Have you noticed a common, sentimental hullabaloo from movie stars and ‘professional fans’ these days every time there is a bad review or low turnout for a movie? Their reasoning is that a movie is the result of so many people’s hard work and struggles and saying anything bad about movies is hurtful to them. I wouldn’t have jotted down my disagreement with this reasoning if it wasn’t used so much by so many people to counter the negative reviews for movies. This emotional blackmail sort of approach is mainly used by several professional fan groups (whose other tactics are variants of active cyber bullying).
While I appreciate the efforts that a crew puts into a movie, this reasoning seems slightly insensible to me. If every product manufacturer or service provider started using the same reasoning to counter negative reviews or low sales, we wouldn’t be able to voice our dissatisfaction with any product or service we use, or would end up buying everything we come across so as to help them. Because all of these are the result of the work put in by a group of people. Especially when a review has to be based on not tangible parameters like that of a physical product, but on the emotions stirred in the minds of people, it will definitely be subjective and vary from person to person.
I am of course against abusive criticism that some lowlifes resort to. However, someone talking decently about why he didn’t like a movie is no attack towards anyone involved in it; it is simply a feedback – one that people in the entertainment industry can choose to accept or reject, but not run away from. Instead, making statements like “If you don’t like the movie, that’s your personal opinion. Why should you say that and stop someone else from watching it?” simply shows that they are happy with positive reviews, but cannot stand negative ones. No one can forcefully stop someone from watching a movie. But genuine word-of-mouth is something people rely on when it comes to deciding which movies to watch and which not to, just like they read product reviews before buying something. That is their personal choice, one that the makers of the movie have no right to complain about.
Quite a lot of times they come up with the reason, “concerted campaign” done to malign their movie, when it flops, never really accepting the audience verdict with grace. These people should learn from the makers of the Nivin Pauly-starrer “Action Hero Biju”, a movie that should have become a huge flop if only “concerted campaigns” from haters alone worked, but went on to become one of the highest grossers of that year. And to use such reasons for movies which haven’t had a single positive audience review is just lame.
It becomes even lamer when the lead actors and directors come up with such sentimental crap. When Dulquer Salmaan’s anthology movie “Solo” got mixed reviews from audience, he put up a long post on social media saying why people should give the movie a chance. What irritated me about his post was the way he literally explained how he enjoyed every second of the movie, how no one should spread negativity about it only because they didn’t like it, how everyone will definitely like it if they watched it with an open mind and so on. In a nutshell, his post was (emotionally) slamming people for saying anything bad about the movie and he attributed it to people’s fear and dislike for something different, not accepting that it simply failed to strike a chord with them. From a celebrity who is loved for his personality, this post was an unnecessary display of childishness, one which I wish he hadn’t written.
Sometimes they go way overboard with such posts, the way Neeraj Madhav did when his movie “Gauthamante Ratham”, which released in January 2020, failed to attract audience owing to the increasing fear of COVID-19. He went on to write an emotional post about how “fake news about Corona” affected his movie by scaring people into not watching it in cinema halls. What was even more annoying about the post was how he tried to make it sound like he respected the gravity of the situation since the government had already declared it a state disaster, when it was evident that his sole priority was his movie. By requesting people to watch it in cinema halls using the flawed logic of “the government has said people need not panic and only have to stay alert”, repeatedly asking them to help the movie and its crew by giving a few more houseful shows before some other big movies released, talking about the loss to the Producer who cast him despite all apprehensions everyone had about him, all of it slyly sugar-coated with a completely unconvincing dose of how he wouldn’t force them to do so, he was displaying either his ignorance or his selfishness. Because I don’t understand how else people were supposed to “stay alert” in the wake of a fast-spreading virus other than by avoiding unnecessary public gatherings – like in a cinema hall, duh!
In fact, even when someone commented under his post about how staying home was the most important thing to do when there is a virus scare and how his post was not in good taste, his reply was “I didn’t force anyone, did I? It was just a suggestion to go and watch it.” Whether Neeraj’s movie deserved to be a winner or not, whether he knew the magnitude of what was to follow and how the world would come to a halt due to this virus in hardly another two months, his post was not simply childish; it was highly irresponsible and deplorable too, for how he tried to evoke sympathy and make people choose his movie over their own safety, without even bothering to educate himself about the situation! Honestly, for this one reason, I have never felt like watching him in another movie.
In short, film folks, when some say that they weren’t satisfied by your movie, or decide to give it a miss for their own reasons, instead of branding them as people scared of change or as those who hurt the sentiments of the makers and crew, show some maturity in accepting their verdict and choice with humility maybe?
Also published on Medium.