Author: Mathew Smith

I love writing :)

In early March, a zany coronavirus-themed song-and-dance video featuring Jamie Lever, her father Johnny and her brother Jesse collected a million views in two days. The idea to work together germinated several months ago when the veteran comic saw his children making lockdown content. He wanted in. “He was frustrated sitting at home not being able to [shoot] and he was watching me and my brother doing this craziness around the house,” says Jamie, a comedienne and singer. Eventually, it happened. “I knew it would break the internet,” she says.In the past year, Lever has been experimenting online; toggling between…

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Not one to conform to the Bollywood model, Emraan Hashmi marches to his own tune. Emraan HashmiQ. For every Mumbai Saga and Chehre, there are independent titles like Tigers and Harami in your oeuvre.The general rule is that once you have a brand, you satisfy the audience by giving them more of the same. Actors fall into that trap. When I did Shanghai (2011), people said ‘why are you putting on weight to do a film like this?’ But it is my job to play different parts. I will always do films that give me a chance to get into…

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In early March, Netflix India announced its slate of over 41 titles for 2021. As with television shows, a marker of success for a web series is its renewal for subsequent seasons. On that note, two particular titles stood out. Not so much for their high profiles, Delhi Crime is India’s first International Emmy winner and She is created by Imtiaz Ali, as for their shared cultural theme. Both are long-form dramas spearheaded by women police officers. Another policewoman-led thriller, Kamathipura, was slated to drop on March 8, until Disney+Hotstar indefinitely postponed its release in a genuflection to the controversial…

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Not only is Papon multifaceted, he sings, writes and composes his own songs, he is also prolific. After releasing close to a dozen tracks last year, he recently released the earworm ‘Main Aaj Bhi Wahin’ PaponQ. You have collaborated with the likes of Karsh Kale and MIDIval Punditz in the past. Your new song, ‘Main Aaj Bhi Wahin’, also has a strong electronica influence. What draws you to that genre?You will find traces of electronica even in my first Assamese album, released in the late 1990s, Jonaki Raati. I was exposed to electronic music in Delhi where I met MIDIval…

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The documentary Allen vs Farrow uses the guise of objectivity to step in a judge and jury A family matter ? Mia Farrow holding baby Satchel (now Ronan) and Woody Allen holding Dylan FarrowWriting in The New York Times in 2014, Dylan Farrow asked how it was possible to continue to be a fan of Woody Allen’s movies when confronted with the knowledge that he had sexually abused his adopted daughter when she was just seven years old. A new four-part documentary on the nearly 30-year-old scandal, Allen v. Farrow, asks essentially the same question. It puts the viewer of…

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In Burqa Boxers, one of the protagonists rents a police uniform costume. She has realised that her dream of becoming a policewoman will remain just that, but she wants to live it out nevertheless. She gets photographs clicked in a studio while wearing the uniform. The scene delivers a punch to the gut as it establishes that the women in the documentary, like elsewhere, straddle multiple worlds that often collide with each other.Alka Raghuram’s 2016 film, which is now out on Cinemapreneur, a pay-per-view OTT platform, follows the lives of three female Muslim boxers in Kidderpore, Kolkata. “It shows how…

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A friend recently remarked that Siddharth Chowdhury, whose fourth offering is a novella, The Time of the Peacock, is India’s most underrated writer. Perhaps, instead, it’s India’s literary ecosystem that’s overrated. Chowdhury’s mind is like a glacier that is melting due to the zeitgeist. We readers are swept along in his torrent of words: fast but never hurried, the words are cleansing, and translucent so that the riverbed is visible. Each sentence carries so much imagery and information that you marvel at his craft. If a narrative propels you forward effortlessly, it is the mark of a great writer. Chowdhury…

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Anuja Chauhan takes a stab at the murder mystery genre and skewers elitism in the process. Anuja ChauhanIt’s hard to say whether the characters in Anuja Chauhan’s five previous novels were as loathsome as the ones in her newest, Club You to Death, or whether elite Indian society has simply become so cringeworthy that it is almost unbearable to look at its reflection in Chauhan’s first murder mystery. Certainly it is simpler to overlook the prejudices and follies of the privileged of another era, for example 1980s Delhi, in Chauhan’s The House that BJ Built.Chauhan’s protagonists are never morally uncomplicated:…

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In a video titled ‘Simple Kerala Style Chicken Fry’, uploaded on YouTube channel ‘Village Cooking Kerala’, the sound of heavy rain mingles with the sizzle of chicken cooking in a heady spice mix of coriander, red chilli and pepper. In the videos, shot in Pothupara in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district, birds chirp away as 66-year-old Omana amma expertly crushes whole spices on an ammikallu and cooks on a wood-fired stove.In Palakkad, brothers Sebin and Ebin P.K. shoot videos atop a hill overlooking the Mangalam dam, for their channel ‘Hilltop Kitchen by PK brothers’. The videos begin with a panoramic shot of…

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