16 June 2008

Bollywood strikes back at critics -- this time with blogs!

If any proof was further needed that blogs can mean a whole new world, it is here. Bollywood director Ram Gopal Varma (didn't realise he was a blogger!) is now talking straight to fans, and what's more, giving point-by-point rebuttals to some of the biggest names in film criticism!
Here is how he is going about it.
Ramu has an interesting, non-moralistic, devil-may-care approach to movie-making and it seems, blogging as well. He kind of lambasts two of India's most respected, or at least, followed, critics, Khalid Mohamed and Deepa Gahlot (Disclosure: I count them both among my friends, but not sure if this blog entry will make a difference) and others as well -- for ripping apart his latest work, "Sarkar Raj." He questions their credentials, the way they question his work. This is like a game of cricket without umpires.
The wars between movie makers and critics, columnists and politicians, sportswriters and sportsmen are all as old as the hills, but people like Ramu can now just give vent to their feelings. Somewhere along the way, the film critic of the types mentioned above became sort of upper-middle-class, leaving the space wide open for film-makers to reach out to the "ornery" people, like they always have done. Blogs have come to the rescue of those whose letters to the editors will never be published in full!
I see a new kind of divide, very much akin towhat one sees in politics, where the populist lot loves to hate the "value-based" kind of criticism. Deepa is dead serious most of the time, and Khalid loves to mock. Ramu hates them both! (Deepa also says Ramu has got FACTS wrong...and that is for RGV to rebutt!)
My own views on the issue are quite warped: Is the critic supposed to take a personal view of the film, or is the critic representing the average movie-goer's sensibilities to decide whether one should go and watch a flick or not? Given that English language newspapers in India are fast matching Bollywood audiences in getting patchy and becoming what a high-end critic would call "dumber" in sensibilities, I only have to say that the answer is blowing in the wind.

1 comment:

Jeevika: South Asia Documentary Festival said...

Inviting Documentary

Zoom in on a mode of living…

Give a voice to people’s struggles and triumphs…

Defend the basic human right of freedom to livelihood…

Economic Freedom

Capture social -cultural norms, legal - regulatory barriers that prevent people working in the vocation of their choice and send us.


Prizes: Worth Rs. 2 lakhs
(Including support for advocacy campaign based on the film)

Apply now: www.jeevika.org or www.ccs.in

Entry Rules:
- Two DVD copies.
- Open to ALL filmmakers (student, amateur & professionals).
- Any language with English subtitles.
- No cut off date on entries.

Jeevika, a South Asian documentary film festival on the issue of livelihood, is a search for documentaries that focus on legal and regulatory restrictions as well as socio - cultural norms and religious practices that prevent or constrain people from earning an honest livelihood in the vocation of their choice. It is a part of an attempt to bring policies in focus which have not been liberalized and keeping entry level professions under License Raj, thus keeping a nation under imposed poverty. Livelihood is a common issue that touches all other issues including poverty human rights, governance, labour welfare, tribal rights, minority rights, women empowerment, health, globalization, privatization, environment, agriculture, hunger and many more.

For further details please contact:
Mr. Manoj Mathew
Phone: 91.11.2653.7456 (10am-6pm IST)
Log on: http://www.ccs.in/jeevika/index.html
Email: jeevika@ccs.in

K-36 Hauz Khas Enclave, New Delhi 110016, India
Phone: 91-11-2653 7456/ 2652 1882/ 2651 2347;
Web: www.ccs.in