and the, sort of, terrible tropes and stereotypes that exists about other places in the world today. Even in India, there is massive racism against African students. There is so much importance given to the colour of our skin, and there’s caste prejudice that we’ve been carrying on for years, that the government stokes every moment, you know. A film like this hopefully makes you realise that the Nigerian student down the street is not a hustler or whatever the world may tell you that he/she is, and that’s important to know right now.”

Lending a voice to those who don’t get much of a say has always been one of the prevalent themes of Nair’s movies. From tackling the pandemic of child abuse in Monsoon Wedding to the rising Islamobhobia in her last film, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Nair takes pride in giving a platform to the disadvantaged, the marginalised as well as the misfits, while ensuring that their portrayal is not bleak, but instead, spirited. Nair calls it the “life-ist” attitude that she has seen as the fundamental component of the human condition, irrespective of where she’s set her film.

“This attitude, this embracing of life fully… the emphasis on how much you can create with your life, regardless of how little you may have, has always inspired me,” Nair says. “The struggle to just achieve you are by people considered outside of society, is a tale I have tried to tell since Salaam Bombay!, because there’s dignity and joy that you never see or hear of.”

When a Disney executive with Ugandan roots, Tendo Nagenda, brought her a cut out of a sports magazine that had profiled Mutesi, asking her if she’d be interested in making a film on her, Nair knew this was a story she needed to tell. Mutesi’s story took place barely 15 minutes away from her house in Kampala, a city she calls home since the last two decades (she met and married her husband Mahmood Mamdani, a Professor at Columbia University, New York, in Kampala), but it was opportunity to authentically portray a people she has come to love, that jumped out at her.

So if Queen of Katwe tick marks the genre sports film, it also firmly shines a light at the vivaciousness and compassion of the Ugandan community, beyond just the colours of its streets, the hip hop music or the vibrant camerawork (by 12 Years a Slave cinematographer Sean Bobbitt). The story of Phiona, she points out, is not just the story of how “genius can be found everywhere”, but that of the entire community that lived her dream with her, and for her, “because that is how life is lived in Kampala.”

“It’s not an individualistic life or a one person show. It takes a mentor like Robert Katende, a mother like Harriet Mutesi, it takes a street, a family… it takes a village to make a genius. It’s this prismatic view that I find interesting. I also think the world is ready to see on screen what the world is off screen – the multiplicities, the diversity, the inclusivity, and the humanity – which I love to film. Because I am certainly never going to make the reductive formula sports film that is expected of me,” she laughs.

Having grown up between Rourkela and Bhubaneshwar, then studying in Delhi University and Harvard University, and then, having found her calling in Hollywood, shuttling between her three homes in New York, New Delhi and Kampala, Nair is a global citizen, if ever there was one. So presenting an all-encompassing world in every story she illustrates on screen, is not just important to her, but in some ways, obligatory.

“If you are truthful and all-encompassing, whether you are watching Uganda in Queen of Katwe or Monsoon Wedding with the Punjabiyat of it, or the streets of Bombay in Salaam Bombay!, even if that world is far away from your reality, you will eventually see yourself in that truth too. You relate because you either know the feelings I have tried to portray, or you could know them.”

It was hence critical to Nair to have cast actors from the same streets that she tried to paint this honest picture of, if Queen of Katwe was to work. Madina Nalwanga, who played the lead role of Phiona, grew up not far from Katwe, in the streets of Kibuli, where she sold corn for a living, and was found through a dancing troupe she was a part of. All the other kids were non-professional actors too; a strategy that had helped her put together a magical cast during her debut in Salaam Bombay! as well.

“Children are like the maps of life in the way they move their hands or bodies,” she says tenderly. “I had no interest in taking an upper class child and teaching him or her how to bathe with half an inch of water. My interest, on the other hand, is actually being educated by a child, to show us the world that he or she is coming from. So when we found the kids, I distilled the roles according to their strength and their fun, so even the audience would feel a sense of familiarity on seeing them.”

“Morever,” she points out, “there’s a real alchemy that happens when you put together a kid from reality opposite a legendary actor like David Oweloyo (who plays Phiona’s coach Katende) or Lupita N’yongo (who plays Phiona’s mother Harriet), or Naseeruddin Shah in Salaam Bombay!. Because when you have a pure non-actor and a pure actor, they both have to meet at a point of purity, you know.”

It is this commitment to break out of the trappings of traditional Disney fare that gives Queen of Katwe the characteristic Mira Nair stamp, which the director gives full credit to the studio for not trying to “sanitize”. Because if the film plays out the conventional soaring, uplifting sports film tropes, like the sports metaphors that Katende uses to explain life itself (“Find your safe squares”), there are enough unpredictable and unexpected moments of genuine emotion derived from the “barbarity and brutality of living in the slums,” as Nair puts it.

The filmmaker points out specific examples of scenes where Phiona, when she first goes to the Church where the other kids are playing chess, is called a ‘pig’ and has to fight to eat the complimentary porridge by her own. Another scene, where Phiona, on beating a boy at chess, asks out aloud if she was allowed to win by him, is an example of the “familiar female diffidence” that is still rampant in so many women, according to Nair.

“These are not unique attributes, you know,” she explains, “These things happen to all of us, and that makes us think and believe that we are pretty much the same people, no matter where we are. I don’t like sugar coating this, but yes, I do like to tell it all in a way that you have mazaa (fun) also. Because if you feel the mazaa, you feel the pain too.

“That is how I make movies – I don’t want a harangue; I don’t want to be lectured to. So I have shaped the film like a human heart and the rhythm of it is like an accordion. It expands your heart with laughter, because the kids would do that to me with their finger snapping and their sounds that were so full of sassiness; and in the next moment, you’d see the reality of eating, where you are fighting for a bowl of porridge.”

