Sour note: Tamil filmmakers ‘ban’ reviewers who judge their films harshly

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Published: July 11, 2019 12:36:27 AM

Although the notice doesn’t seem to have any legal standing—critics and reviewers agree that published negative reviews alone don't make the general public develop an unfavourable opinion of the film.

Today, for most of the multiplex-going public, the decision to watch a movie is based on the opinions it garners on social media, not on any one critic’s take. (File photo)Today, for most of the multiplex-going public, the decision to watch a movie is based on the opinions it garners on social media, not on any one critic’s take. (File photo)

Producers from the Tamil film industry have said that any film critic or reviewer judging a movie, its cast or crew too harshly—or, in the words of the producers’ unions, “more negatively than warranted”— shall be banned from future industry events, including screenings, success parties, etc, along with being served a legal notice. This move, reports say, is aimed at reducing the unmanagebale costs production houses have to bear while organising press events for their films, a large portion of which goes towards paying, and catering to media persons who come to such events—a practice now discontinued by film industry elsewhere. Although the notice doesn’t seem to have any legal standing—critics and reviewers agree that published negative reviews alone don’t make the general public develop an unfavourable opinion of the film—the attempt to curb free expression and rather immature counter-move are not only wildly irresponsible but also laughably absurd.

Today, for most of the multiplex-going public, the decision to watch a movie is based on the opinions it garners on social media, not on any one critic’s take.

Would the producers’ unions then want all individuals voicing negative opinions against a movie to be banned from watching their movies in the future? Besides, while this declaration was made with regard to local film critics and reviewers, the fact is that technology has invalidated all notions of geographic isolation of ideas and conversations—an individual sitting in a multiplex in Delhi is as capable of influencing the opinions and decisions of her friends in Tamil Nadu as any local film critic. While the poor wording of the notice has since been apologised for, and a modified addendum to the statement released, this controversy presents the perfect opportunity for the Tamil film industry to review their own filmmaking practices to realise that it isn’t the review of a film that makes it a commercial failure but many factors such as content, production quality, etc.

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