Planet Bollywood
Does the critic´s review matter for the Indian audience?
- Pankaj Kumar Sinha           Let us know what you think about this feature article

I have been a critic in the past and have reviewed movies but the reality is that the critic’s review has never been a parameter for watching a movie for Indian audiences. I watch all movies whether they have a positive review or a negative review. It doesn’t bother me. We watch movies for one simple reason called entertainment also told by famous actress Vidya Balan in her movie ‘The Dirty Picture’. We have started accepting different stories but the core ingredient those movies have is also entertainment. Most of the critics in India (and abroad) have been bashing the masala entertainers, which have been successful at the box office. These movies are the actual bread and butter for the Indian film industry.

Most of the audience wants to watch such masala flicks with big stars, where there are five good songs, three Dhamekadar action scenes, some comedy scenes, a couple of emotional scenes and dialogue-baazi. This will always remain and will never change in Indian cinema. We are brought up by this and are used to this. Sometimes, I don’t understand what critics are expecting from these films.

Maybe the majority of the critics do not understood the pulse of the Indian audience. They need to travel to different places to gauge the audience from different parts of the country. They need to write reviews from an ordinary folk’s perspective. We are not expecting literary review for the film. Ask yourself a simple question. Why are the three famous khan trios (Shahrukh, Salman and Aamir) such big superstars in our country? It is because the aam junta is able to identify with them and love them immensely.

Let’s take an example of Ranbir Kapoor and Hrithik Roshan for showcasing their popularity. Hrithik has been around in the industry for more than ten years and Ranbir for more than five years. Both are big stars but Ranbir is arguably more popular now than Hrithik. The audience can connect more with Ranbir. In most of the media interactions, Hrithik converses more in English being a Bollywood actor. Ranbir comes across as a warmer person and talks most of the time in Hindi. He can connect with bigger audiences in India. We feel apnapan from Ranbir. The Aam Junta is not only in cities and they are not just IT Savvy or English speaking people. The critics have to write reviews based on the mind-set of different tastes of different audiences in our country.

Nowadays there’s a couple of things that actually make a big impact for promoting the film. The trailer of the movie plays a big role. Most of the audience decides to watch the movie after watching a trailer itself. If the trailer of the movie is good and impactful, half the battle is won. These days, the marketing of the films creates lot of buzz for the movie because you have big money involved here. In the last five years, marketing of the film has played huge role to get big opening on first weekends. The Khan trio have been most successful in promoting their films and their movies have been received big weekend collections in Box office. In another five years, marketing will have lot more budgets and will play bigger role for promotion of films. Word of mouth also plays a big role for the success of film. It differentiates the film from Flop to Hit or Hit to Superhit.

'Aashiqui 2' is a good recent example of how effective word of mouth can be. The marketing of this film was very average and the trailer was also not up to the mark. Nor did it receive positive reviews from critics but it was word of mouth, which made the movie a blockbuster. In a country like India, word of mouth plays a huge role. If a friend of mine tells me a movie is good, there is a very good chance that I will also watch the same film. Therefore the critics need to maintain a balance when writing a review. It should consider the voice of the common man as well as their personal opinion. You need to write from their point of view. Critics will earn more respect from the Indian Film Industry and also the audiences.


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