A turning point in the movie, for Phiona, comes through when a kid she’s playing with explains to her why chess matters to her. “In chess, the small one can become the big one,” she says, referring to the chess rule wherein a pawn can become a queen if it makes it across the board to the other side. Phiona makes this her motto, deriving courage from it, and giving it her own moniker that ties back with the movie’s title: “queening.”

Queening can aptly be used as a term to describe the swagger of the women in the movie. Because Queen of Katwe isn’t just an inspirational sports film that would empower the young Phionas of the world to dream big and then chase those dreams down; but for Nair, it is also a feminist movie inspired by, and dedicated to the Harriets of the world, because without their pluck and persistance, there could be no Phionas.

Says Nair, “I don’t ever want to make a female character who gives up on life. Even the real Harriet is a formidable ‘Mother Courage’, someone who became a teenage mother but refused to let her children follow her path, as best as she could. She struggled so deeply in her youth but resolved that she will stand up for her children.”

“That’s the tenacity that Phiona has inherited too. She’s lethal and resolute in chess, and that comes from her mother’s life, struggles and courage. And these are the women I like depicting on screen: who are as complicated as we all are, and inspiring in their own ways.”

With virtually no wrong moves in her film career spanning three decades, be it through her feminism or her movies that feature protagonists embracing life with all the curve balls it throws at them, or through the film school she’s started in Kampala, the Maisha Film Lab, that has been galvanizing African youth through its motto, “If we don’t tell our stories, no one else well,” perhaps Nair’s endgame too, has been “queening” all along.

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Note: This interview first appeared in Open Magazine on October 21, 2016
Link: http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/cinema/mira-nair-breaking-the-colour-code
Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

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Why Guardians of the Galaxy is the greatest superhero film of all time #Ode #VoxPop

Note: This piece was written by Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoonfor the VoxPop Blog.

So I’m going to go on a limb out here and say that Guardians of the Galaxy is the greatest superhero movie of all time. BOOM!  Yes, I did just make a sweeping declaration and no, it’s not because it’s Marvel Month at VoxPop (even though it is) or because I have a man crush on Chris Pratt (even though I totally do), or because my Baby Groot action figure means more to me than actual babies mean to some people (even though I am Groot). It’s because it’s true.

I do understand how some of you may feel about this as the legend of Christophar Nolan’s The Dark Knight has elevated it to the defecto status of the greatest, while there are some who swear by Spider-Man 2, The Incredibles, Unbreakable, Blade, Superman: The Movie, X2 and Batman Returns in the older ones, and X-Men: First Class, Deadpool, Chronicle, Kickass, plus Avengers, Iron Man, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Iron Man 2… well, basically everything else from Marvel, in the newer ones.  There are also some who believe Krrish 3 ROXXX, but unfortunately 7 year olds don’t know any better, so we will let them be for now.

The Curse of Christopher Nolan
But I can reason it out, *logically*. Let’s go back in time to the year 2008, when The Dark Knight released, and the superhero world, heck, the entire blockbuster movie world, turned dark. We got a Spiderman reboot sans humour (The Amazing Spiderman), a Superman reboot that had a dark tinge throughout the film (Man of Steel), an Iron Man so dark that it was shot mostly at night (Iron Man 3), a Captain America so dark that even the Hulk had better jokes (The Avengers) and a Thor so dark that they even put the word ‘dark’ in its title, you know, in case anyone thought it *looked* too bright (Thor: The Dark World).

Even if you discount the Zack Snyder affliction that’s plaguing the DC world at the moment, even movie titles *literally* went ‘dark’ post-2008. Here’s a list of just some of the movies that came out after The Dark Knight:  Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), Thor: The Dark World (2013)… and I’m only listing summer movies here. There’s also Edge of Darkness (2010), The Darkest Hour (2011) Dark Shadows (2012), Zero Dark Thirty (2012), You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger (2010)…. Umm, okay I made my point.

On the heels of this illness, came the unlikely Guardians of the Galaxy, a movie so aggressively anti darkness that its trailer featured Swedish pop rock band Blue Swede’s ‘70s anthem, ‘Hooked on a Feeling’ as opposed to, you know, Mike Zarin’s BRAAAM!s from the Inception trailer. Considering the fact that the joke was actually on the last few superhero films that tried being funny (Green Lantern and The Green Hornet failed spectacularly), it cannot be stressed enough how mental the very idea of Guardians of the Galaxy was.

Marvel’s Lab Experiment
Here’s a film that was so disruptive that it was practically a lab experiment by Marvel. It was directed by an indie filmmaker whose most notable work was having scripted the Scooby-Doo movies (James Gunn), it was set in outer space with a budget of $170 million dollars (enough to feed Bangladesh), and featured five anti-heroes: a lead who was earlier best known as the chunky dude in a niche TV show (Pratt as Starlord), a former WWE wrestler (Dave Bautista as Drax), and three recognisable faces who were either in unrecognizable makeup (Zoe Saldana as Gamora) or were animated (Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon and Vin Diesel as Groot)! Recipe for disaster, right?

But NO! Guardians of the Galaxy became the biggest August-release of all time in the US, making $773.14 million globally in 2014 (for comparison, Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice is at $872.7 million in 2016) and there’s one big reason why: it brought back the essence of what comic book movies were always supposed to be but something that most superhero movies had completely forgotten to be in the years preceding: FUN!

Take the pre-climax scene where the five anti-heroes agree to go on a suicidal mission to save the world after Starlord’s ‘I have a plan’ speech. The movie does the cliché Blake Snyder’s beat sheet tick mark, but then, once all five are standing, Rocket remarks snarkily, “There, I’m also standing. Look at us, a bunch of jackasses, standing in a circle!” It’s this – how the film took all such superhero tropes and played it to perfection, only to turn it on its head before the end, so that the audience got to watch both an irreverent indie film that’s new and exciting and the familiar summer film that’s become such a lost art.

