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Updated: November 8, 2013 11:51 IST

RJ chucks film review segment after controversy

Karthik Subramanian
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Balaji had earlier been criticised by some actors and producers for his irreverent style. Photo: R. Ravindran
The Hindu
Balaji had earlier been criticised by some actors and producers for his irreverent style. Photo: R. Ravindran

Balaji had earlier been severely criticised by some actors and producers on public forums for his irreverent style

Popular radio jockey ‘RJ’ Balaji, whose irreverent quips in his evening talk show ‘Take it Easy’ on FM radio station Big FM have won him a huge fan following, has decided to pull back his reviews of Tamil films.

This happened subsequent to his show on the film ‘Azhagu Raja’ that released on Deepavali day.

His decision to stop the review segment ‘120 Rs.,’ announced via his Twitter account (@RJ_Balaji) on Monday night, has set off a Twitter storm of comments and reactions involving Tamil film celebrities, his followers on the social network and even neutral commentators.

There is considerable anger among several film fans who think the RJ’s irreverent style of reviewing was taken a bit too seriously by Tamil movie stars and producers. Balaji had earlier been severely criticised by some actors and producers on public forums as well.

In a telephonic interview with The Hindu on Wednesday, RJ Balaji (P. Balaji) says the decision was taken not out of fear for personal safety but for purely creating a better work-life balance.

“I don’t want to keep taking my work home. I have a one-and-half-year-old child and my wife is concerned about the phone calls I keep getting and all the explaining I do late into the night, on why I said what I said,” he says.

On Monday, the RJ’s show broadcast audience’s responses to the Deepavali release ‘Azhagu Raja’.

Balaji says he has been thinking about stopping film reviews for nearly a month now. On quite a few occasions in the past, he has been drawn into public arguments over his reviews.

On Tuesday, popular actor Vishal tweeted: ‘Dear Mr. so called critic RJ Balaji, jus got 2knw ya comment on AAA. Reviewing is common bt mak sure u don’t hit below belt. Not happnin!’ The message was retweeted by actor Jiiva (@Actorjiiva) who followed it up with three more messages about reviewing.

Balaji said some people had misconstrued him to be purely a film critic. “‘120 Rs.’ is just one part in a 16-segment show that runs for four hours. I have discussed other topics too in my shows. And I have taken this decision to remove the reviews segment because I can still pull off a show on other topics,” he says.

It is not like Balaji has only fierce critics in the film industry. At least two of them — actor Siddharth and film director C.S. Amudhan — who are active on Twitter supported him in their own ways. Amudhan tweeted: ‘I defend my right to be ridiculed by @RJ_Balaji.’


An ‘awesomatic’ runNovember 7, 2013

I think its time we Indians stop
giving a world of importance to
cinema. There are other things
in life and other important
issues in the country to discuss
about. Lets see, atleast when we
leave cinema alone, if the film
fraternity grows up.

from:  satty
Posted on: Nov 8, 2013 at 13:31 IST

Pity to these cinema people who couldn't stand to criticism, for the quality of cinema they make! They are so serious about the image their movies create in public is because, that is the only channel through which they reach out to audience with false popularity and gimmick success! Unlike TV Channels who had surrendered to producers (funny, none of the TV channel would say one particular film is bad! - All films are good for TV Channels) FM should still hold their tenacity and reflect common people's voices.

from:  Praveen
Posted on: Nov 8, 2013 at 07:56 IST

This is a good lesson for RJ B. His ways of criticizing is so ridiculous and offensive. More over he is selective about the movies that he chooses to criticize. If he had the right attitude he should done it with all the "BIG" movies too.

And the most important thing is his style of movie reviewing is getting too too repetitive and boring making us Yaawn. So for him to sustain, he should try other means, not insulting movies blindly.


from:  Raghavan
Posted on: Nov 7, 2013 at 23:29 IST

The late Subbudu was a critic of carnatic music but some musicians
also criticized the critic. Reviews are common be it on writers, drama
shows,TV shows,Govt. policies or even about judgments. The Tamil film
world think they are class apart and have unlimited right to criticize
about every segment of society but others can not utter a word against
them because of the money power. They imagine that they are only next
to God and take the audience for granted. Why this is not the case in
Kerala or Karnataka? In Tamil film industry every hero thinks that he
is the next CM. Even in the Hindi film industry where the audience is
wider based they take the criticism lightly or ignore it. There are
films which flopped even though lead stars acted in the films. Only if
the films are made qualitatively better, it will hit the box office
irrespective of the reviews made in popular TVs or not so popular FM
radio shows. The cine people can approach court if the criticism is
crossing the limit.

