Monday, June 30, 2014

RWB, the Sequel: Leaner, Meaner and Still Kicking

Hello loyal readers (all 3 of you!) and confused googlers who stumbled upon this page following a search for "sad kitty eyes". It has been well over a year since Lekha and I posted anything resembling a  review here, or anything at all for that matter. This must change, we gather. Our excuse for the last year was something along the lines of not wanting to be distracted in our respective pursuits of knowledge at  Oxford and Michigan, but now that we wind up with those particular charades, there is reviewing to be done. 

We will however, shake things up a bit. One, the reviews will for the most part be shorter. Like, paragraph-length short. This is mostly to ensure that we end up actually posting something, but it's also an experiment in trying to work towards a particular kind of precision in writing about pop culture. If we find something we particularly loved (or,  even more fun, hated), you will be subject to  much longer piece of writing, but, largely, this is going to become a more bite-sized blog. 

Two, we're going to try and do a bit more of book reviewing than our present rate (zero, I believe). This should prove to be a bit more challenging with the shorter format, but I'd like to see if we can make it work. 

Oh and three, Queen is the best movie I've seen this year across languages and genres. I take back my numerous past doubts about Kangana Ranaut's acting: what a wonderful, heartwarming performance she gives here. By the time she does the inevitable triumphant stride of pride in the closing moments, set to the allready uplifting Kinare, I was ready with fist pumps and wolf whistles in the privacy of my living room. It's the little details that elevate Queen from just a great central performance to a great film, period - the perfect inflections of Rajouri lingo (thodi hippie type ki hai na?), the moments of quiet wonder that Ranaut's character displays at the seemingly mundane (joke! lip-to-lip kiss!), the sheer goodwill that the movie has towards its characters (there'a s final hug that reconfigures what could have been a mean spirited moment of triumph in lesser films into a complex gesture of forgiveness and acceptance). If there is a false note, it's the unfortunate stereotypes embodied in the Japanese character, Taka. In the midst of feather light grace notes, this de-sexualized man-child seems to have been dragged in from another movie. Still, it only truly jars given how perfect the rest of Queen is. 

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