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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Mind on the Money

There has always been a war between critics and the Bollywood industry-- much worse than Hollywood, for sure. Whether it's the director of the new film No Smoking, Anurag Kashyup, who ranted about the critics who did just that-- criticize his movie, or even popular director Farah Khan's cries that critics are just out to ruin her and her film-- critics are not popular at all among many in Bollywood.

To be honest, I'm not a fan of the critics, for the most part. Not because of Khan's criticisms-- critics aren't evil just because they criticize your movie. My problem is more that most Bollywood critics judge movies on whether or not they have commercial appeal-- which is really sad. Of course, Indian movies are "commercial," for the most part, only if they have five songs, lavish costumes, a glamorous star cast, has a love story or has some sort of a romantic angle, and if it appeals to all ages.

Think about all the amazing movies that are not commercial (and far better). The film Dor, which I thought was incredible, only received two out of five stars from, not because it was a bad film-- the reviewer acknowledged the film's brilliance. It got a bad review because the critic believed that the film would not make any money. He was right, of course-- but if the film was brilliant, it was brilliant. That should be the end of it.

Freedom of the press is vital, and I would rather have these crazy critics (who are right to criticize Khan's film, in my opinion) than none at all. But it would be nice if they started focusing on the film-- not the box office.