Thursday, October 27, 2011

Anybody can talk about a movie, that good and bad. Movies once released are in the public realm. You, I or anyone has the right to like or dislike any film. It is our personal choice. Having said that, the freedom of ‘my 
personal choice’ is not a luxury that a Film Critic has.

A Film Critic’s Job is to analysis and evaluate films, individually or collectively. Critics that have their analysis published in newspapers are into ‘journalistic criticism’. They have to take a academic approach to films. These film critics try to come to understand, and explain to their readers, why film works, how it works, what 
it means, and what effects it has on people.

They have to answer the following questions that any audience wishes to know.

Story and Screenplay
Is the story interesting and does the screenplay unfold in a way that holds your attention?

Does the use of language in conversations adhere to the characters making the happenings believable?

Have the principle actors lived their characters and make you believe that they are not actors but the characters themselves?

Has the Cinematographer done justice to the need of the story by lighting the shots well and giving the whole film a color tone that helps in the story telling process?

Does the action provide the thrill and edge of the seat experience?

Has the editor done justice to keep only the stuff needed to keep the pace at it’s maximum while not hampering the story telling process?

Sound Design
Is the sound realistic and innovative, creating the experience of “being there”?

Has the Director told the story keeping the pace and maintained your attention? Has he/she been able to “suspend my disbelief” for as long as we are watching the film?

Production Value
Are Production values justified? Or have they splurged because they can?

If computer graphics are used to enhance locales and sets they should not be noticeable, but should add to the grandeur of the scene. If graphics have been used to achieve super human tasks then do they convince the audience that ‘this is real’?

Does the music entertain me, culturally or otherwise?

Background Score
Background score is used to enhance the feel as well as entertain me. Does the background music effectively enhance my emotions in various parts of the film?

Would the majority of our film goers most likely be entertained by this film?

If the critic has trouble analyzing the above topics, he/she should hire people that have the capability to analyze.

Once you have hired the people FIRE YOURSELF, you don’t deserve to be a Film Critic. Work as an assistant director for a few films and then come back.

The above report is for overall audience and not for a selective club.
Do not be star struck. You are analyzing a film and not saluting a star.
Be honest and maintain integrity towards your job.
and finally… most importantly… KEEP IT SIMPLE

Your comments are welcome.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Corruption in India is a cultural aspect. Indians seem to think nothing peculiar about corruption. It is everywhere.

Indians tolerate corrupt individuals rather than correct them.

No race can be congenitally corrupt, but can a race be corrupted by its culture?

To know why Indians are corrupt, look at their patterns and practices .


Religion is transactional in India.

Indians give God cash and anticipate an out-of-turn reward.

Such a plea acknowledges that favors are needed for the undeserving.

In the world outside the temple walls, such a transaction is called - “bribe”.

A wealthy Indian gives not cash to temples, but gold crowns and such baubles.

His gifts cannot feed the poor. His pay-off is for God. He thinks it will be wasted if it goes to a needy man.

In June 2009, The Hindu published a report of Karnataka minister G. Janardhan Reddy gifting a crown of gold and diamonds worth Rs 45 crore to Tirupati.

India’s temples collect so much that they don't know what to do with it. Billions are gathering dust in temple vaults.

When Europeans came to India they built schools. When Indians go to Europe & USA, they build temples.

Indians believe that if God accepts money for his favors, then nothing is wrong in doing the same thing. This is why Indians are so easily corruptible.

Indian culture accommodates such transactions morally. There is no real stigma. An utterly corrupt Polititian can make a comeback, just unthinkable in the West.


Indian moral ambiguity towards corruption is visible in its history. Indian history tells of the capture of cities and kingdoms after guards were paid off to open the gates, and commanders paid off to surrender.

This is unique to India.

Indians' corrupt nature has meant limited warfare on the subcontinent. It is striking how little Indians have actually fought compared to ancient Greece and modern Europe.

The Turks’ battles with Nadir Shah were vicious and fought to the finish.

In India fighting wasn't needed, bribing was enough to see off armies.

Any invader willing to spend cash could brush aside India’s kings, no matter how many tens of thousands soldiers were in their infantry.

Little resistance was given by the Indians at the “Battle” of Plassey. Clive paid off Mir Jaffar and all of Bengal folded to an army of 3,000.

There was always a financial exchange to taking Indian forts. Golconda was captured in 1687 after the secret back door was left open.

The Mughals vanquished Marathas and Rajputs with nothing but bribes.

The Raja of Srinagar gave up Dara Shikoh’s son Sulaiman to Aurangzeb after receiving a bribe.

There are many cases where Indians participated on a large scale in treason due to bribery.

Question is: Why Indians have a transactional culture while other 'civilized' nations don't?


Indians do not believe in the theory that they all can rise if each of them behaves morally, because that is not the message of their faith.

Their caste system separates them. They don't believe that all men are equal. This resulted in their division and migration to other religions.

Many Hindus started their own faith like Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism and many converted to Christianity and Islam.

