My Thoughts

Posts Tagged ‘Film

I grew up predominantly in the 90’s. My early tryst with movie reviews were through newspapers. We lived in Chennai and Hindu’s Friday feature was the only way to get a movie review at least till mid-90’s before satellite TV took over. Even though there were movie reviews in print in the 80’s & 90’s people went to the theatres solely based on either the cast or the director. Tamil cinema is one of the few industries where directors have the same pull as the actors. For example in 70’s & 80’s K Balachander, Mahendran, Balu Mahendra & Barathiraja had their own following and people will flock to theatres just to see their films. Even when movie reviews were prevalent in the print media in the 80’s word of mouth was still the preferred way of people finding out about the quality of a movie.

For example when a Rajini film released no one cared about reviews, you will see people standing in long queues to watch a film. Same with Kamal Hassan and other big stars. Once the first few shows were over, the audience talk will what will decide the fate of a film. Things have changed drastically over the past decade and with the advent of social media reviews are almost instant. While the audience post their reviews on Twitter while watching the film, there are 100’s of YouTube channels reviewing the movies as well. To be frank I have lots of respect for people who have their own YouTube channels. It takes courage to put yourself out there and talk about anything. There are a few creative channels while most of them are either reaction channels or movie review channels.

There are a few professional ones working for famous publications while others who have garnered subscribers through their content. I have no way of knowing credentials of any of these so called “Film experts” by just looking at their content though. It is very important for anyone who is reaching out to a large audience to understand that movie reviews are basically personal opinions. Something the experts these days seem to have forgotten. The popularity of their channel or the subscribers they have seems to have completely gotten to their head which makes for some cringe movie reviews. As a consumer of such reviews, the only thing I want to see is what the reviewer thinks about the film, what he/she likes or dislikes about the movie. I am not there to see some agenda driven rant or the reviewers trying to show off their knowledge of film making. As a common man I care a damn about some of the content of the reviews as it does not matter to me.

Also as a reviewer you need to steer clear of generalising. Everyone has the right to say they don’t like the movie but they cannot be under the illusion that they speak for others. The reason these “experts” have a huge following is because people actually respect their opinions. When that happens it also becomes the responsibility of the reviewers to stay balanced when they review the movies. Using their popularity to further their agenda or someone else’s agenda isn’t very ethical and that is the reason I steer clear of few of these channels these days.

The other irritating part about these YouTube channels is that they go looking for controversy as soon as some update on a movies comes about. A film releases it’s first single or a look or a teaser they immediately go on the streets with a mic and a camera asking people on the streets their review. Reviewing a movie is a tough art and being balanced is even tougher. I have hardly seen a few reviewers who give their opinion and let the audience make a call whether they would like to watch a film. That’s how it should be as trying to influence the audience is not why you review a movie.

The one thing everyone needs to understand is that there is nothing called a perfect film. A movie which is perfect for someone might not be for someone else. A film succeeds because there is something which keeps the viewers entertained throughout its runtime. That is exactly what the audience wants. Most of the reviews these days feel like they come right out of a film school. While it is good to show off your knowledge of film making, I feel that should be in a separate video and not in the review itself.

The biggest disappointment for me though is that while technology wise we have come a long way, the quality of movie critics has fallen in recent times. Things aren’t going to change much as in this age of competition people are ready to present controversial content to gather more views and subscribers. When that is what these channels aim for, you cannot expect them to give quality content to the viewers. The sad part is that the viewers also have gotten used to these substandard and agenda driven reviews that they seem to think that this is the norm. I have stopped watching majority of the review channels and only follow a few who I think try to provide balanced take on a film and leave rest to the viewers.

What do you think about movie reviews these days? Do you think they provide you with balanced views on a film? Or do you think they try to push their agenda on their viewers?

Making a Sci-Fi movie in India is difficult. It is not something for which we have references from the past from our own industry. When director Shankar conceptualized Endhiran (Robot) in 2000 with Kamal Hassan in mind, he had to drop the plans due to lack of funds for a movie of such scale. The reason behind not many movies of this genre gracing Indian screens. The scenario in the recent times has changed a lot. Hindi movies aka Bollywood has always enjoyed more money than the other industries in India owing to their popularity and reach. So when Ra.one was announced my expectation was automatically raised.

When Endhiran came in 2010 (a year before Ra.One) people had nothing to compare it with in the Indian film history. Obviously it is a beaten to death genre in Hollywood where countless such movies are made and are way ahead from what Shankar and Anubhav Sinha could offer. Endhiran had its flaws but was entertaining. The movie had an experienced director at its helm and one of the greatest entertainers in Indian cinema playing the lead. The movie was a super hit and was loved by all (Well mostly). Endhiran had an advantage which Ra.One did not, it was the first movie of its type to grace the Indian screens and did not have too many Indian movies to be compared with (Even though in 2002 Upendra had already made a movie in similar theme).

Ra.One had a lot to live up to. It had to be better than Endhiran in every department. It was being made at a larger scale; it was being made in 3D and had one of the biggest superstars in Indian cinema starring in it. The movie released with lots of hype and Shahrukh went out of the way in promoting Ra.One. When I watched the movie I had lots of expectation. The concept of the move was interesting but the execution was amateurish. The special effect was obviously great but the story and screen play lacked substance. Shahrukh’s act as a Tamilian also was also in bad taste, I am not sure how many years Bollywood is going to stick with Mahmood’ s version of Tamilian from the 70’s. It’s boring and it is kind of irritating to say the least.

When Shahrukh went to Chennai to promote the movie I actually thought that his Shekhar Subramaniam might be different than the normal Tamil caricature Bollywood movies have but it was not to be. That was only a part of the issue with the movie as thankfully Shekhar dies within 30 minutes into the movie. The Game (Ra.One) used as the premise to move the movie forward made no sense. I will be surprised if anyone in their right mind would buy such a game. Starting from the presentation at the start of the movie in a UK gaming company which was surprisingly in Hindi with a host of English people in the crowd, the movie had gaping holes which was hard to look past.

The Ra.One game was the most mysterious one as if either of the characters can only be killed in the third level why have the first two levels at all? Why was there a Ra.One suit at all when no one can play as him? If the either of the characters can only be killed with their HART’s on, then why Ra.One (The bad one) went searching for it in India when it could be killed having it? There are lots of questions which arose while watching the movie. The only silver lining was obviously the “Chammak Challo” song, but again not sure which kids birthday party will have skimpily clad women dancing. Shahrukh obviously put his heart and soul in to this movie and was sure one of the positives to come out of the movie.

But overall the movie was a great disappointment. With such a grand budget at hand the director/writer could have spent some time in writing a better script. I would like to laud Shahrukh for attempting such a movie but for sure could have chosen a better script and probably a better director to execute it on the screen. The movie might have run on the hype but for sure was way below par on content. Shahrukh has Don 2 coming this weekend and I sincerely hope that it is better than Ra.One. This time at the helm is Farhan Akthar who is for sure a director of better pedigree than Anubhav Sinha and I am sure that this will turn out to be a better outing for the superstar.


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