Do Marathi films need favors from reviewers?

Posted on Jul 16 2014 - 11:57am by Shailesh Narwade
A poster of Marathi film Aandhali Koshimbir.

A poster of Marathi film Aandhali Koshimbir.

A couple of days before the release of their film, the makers of Marathi film Aandhali Koshimbir, at an event in Pune, had sought favors from the media to not criticize Marathi films. This gesture, they had claimed, would facilitate growth of the regional film industry. They had supported their appeal by stating that films are the result of hard work and heavy budgets and therefore be spared of criticism.

Filmmakers should understand one thing that critics or reviewers don’t have intentions to influence audiences or impact a film’s business. If this had been the case, then Bollywood films like Chennai Express, Krrish 3, and Dhoom 3 had not been so successful at the box office. But that commercial success couldn’t stop reviewers from calling these films as bad films.

Now, it’s really a matter of curiosity as what would have prompted the makers of Aandhali Koshimbir to make such an appeal to the media. Probably, they must have realized at the eleventh hour that they have made a very boring film, and therefore decided to play safe by appealing to reviewers not to pan the film and allow it to recover its investment. But recover from where? From audiences’ pockets!

The Marathi film industry now produces close to a hundred films every year. The makers of these all hundred films should not forget that Marathi audiences have had very unpleasant experiences watching films during the previous two decades. They have been subjected to very boring, illogical and nonsense content for years. And that was the reason the audiences had turned their back to Marathi films.

Since the last few years, a new breed of filmmakers is trying to give a new lease of life to Marathi cinema by experimenting unique subjects, adopting latest technologies and exploring newer markets. And the audiences have also started respecting the new ventures by returning to cinema halls in search of some realistic and sensible content.

The year 2013 saw production of some very good Marathi films like Narbachi Wadi, Pitruroon, Popat, Aajcha Diwas Majha, Touring Talkies, Lagn Pahave Karun, and Tendulkar Out, while Duniyadari led them all commercially at the box office. In 2014, we got to watch brilliant films like Fandry and Salaam. Interestingly, the makers of all these films didn’t have to seek special favors from reviewers. Probably, they were confident of their films.

It is a known fact that half of the media publishes paid reviews. Though this practice is labelled as part of marketing strategy and expenses are included in marketing budgets; it is very obvious that those, who are not capable of producing good films, can only resort to such things.

When you seek favors, you try to influence the reviewers. You make silly movies and then want the media to mislead audiences by not criticizing your films. Thus, the ultimate sufferers are the audiences, whose time and money is wasted.

Cinema is an art, but when you exhibit it publicly for commercial gains, it becomes pure business. And bad products are bound to disappoint the consumer. Since you are not doing charity, you can’t seek favors for your bad products. The only choice you have is to be competent and fight the competition. Therefore, the unskilled and weak-hearted people should keep away!

For substantial growth of the Marathi film industry, it is necessary that bad films are criticized, their makers suffer huge losses and thus incompetent people are discouraged from making nonsense films. Eventually, only few but good films will be made, they will get enough screens and big time window to perform at the box office, and audiences will get value to their money.