Rahul Desai

Rahul Desai
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
100% Bellbird (2019) Bellbird is a moving and quietly observational portrait of the filmmaker's rustic roots. - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 9, 2019
78% Proxima (2019) ...all these tricks not only elevate the style of the film, they also inform the mother-daughter longing, lending words and imagery to a feeling that is difficult to express in terms of dramatic storytelling. - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 9, 2019
8% Marjaavaan (2019) Director Milap Zaveri doesn't bother with mundane filmmaking elements like transitions, cuts, continuity and beats... - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2019
96% The Irishman (2019) The Irishman not only reveals what Scorsese was aching to convey all along, but also provides a new perception, a fresh meaning, to his previous work. - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 2, 2019
76% Hotel Mumbai (2019) It's hard to imagine a more efficient way to lend flesh and blood to the remembrance of that night. - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 2, 2019
No Score Yet Pagalpanti (2019) The closest the film comes to being smart is when the climax features three lions - in England - though I suspect the symbolism is entirely accidental. - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 26, 2019
33% Made In China (2019) The messaging is all a bit plastic, like a desi afterthought in a Wall Street narrative... - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2019
50% Saand Ki Aankh (2019) The film is made as a defiant dramedy - the drama is such that it's derived from comedy, and the comedy is such that it's diluted by drama. - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2019
72% The Sky Is Pink (2019) When you see the movie, it's hard to locate in it the language of life. When you see the fiction, it's hard to tell whether the facts are being exploited or celebrated. - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 11, 2019
73% War (2019) That WAR also happens to be a barnstorming, knuckle-busting and an immensely enjoyable action movie under the guise of a meta bromance tale is just the icing on the gluten-free cake. - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 2, 2019
88% Hustlers (2019) A surprisingly funny and frenetic and furious buddy movie that is deceptively profound...both as a girl-gang drama and a con-artist indie. - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 30, 2019
45% The Zoya Factor (2019) The film strangely focuses on parody - the horribly simulated cricket matches, the tacky ad films within the film, the comedy-circus-style commentary - instead of humanizing the concept of cricket superstitions... - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 25, 2019
70% Section 375 (2019) The film achieves a tricky balance between the demonisation of the survivor and the humanization of the perpetrator - without diluting the abuse-of-power narrative. - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2019
50% Dream Girl (2019) While each of the actors infuse the characters with a distinct brand of physical comedy, there is a stale been-there-donor-that aura to the film's novelty. - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2019
62% Mission Mangal (2019) It's hard to make intelligence look entertaining. But it's harder to make intelligence look stupid. And yet, this is exactly what Mission Mangal manages to do. - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 4, 2019
No Score Yet Jaoon Kahan Bata Ae Dil (2019) On paper, JKBAD (acronym intact) is just another movie affected by life. But what Keluskar has really created is life, infected by the movies. - The Hindu EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2019
36% Batla House (2019) Batla House is forced to take a stand. And it does, in good conscience. Which is more than can be said about other Hindi movies of whitewashed history. - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 16, 2019
No Score Yet Jabariya Jodi (2019) A dreadfully acted and atrociously detailed movie that seems designed solely to atone for Parineeti Chopra's heartbreaking heroines and transport her back to her naive early days. - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 9, 2019
No Score Yet Khandaani Shafakhana (2019) Instead of meticulously exploring a woman's struggle in what is considered a male-dominated field, the makers simply romanticize her lost battle. - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 5, 2019
No Score Yet Arjun Patiala (2019) A feature-length comedy that somehow manages to embody all the lazy stereotypes it makes fun of... - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 26, 2019
64% Judgementall Hai Kya (2019) Bobby's hallucinations are dialled up to near-abstract levels towards the end. Fortunately, self-doubt is a cinematic emotion; the less sense it makes, the more effective it is. - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 26, 2019
63% Yesterday (2019) A profound meditation on morality and individualism needlessly morphs into a generic rom-com... - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 16, 2019
33% Super 30 (2019) Super 30 is all over the place, and not in the "misunderstood genius who needs a mentor" sort of way... - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 15, 2019
100% Noblemen (2019) Noblemen is located in a world that is not limited by the literature it interprets. - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 28, 2019
89% Article 15 (2019) A remarkable film which cuts deeper and darker into Uttar Pradesh, a State (and a state) that best reflects the nation's mass rhetoric. - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 28, 2019
