Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Quality reviews

Jack Black posing as Ned Schneebly in The School of Rock says (not verbatim, mind you) "Man destroys everything..and there was a way to stick up to him, something pure, called Rock..but wait, Man destroyed that too by bringing along this little thing called MTV".

Something similar is happening with the Telugu websites also, I think. There was a time when they could do their own thing, publish honest, quality movie/music reviews not giving a hoot for who thought what. They were so wonderfully different from the pulpy magazines (that sported titles like Megastar and licked stars’ back-ends no end).

And then what happened? The websites slowly started rivaling mainstream sources. And the moneyed folks in Telugu film industry, bless their twisted souls, woke up to the potential of Internet and the influence it has on the pravaasaandhra crowd (Telugu diaspora). At the same time the dollar revenues from Telugu movies were becoming sizeable. Though they don't outrun Hindi movies (good ones of which easily figure in the Top 30 high grossers in a releasing weekend) in dollar collections, a decent American run of 3 to 4 weeks gets handsomer returns than a 50-day run in India. And that's a big deal.

What comes in the way of such a dream run? You guessed right, the popular websites that might call a bad a bad.

Telugus depend on a handful of websites for pointers on new movies. These websites have become word-of-mouth, friends’ recommendations, TV reports showing enthusiastic first day viewers screaming "super hit" into the camera and newspaper reviews - all rolled into one. So the reviewers' power in this mix cannot be ignored.

For instance, reviewers at Idlebrain and Greatandhra were largely responsible for driving droves to Bommarillu initially. This review frenzy definitely helped it become a blockbuster in the US.

Here’s another example. After, Mahesh Babu's Athadu and Pokiri did excellent business in the US, distributors salivated at his Sainikudu. And they held multiple premiers for the movie in the US. They also took help from websites to work up the release frenzy hoping for an exhilarating climax! Idlebrain carried almost a minute-on-minute countdown to the movie release late into the American Friday night.

Then law of averages worked its magic. First show in India left viewers high and dry; and so colossal was the disaster that if some reports are to be believed the disappointment levels matched that of fans of Rajnikanth soon after Baba’s first show; now you figure out!

Idlebrian updates stopped abruptly. No further word was written on the movie for another 2 days. And then the countdown story also disappeared. Till date there is no review of the movie on the website. It squandered an opportunity to help innocent desi (weekend viewer) folks escape the torture Gunasekhar unleashed on them.

What can I say? I am just happy that there are bloggers, who do their own thing, publish honest, quality movie/music reviews not giving a hoot for who thought what.


చేతన_Chetana said...

I totally agree with whatever you said, be it about idlebrain, be it about Bommarillu (I agree its a good movie.. but thats it.. its a good movie). I may want to include pokiri too. I felt its just another typical telugu movie which starts off with just a story idea, no script/screenplay but full of technical aspects to boast of and good music. They highlight about the technical issues in all the interviews... and they try to explain how great they are and how technically advanced telugu movies these days are.. how proud we should feel about it.. crap.. I think a director is telling a story to me.. what he needs is a tight script/screenplay..and all the aspects like actors, music, cinematography, editing, and all other technical aspects are just tools and embellishments to tell the story in the most effective way the director could. people seem to forget this these days and.. and totally depend on the secondary things.. just like pokiri (its my personal opinion) and super etc. whatever, topic nunchi nenu pakkadari pattinattunnanu). And these websites too seem to be taking themselves (the websites, I mean) too seriously then they ought too. I think Jeevi of idlebrain is thinking that he is an icon are some sort of star.. explaining why he likes something, why he watches english movies, why he is reviewing english movies. who cares.

I agree with what you said about Sainikudu.

గిరి Giri said...

Yes, that's typical of Telugu movie makers these days. Couple of days after the movie release, they organize success meets too - isn't that funny?
I thought Bommarillu was an average fare. See my review here

Srini said...

Let me put my comment on Bommarillu..

For me, First half is average & second half is toooo good.Bhasker handled the emotions very nicely..

I liked the movie because of good 2nd half with wonderful climax.. good music..watchable film with the family..

On the flip side i didnt like the heroine characterisation.

Coming to Sainikudu.. i dont watch Hurror movies :))

Srini said...

Short review on Annavaram:

unrealistic sister senti
unrealistic fights (I mean 1980's fights)
Outdated Screenplay
3 good songs but picturisation is not upto mark.

Aimed at Mass completely.. Few good shots are there but missing pavan kalyan factor..

i think we may not see movies like kushi,tammudu,toliprema from pavan..

గిరి Giri said...

I walked out of Bommarillu about 30mins before the climax - think i missed the best part; but no regrets. As i mentioned in my review, I too didn't like the herione's character at all.

I stayed away from Sainikudu. But I liked the songs, especially "ora choopule ruvve pilla" sung by Kaarunya.

On Annavaram a friend gave me timely warning.

చేతన_Chetana said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
చేతన_Chetana said...

Yep, I agree. Climax is the best part of the movie.. and the way it is, is just because of Siddharth, and ofcourse the director. I feel Siddharth is one of the very few truly committed artists of telugu films.. his involvement in all aspects of the film is clearly visible. lucky him, he doesn't have any kind pressure, to stop doing what he likes. He doesn't have to live upto somebody else's image. He doesn't have to appease anybody. Unlike..

and regarding annavaram and the missing factor.. its been missing not just in annavaram, but since balu..

గిరి Giri said...

..and btw, i wouldn't put tammudu in the same league as khushi and toliprema. while khushi was technically slick and had bhoomika, toliprema had a good story, tammudu was a forgettable attempt at aping 'jo jeeta wohi sikandar'

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