The Federation Of Western India Cine Employees has written a letter to film critics, requesting them to “take time to digest the film” before penning a review. It claims that this would help to “build strong economy from the Film Industry and alleviating losses of the producers investing enormously in the heavy budget films.” With big budget movies underperforming at the box office, the federation’s concern is genuine. However it isn’t the critics or their reviews, it is the craft which must bear the blame here.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Federation Of Western India Cine Employees has asked film reviewers to “digest” the film before writing review.
  • If only reviews were so effective in deterring viewers from watching certain kind of films.
  • The problem is that film makers have adopted a formula which is getting old and repetitive and thus boring. 
  • People want new subjects, fresh treatment and content which is worth spending their hard earned money.

If only reviews were so effective in deterring viewers from watching certain kind of films. We wouldn’t be enduring stardom of so many poorly talented actors.

Being a movie junkie and someone who enjoys reading film reviews, it amuses me how oblivious the federation is, of the changing taste of movie goers. If big budget films, low on content and high on production cost, are underperforming today, there is a reason for that, and it isn’t the bad film reviews they garner. If only reviews were so effective in deterring viewers from watching certain kind of films. We wouldn’t be enduring stardom of so many poorly talented actors. We wouldn’t have to watch film after film studded with mannequins and a script not even worth of being a primary school skit. But that is not how fandom or box office works.

The problem isn’t masala films here. The problem is that film makers refuse to budge from the formula which used to work six or eight years ago, but is getting old and repetitive and thus boring. The sheer number of sequels we see releasing each year is the proof. Same faces, same structure and same treatment. How many times can one watch chiseled students mindlessly competing for a pretentious trophy? Or alpha heroes thumping chest and beating twenty goons with just one kick in southern remakes? Films in which women are like props that are interchangeable?

A film which is light on script but heavy on entertainment isn’t a bad film. As the man I have married once said to me, we have enough of tragedy in our own lives to endure that of others on silver screen. A good big budget masala film comes with a disclaimer for suspension of disbelief and removes you from your own uncomfortable reality. It is an otherworldly experience which is both refreshing and engaging. This is why I have seldom seen movie critics give bad reviews to good entertainers.

With rise in number of female audience, film makers can’t continue to cater content which is offensive, regressive and objectifying, and then expect us to shell out money to watch it too.

So the key word here is good. If a film is ‘good’, irrespective of its genre, it’ll earn critical praise and money too. But can we call the string of big budget films we have seen in recent times good on any accounts? Are critics simply being held accountable for showing the industry a mirror and emulating what most film viewers feel today? Why is the onus of failure of big budget films on them, when it is the film makers who are failing to digress from formula film making and show some respect to their audience?

It isn’t as if films aren’t working at all. A lot of low budget films with no big names have been doing well recently, and it shows that people are eager to watch films, if they are catered to their sensibilities. People want new subjects, fresh treatment and content which is worth spending their hard earned money. So instead of asking critics to “digest” big budget movies, perhaps the federation should ask makers of these big budget extravaganzas to wake up and smell the change. Lazy film making and cutting corners is no longer acceptable. The audience is can be fooled by extravagance but not repetitiveness.

PC: Youtube screengrab

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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