25% Kabir Singh (2019) We spend so long cringing at the protagonist's attitude that by the time we are supposed to have a change of heart for him, he is beyond redemption... - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 24, 2019
29% Bharat (2019) The only thing it gets right is the choice of source material... - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 7, 2019
29% India's Most Wanted (2019) Director Raj Kumar Gupta does the impossible - he makes suspense look boring and convoluted and painfully monotonous. - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted May 24, 2019
25% De De Pyaar De (2019) The truth is that 3DP (on a good day, this would stand for Deepika Padukone being third in a guestlist) isn't a very thoughtful "social comedy." - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted May 17, 2019
7% Student of the Year 2 (2019) The math is simple. I love the movies, but is it too much to ask for the movies to love me back? - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted May 10, 2019
No Score Yet Blank (2019) Soapy craft and writing aside, the problem lies in the film's facile politics. - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted May 6, 2019
1/5 38% Kalank (2019) Kalank ends up impersonating one of those tragically dated Lucknowi nawabs that sees "character," rather than impending disaster, in the cracks of their dilapidated mansion walls. - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 19, 2019
1/5 No Score Yet The Tashkent Files (2019) The problem here isn't the director's leaning or his point-of-view. It's the way he chooses to camouflage it - that is, the way he chooses to quasi-intellectualize his storytelling skills in order to hide his rather simplistic sense of reasoning. - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 12, 2019
2/5 17% Romeo Akbar Walter (2019) RAW never really examines its main character's obvious identity crisis and his conflict of faith - partly due to the actor's limited abilities, but mostly due to the mood of our times. - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 5, 2019
1.5/5 25% Notebook (2019) The story might have even been a cutesy take on loneliness and virtual companionship if the writing had bothered to focus on the psychology of the protagonists. - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 1, 2019
44% Junglee (2019) The vapid hero-returns-to-save-sanctuary tale is blind to the biggest elephant in the room: "action star" Vidyut Jammwal still trying to do the acting thing. - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 29, 2019
0.5/5 31% Kesari (2019) The only way Kesari could have done justice to its source material is if it didn't exist. - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 22, 2019
2.5/5 57% Badla (2019) Badla remains forcibly consistent to this oeuvre of maternal rage. Only, it focuses on the other side of the kahaani, which is why you can see the strings and the puppeteers running the show. - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 8, 2019
1/5 33% Luka Chuppi (2019) Two decades too late. - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 1, 2019
1/5 No Score Yet Firebrand (2019) Despite its note-worthy themes, the filmmaking is not just unsubtle but guileless, the performances are too designed and the resolution is pretentious. - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2019
3/5 100% Period. End of Sentence. (2018) Craft-wise, it is nothing remarkable, at least in context of the world it represents. But if social relevance is a part of filmmaking in narrative fiction, social relevance is filmmaking in narrative non-fiction. - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 21, 2019
4/5 95% Gully Boy (2019) Gully Boy finds that promised land. It becomes the reality that most storytellers here can only dream of, and the dream that most artists yearn to realize. - Film Companion EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2019
92% Fly Away Solo (Masaan) (2015) The filmmakers manage to create a space that puts you in their characters' places, leaving you to imagine the loss of your own loved ones. - CatchNews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 11, 2019
No Score Yet Ahalya (2015) A perfect retelling of a myth that would appeal to the impatient netizen - a meaningful story told succinctly. - CatchNews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 11, 2019
93% Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015) Harshaali Malhotra steals the show... - CatchNews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 11, 2019
88% Baahubali: The Beginning (2015) I cannot begin to imagine what goes on in the expansive mind of S.S. Rajamouli. It's not often one sits through 160 minutes of an Indian period drama, and continues to sit hoping for the sequel to magically materialise on screen. - CatchNews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 11, 2019
38% Manjhi: The Mountain Man (2015) This Great Indian Biopic Syndrome strikes again with Manjhi - serial offender Ketan Mehta's third consecutive interpretation of real events... - CatchNews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 11, 2019
No Score Yet Kaun Kitney Paani Mein (2015) Kaun Kitney Paani Mein is a wry, dry and extremely cultured take on the age-old Indian cinema staple of rival villages, class wars, young star-crossed lovers and politics. - CatchNews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 11, 2019
67% The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015) Director Guy Ritchie crafts a slick, enjoyable retro-funky barrage of musical-action set pieces. - CatchNews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 11, 2019
33% Welcome Back (2015) It's not funny that able-minded humans spend 150 minutes demonstrating to us what a LSD-fueled midlife crisis would look like. - CatchNews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 11, 2019