This post plays an observer’s eye at the polarizing views that the movie Kaala is receiving. Kaala was praised by many, booed by many. It’s rare to see a movie that does that. It’s meant to provoke some. It’s meant to shed light on certain issues. I mean there are a lot of the so-called commercial Movies that do that. But this movie digs deeper.
And this post is also meant to make a commentary on how the reviewing systems are at the moment. Evolving doesn’t mean evolving in terms of technology alone. We were reading reviews on newspaper, then on blogs, websites, and then we moved on to YouTube videos. Technology played a crucial role in the Reviewing system. It managed to help reviews get to people fast. Some were shitty while some were gold. And in a race of getting the reviews fast as possible to the people, many reviewers with a keen observer’s eye without having the time to contemplate what they just watched, they put what they saw on the internet. Gold is obviously going to get lost in this race against time.
Now, movies are a highly subjective medium. Without a highly analytical mind, reviewers can judge a movie based on the level of impact it has on him/her. But without having the time to think about it, the reviewers’ personal bias towards the subject gets in the way. The personal dormant aversions could get in the way. And when told in a matter-of-fact manner, people tend to believe the review to be true. And that affects movies like Kaala. With polarizing views, a personal opinion could affect this kind of movie. Just like how one wishes filmmaking over ideologies, we expect reviews over ideologies. So here begin the 5 reasons why I feel one shouldn’t watch Kaala or any movie on that matter based on a review.
1. Stereotypical Rajinikanth Film And Kabali’s Hangover
Most of the reviewers used this point while writing their reviews. What I saw in Kaala is a movie that is being its own. To me, this movie did not suffer from some Kabali’s hangover. Or this movie was not trying so hard to find the balance between a Rajinikanth movie and a Pa. Ranjith movie. We are looking at a film that is entirely its own.
Everyone in the cast did a convincing performance. You are seeing Dharavi. You are seeing Pa. Ranjith’s vision which not at all feels preachy. At least it’s not preachy in an in-your-face way. Of course, there were some scenes that serve as a build-up to an action sequence taking advantage of the Rajinikanth’s “Superstar” image. But, those scenes didn’t feel that big of a jump from the film. And it didn’t disturb me from my movie-watching experience.
Rajinikanth acted in Movies like this in his earlier days before the concept of masala movies came into the picture. Those count as Rajinikanth films as well. Having set the bar for a Rajinikanth film and comparing the film to that bar wouldn’t be a great choice for any reviews of this film. Kaala is a Rajinikanth Movie. Kaala is the right kind of Movie to break the stereotype.
If Kaala turned out to be the usual Rajinikanth action film that many are comparing Kaala to, he would have ended up being the hot topic for meme creators. He is trying to entertain the audience more by acting now. And he is doing a really good job at it. That’s some good reinventing stuff right there.
2. Standards And Metrics Used In A Review
I’ve been seeing reviews which stated that the movie is taking forever to set up. Do some reaction shit already. How long are you going to simply stay as a passive observer? You could’ve trimmed it up some minutes, get the pacing right. There could’ve been a song there. Opening song is not cool. Blah blah blah and Blah. Who created these standards anyway? Not every movie needs to set-up with one single scene. Not every Movie needs to follow three acts. Not every Movie needs high points at this time and some high points at that time. A movie is not a straight line on a graph with peaks then and there. It’s continuously fluctuating. It should be continuously fluctuating. Perfecting one’s craft does not involve following a formula that gives structure to a story. That formula is an approach that works at most cases. But that doesn’t mean we have to compare to it every time for reviewing the film.
One YouTube reviewer behaved like he has seen everything and it’s the same old shit over and over again. Same story, seen this, seen that what is the “something new” you are offering? If you want to review based on the standards that you knew what contributes to a correct structure, how are you going to expect anything new from screenwriters? Of course, we have screenwriters who can make that magic happen with every screenplay that needs to follow a certain formula. But we can’t expect them to construct new scripts that are going to be different in its structure with that mindset. And further, breaking the structure involves the risk of the script not being relatable to the audience. Within the constrained space, one needs to explore something new.
And there are some reviews that push movies to be shown in the analytical light. Like for example, rating direction, script, acting, cinematography individually and create an average of those ratings and put it as a review. Now that could be an acceptable approach provided, the reviewers consider all departments in the movie for reviewing. There is the sound design, the editing, VFX, DI, sound mixing, Stunt choreography etc. Bringing every technicality into account, you are going to be subjective to each one of these departments, summarize the results, get the average and show it in a star rating. Well bravo! A great analytical approach if there ever was one. I mean I wouldn’t say a movie is good because that shot looked good. But we are going overboard here with what we are terming as a practical approach. Trying to be analytical, trying to simplify the movie in breaking down to its core is not the right kind of review you want to be reading or seeing. A movie can be more than what these reviews try to make it.
