couple of days back there was a snippet in a newspaper
in which a popular singer had gone on record to
say that he hated the movie Sivaji. The reason
offered was that the movie failed to match expectations.
What was expected was actually something along
the lines of an intelligent movie like Indian,
but what was served was a masala entertainer that
played to the galleries. Quite clearly, the viewer
was disappointed at not getting what he/she wanted.
There are no two opinions about the fact that
the movie was a blockbuster, lapped up by Superstar
fans all over the globe. But the opinion of the
relative minority of people who thought that the
movie was well below par is also pertinent. Dasavatharam
too is a similar case. It was a huge grosser,
but opinions about its failure to create an unforgettable
spectacle also found a fair share of takers. Both
Sivaji and Dasavatharam are very different movies
in terms of content and presentation. But, both
of them met with very similar receptions at the
box office. They made humungous amounts of money
and at the same time were at the receiving end
of a few harsh views.
The thing that has to be noticed here is that both Sivaji
and Dasavatharam were liked by the masses for what they
were and criticized by a minority of the class viewers
for what they never attempted to be. Let’s make
things a bit more clear. Sivaji received its share of
criticism for not being intelligent, for letting logic
fly out of the window at many points and for making
the improbable seem ridiculously easy. As mentioned
earlier, the singer said that when he went to watch
Sivaji, he had expected an intelligent entertainer like
Indian. Now, if he or any other viewer of similar tastes
did not like the movie, then it is presumably because
of preset notions and expectations that they had while
entering the theater. Yes, Sivaji was not intelligent
and did not care for logic, but no one can deny that
it was one hell of a Superstar movie if one was willing
to let go of all inhibitions and enjoy it to the fullest.
It does not mean that one had to leave their brains
at home to enjoy Sivaji, it just means being a bit more
flexible than normal.
Similarly for Dasavatharam. One gets the impression
that many people walked into theater hoping to be mesmerized
and enchanted and overawed by a spectacle so huge and
unimagined of before. In short, they were hoping for
one groundbreaking movie experience. But, they felt
cheated when they were offered a 2 hour road chase between
a Yankee and an Indian for a vial with a killer virus.
For all the castles that had been built in the mind,
this seemed ridiculously trivial. Again, many among
the audience, amidst their growing disappointment, failed
to appreciate the nuances in the movie, the fine performances,
the technical perfection and tight screenplay. More
people were interested in questioning the wisdom behind
Kamal playing 10 roles rather than looking at the strengths
of the movie.
Both in the case of Sivaji and Dasavatharam, it is the
expectations and preset notions that played the spoilsport
for many a viewer. It has been quite commonly seen that
people hated the movie for what it never attempted to
be rather than trying to like it for what it was. Sivaji
never held the illusion of being cerebral, Dasavatharam
never tried to hold anybody in awe or in trance. Both
the movies had very clear objectives, to entertain.
That they did in different ways in different measures.
What we must try to understand is that at times it pays
much better to like a movie for what it is than to criticize
it for not being something that you expected it to be.
After all, the movie belongs to its maker and he need
not essentially share the same thoughts as the viewer.
Let’s try to accept a movie as it is, rather than
crow over what it could have been.
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