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Before you trust the movie review by a film critic in the future, I strongly recommend reading this post by Khalid Mohamed at the Passion For Cinema blog :
Today, the attempt (and a successful one, too) is to control and lead on the reviewers. Trade, non-trade, whatever. Indeed, there could be more names on the chopping block of reviewers at this very moment. Just an angry phone call from a producer, director or star to an editor, complaining about the treatment received by his film, is enough to set off an earthquake in the hallowed portals of a media office. Repeatedly the reviewer is chastened:Tone the review down if you can’t praise it, and if that’s not done, thank you, someone else will edit it for you. Have a nice day.
The gist is this : movie reviews are not always unbiased. With hindsight, this seems very plausible — such obscene money rides on big releases that no one can afford bad reviews. The opening weekend is when all money is recovered. A single bad review from a front-line news-source can set production houses back by a few crores.
So invites to film premiers follow — only to those who are more likely to give the movie a thumbs up, special concessions are given — interviews with stars as the release nears — and a tight hold via the editor on what is written completes the circle. Hence, it should not be a surprise that “film critics” Taran Adarsh and Komal Nahata pour stars over SRK and Aamir movies; a Rajeev Masand who seems largely credible, has his off-moments like Jodha Akbar for which he gave 4 stars; a Raja Sen (of Rediff) has been erratic of late. I am not alleging a conspiracy; I’m just saying it is entirely plausible. I don’t allege that reviewers are corrupt; reviews might be, under influence of higher bosses.
Looking back, I wonder if that’s the case with Paa. When all critics are overlooking basic flaws and giving it a thumbs up, rest assured the audience is going to love it. I do not mean to demean the audience, but very few are capable of — and see a need to — analyzing every movie independently.
On a related note, according to a recent law in the U.S., product reviewers are to make public all gifts (free items, seed products, etc.) that they receive from companies. This is only fair when you are influencing the monetary choices of a large number of people.
Thinking further, I doubt if such a law would work for film reviews — an interview with SRK is far more valuable and acceptable to a television channel than hard cash or gifts. The only solution is word-of-mouth. Spread the word if a movie is good; do the same if a hyped movie is bad. That just makes it a level-playing field.
Regular readers might recollect an old post about Sohail Khan calling for no movie reviews until the Monday after the opening weekend. As I had mentioned then, the suggestion is ridiculous and a clear way to con the audience. Don’t fall for such gimmicks or think twice before you go entering a cinema hall trusting a review.
I, as always, will try to be unbiased.
Before saying anything, I must admit that I am a big fan of the Bachchans and this might heavily bias my posts.
As we know, Priyanka Chopra has been awarded the Best Actress trophy for Fashion in every single award function, including IIFA. This has not gone down well with Mrs. Jaya Bachchan, who stated :
I don’t have any objection to her [Priyanka] winning the award at IIFA. But I wonder why Aishwarya’s fine performance was ignored. I think she richly deserved recognition for her work.
Of course, Mrs. Bachchan acted out these lines and given her recent acting escapades, it is mere speculation that she said the exact same words. Now critics are going to point out that Mrs. Bachchan hasn’t even seen Fashion to make a comment, but therein lies the greatness of the Bachchan parivar (family), which is one of the last 3 remaining parivars in India, after the Gandhi parivar and Sahara parivar.
So understandably, this ignorance by IIFA has made me livid with anger. At the very least, IIFA should have recognized at least two Bachchans for awards. How else can the family show their closeness and bonding on stage ?
Now rumour has it that they felt Aishwarya was plastic in the movie. Wrong. If anything, she was wax, and wax, as we all know, is a greener and more organic alternative to plastic. With the increasing importance of environmental conservation, I am apalled at this decision of IIFA.
In fact, let me go a step further. I demand a Best Actor trophy for Abhishek Bachchan in Jodha Akbar. I know the skeptics are always going to say that he wasn’t even there in the movie. But to think of it, he wasn’t in it means he did not act in it, which is a far superior performance than bad acting ! So there you go.
I just hope IIFA rectifies its mistake next year, by giving a family pack of awards to all Bachchans henceforth, including the yet to be born baby.
To quote Varun Gandhi, “If any person lifts a hand against the Bachchans, or thinks they are weak, there is nobody behind them, then I swear on the Amar Singh that I will cut off their nails”.
Musically, this was a typical year for Bollywood, a few good releases by A.R.Rahman, Shankar Ehsaan Loy and some good newcomers.
Best Film Album (OST)
This was a tough one, but I think I’ll go with Amit Trivedi for the music of Aamir. Let me defend now.
Jodha Akbar was complex, grand and multi-layered, Slumdog Millionaire was something different from Rahman, Rock On was one of the best albums I heard in quite some time (and if not for Aamir would have been an easy choice), Welcome to Sajjanpur was really melodious but very situational at times and Khuda Ke Liye was a great album overall.
About Aamir, it was earthy, it was simple, it was melodious. Heck, at some points it was so raw that it would make an A.R. Rahman cringe at the sound ! But it was very good music, it was different, it was experimental. I still listen to the songs of Aamir almost daily. The sufi number Ha Raham, the folk and earthy Chakkar Ghumyo, the fast Phas Gaya, the experimental Haara and of course the philosophical Ek Lau, which assumed great significance in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks (lyrics and translation here).
You might also want to listen to this song composed by Amit Trivedi for the Mumbai victims.
Best Non-Film Album
This was me was a contest just between Sonu Nigam’s Classically Mild and Rabbi Shergill’s Avengi Ja Nahin, and it was easy to choose Rabbi (review here). His first album was undoubtedly more catchy but Avengi Ja Nahin was deeper. Every song in this album deserves a proper listen and understanding !
Best Song : Bilqis (Jinhe Naaz Hai) (review here).
I do not think anyone would dispute this. This song is one of the reasons why music can be powerful yet subtle.
Best Singing Male : Sonu Nigam in Soona Soona (song here).
Sonu Nigam came back with some brilliant singing in a classical album this year and still managed to hold fort as one of the best singers we have.
Best Singing Female :
I really liked Dominique in Ye Tumhari Meri Baatein from Rock On but I think I will go with Madhushree in Ek Meetha Marz from Welcome to Sajjanpur. I haven’t heard a female playback voice sweeter than hers and you just have to listen to the way she sings this song (that too just one stanza).