A lot of conversations are being created in the film industry about the reviews of Malayalam films. Director Rosshan Andrews remains adamant on the stand that those who trash a film on its first day of release are sadists. He believes that a film can be criticized constructively but when it becomes a personal attack it ceases to be a film critic. Rosshan Andrews, who has been in the industry for 17 years, has won State awards for his first three films.
When superstar Suriya ventured into Tamil production, his first film (’36 Vayadhinile’) was directed by Roshan Andrews. The director, who is in Mumbai for a new Hindi film starring Shahid Kapoor, explains the new trends in paid reviews.
Your comments about film criticism resonated. The public that spends money to see a movie has every right to criticize it, right?
I have survived in this Industry for the last 17 years only because of the support of the audience. I have never said anything about the critical opinions of the audience against a film. Some people have just twisted the opinion I shared in an interview on a YouTube channel during the promotion of ‘Saturday Night’. I have not criticized the respected public of Kerala. I talked about poor movie reviews. I asked if the reviewers wrote any stories. Is the pace of a film decided by a reviewer? The language and style they use is very poor. They have nothing but ridicule for everyone. Read the reviews of Anupama Chopra and Baradwaj Rangan. There were Kozhikoda and Cinic which reviewed the films beautifully. Here we have a gang of quotes. I know people who extort money from producers by threatening to post a negative review. There are 2 lakh takers and tweeting positive reviews.
We have this tendency to ask for reviews in the middle of a movie…
YouTube’s reviewers are tearing up the room for audience feedback. Then there will be people who have positive and negative things to say about a movie. Some are showing this to the producers and blackmailing them. If they don’t give money, the audience will only show those who spoke negatively about the film. Theater owners should ban such people from theatres. Those who come in between will start to appear when the movie starts and will also do a live review from now on. We have to ignore those who approach us with microphones on the first day of a movie. I have requested producer and theater owner Antony Perumbavoor to ban such people.
It’s important to understand the difference between a review and a critique, right?
Opinions and criticisms differ. Earlier newspapers had good reviews. These were not personal attacks, but constructive criticism. Here people are showing their disappointment about not being in movies. They are sadistic. I don’t want my movie to be rated/marked. Who gave them the authority to score a movie? Those who are looking for YouTube income should stop slaughtering movies for their sustenance. These people who make personal attacks should be banned. They don’t need to review a movie under the guise of being a spokesperson for the audience.
I am not saying that all Kerala YouTubers are bad. They are the ones who give constructive criticism. But they are very few.
You said they don’t criticize Korean movies?
Bong Joon Ho, the director of ‘Parasite’, dedicated himself to the people of his country after winning the Oscar. It’s the local people who promote good Korean movies. Cinema is their biggest source of entertainment. They will never think of destroying it. They don’t destroy a movie through movie reviews. The biggest source of promotion for Korean cinema comes from its people. I’m just stating that. How is that wrong?
How can you say you have to study film academically to review a movie?
A film director will not tell the audience to study the film academically before criticizing it. What superstar Mohanlal and Anjali Menon said was accurate. They did not criticize or mock the audience. Anjali Menon has done some great movies in Malayalam and what she said was right. The pace of a narrative is decided by the director. Alphonse Puthren is a famous Indian filmmaker. If Messi’s game is bad, you criticize his game and not his character.
It is said that failures often lead to such outbursts from filmmakers…
From ‘Udayananu Tharam’ to ‘Saturday Night’, I have done 12 films. 3 of them were failures. And the rest were hits or blockbusters. ‘Casanova’, ‘Saturday Night’ and ‘School Bus’ are the blanks. When ‘Notebook’ was released it was said that the movie would be a flop. But the public accepted it. I can’t predict the success of a film. If that were the case, I would produce my own films, right? I would like to be known as someone who has made different and experimental films. And I hope to continue doing so. I come from a very ordinary family that had to struggle a lot to get into cinema. Once again I will continue to make films that I like. And making movies that I personally enjoy watching. I’m sure I’ll find a producer or actor for it. Let the critics keep doing it.
Do you have experience asking for money to review?
When my film “Mumbai Police” came out a critic pocketed Rs 25 k to my producer. He threatened to expose Prithviraj as gay in the film if the money was not paid. I found out about this very late. When ‘How Old Are You’ was released, the same person asked for money. A Malayalam channel also revealed the climax of ‘Mumbai Police’ on Day 1. I called the main guy at that channel. He replied that he too had to broadcast his program.