One of the best Hindi films of this century, Motwane’s debut is a life-affirming excavation of boyhood trauma in the guise of a coming-of-age fable. There is so much in it that’s achingly intimate and yet perfectly distant. Over time, it has started to feel like a book I read during a summer I never lived.
Motwane’s all-round expertise turns Trapped into one of the foremost Mumbai movies of our times. The middle-class man accidentally locks himself in an apartment of an empty building, a shocking irony in a city synonymous with space crunches. He is so high above the hustle that nobody can hear him.
I’ve warmed up to The Last Leaf-inspired period romance between a handsome conman and the daughter of a Bengali zamindar. There’s no denying that it’s wonderfully detailed and scored, nicely performed and oddly elegant.
I found AK vs AK to be far more provocative and vibrant – culturally, socially, politically – than its film-school-level title. It works as a real-time standalone thriller, sure, but the gimmick honours the conflict between the bitterness of a self-made artist and the ego of an entitled star.
Motwane’s 10-episode series takes both a passionate and dispassionate look at the Bombay film industry of the 1940s and 1950s. Its look, and anecdotal attention to history and detail, may lull the average cinephile into a state of nostalgic bliss. But it’s a pretty cautionary tale more than a handsome celebration, which makes Jubilee a strangely joyless dive into the past.