Sandeep George Koshy and Sabarish Parameswaran are go-to film critics for their Technopark friends and colleagues. Kiran Deepu, another technician, had his vlog on the film Helen shared by actor Aju Varghese on the latter’s Facebook page and liked by actor-producer Vineeth Sreenivasan.
The IT division has several employees who have taken their passion for cinema to the next level by shooting actors, directors, screenwriters, etc. Many of them also became serious critics with their own supporters. They post reviews on social media platforms or have their own vlogs.
“For me, it’s a byproduct of being a movie buff,” says Sandeep, who launched The Movie Reel with nearly 3,800 subscribers in 2015. He usually watches the movie the same day it comes out. “Sometimes I go to the office after watching the morning show. My team knows! It is encouraging that some reviews have been shared on this particular film’s social media page, as in the case of Vikrithi, Sudanese from Nigeria, Eeda, villain…,” he says. Sabarish adds with a laugh, “My friends often thank me for saving their money and time!”
Several factors are taken into consideration before embarking on a film review. Content, production banner, cast and crew, pre-release advertising… are part of the parameters. “Some movies turn out so good that I can’t stop writing about them. For example, Helen. I wrote about Jallikkattu not because it’s the director’s best work (Lijo Jose’s Pellissery). He deserved to be appreciated for his workmanship. Also, I don’t comment on movies that are enjoyed by everyone. I prefer to resume these films which should have touched more people. I regret the fact that I could not write on Vikriti because I saw it several days after it came out,” says Sabarish.
Sarija Sivakumar, who watches foreign films, observes that although she is not a regular reviewer, she has posted on Jallikkattu on Facebook after many viewers leaned heavily on the subject and the director. “They couldn’t identify with the subject, whereas I saw all this happening in my hometown,” says Sarija.
Short and sharp
These employees say that a review should be brief, crisp, unbiased and should not reveal anything about the script. “I can’t issue sugar-coated opinions. I’ve been told by some that I’m being too outspoken and that I should reduce negativity as well. So I tried to hold myself back,” says Suraj Nair.
Although he is currently on a mission there in Brussels where he does not have access to Indian novelties, Suraj makes up for it by reviewing web series and films on streaming platforms. “If I find that a work is not appreciated enough, I make a point of reviewing it. hindi movie music teacher and Chernobyl Diaries, both on Netflix, are a good example of that,” Suraj says.
Kiran, who has run the vlog, NikkisCafe, with his wife, Nimisha Kiran Deepu, since 2015, observes that he keeps the target audience in mind when reviewing a film. “These films that have been acclaimed at international festivals may not appeal to all viewers. So I do not criticize these films. I consider it my duty to tell people the good works to see, covering all aspects of this particular film. For example, after watching the Onam releases, I posted a video about the best of the lot, so the audience can decide where to put their money,” he explains.
Don Bosco reviewed Tamil films on his YouTube channel, IT Talkies. He says it is impossible to please everyone. “When I pointed out some negative points on bigil, it didn’t go over well with a few. Again, some people felt that I only had good things to say about Asura!” says Don, a “die-hard Rajinikanth” fan, who has published a work of fiction, SIM Superstar inside of me, the story of a Rajinikanth fan.
It’s no secret that most of these critics dream of making their cut in movies. Suraj, who has directed 13 short films and a music video, admits he writes because he doesn’t want to lose touch with writing. “As I don’t write movies, I thought I should write about movies,” Suraj says, adding that he plans to do a feature film in a few years. Don, who has starred in shorts, also says he feels connected to his celluloid dreams by posting videos. As for Kiran, thanks to the vlogs, he was able to interact with several well-known names in the film industry. He remembers being invited to a preview of Guppy, after releasing a promotional video for the film.
But Sandeep and Sabarish have no such aspirations. “I appreciate the whole process and want to remain a staunch critic,” says Sandeep.
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