An epidemic of movie critics


Like who? The few exceptions that were opened for discussion and debate would certainly be Shyam Benegal, Ramesh Sippy (since he couldn’t quite surpass Sholay), Rajkumar Hirani (the lord preserve him), Farhan Akhtar (I think) , Hansal Mehta (since turning to reality cinema with Shahid), Ashutosh Gowariker (hopefully) and… naah nobody else.

With that said, what are most movie critics dreaming of in the Mind Multiplex? I would like to believe that we dream of reacting to films with emotion, honesty and with a certain individualism. We pursue, often in vain, the ideal of enlightenment, persuasion, clear thinking and writing.

The film industry should not be ceded, nor should the filmmaker be told how he or she should make films. One would be dishonest, the other presumptuous. The public, who read film reviews, should be guided, of course, but not in a simplistic manner. Criticism is certainly not a branch of the Consumers’ Guidance Society.

Those ratings – on a scale of one to five stars above a review – are a whole different story. How to “starrify” a movie is a pain in the neck, and worse. Like it or hate it, this stupid chore, this “quickie” indicator is mandatory. Those who venture to read the entire review under these galactic icons actually deserve a Bravery Certificate for their courage and patience.

The point is that it is not for the critic of any persuasion to make the reader’s reflection. It is much more important for the critic to make his own reflection to share with the viewer. It might seem like a slight difference, but all things considered, it’s huge.

To offer a bit of a plot summary, some quick judgments – this actor was bad, this one was good – and an arbitrary recommendation for or against the movie – this kind of review thinks for the reader and is perfectly worthless.

Consolably, there is another type of criticism in which the writer develops thought processes, so to speak, behind glass so transparent that the reader can see how the critical mind engages the film and comes to conclusions.

It is like thinking out loud in public, which the reader may agree or disagree with, in part or in whole. It invites dialogue. It’s not a dotted paternal index finger, or an insider drug, or a sibling acting like, “We’re all the same and if I loved it or hated it, so will you.”


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