The Federation Of Western India Cine Employees or the FWICE has appealed to film critics around the country to ‘digest films’ before sharing their opinions on the same. What it actually means by ‘digesting’ is that it asks the critics to be more accommodating towards the mainstream films, infamous for taking the audience for granted with their laziness.
Representing an estimated 5 lakh technicians in the Entertainment industry, the plea spoke about the importance of reviews and how it influences the word of mouth around a film. It stressed upon how a big film’s failure directly impacts livelihoods of many technicians, and therefore the trade.
“An appeal to film critics to take time to DIGEST the films before putting out their reviews” _
— ______ _____ (@yasser_aks) May 14, 2019
Here’s why it is an unreasonable plea – first and foremost this press release assumes that not enough film critics ‘engage’ with what a film is going for, and thus cannot be taken seriously. This is an unfair assumption against someone who holds a job (most of us) primarily for their love of movies. To think that a majority of the film critics aren’t qualified enough to assess what a film is trying to be, is broadly dismissive. Just like a ‘bad’ review.
Second of all, there are plenty of issues that are pointed out in today’s films that are only considered as ‘politically correctness’. To review Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety without touching upon the 2D women in Luv Ranjan’s films, is hardly an accurate assessment of the film. No film body can ask a film critic to overlook it because ‘bad reviews are bad for business’. Then we would be stuck in an echo chamber of mediocrity, where the reviews seem disingenuous and the films outright stink.
Bollywood is busy countering the social media dialogue around a film, that directly contributes to the buzz around a film in its opening weekend. And it has felt the ire for lazy films like Thugs of Hindostan and more recently Kalank. While Aamir Khan’s film opened with a record figure of Rs 52 crore on Day 1, it descended into oblivion within 2 weeks adding only Rs 100 crore to its kitty. Karan Johar’s Kalank opened to mixed review, with many calling the film out for its vacuous dialogue and derivative style. And it directly translated to the box office showing an 80% drop between Day 1 and Day 6.
Student Of The Year 2 (also produced by Johar) is bearing the brunt of Twitter’s negative word of mouth. In spite of a strong opening weekend of about Rs 38 crore, the film has witnessed a 59% slump in its revenues on Monday. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the critic’s word is the final word in determining a film’s fate at the box office. Films like Sanju and Uri: The Surgical Strike were annihilated in reviews for their poisonous subject matter and both films turned out to be all-time blockbusters.
However, films aren’t untouchable these days. Just look at Salman Khan’s Race 3 that didn’t even make as much money as Avengers: Infinity War at the Indian box office. As Ajay Devgn’s De De Pyaar De gets ready for a Friday release, one can expect the reviews to occasionally touch upon the film’s sexism, misogyny and ageism. And that’s hardly a bad sign.