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3. Content Specific To Each Reviewer’s Website Or Channel
Every reviewer’s content follows some sort of style. There is one YouTube reviewer whom people visit often just to get an accomplishment in having the stars they hate get bashed in a review. The reviewer upon a realization that it is getting him views would certainly repeat the same to every other review he makes.
This reviewer constantly complains that he is seeing nothing new in movies. If that’s true, then there is nothing new in his reviews as well. There are some popular websites where people have really seen everything from around the world. They would have watched the Russian movies. They would have watched the Iranian Movies. They would have eyes suited to their western tastes. When one is used to that taste, and it makes them feel home, one would forget the taste of movies that come from their birthplace. You have an Indian Movie like Kaala. It is loud. It has songs (not that much like in traditional commercial movies). The dialogues won’t be known for their subtleties. In a tight claustrophobic space, you are going to have a lot of people coming in, crowding the frame. The western way with their pauses in dialogues that we don’t get to see is not the only way that an actor needs to deliver his/her dialogues. It is an Indian Movie. And comparing it with a western taste is not a great way to be reviewing Kaala.
And there are some websites where people go just to see the star-ratings. And they would do a decent job only maintaining that, not to mention the other reviews which would have been written or made a video on owing to the sum generously donated by the makers of the movie.
4. Political, Religious Differences Or Even Differences In Caste With That Of The Director Or Actor In The Movie
It should be known by many that, racists often don’t know that they are racists. In a subconscious level, you may think that you are not making a review based on your personal differences with the cast and crew of the movie but there will be some aversions you don’t know about. That could get reflected in the review.
And it would further add fuel if something the reviewer believes gets offended in the movie. Some sort of aversions that lie dormant gets active. A Political comment can be misinterpreted. Even if it’s straight, we can’t make a review with that poison (of the comment) somewhere in our mind. And with that, one shouldn’t trust a review like that. Especially Kaala, which may be targeted for all the reasons mentioned under this heading.
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5. The Fluctuating Mind Of The Reviewers
Just like how a movie is a graph that is constantly fluctuating, human mind the most unpredictable of all will go through that. With experience, one tends to follow a pattern. Every human loves a pattern that helps them make sense of what they are seeing. So it is almost impossible to try and be genuine in a review for a movie.
With Kaala, everybody has their own say in it. With the trailer, with the cast, the makers are setting some expectations for the Movie. Some audiences like to get tricked. A Magic trick will be considered clever when the audiences see beyond something they imagine, something that is completely unexpected. There are audiences who want the same thing in a movie. They want to get fooled. Some would root for seeing something unexpected to what they were expecting from the promotions. One can’t say that surprise takes the audience for granted. Many reviewers believe so. This is a Rajinikanth movie. And you are not giving us a Rajinikanth movie. We can’t say that. The unexpected that comes as a surprise in the movie is what creates the magic for its viewers.
I liked the surprise. I was not expecting that the movie would turn out this way after the promotions. But that was why the movie hit me hard. Hit me enough to write this post to the unfair criticism that the film is receiving. I mean the makers have to fool the audiences making them believe that the audiences are intelligent. That’s a tough job to do. You can’t upset audiences’ intelligence here. And you can’t go too overboard saying, I’m the maker, I’m giving you an intelligent art piece and if you don’t get it, you’re a piece of shit.
I believe Pa. Ranjith broke the Rajinikanth stereotype pretty well packaging it with surprises. Once, the reviewers would say they expect something different out of a movie. Then the same reviewer would say they took the audience for granted by making the movie look different. With time, like Movie viewing, Movie appreciation, changes. The mood and the experience change the mindset of its reviewers. It is almost as if you won’t be getting the movie reviewed by the same person who has reviewed your favorite movies. Some reviewers decide to get strict in the middle. With this varying mindset, you can’t get the right review for your movie.
So, I feel Kaala is a great Movie. Some people don’t like the Movie. It’s okay to have that. It’s encouraging to have that. Reviews for a Movie are highly subjective. If none likes it, you can say that this might be a Movie I wouldn’t want to go to. But based on a few negative reviews, don’t make up your mind. At this day and age, one negative point about a person is enough to make people forget everything good that the person did. Similarly, in case of reviews, one negative review can make people feel there is going to be nothing good in the movie. It’s high time we prove we are beyond that. We need to start looking more at the positives. We can’t let negativity out shadow positivity. No movie is perfect. The only review you should trust is in on a scale of five, how much did the movie impact you? Is the Movie staying with you even after you watched it? If it does, then to you, it is a great movie.
As a side-note, I’m a pattern-loving human just like everyone else here. The speculations here regarding some reviewers can be a result of me trying to make sense of all the negative reviews that the movie is receiving. Or it could be because I like the movie so much and my opinions may be biased because of that.
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