How not to write a review !!

While the puritans, journos and some industry elites are upset that anyone today can write movie reviews on the internet, I was worried about those who say that. When anyone can walk into a theatre to watch a movie, anyone can comment on it. Whether the comment withstands applauds or succumbs to criticism depends on the smartness of the reviewer. When someone could get angered on all the reviewers of the mainstream media and kick start his own reviews online, it is his way of expression. Just like how the technology enables sharing of the knowledge which was once reachable only by the haves, it also enables expression of a common audience.

With blogging becoming an enabling device for reviewers of all sorts, movie reviewers were also born. A few years later after blogging kick started, you could spot only a few gems here and there. Many of them are just re-telling of the story, sub-standard and completely clueless about the grammar of reviews. They are silly, sloppy and irritating. But these are bound to happen. I am going to support them. Call me biased. With a heap of crap coming from the mainstream media, who are regarded as the people who define standards for writings, these mushrooming blog reviewers will also get consolidated and only the fit will survive. If someone was to write a review of Kurudhippunal and has no idea about the motifs and the philosophy behind a movie, it will glaringly show-up in the review. Either it will end up as 5 paragraph review with every para directed towards a component of a movie thereby encompassing all the elements of a movie or the other way. The other way is to just take a small theme of the movie and magnify it to exorbitant proportions and finally ends up as just a piece-of-the-pie.

I believe a perfect review lies somewhere in-between these two extremes. Any one who can balance between these two will emerge with a successful review that’s laudable. If you take either of these approaches, you fall short at the end. Stop. Before you start posting that comment here asking me how I can claim a say on this issue of reviews, I am not the authority of reviews, so is everyone. None of the so-called-reviews that I have written here have followed these rules. Its just now, I am getting the see the grammar of reviews clearly. I haven’t followed these at but I believe that this is what will work.

First off, writing a review shouldn’t be just to create a controversy or to add one to the count of your reviews or to brag about the knowledge of films that one possess. Writing in-depth about a movie can become boring to the readers and in the same way shirking the other aspects that contributed to the movie. A good review, again, I believe, can only come out of watching a good/bad movie. Whoever wants to write a movie should be moved by the movie, for good or bad. For an armchair critic, everything will appear faulty or shiny. Someone who watches a movie open-minded, given the skill of expressing what he witnessed, would be the best reviewer. Hence the critic ceases to be correct after a dozen times. For him, alcohol has no effect. But for the fresh reviewer who writes reviews just for the joy of it, even a bottle of beer can be intoxicating. The idea of constantly doing the same joyous job again and again, even for a porn actor, would become mundane. Hence the blogging community taking up reviewing as their second profession is a welcoming move. Even if it is not welcomed, it will happen. But as said before, the best will remain. Others will be discarded or will not be noticed.

I was triggered to write this whole blogpost only because of the review of Anniyan that I finished reading just now on Kumudam’s Theeranadhi. Written by Ramaswamy, the review made me laugh for nuts. It is such narrow minded review that I was mentioning before as blowing up a small motif to a godzilla. Starting from the Aryan invasion, the brahminical violence and few other unheard theologies, the review completely misleads the reader into a different track. One specific instance where the reviewer points out, that a link exists between Charlie’s killing by Anniyan and the Dravidian abuse on Brahmins during the early 70’s. He goes on to say that Anniyan is a movie to role-model brahmins to oppose that abuse. In the concluding paragraph, the reviewer tries to balance the review and then goes back to his own arguments again.

While I’m positive that some amount of Sujatha’s inputs would have influenced in the characterisation of Ambi, I don’t think Shankar to be such a fool to allow his movie to be hijacked for some unknown historical cause. A 70 year old Sujatha needn’t write a movie to infuse brahminical thoughts in the people’s mind. He could might as well tell them straight through a column. Even if these could be theoritically true, Shankar wouldn’t want to risk a high budget movie for such a small cause. Also by infusing these unheard thoughts, Anniyan seems to be a better movie that it really is. Anniyan is such a badly executed commercial movie without any such under-currents. Such reviews are only written to boast on the intellectualism the ‘Siru Pathirikaigal’ seem to be advocate of. While I don’t blame the reviewer for it, because he has a his own limitations of what the editor wants to be published. Probably the entire review would have been re-written in his name.

A similar mi-leading thing happened with a wonderfully shot movie named ‘Kathal’. Balaji Shakthivel’s movie could be called a classic in the coming years except for it’s abrupt ending. While many of us call it abrupt ending, the intellectuals of these small magazines call it as a rebellious and infectious climax. During the final scenes as the protagonist, a backward caste teenager, roams in the road as an insane dude, the heroine comes running to him and falls in his feet to request a apology for marrying someone else. All this happening and the climax being complete here, two reviewers of small magazines (I think, Dheemtarikida and Uyirmmai, though I’m not sure here) wrote that the movie has anti-periyaar sentiments being adviced in the movie. Reason, while the climax happens, a periyaar statue stands in the middle of the road. And hence they call ‘Kadhal’ to be a movie with intentions well hidden. Even Periyaar himself wouldn’t spare these folks.

Not only these folks but there are bunch of mainstream media folks who also write bad reviewers and hence the coming up of a new genre of blog reviewers should be a welcoming move. We have tried everything and now we need to give bloggers a chance. If only bloggers can be level-headed and not write such horrendous reviews, atleast the main-stream media folks would start understanding that just being in main-stream media alone doesn’t help, you got to write right stuff. Bloggers Arise !!