Indie Soul in a Blockbuster
Because that’s what the legacy of Guardians of the Galaxy and that’s what makes it so great – and in my books, the greatest: a summer blockbuster with the soul of an indie film. It has the big ticket action scenes, but it also has the quiet moments – like the scene where Groot grows a flower to gift a little girl; or the scene where Groot releases fireflies to bring about light in a dark scene; or well, just the fact that it’s got Groot! Instead of going the ‘one for them, one for us’ way with their slate of blockbuster films that go right up to 2020, Marvel figured out the inspired middle-path in this one: ‘something for both’. How else do you explain an ingenious ‘70s soundtrack (‘The Awesome Mix Vol. 1) to a film set in space?

Even besides this, what Guardians of the Galaxy did with its success was empowering indie filmmakers to give their own unique voice to big budget films. Now you have a Spiderman movie made by the guy who last made a violent road thriller (Jon Watts), a Thor movie made by a dude who made a horror comedy mockumentary on vampires (Taika Waititi) and a Doctor Strange movie by the guy who made indie horror scary again (Scott Derickson)!

In Groot We Trust
GOTG also empowered hapless audience that wanted to be entertained but could not suffer through one more never-ending Michael Bay explosionfest (especially without any Megan Fox) or a Snyder VFXfest (especially without Nolan exec producing) to demand movies that actually DO have a story, a heart and a soul. Most importantly, it empowered studios to experiment with new subjects (even if its superheroes), the wackier, the better. Hence, we already have a Deadpool and Suicide Squad, and are in the line for a Lego Batman Movie, a *young* Spiderman and Flash, and so many more!

Just like the heroes at its helm, Guardians of the Galaxy is the unlikely misfit superhero film that the world needed, and not just the film they wanted, hence making it the greatest ever. With a franchise like GOTG, the future of the galaxy is in safe hands indeed, because essentially, in Groot, we trust.

 

Follow the blog on your left and like The Tanejamainhoon Page on FB: /tanejamainhoonpage
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Liked/disliked the piece? Leave your comments below!
Note: This interview first appeared on the Vox Pop Blog in September 2016.
Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

Bollywood slayers on American TV #TheJuice #Listicle

Note: This piece was written by Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoonfor The Juice.

There is no denying that after Priyanka Chopra had her ‘YAS QUEEN!’ moment starring as the ass-kicking lead of a primetime American TV series in Quantico, the floodgates finally and definitively opened for desi talent from the heart of ‘Bollywood’ to cross over into the homes – and hearts – of a global audience.

Yes, of course, Indian-origin talent from Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project) and Indira Verma (Game of Thrones) to Aziz Ansari (Master of None) and Kunal Nayyar (The Big Bang Theory) had already jostled their way through many struggles on to the front and center stage. But Quantico represents the first time that Indian talent from Indian cinema has been picked to be the lead of a major network series, paving the way for authentic desi flavor to take over the taste buds of American TV audiences.

Already, on the heels of Priyanka slaying it on everything from the White House Correspondents’ Dinner red carpet to the Oscar stage, Netflix has become the harbinger of more good news for Indian audiences worldwide, by announcing an original TV series set in India. A Hindi and English-language adaptation of acclaimed author Vikram Chandra’s bestselling novel, Sacred Games, the series will be produced by Phantom Films, the production company founded by Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane, Vikas Bahl and Madhu Mantena.

It will be exciting to see which Indian actors make the cut in this already-buzzed about series, as a leading role would immediately put them on the world map. But even before we start rallying behind whoever’s announced, there are a bunch of desi actors from Bollywood who’ve been surreptitiously playing strong parts in ongoing American shows, with some even in parallel leads!

NIMRAT KAUR
The gorgeous Nimrat Kaur, who made her big screen leading-role debut with the beautifully-crafted The Lunchbox, has only been since in one Hindi film since, this year’s blockbuster hit, Airlift. But the reason for her unhurried Bollywood career is that she’s been busy kicking killing it with her strong supporting roles in popular American shows. She played a badass Pakistani spy in season 4 of the popular Homeland, and she’s just wrapped up a parallel lead role in season 2 of Manoj Night Shyamalan’s series, Wayward Pines! The American audiences can’t have enough of her, and neither can we.

TINA DESAI
Ex-model Tina Desai made her Bollywood debut with the suspect ‘Sahi Dhande Galat Dhande’ and followed it up with a couple of even more questionable films. It is then even more inspiring that she managed to break into international cinema with the sleeper hit The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, opposite Dev Patel. And while she’s only done the film’s sequel in the movies since, she’s been making quite a mark on TV. As one of the eight parallel leads of the critically acclaimed Netflix series, Sense8, Tina Desai has worked with the legendary Wachowski siblings – Lana and Lilly for two seasons now, with the second season scheduled to air sometime later this year.

RAHUL KHANNA
One of the very first international young Indian actors from India, Rahul Khanna, along with Rahul Bose, was one of the first few faces of crossover cinema. He dabbled in a few Bollywood films since, but after a brief lull, Khanna’s back in a big way with the Emmy-nominated series, The Americans. Playing a Pakistani agent in the period spy drama, Khanna’s arc was extended from an episode to an entire season after a fabulous performance that required him to show off not only his acting talent, but also his bottoms, in a graphic sex scene (alert: ladies!).

POORNA JAGANNATH
After starring opposite Aamir Khan in the cult Delhi Belly, Poorna Jagannathan was only seen in a brief cameo in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani in 2013. But that’s because for the past three years, she’s been filming a crime drama series for premium cable channel, HBO. A part of the critical smash hit, The Night Of, was first shot with late actor James Gandolfini but after his untimely demise, Jon Turtletaub took his role and the series began work all over again. In the series that’s currently on air, Poorna plays the mother of a 20-something Pakistani boy, wrongly convicted of murder, and has received glowing reviews for her measured performance.

ARJUN MATHUR
Actor Arjun Mathur has been at the receiving end of much attention for his countless ads as well as for his MTV series, Bring on the Night. But the actor, who stole scenes in Luck By Chance, Barah Anna, My Name is Khan and the recent Angry Indian Goddesses, has added another ace up his sleeve with a supporting role in the PBS series, Indian Summers. The series also stars many veteran Indian actors like Lilette Dubey and Roshan Seth, but Arjun’s standout performance has been particularly spoken of by critics.


