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.