Every Friday, Bollywood comes out with new movies and there are film buffs who throng the cinema halls to catch up on their favourite star or director at the earliest. Some of the more discerning viewers wait for the review of the movie by their newspaper the next day before deciding on to watch a movie.
There was a time when Sarita was a very popular Hindi family magazine and people used to eagerly await its fortnightly edition especially to read the review of movies released during the previous fortnight. This review column was called “Chanchal Chhaya. “. The magazine used to have six scale reviewing metric starting with ‘0’ that was “Nikrisht” (typical Hindi word loosely translated as horrible) followed by 1,2,3,4 and 5 stars that represented the categories of Bekar ( poor) , Sadharan (ordinary), Uttam (good), Ati Uttam (very good) and Advitiya (another typical word translatable as outstanding). I still remember classic Balraj Sahani movie Biraj Bahu being one amongst very very few movies to have been bestowed 5 stars rating. Later on when the content gave way to action in Hindi movies, the magazine recalibrated its rating scale to 4 doing away with horrible and outstanding extremes.
Today, we have all the popular dailies publishing reviews of the movies ( actually content of Bollywood in today’s dailies is so high that you hardly need any dedicated movie publication) and the quality of review ranges from highly personalised to highly intellectual! In fact, review in some of the respected publications could be so biased or individualised sometimes that it seems to be sponsored by the film makers. On the other hand, it could be so intellectually driven that by the end a prospective viewer would be more confused than clear as to whether to watch that particular movie or not?
The provocation for this blog arose from the today’s review of the new Anshuman Khurrana starter “Andhadhun” that has been awarded 5 stars by a reviewer, who is otherwise known to be a bit miserly with his appreciation. Also, the movie has been universally rated as watchable and good, but not outstanding! This also brought alive the memories of 1975 to my mind when the evergreen blockbuster and one of the universally favourite movies “Sholay” opened to dud reviews by the then reviewers, including Sarita!
Like every other thing -the choice of clothes, books, food, hobby etc , is unique to each individual so is the choice of movie! We can take some idea to escape an absolute dud, but our sole reliance on reviews can also deprive us from a real good stuff! After all the thought of having missed Sholay by relying on the reviews would have been very unsavoury in 1975!