BOX: Where else to spot Indian actors on American TV

Anil Kapoor – After playing Omar Hassan, the President of ‘Kamistan’, Anil Kapoor made a Jhakaas appearance in the ongoing season of Family Guy in the episode titled ‘Road to India’

Purab Kohli and Anupam Kher – The charming Purab Kohli has a strong supporting role in Sense8 as the fiancé of Tina Desai’s character, while veteran Anupam Kher plays her father.

Sikandar Kher – News is that Anupam Kher’s step-son Sikandar Kher has been tapped into playing the negative lead on the second season of Sense8.

Sugandha Garg – The Jaane Tu Ya Jaana Na actress, who has been consistently starring in acclaimed crossover Indian movies, can be seen in a supporting role, along with Arjun Mathur, in Indian Summers.

Shenaz Treasury – Besides starring in around 50 episodes of the daytime soap opera, One Life to Live, the former MTV VJ and actress Shenaz Treasury can be seen as a recurring contributor on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.

Freida Pinto – The first Indian actress to get leading roles in Hollywood, Freida Pinto has signed up opposite Idris Elba in a prestigious mini series Guerrilla, to be written, directed and produced by 12 Years a Slave writer, John Ridley.

Irrfan Khan – Yes, India’s most famous international export Irrfan Khan will be back again on TV after his breakout role in the HBO series, In Treament. Khan has signed up to star in an international mini-series on World War II.


Follow the blog on your left and like The Tanejamainhoon Page on FB: /tanejamainhoonpage
Follow Nikhil Taneja on FB: /tanejamainhoonon Twitter:
@tanejamainhoonon Instagram:@tanejamainhoon,

on Youtube: /tanejamainhoon

Liked/disliked the piece? Leave your comments below!
Note: This piece first appeared in The Juice in the August 2016 issue.
Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

MOST AWAITED ENTERTAINMENT OF THE SUMMER 2016 #MOVIES #TV #HT48HOURS

Note: This piece was written by Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoonfor HT 48 HOURS.

MOVIES

This past weekend, Hollywood’s much-awaited ‘summer season’, a magical time when tentpole movies obliterate the box office, dawned on fans worldwide, as easily the most anticipated film of the year, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (crash) landed in theaters. It may well be that in the battle between two of the biggest comic superheroes of all time, it is the audience that lost. But there is good news in that the next three months have some epic entertainment lined up for movie buffs, and the wounds inflicted by Zack Snyder and gang will get several chances to heal. Here’s a look at the five most awaited event films of the next quarter:

The Jungle Book (April 15) – Jon Favreau serves us nostalgia on a platter with a live action version of the classic cartoon from all our childhoods. With an all-star cast starring the voices of Bill Murray as Baloo, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa and Idris Elba as Shere Khan, this is an unmissable ride back in time.

Captain America: Civil War (May 5) – The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) Batman/Superman battle may’ve turned out a damp squib, but all eyes are on the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) fight between its own superheroes, Iron Man and Captain America. This one is bigger and badder as it’s a ‘war’ between two factions, with Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye and others on the Cap’s side and Black Widow, Ant-Man and more on Tony Stark’s. With the all new Spider-Man joining the fun, trusted directors Anthony and Joe Russo may have a winner on their hands.

X-Men: Apocalypse (May 27) – If Warner Bros brought a battle and Disney’s bringing war, Fox has an entire apocalypse on its hands with X-Men’s latest multi-starrer juggernaut. Familiar mutants Professor X (James McAvoy) and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) come together with fresh blood in young Jean Grey, Cyclops and more to fight the ‘immortal and invincible’ Apocalypse (Oscar Issacs), who’s helped, but obviously, by Magneto (Michael Fassbender). If trailers are anything to go by, this one’s sure to rain fire at the box office.

Warcraft (June 10) – June will bring to screens another fantasy epic but this time the universe isn’t out of a comic book but based on the exceedingly popular video game series of the same name, Warcraft. Humans will battle orcs in this battle of two worlds set in the middle ages. Vikings’ star Travis Fimmel and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes antagonist Toby Kebbell star but the most exciting talent in the film is director Duncan Jones, who has proved his sci-fi mettle twice with the brilliant Moon and Source Code.

Finding Dory (June 17) – Thirteen years after endearing itself to all and sundry, Pixar follows up one of the most loved animation films of all time, Finding Nemo, with what promises to be an even more heartwarming sequel, Finding Dory. The movie centers on the amnesiac Dory (Ellen Degenres) as she set sets out to find her family, accompanied this time by Nemo (Hayden Rolence) and Marlin (Albert Brooks) in what should be the beautiful, big family adventure tale of the year.

Honourable mentions go out to two un-blockbusters that may have you talking long after summer’s over. There’s Everybody Wants Some (releasing March 30), Richard Linklater’s ‘spiritual sequel’ to his cult hit Dazed and Confused that expectedly opened to raving reviews at the SxSw Festival in early March.  And then there’s Iron Man 3 director Shane Black’s return to the noir comedy genre he pretty much invented with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, with a droolworthy cast to boot in The Nice Guys (releasing May 20) starring Russel Crowe, Ryan Gosling and Matt Bomer.


TELEVISION

American television has always worked hand-in-glove with Hollywood to ensure that it reserves its best content for the fall, so it’s both at a safe distance to and from the big bad summer season. But these rules were never of any consequence to HBO that prides itself in being the Home Box Office, and over the last couple of years, it has been joined by streaming media like Netflix and Amazon that are best known for creating their own rules. So some quality entertainment’s lined up in the next quarter on our screens from both these worlds:

Game of Thrones (Star World Premiere, April 26) – Is Jon Snow dead? Is Jon Snow Alive? Is Jon Snow Ghost? Is Jon Snow a ghost? Is Jon Snow a White Walker? These questions and many more, like the meaning of the cryptic teaser trailer where the faces of the dead and the not-so-much creepily come together in one foreshadow-y image, will finally be answered when the world’s most talked and downloaded show premieres in April.

