KAALI KHUHI – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Kaali Khuhi is a horror delight for those willing to open their mind to genre entries that fall outside typical Western fare. Starring an impressive Riva Arora as Shivangi, she is a young child at the heart of the film’s drama and its unlikely heroine. The film begins as her grandmother falls ill, her distraught father taking Shivangi and her unimpressed mother to the small village where the old woman lies ill. Almost instantly, through her newfound best friend Shivangi discovers that the village is riddled with dark secrets, all of which lead to a mysterious, spooky room on the top floor of her grandmother’s home, marked by the presence of the ghostly, ghastly spectre of a girl around her own age marked by a signature red dress.

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THE WHITE TIGER – Review by Susan Granger

“The Indian entrepreneur has to be straight and crooked, mocking and believing, sly and sincere – all at the same time,” says Balram Halwai (Adarsh Gourv) as an introduction to India’s immobile, insidiously complex caste system. Balham comes from lowly candy-makers. A precocious student, Balram’s potential is so stellar that he’s dubbed “a white tiger,” indicating he’s a rare, symbolic, once-in-a-generation phenomenon.

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Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh on Making WRITING WITH FIRE – Mythily Ramachandran interviews (Exclusive Guest Post)

Debutant directors Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh received two awards-Audience award and Special Jury award at Sundance Film Festival 2021 for their documentary Writing With Fire, chronicling the rise of ‘Khabar Lahariya’ (Waves of news), India’s only newspaper run by Dalit (considered untouchables) women and which recently went digital. em>WWF is produced by Black Ticket Films, a production company cofounded by Thomas and Ghosh and recognized for its award winning shorts including Timbaktu that received the Indian national award in 2012 as Best Environmental film. Mythily Ramachandran talks to the duo on the making of this documentary.

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WRITING WITH FIRE (Sundance2021) – Review by Leslie Combemale

“Instead of patronizing me, why don’t you give me an interview.” This is the sort of fearless response offered by one of the intrepid female reporters from the Indian newspaper Khabar Lahariya (Waves of News), which was started and is entirely run by Dalit women. The Dalit caste is considered the lowest, or ‘untouchable’ societal group in India. These women, their courageous work, and the rise of Khabar Lahariya (or KL) is the subject of the new documentary Writing with Fire.

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Kavya Prakash on VAANKU – Mythily Ramchandran interviews (Guest Post)

Indian director Kavya Prakash opens her directorial career with Vaanku, about a young Muslim woman’s wish to lead the Islamic call for prayer, Adhan, generally done by men. When a young woman, Razia, expresses her wish to lead the prayer, it sets rolling a ripple effect in her family and society around.

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THE WHITE TIGER – Review by Diane Carson

Tackling India’s repressive, inflexible caste system, The White Tiger chronicles Balram Halwai’s fawning deference, growing resentment, and eventual violent rejection of his submissive station. Adapted from Aravind Adiga’s 2008 Man Booker Prize winning novel, director Ramin Bahrani manages to create a quirky, even occasionally and unexpectedly amusing presentation of Balram’s abject subservience evolving into self-assured entitlement.

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SHAKUNTALA DEVI – Review by Mythily Ramachandran (Guest Post)

Shakuntala Devi is a spirited tale of India’s mathematical genius. Vidya Balan completely owns the titular role while bringing alive this rags to riches story in director Anu Menon’s film. Independent and daring Devi lived life on her terms with a never say die attitude. Narrated through the eyes of her daughter, the film takes us on a journey that begins in Bangalore in 1934 where the little Shakuntala astounds her cousin with her mathematics acumen.

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Filmmaker Anu Menon chats SHAKUNTALA DEVI – Mythily Ramachandran interviews (Guest Post)

Indian filmmaker Anu Menon busts Bollywood stereotypes, Known for films with stories about strong female characters, her latest feature is Shakuntala Devi, a biopic that chronicles the life of the legendary female mathematician known alternatively as the ‘wizard of India’ and the ‘human computer.’ Menon chats with Mythily Ramachandran about the titular character and making the film.

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HOUSE OWNER – Review by Mythily Ramachandran

Indian actor-director Lakshmy Ramakrishnan stands apart with her stories pivoted around women characters who are complex and fully realized. Her fourth Tamil (south Indian language) film, House Owner is about a loving woman who lives with a spouse suffering from Alzheimer’s–a premise not much explored in south Indian cinema or even Indian cinema.

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