Perceiving Cinema: Social Media Review Writers

“Porinju Mariam Jose” was one of those “hit” movies which had recently disappointed me in cinematic experience. There have been numerous movies which have faced the wrath of fan community or our social media “critics”, in all languages, especially since the inception of certain film communities in Facebook and Twitter. The irony is that sometimes these pseudo critics may not even have watched the said film and will be simply copying some one else’s review.

Films like Guppy, Mayanadhi, Iblis, Thamasha have discussed concepts and ideologies very much relevant to this age, and also were beautifully executed, without any cliches. Most of our filmmakers strongly believe in this idea of cliche – that cliche is cliche because it always works. It might be true, and no one is complaining about promoting such cliche films. The basic question is this, why do we demote certain genre of films, while we promote others overflowing with cliche.

Social Media

Most of us tend to follow the reviews on social media and go to theatres with a prejudiced mind – that this movie is good as it discusses about women empowerment, and the other one is bad because it has a kissing scene and so forth. Why do we judge an art before even seeing and experiencing it? The conclusion I have arrived at is that such social media film critics may have a secret agenda and might be paid to promote a film and at the same time demote another one – a rival actor’s or director’s movie. It can also be a discrimination based on caste. The biggest example of such caste based discrimination has been actor Vinayakan’s films which were recognised only recently. He is one of those actors who has come to the limelight lately with his brilliant performances, but was also someone who used to be sidelined and given roles to be mocked at by the “upper caste heroes”.

Compared to the Malayalam audience, the Tamil audience have shown more consideration towards movies like “Onaayum Aattukuttiyum”, “Super Deluxe”, “Pariyerum Perumal”, “Kaakka Muttai”, and so on. These were, from a personal point of view, great attempts at avante garde cinema, which were quite successful compared to such attempts in the Malayalam industry while Bash Mohammed’s “Lukka Chuppi”, and Lijo Jose Pellissery’s “Double Barrel”. I’m not intending to degrade any movie or film maker as making a film takes a lot of effort from a huge group. Being part of a minority, the kind of films that have received national and regional recognition has been huge creative disappointments, to mention some like Madhupal’s “Oru Kuprasidha Payyan”, and our favourite mass film maker Joshiy’s “Porinju Mariam Jose”.

‘Oru Kuprasidha Paiyan’

Mass

The films have a greater concept but I believe they have failed miserably in its execution. To take the case of “Porinju Mariam Jose”, those black outs between scenes itself is a huge failure in the part of the makers – these black outs suggest that the makers could not establish a connection or continuation in between those scenes. The intro scenes of the protagonists were nothing near to “mass” and there was not one moment of goosebumps in the whole “mass” movie, not even in the climax reminding me of Shakespearean plays where “everyone gets killed for no reason at all!”

The casting was a bit out of place with Joju George, who is said to be as strong as a bull, Chemban Vinod Jose with his massive frame, but not able to defend himself, and Nyla Usha overdoing the whole idea of a bold woman living alone (she lives alone, but her dinner is magically ready on the table when she comes for it). I cannot begin to talk about Madhupal’s “Oru Kuprasidha Payyan”, which has not been a contribution at all to our cinematic consciousness.


Award Films

However, we have noticed that such films which are of very low creative quality have been celebrated by social media. Recently I read reviews of Porinju Mariam Jose which were nothing like the actual movie. It may be the tendency of people to just follow what the person before them has done – “Porinju Mariam Jose is a mass movie they say, so if I don’t say the same thing, I will be sidelined and avoided from the mainstream and social media limelight” this is the mind voice of such ‘critics’. Certain movies are branded as ‘award films meant only for intellectuals and elite cinema fraternity’ like Iblis, Akale etc.

The truth is that there is no such thing as films made only for the purpose of getting awards. Every filmmaker makes films primarily for entertaining people. The films branded as ‘award movies’ have a different creative quality which many of us cannot understand and digest. So what we do is, we take the opinion of another person and use it as word vomit, like the rats that followed the great Pied Piper to the river, we follow the person in front and repeat all that he says or does. Those rats who manage to escape this flow, are mocked at for being fools. This is the basic thing that is happening in social media reviews.

There are even more disappointments which will come our way, (Ittymani Made In China’s teaser has already been taken up by the Facebook fan communities), songs which in no manner contribute to the story or the plot, scenes which are included only to be flashbacks of happier times, sexist jokes and more things that question our logic. Yet, as audience, it is our creative responsibility to witness and at least acknowledge the effort that go behind this art called cinema. If not so, watch the movie at least for the sake of legends who have given their soul to this art.

Views and opinions expressed here are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of plumeria movies

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About the Author

Anjali Chakkoth
A traveller at heart, writing is my art. Love is my God and this world is my home. Music is the drug and Cinema is the flame.

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