Silicon Valley (Star World Premiere, April 27) – If you thought war was only a feat that the brave and able bodied took part in, the funniest geeks on television are all set to prove you wrong in the third season of the aptly-titled silicon valley comedy.  Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch) along with his squad of awkwards will take on the suits who fired him from the CEO position of his own start-up. Cue ROFLMAO humour.

The Americans (Star World Premiere, April) – If you don’t know why this show is featured on the top five most-awaited shows of the next three months, then you’ve missed out watching one of the top five shows of the last three years. A spy show set during the cold war in America  is easily – and consistently – one of the best written TV dramas, also starring one of our own, Rahul Khanna. If you need more reasons to watch it, google Indo-Russian actress, Annet Mahendru. You’re welcome.

Marseille (Netflix, May 5) – The one freshman show to look forward to in the coming quarter is, but obviously, a Netflix Show. After showing the world what it can do with a foreign-language series in last year’s outstanding Narcos, an achievement in original programming, Netflix debuts an original French-language series, Marseille, a political thriller about power and corruption in France, starring French superstar Gerard Depardieu. A French House of Cards? You can bet on it.

Orange is the New Black (Netflix, June 17) – The Emmy Awards may not have been able to decide whether Orange is the New Black should be awarded as the Best Drama or the Best Comedy over the last few years, but that only proves that no matter which way you categorise it, multi-award winning Orange is the New Black is a must-watch. The series that, along with House of Cards, first showed the world that Netflix ‘TV’ is here to stay, is back for its fourth season, and continues to promise badass entertainment.

As English-language channels in India haven’t announced its programming beyond April, it can’t be said whether some of May and June’s international premieres will screen in India, but two shows are worth keeping an eye out for. Filmmaker Cameron Crowe of Jerry Maguire fame is making his TV debut with Roadies (premiering June 26), starring Luke Wilson, Carla Gugino and many others in a show about a touring rock band’s rock-crew that may redeem the term ‘Roadies’ for Indian audiences. And then, of course, there’s season two of Manoj N. Shyamalan’s Wayward Pines (premiering May 25) anthology, season one of which was the most success Shyamalan has seen in over a decade, and this one stars our very own Nimrat Kaur!

 

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Liked/disliked the piece? Leave your comments below!
Note: This interview first appeared in HT 48 Hours in April 2016.
Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

Oscars So White… and Dull #OPENMAGAZINE

For the second time in two years, all twenty acting nominees at the Oscars are white, and the controversy surrounding that has given consequence to the 88th Academy Awards that were set to be all but inspid

Note: This piece was written by Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoonfor Open Magazine. An edited version of the piece can be found here: https://goo.gl/DdV02l

On February 28, 2016, all eyes will be on Chris Rock, as he takes the stage to host the 88th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California, in what has, over the last month-and-a-half, turned out to be the most talked about Oscars of this side of the 21st century, but for all the wrong reasons.

African-American standup comedian Rock’s opening monologue will have to pull no punches, mostly on the ceremony itself, if the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences, that runs the Oscars, wants the 88th edition to be remembered for the right reasons, or perhaps one: six-time Oscar-nominee Leonardo DiCaprio potentially winning a compensatory Best Actor Award after 22 years of near-misses, heartbreaks and internet memes.

The story of this year’s awards, which were touted to be the most boring Oscars in a decade since the 78th edition, when Crash inexplicably won over Brokeback Mountain among snooze-fest Best Picture nominees including Capote, Good Night and Good Luck and Munich, unexpectedly became significant, when, on January 14, it so turned out that for the second year in a row, all 20 actors announced as nominees in the four acting categories were white.

Not since 1998 had such a thing happened at the Oscars, and the fact that it has now happened two years in a row, opened the floodgates of controversy surrounding the Academy, as well as Hollywood’s, Achilles heel: its severe diversity problem. There had already been an outcry from Hollywood and beyond in 2015, when the snubs to award shoo-ins David Oyelwo, who portrayed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Best Picture nominee Selma, and the movie’s director Ava DuVernay, gave rise to the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, causing much embarrassment to the Academy. The hashtag trended again, immediately after this year’s announcements, compounded by a lengthy post by two-time Academy Award nominee, director Spike Lee, on Instagram.

“How is it possible for the second consecutive year all 20 contenders under the acting category are white?” Lee passionately appealed, “And let’s not even get into the other branches. Forty white actors in two years and no flava at all. We can’t act?! WTF!! (sic)” Lee has since refused to attend the ceremony this year to collect a Honorary Oscar that was presented to him for his contributions in filmmaking at the Governors Awards in November.

In a year where two of the biggest original blockbusters came in the form of F. Gary Gray’s biographical drama on the hip hop group, N.W.A., collecting $200 million at the box office on a $28 million budget, followed closely by Ryan Coogler’s Creed, that earned over $170 million on a $35 million budget, the reactions towards the nominations and Lee’s comments were swift and no-hold-barred. On last count, Jada Pinkett-Smith and husband Will Smith, David Oyelowo, Tyrese Gibson and Michael Moore were among the other prominent names who wouldn’t be going – or watching – the Oscars.

Besides them, all of Hollywood, from George Clooney, who said that the Oscars are “moving in the wrong direction”, to Best Actress nominee Charlotte Rampling, who added fire to the debate by saying that the controversy was “racist to whites”, has weighed in on the issue, with even President Barrack Obama stating, “The industry should look for talent and provide opportunity to everybody. Are we making sure that everybody is getting a fair shot?”

The controversy has put Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the first black president of the Academy, centre stage, and Isaac has already set a goal of doubling the number of women and diverse members by 2020. She also put out a statement saying, “While we celebrate their extraordinary achievements, I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion. This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes.”

