Sandeep George Koshy and Sabarish Parameswaran are film critics of choice for their friends and colleagues in Technopark. Kiran Deepu, another techie, had his vlog on the movie Helen shared by actor Aju Varghese on the latter’s Facebook page and liked by actor-producer Vineeth Sreenivasan.
The IT hub has several employees who have taken their passion for cinema to the next level by turning actors, directors, scenarists and so on. Many of them have also turned serious reviewers with a following of their own. They post reviews on social media platforms or have their own vlogs.
“For me this is the by-product of being a movie buff,” says Sandeep, who started The Movie Reel, with nearly 3,800 followers, in 2015. He usually watches the movie on the day of release itself. “Sometimes I go to office after watching the morning show. My team knows about it! It is encouraging that some reviews were shared on that particular film’s social media page, as in the case of Vikrithi, Sudani from Nigeria, Eeda, Villain ...,” he says. Sabarish adds with a chuckle: “My friends often thank me for saving their money and time!”
Several factors are taken into consideration before they set out to review a film. Content, production banner, cast and crew, pre-release publicity... are among the parameters. “Some films turn out to be so good that I can’t stop myself from writing about it. For example, Helen . I wrote on Jallikkattu not because that is the director’s (Lijo Jose’s Pellissery) best work. It deserved appreciation for its making. Also, I don’t comment about movies that are appreciated by every one. I would rather take up those films that ought to have reached more people. I rue the fact that I couldn’t write about Vikrithi because I saw it many days after the release,” says Sabarish.
Sarija Sivakumar, who watches foreign films, observes that although she isn’t a regular reviewer, she posted about Jallikkattu on Facebook after many viewers came down heavily upon the subject and the director. “They couldn’t relate to the subject, whereas I have seen it all happen at my home town,” says Sarija.
Short and sharp
These employees say that a review should be brief, crisp, unbiased and shouldn’t give away anything about the storyline. “I can’t put up sugar-coated opinions. Some have told me that I am too blunt and should also cut down on the negativity. So I have tried to restrain myself,” says Suraj Nair.
Although he is currently on an on-site assignment in Brussels where he has no access to new Indian releases, Suraj makes up for it by reviewing web series and films on streaming platforms. “If I find that a work is not getting appreciated enough, I make it a point to review it. Hindi film Music Teacher and Chernobyl Diaries , both on Netflix, are a case in point,” says Suraj.
Kiran, who has been running the vlog, NikkisCafe, with his wife, Nimisha Kiran Deepu, since 2015, observes that he keeps the target audience in his mind when he reviews a film. “Those movies that have won acclaim at international festivals may not appeal to all viewers. So I don’t review such movies. I take it as my duty to tell people about the good works to be seen, covering all aspects about that particular film. For instance, after watching the Onam releases I posted a video about the best of the lot, so that the audience could decide where to put their money on,” he explains.
Don Bosco has been reviewing Tamil movies on his YouTube channel, IT Talkies. He says that it is impossible to please everybody. “When I pointed out a few negative points about Bigil , that didn’t go down well with a few. Again, some people felt that I had only positive things to say about Asuran !” says Don, a “hardcore Rajinikanth” fan, who has published a work of fiction, SIM Superstar Inside Me , the story of a Rajinikanth fan.
It is no secret that most of these reviewers dream of making their cut in films. Suraj, who has directed 13 short films and a music video, admits that he writes because he doesn’t want to lose his touch with writing. “Since I am not writing films, I thought I should write about films,” says Suraj, adding that he plans to make a feature film in a few years’ time. Don, who has acted in short films, too says that he feels connected to his celluloid dreams by posting videos. As for Kiran, thanks to the vlogs, he could interact with several well-known names in the film industry. He remembers getting invited for a preview show of Guppy , after he brought out a promotional video of the film.
But Sandeep and Sabarish have no such aspirations. “I enjoy the whole process and want to remain an ardent reviewer,” Sandeep says.
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