The result is that Indians don't trust one another.

There are no Indians in India; there are Hindus, Christians, Muslims and what not.

Indians forget that 400 years ago they all belonged to one faith.

This division evolved an unhealthy culture. The inequality has resulted in a corrupt society,

In India everyone is thus against everyone else, except God and even he must be bribed.

(This is what I read somewhere and I kind of agree)

p.s. I notice many people read my blog but hardly anyone comments. Why is that? Have a voice my friends....

Friday, May 20, 2011

Movies - Fact or Fiction

Yeah yeah. I know… haven’t posted anything to my blog for a while. I had nothing to say, but here I am trying…..

I will refer to movies, some old and some very old. If you, the reader has not watched the movies that I will speak of, then watching them may make more sense of this post. I must warn you though, that this is my opinion and I have no arguments for those that feel otherwise.

Many people tell me that we need realistic movies. Movies should depict reality. That, in my opinion, is not a possibility. Skew lines never meet, never fall on a single plane. Likewise, movies and reality cannot fall into a same plane.

Of course I am not speaking of documentaries that we see on BBC, Discovery Channel or the National Geographic Channel. They are movies as well. Here I speak of Movies as in entertainment, that we all see… grrrr…. You know what I mean. So, lets move on.

There is constant debate. Why can’t we have realistic films?? We need facts and not fiction some say. Let’s take a look.

Fiction: Mandakini bathing under the waterfall amidst snow peaked mountains.
Fact: Any girl will get Pneumonia and no one does that.

Fiction: Sunny Paaji pulls out a pump, that cannot be there in the first place and beats up a hundred people.
Fact: No one can pull that off.

Fiction: Boy and girl run around trees singing songs.
Fact: I have never seen that happen in real life

Fiction: Superman flies off to fight Lax Luthor.
Fact: Even Wright Brothers cannot do that.

Fiction: No matter how realistic a setting we hear background music in a film.
Fact: In real life John Williams does not conduct an orchestra when there is a domestic row.


It is the fantasy element of each story that draws the audience into the theater. No one really wants to see a movie truly realistic. There are movies that seem grounded in reality, or that are based on true stories. Even these stories examine what happens when everyday people are thrust into an out-of-the-ordinary, bigger than life situation.

So even REALISTIC Movies are fantasies.

It isn’t the fantasy element of a story that is interesting, exciting, romantic or funny. It’s the reaction of the everyday world to that fantastic situation. Therefore you will notice that most of the times only one fantasy element is allowed to introduce that single incredible element into your story; everything else must be logical and believable.

For example, in Lagaan, Aamir Khan has to decide to accept the bet from the British Officer. That is the fantasy. The movie explores what might really happen after the fantasy situation occurred. Every single conflict that Aamir faces after the fantasy is logical, believable, and grounded in reality.

The FANTASY of accepting the bet is what draws the audience and sets up the series of events.

Now imagine the same movie if Aamir gets super powers, can fly, see through walls and even makes a neutron bomb to win the match???? There we go we have lost the audience. This new scenario would fail to capture the emotion of the audience. The whole conflict would become meaningless.

In movies, it is the hero’s desire that drives the story forward. But it’s the conflict the hero faces that elicits the emotion in the audience. If the Hero becomes a person who can do anything and becomes too powerful, then, there’s nothing difficult to overcome, and the audience feels no real tension, worry or fear. The audience will simply observe the action, rather than becoming a part of it.

Now that we know that all movies are fantasies, how do we insure that our story remains believable?

We ask…. “Do our characters behave the way people with their backgrounds would normally behave in this situation?”

We ask…. “Is this what I would do if I were in this situation?”

Don’t forcibly infuse documented reality. One of the weakest arguments we can make in support of our characters’ actions is, “But that really did happen.”

Lots of unusual things happen in real life, and people often behave in strange ways. But in our screenplay, even if we are portraying real events, the characters’ actions must seem logical, and the events believable, within the context of the story.

Always maintain the suspension of disbelief (to suspend audience’s disbelief). Superman is REAL while I am watching the film. Only after the film gets over I say, “ah it was a film”. Just like a dream, while I am dreaming it is reality, till I wake up.

Openly admit the incredibility of a character’s behavior. If, Sunny Paaji pursues his wife who is captive in another country, have someone close to him say to him, “Are you nuts? How can you possibly get her from the other country?” Then Sunny Paaji can explain his actions in a way that is consistent with the personality and background that has been given to him.

Subconsciously the audience is being told, “Look, We know this seems unbelievable, but let us tell you why it isn’t.”

People go to the movies for emotions, and if the visuals are captivating enough, if the action moves fast enough, or if the humor is hilarious enough, audiences will sometimes forego the pleasure of a great screenplay with great characters.

No matter how big and exciting movies can be, all they really do is plunge everyday characters into extraordinary situations without ever losing the reality of those characters' humanity.

All they ever do it tell you a fictional tale. Hence….

Movies are all FICTION.