These changes, which include expungement of voting rights for inactive members of the Academy, are crucial for the 6,000-plus-member group that runs the Oscars that is, according to a 2012 Los Angeles Times Survey, 94% white and 77% male, with a median age in the mid-60s, not only because of its diversity issues, but also because it needs to stay relevant to younger audiences, who are all but tuning out of the Awards each passing year.

The audience for last year’s ceremony, which saw Neil Patrick Harris valiantly try to entertain in his underwear, dropped to 36.6 million in 2015, nearly 15 percent from 43 million viewers in 2014, a year remembered for Seth MacFarlane’s unfortunate segment, ‘We Saw Your Boobs’. It has long been time for change, and for that reason, David Hill (a former Fox executive) and Reginald Hudlin (Oscar-nominated producer of Django Unchainted) were appointed in 2015 to take over producing duties and make the show more engaging.

Their first call to action was getting Chris Rock back on as host after his 2005 Oscar-stage debut, in a pre-nominations move that has now become especially momentous, in the wake of the diversity controversy. In fact, Rock, who is said to be writing a monologue to “specifically” address the issue, responded to the #Oscarssowhite hashtag with the tweet, “The #Oscars. The White BET Awards. (sic)” referring to the Black Entertainment Awards that honour African Americans and other minorities in entertainment.

Besides Rock, Foo Fighters’ founder Dave Grohl is another veteran entertainer who may infuse some much-needed positive momentum and bring more eyeballs to the Oscars. Grohl is slated to perform at the ceremony, although the specifics of his act are being kept a secret. He’ll be a welcome addition to the other notable performances including Best Original Song nominees Lady Gaga, Sam Smith and The Weeknd, all of whom will attempt to keep audiences interested, entertained and awake through the four-hour-long Oscar night.

There will also be a noticeable change in format this year with Hill and Hudlin introducing a ‘Thank You Scroll’ at the bottom of the screen for home viewers, aimed at keeping the winner speeches shorter and more emotional, by taking off the pressure of having to say lengthy ‘Thank Yous’. All this may end up making the ceremony memorable, at the very least, or a game-changer, at best, especially if the #OscarsSoWhite drama carries out on stage through its diverse presenters including Quincy Jones, Kevin Hart and Kerry Washington. This is all very well, since the awards themselves are nothing exciting to speak about.

For one, besides Mad Max: Fury Road, none of the eight Best Picture nominees have managed to accumulate any sort of feverish fan following or emotional connect with the audiences, as opposed to last year, when Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Selma as well as Whiplash, each had its own cult following, or the year before, where 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Gravity, Her and The Wolf of Wall Street were all popular choices for Best Picture.

This year, if you don’t count The Martian’s $609 Million worldwide gross, the collective gross of five other nominees, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Room, Spotlight and The Big Short, stacks up to $370 Million Dollars, the amount nearly grossed by two other nominees, Mad Max: Fury Road and The Revenant, themselves. The numbers are but an indication of how many people have watched these films or for that matter, really care about them, and they paint a sorry picture.

Adding to this dreary trend, is the fact that the acting winners are all but set in stone. Leonardo DiCaprio and Brie Larson have swept the Best Actor and Actress Awards respectively at the Golden Globes, The Screen Actors Guild Awards, The Critics Choice Awards and the BAFTAs, so it would take some doing for them to be left empty-handed (here’s looking at you, Leo!).

There are two favourites in both Supporting categories – Sylvester Stallone (Creed) and Mark Rylance (Bride of Spies) among actors and Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl) and Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs) among actresses, as all four have won two awards each so far. But seeing how the Academy favours experience over craft, it is likely that Stallone and Winslet may win, but the only ones getting robbed here would be Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation) and Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road), who didn’t score a nomination at all.

Inside Out is certain to win Best Animated Film while Spotlight and The Big Short are likely to win Best Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay respectively, as both The Hateful Eight and Steve Jobs were shut out of the nominations.

It all eventually boils down to Best Picture and Best Director, which would be interesting only if Mad Max: Fury Road and its director George Miller stood any chance of winning, but given the Academy’s penchant for being blind to what or who has really wowed audiences, Alejandro G. Inarritu is probably going to win Best Director for the second year in a row, whereas Best Picture will be a close call between Spotlight and The Revenant, both award-season favourites, although no one would really bother if either of them or any of the rest won, as long as DiCaprio took his trophy home.

And if your heart is made of stone and you aren’t excited about seeing DiCaprio finally take the Oscar stage to receive a trophy, even as animators elsewhere in the world are creating arcade-style video games called ‘Red Carpet Rampage’ in tribute (check it out), there is still something for you to watch out for: Indian-origin director Asif Kapadia, is, in all likelihood, winning the Best Documentary Feature Award for his film, Amy, on the life and death of late singer, Amy Winehouse. Plus, Priyanka Chopra will be presenting on stage, and as long as she doesn’t give a shout out to Mother Teresa, at least India will have something to write home about.

 

Follow the blog on your left and like The Tanejamainhoon Page on FB: /tanejamainhoonpage
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Liked/disliked the piece? Leave your comments below!
Note: This interview first appeared in Open Magazine on February 26, 2016
Link: http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/art-culture/sisterhood-of-the-angry-young-women
Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

 

The 30 Best Indies of 2015

#ICYMI:
THE 50 BEST TV SHOWS OF 2015: http://goo.gl/exsraC
THE 35 BEST FILMS OF 2015: http://goo.gl/Z796RR
THE 100 MOST AWAITED FILMS OF 2016: http://goo.gl/KLHbTP
THE 35 MOST AWAITED TV SERIES OF 2016: http://goo.gl/b20Hr7
THE COMPLETE POP CULTURE CALENDAR OF 2016 (WITH RELEASE DATES): http://goo.gl/JMWW7c


