Saturday, April 30, 2016

Rant Against Irresponsible Film Critics

Everyone nowadays is a wannabe film reviewer/critic/wit who will, at the slightest involuntary trigger, tell you exactly what he/she thinks are the flaws of a film and how they should have been rectified/ addressed. Every student of the humanities, in particular, seems to forget that films are a genre totally disparate in its coordinates from that of literature. They are particularly judgemental about films adapted from or based on literary works, forgetting that each has its own parameters of success and would not easily translate into the other genre unless certain modifications were made. That it takes years of thinking, planning, training, coordinating, shooting and reshooting, editing etc to compose a film. And that one irresponsible (biased/ misinterpreted/ dismissive) review can make or mar gullible readers' impressionable minds. And encourage or discourage a possible genius of a director who is tentatively making his /her foray into a challenging arena, Remember John Keats?

There should be a panel of reviewers, I feel, for any respectable and self-respecting form of media. And a kind of etiquette for penning a review. It should not read like a malicious, manipulated, melodramatic morass for self aggrandisement. It should be open-ended, like any great work of art. Because a review itself is a respectable genre, It should suggest without being didactic and guide instead of misleading or brainwashing. Remember, 'with great power comes great responsibilty'.
And power, ideally, should not be vested in a dictator.


Wednesday, December 09, 2015

What a waste !

I have always found it strange that people availing even of a buffet at restaurants or invitations seem to waste food in great quantities. I mean, hello, it's a buffet, right? You get to choose what you want and how much you want. Strange then, that so much food should be deposited intact in the disposal tubs. Untouched. In a country where so many children die of malnutrition.

I don't mean to sound holier-than-thou. However, the fact remains that we were taught, as children, never to waste food. Even a single grain of rice was symbolic of disrespect to the Goddess Lakshmi, whom we had been taught to revere as the bestower of material comforts. We were commanded by our parents to refuse food before it was served to us, not afterwards, when it sat staring forlornly at us from the confines of our huge steel/brass 'thaala's. So even if we felt stuffed at times, we never dared to look Ma in the eye and inform her casually that we couldn't eat any more. Somehow, we had to lick the plate clean.

With age, my mother has become more lax in her strict system of household dos and don'ts but we have retained our habits. Even now, on my birthday and 'jamai shoshthi' ( a special occasion to celebrate the son-in-law), I remind her that I (and by extrapolation, my more easygoing husband) would rather take a second helping if we particularly preferred any item on the special menu that day instead of having larger portions served to us that we might not be able to polish off. So, we have effectively done away with the archaic ritual of the mother-in-law serving the 'jamai' every item one by one, hovering over him with a 'haathpaakha' while he slowly worked his way through the mountains of food on his plate. Ma now places everything on the dining table in her best cutlery in buffet fashion while we enjoy eating at our own pace!

And the best part? Goddess Lakshmi remains happy :-)

A Lesson in Loudness

I am finding out from professional experience that a meaningful stare or a few quiet but forceful words can be so much more effective with students than a raised voice and sarcastic jibes. Disapproval that seeks to reform without alienating is best achieved through a few strong words in a disappointed but hushed tone. On the contrary, turning up the vocal volume can cause the addressee to anticipate hatred/ negativity and cause him/ her to mentally distance himself/ herself from the speech to follow before it has even been articulated.

Now, if only I manage to practise what I preach in personal life as well!


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