Anurag Kashyap in a recent column has been rather critical of the way the critiques in India approach a film and he does not like the same at all. According to the Cahiers de cinema, which is considered to be an almanac on criticism of films, a critic of a film is like a director of the film, the only difference being that while the director wields the megaphone to direct, and the critic gives expression to his ideas through the pen or the keyboards of the computer.
This then being the definition, the critics in the western countries take their profession very seriously and talk at length on the craft and the substance of the film than the actors and their mannerisms. Could it be that the outburst of Anurag Kashyap against the critics has something to do with the fact that the critics have panned his latest film NO SMOKING? Were it not for the same critics who supported him whole heartedly his BLACK FRIDAY may not have gained the popularity that it could.
Critics have now started coming into focus on a regular basis and by quite a lot of film personalities on one count or the other and this needs to be taken up in its right spirit. The point that needs to be underlined is that the critic is now taking up its job seriously and is not ready to accept it lying down, if the ideas and the processes do not have an element of novelty but are considered to be a rip-off from a film in some other language.
It is not the fact that critics in most of the cases make an off-the cuff remark about a film and get away with it. There however is an element of truth in what Anurag Kashyap has tried to initiate a debate through his column. The matter under question is that a critic can turn to shreds a labour of love that might have taken three years to reach the theatre within three hours of its exhibition. From that perspective, indeed a critic needs to be somewhat circumspect, as he is going to be the deciding factor for the fence sitters to be converted into a crowd to view the film. The role assumes importance economically as well, as the rate of film tickets is quite high and the fence sitting viewers either get converted or reject the film based on the reviews that they get from the critics.
There, then has to be a half way meeting ground between the filmmakers and the critics and they need to be started in the process of film-making from the drawing board stage itself. This involvement however can happen only when the critic does not make it public on the pretext of breaking news, and once this happens then a healthy relationship between the critic and the filmmaker would be just round the corner.