Aditya Dhar’s Uri has turned out to be one of the most unlikely winners in recent times. Touching the 250-crore mark, the Vicky Kaushal-starrer has beat the likes of Baahubali, Sanju and even last year’s Padmaavat with its consistent collections in its sixth week. And now, the film has even reached the second spot among the highest-rated Hindi films on popular film website, IMDB (Internet Movies Database).
The list, that is topped by Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Anand with an average rating of 8.7, sees Aditya Dhar’s film about surgical strikes with a rating of 8.6. Uri joins the likes of Jeethu Joseph’s Drishyam and Mani Ratnam’s Nayakan, who also happen to have the same rating and tied for the second spot. Numbers 5,6,7 and 8 on the list are occupied by the likes of Kamal Haasan-starrer Anbe Sivam, Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Gol Maal, R Madhavan’s Vikram Vedha and Anurag Kashyap’s Black Friday, respectively. All of them have a rating of 8.5. The final two spots in the top-10 have Sriram Raghavan’s Andha Dhun and Tamil action-thriller Ratasan, with a score of 8.4 each.
However, before applauding Uri‘s breakthrough into this ‘prestigious’ list, one needs to understand how IMDB actually works. All users rate a film with a score between 0 to 10, the average of which becomes the film’s actual rating. Once you rate the film, it is counted as your ‘vote’ on the film – good or bad. The more the votes, the higher your favourite film climbs, bringing it that much closer to number 1. However, one of IMDB’s biggest problems is the subjectivity of a score out of 10. Some of us put a smaller price on their 10/10 ratings, while some are especially miserly with their rating of a film. Add to that the subjective nature of one’s expectations from a film/director/actor (which is hardly ever the same from film to film) and how most of us respond differently to different genres… and we get to the most controversial part of IMDB. How do you assign an accurate numerical value to an opinion?
Other popular film websites like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic took note of this and condensed the review process to a binary rating – like or dislike. Even these aren’t perfect (especially in case of polarising films), however they give a better consensus around a particular film. The shortcomings of IMDB’s list will become clear the more closely we examine it, where Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali is placed behind ten positions behind Mohanlal-starrer Drishyam. It’s also where recent Kannada blockbuster K.G.F is placed above Anand Gandhi’s Ship Of Theseus and Rajat Kapoor’s Ankhon Dekhi. The list even has films as diverse as Ek Hasina Thi, Magadheera, Rockstar and Gunda, all with a same rating based on the fans of a genre.
‘Predatory rating’ is also an issue that IMDB has had to deal with from the very beginning. This is an instance, where users open multiple fake accounts to upvote the rating of their favourite films and to downvote other films. This whole phenomenon took an ironical turn when Kanti Shah’s Gunda became a cult film in engineering colleges, and the students rated Gunda to an extent that it was competing with the likes of The Godfather & Shawshank Redemption for the top spot on IMDB’s top 250 films of all time.
It’s important to note that even though Aditya Dhar’s Uri should be celebrated for its high rating on IMDB, there is also an argument why such a rating has little to do with a film’s legacy. Vicky Kaushal’s film has won over a majority of the people of India, but it’s hardly going to wash away the its middling reviews that criticised its veiled attempt to serve as propaganda material during general elections. An IMDB rating is an indicator of a film’s popularity, at any given moment, nothing more.