from:  Subramanian.S
Posted on: Nov 7, 2013 at 22:22 IST

I have listened to his reviews a few times. Two things I have observed. One - He conviniently chooses films he wants to criticize. For example, he doesnt review movies of very big banner - like Kamal, Rajini, Ajith and Vijay. Two - Our film industry hasnt matured enough to take reviews on failure.

from:  Sriram
Posted on: Nov 7, 2013 at 19:55 IST

This is ridiculous. Any medium consumed by a large audience is subject to opinions. If they cannot take criticism they are in the wrong business. RJ Balaji has never ridiculed the personal life of any actor but the character that they so amateurishly play. Members of the film fraternity should understand that Balaji has never ridiculed great actors like Kamal Haasan. The reason why he has such a huge fan following is he echoes our thought when it comes to reviewing movies that are badly made. Such bullying should never be tolerated. We support you Balaji.

from:  Vishwanath
Posted on: Nov 7, 2013 at 19:31 IST

I have never tuned into this radio show, now I want to google and hear this RJ's reviews. No doubt it must be spot on because atleast in the past 10-15 years we have had lousy movies. People in the entertainment industry need to be open to constructive criticism, if you cannot take it...then quit and stop whining. Vishal has tweeted like he is a big actor. One cannot watch some of these lousy movies these days.

from:  Suresh
Posted on: Nov 7, 2013 at 18:40 IST

I think Actors and directors should choose better movies or stories
instead of threatening others and it is not like all movies are running
fine or flop because of rj balaji

from:  Vinodh
Posted on: Nov 7, 2013 at 16:43 IST

People are sensitive when they get reviewed, cant take a jolly
criticism. No sense of humour. One should watch the way the politicians
and actors of Kerala are mimicked and shown in comedy shows, sometimes
in front of that person. Even the current CM, and Central ministers are
not spared. They take it well.

from:  Varalekshmy Raghavan
Posted on: Nov 7, 2013 at 16:39 IST

I have been listening to his shows, it is funny.But, he often hits below the belt...

from:  Senthil
Posted on: Nov 7, 2013 at 16:14 IST

I too notice that the same Big FM putting ads for all movies associated with it as Media Partners,but still they don't bother they are good or bad movies,end of the day,both that Movie and Big FM is making money out of us(public).

from:  Balaji
Posted on: Nov 7, 2013 at 15:59 IST

Hmm...rules are for others only, it seems.
Movies can criticize everyone else (with a disclaimer that, it's all
imaginary)...but, an RJ shall not give his own comments on a show in a
funny way. Honestly, the reason for Balaji's show became popular was,
he spoke from his heart...just like what one may feel about the
I personally feel that, the show shall not be stopped due to such

from:  Bupesh
Posted on: Nov 7, 2013 at 15:09 IST

I support RJ. Balagi. His reviews are a lot engaging. Film personalities need to understand that a film could be ridiculed only when it is made that way. By the way, no soul on earth gets acceptance by ridiculing a good film.

from:  b swami
Posted on: Nov 7, 2013 at 14:47 IST

Of late,some movies are just thrown to the audience with the attitude 'these people will watch any crap if we have a star hero and comedian'. This has to change. And this much for an RJ speaking up. You director - who make fun of others' appearance in the name of comedy - ridicule irreverence. Grow up guys.

from:  Senthil
Posted on: Nov 7, 2013 at 13:15 IST

Tamil film actors think they shouldn't be criticized even if they
continue to give bad movies. .

from:  Vijay
Posted on: Nov 7, 2013 at 13:02 IST

RJ Balaji's Take it easy was one of the best shows. I don't think it
prevents people from watching the movie.The movie reviews were hilarious
and should be taken in the right sense. Balaji is not a Baradwaj rangan.
We people know the differemce betweena flim review and a fun show.

Though most of us are not in Chennai to regularly tune in to his show,
Balaji's Sound Cloud account is so famous and we regularly listen to it.

from:  mohan
Posted on: Nov 7, 2013 at 13:02 IST

I'm was regular listener of his program and yes lately his review and general commentary is hitting-below-the-belt kind! Media personnel think they can say anything they want and get away from it by saying things like freedom of speech!

from:  Arun
Posted on: Nov 7, 2013 at 12:20 IST

Tamil film folks have long been under the impression that they are GODS. It seems it is OK if they ridicule politicians, policemen,government officials, and rest of the society; but when the tables are turned against them, they turn furious. Probably it is time they are removed from the high pedestal which they have put themselves in. Balaji, we support you.

from:  Kamalakannan
Posted on: Nov 7, 2013 at 11:16 IST

What a shame. Instead movie makers & actors must focus on giving better movies.

from:  Vasudevan
Posted on: Nov 7, 2013 at 04:56 IST
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