I love indie films and I especially love happy, feel-good, uplifting indie films, which are my favourite of all kinds of films. In 2015, I didn’t nearly see as many Indies as I’d have liked to but there are many that stayed with me. Here’s a list of 30 of my favourites; 20 of them happy and 10 others that are dark/edgy:

20 BEST HAPPY INDIES OF 2015

  1. SPRING: Because the film is about love at its purest and it made me want to write: Spring Movie Recommendation.
  2. ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL: Because ‘death’ as a coming of age device has never been captured so poignantly (with such a perfect comic tone).
  3. COMET: Because the creator of Mr. Robot, Sam Esmail, is just as good a director as he’s a showrunner (and this scifi romance is a must watch).
  4. AMIRA AND SAM: Because Martin Starr is an underrated indie rockstar and this is the year’s most unexpectedly awesome romcom for me.
  5. DOPE: Because it’ll be tough to find a better ode to hip hop culture of the ‘90s than this refreshing comic of age comedy.
  6. PRIDE: Because no one can make you smile and cry at the same time like the Brits (and this ode to the LGBT community will lift your spirits!).
  7. PAPER TOWNS: Because whatever Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber write is solid gold and this ode to teenage friendship is just that.
  8. MISTRESS AMERICA: Because Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach know something about today’s young urban 20-somethings that no one else does.
  9. HECTOR & THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS: Because it’s a Simon Pegg starring travel comedy about happiness and that’s SUCH an epic throughline.
  10. TOP FIVE: Because Chris Rock’s back and he gives us a spanking, fresh, all check-boxes ticked romcom that’s a blast in every scene.
  11. STANDBY: Because while Ireland’s Before Sunrise may be a long way away from reaching that level, but has enough charm to keep you smiling through its runtime.
  12. SLEEPING WITH OTHER PEOPLE: Because in the garb of a mainstream commercial romcom, Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie give you a beautiful, thoughtful love story about sex.
  13. THE REWRITE: Because Hugh Grant never gets old and this romcom, though totally missed by everyone, will take you to the genre’s good ol’ 90s.
  14. MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT: Because it’s got Emma Stone and Colin Firth and is directed by Woody Allen and do you need any more reason than that?
  15. NIGHT OWLS: Because there is something admirable about Adam Pally’s blabbermouth routine and Rosa Salazar is a firecracker on screen, which makes this is a great ‘night-in’ romcom.
  16. INFINITELY POLAR BEAR: Because Mark Ruffalo is such a fucking fantastic actor and he really needs to be in everything, so this lovely portrayal of bipolar disorder by him will make your heart swell.
  17. THE END OF THE TOUR: Because James Ponsoldt can make you feel for a stone if he wanted, so this five-days-in-the-life-of David Foster Wallace is stuffed with the feels.
  18. DEAR WHITE PEOPLE: Because a smart and funny satire about campus race relations is a refreshingly cool way of tackling the issue!
  19. WHILE WE’RE YOUNG: Because Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach know something about today’s not-so-young urban 30-somethings that no one else does.
  20. HAPPY CHRISTMAS: Because Joe Swanberg directs Lena Dunham, Anna Kendrick and Melanie Lysnkey and the result is indielicious.

 

10 BEST DARK INDIES OF 2015

  1. JOHN WICK: Because this is Keanuissance (Reevaissance?) at its kickass, brutal, violent, head-smashing, bone-breaking, batshit crazy best in a full blown action classic.
  2. EX-MACHINA: Because when three of the greatest young actors of today, Oscar Issac, Domnhall Gleeson and Alicia Vikander, come together for one scifi film, you know it’s going to be fantastic.
  3. ’71: Because the period of The Troubles always makes for gripping cinema and with Jack O’Conner and Richard Dormer leading the cast, it makes for thrilling cinema too.
  4. IRRATIONAL MAN: Because when Woody Allen does dark comedy he does it like no one else and when Joaquin Phoenix & Emma Stone team up, it’s a match like none else too.
  5. COP CAR: Because there is a reason Jon Watts got handpicked to direct the next Spiderman and it is all too clear in this terrific road thriller.
  6. THE GUEST: Because Dan Stevens breaking out of his Downton Abbey nice-guy routine is a how-to on ‘playing against type’ in this action thriller.
  7. CHI-RAQ: Because when Spike Lee gets it right, he gets it right and how, and this satire on Chicago street violence is his best work in a while.
  8. IT FOLLOWS: Because indie horror is a tough genre to get noticed in so when a movie manages to creep out of nowhere to creep you out, it instantly becomes memorable.
  9. THE STANFORD PRISON EXPERIMENT: Because the sheer number of young talent in this film is enough of a reason to watch it, and the film tops it up by being an uneasy, uncomfortable watch.
  10. BIG GAME: Because the Scandinavians know how to get their thrillers right and this low-budget actioner starring Samuel L. Jackson and a kid is a throwback to the good ol’ ‘80s.


#ICYMI:

THE 50 BEST TV SHOWS OF 2015: http://goo.gl/exsraC
THE 35 BEST FILMS OF 2015: http://goo.gl/Z796RR
THE 100 MOST AWAITED FILMS OF 2016: http://goo.gl/KLHbTP
THE 35 MOST AWAITED TV SERIES OF 2016: http://goo.gl/b20Hr7
THE COMPLETE POP CULTURE CALENDAR OF 2016 (WITH RELEASE DATES): http://goo.gl/JMWW7c


Follow the blog on your left and like The Tanejamainhoon Page on FB: /tanejamainhoonpage
Follow Nikhil Taneja on FB: /tanejamainhoonon Twitter:
@tanejamainhoonon Instagram:@tanejamainhoon,
on Youtube: /tanejamainhoon

Liked/disliked the piece? Think I’m awesome or really, really not? Leave your comments below 🙂
Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

THE 35 BEST FILMS OF 2015

#ICYMI:
THE 50 BEST TV SHOWS OF 2015: http://goo.gl/exsraC
THE 30 BEST INDIES OF 2015: http://goo.gl/xfRuOk
THE 100 MOST AWAITED FILMS OF 2016: http://goo.gl/KLHbTP
THE 35 MOST AWAITED TV SERIES OF 2016: http://goo.gl/b20Hr7
THE COMPLETE POP CULTURE CALENDAR OF 2016 (WITH RELEASE DATES): http://goo.gl/JMWW7c

I have already made a list of the 30 BEST INDIES OF 2015, but I also wanted to put together a list of my favourite Summer Films, Hindi Films and ‘Good Films’ (Dramas/Comedies). Please note that this is a list of MY 35 Favourite Films of 2015 and if there are films missing from here, trust me, they’ve been left out on purpose (for eg. I didn’t feel too much for Piku or Spectre, etc). Anyway, here are my lists below:


THE 15 BEST HINDI FILMS

  1. TALVAR: Because Irrfan Khan and Neeraj Kabi and Gajraj Rao and Konkana Sen Sharma and Vishal Bharadwaj and Meghna Gulzar.
  2. DUM LAGAKE HAISHA: Because this could well be India’s first indie romcom by a big studio.
  3. MASAAN: Because it made me want to write: On Masaan.
  4. BABY: Because Neeraj Pandey is to thrillers what Raju Hirani is to feel good cinema. Here’s my piece on it: On Baby.
  5. DETECTIVE BYOMKESH BAKSHY!: Because Dibakar Banerjee is a star and this film got the short end of the stick. My piece on it: On Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!
  6. TAMASHA: Because Imtiaz Ali has the power to make you feel feelings that no other Indian director does.
  7. DIL DHADAKNE DO: Because Anil Kapoor!!
  8. TANU WEDS MANU RETURNS: Because two Kangana Ranaut is even better than one Kangana Ranaut.
  9. BOMBAY VELVET: Because it was a GOOD film and my thoughts on it are well documented: On Bombay Velvet.
  10. NH10: Because we haven’t managed to pull off a road thriller so well ever before and hats off to Anushka Sharma for debuting as a producer with this.
  11. TITLI: Because this was the most hard-hitting Indian film I’ve seen in ages.
  12. COURT: Because it captured class divide and ‘India’ of the towns and of the shanties like very few could have.
  13. PYAAR KA PUNCHNAMA: Because let’s admit it, even with its misogyny, it was freaking hilarious.
  14. ANGRY INDIAN GODESSES: Because in spite of the filmy ending, this is a Dil Chahta Hai for women.
  15. BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN: Because Salman Khan did a good film and I still can’t believe it.


THE 10 BEST SUMMER FILMS

  1. MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION: Because what a perfect, perfect screenplay and what a perfect, perfect Tom Cruise.
  2. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD: Because this was not really a Mad Max film and we know it – it was a Furiosa film and that’s why we love it.
  3. JURASSIC WORLD: Because this was a throwback to the good ol’ family blockbusters of the ‘90s and Chris Pratt is the ‘hero’ we’ve been waiting for.
  4. THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.: Because Guy Ritchie makes action films like no one makes action films and Guy Ritchie is my Tarantino.
  5. STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS: Because it was great trip back in time but as an independent film it could have been so much more.
  6. SPY: Because who knew Jason Statham could be SO FREAKING FUNNY!
  7. AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON: Because it was Joss Whedon’s last superhero film (as we know it) but otherwise it could have been so much more.
  8. FURIOUS 7: Because they showed ALL THEIR ACTION PIECES in trailers and there was nothing left to watch in the film.
  9. PITCH PERFECT: Because Anna Kendrick is acc-awesome.
  10. THE INTERVIEW: Because it was hilarious and I don’t know why critics found it vile and unfunny – the James Franco-Kim Jong Un friendship scenes were ROFL!


THE 10 BEST DRAMAS/COMEDIES

  1. BIRDMAN: Because OH MY GOD, what a film.
  2. STEVE JOBS: Because the greatest writer of the 21st century, Aaron Sorkin, wrote a film about the greatest mind of the 21st century, Steve Jobs, and it was perfect.
  3. WHIPLASH: Because this movie *is* my tempo.
  4. CREED: Because THIS is how you do a reboot, and hell, Ryan Coogler, you are a master of the art of screenwriting and storytelling – what a perfect film this was.
  5. THE INTERN: Because who knew a Robert DeNiro-Anne Hathaway film could be the feel good film of the year and charm the socks off you?
  6. TRAINWRECK: Because Amy Schumer’s hilarious big screen writing-acting debut has redefined the raunchy female comedy.
  7. THE MARTIAN: Because this was Ridley Scott’s happiest film ever and if getting back Matt Damon is such a fun time, he should get in these situations more!
  8. INSIDE OUT: Because no Hollywood film gave you as many feel as this one.
  9. SICARIO: Because Dennis Villeneuve can do no wrong and looks like even Emily Blunt can’t.
  10. TOMORROWLAND: Because it was an original film that had the right intentions even if it failed a bit in putting them across.

#ICYMI:
THE 50 BEST TV SHOWS OF 2015: http://goo.gl/exsraC
THE 30 BEST INDIES OF 2015: http://goo.gl/xfRuOk
THE 100 MOST AWAITED FILMS OF 2016: http://goo.gl/KLHbTP
THE 35 MOST AWAITED TV SERIES OF 2016: http://goo.gl/b20Hr7
THE COMPLETE POP CULTURE CALENDAR OF 2016 (WITH RELEASE DATES): http://goo.gl/JMWW7c


Follow the blog on your left and like The Tanejamainhoon Page on FB: /tanejamainhoonpage
Follow Nikhil Taneja on FB: /tanejamainhoonon Twitter:
@tanejamainhoonon Instagram:@tanejamainhoon,
on Youtube: /tanejamainhoon

Liked/disliked the piece? Think I’ve left out some fantastic films? Think I’m awesome or really, really not? Leave your comments below 🙂
Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.