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Commercial is the Bollywood Critic

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Friday, July 21, 2006

New Delhi (UNI): Eminent film writers and media personalities here have rued increasing commercialisation of film writing in India including celebrities replacing writers as newspaper and magazine columnists and lack of objectivity in film reviews. ''More and more media companies are today getting involved in production of feature films. Consequently, one sees an increasing number of newspapers and magazines come up with positive reviews about a cinematic venture being produced by their owners. In any case, it is hardly possible for the film criticism to be as objective as it is expected to be in such a situation'' said Dan Fainaru, international film critic with the cinematheque magazine of the screen international in Israel at a media round table discussion on 'Beyond Cinema,' being held as part of ongoing Asian film festival.

Analysts said the situation in this regard was the same in Hollywood as in Bollywood. In this context, British film critic and filmmaker Tony Rayns pointed out that the trend of media firms investing in film productions is a trend which has been in vogue in Hollywood for the past many years. ''Hollywood has led the way in media investments in film production. The biggest example of this is Rupert Murdoch who has been investing in film production in a big way. In fact, films made by the Twentieth Century Fox group have been getting favourable reviews in the newspapers of the Murdoch group,'' he said. Film analysts also pointed out that there was not much in the mainstream media in India by way of serious film analysis.

''There is no proper film analysis happening in India today,'' renowned film writer and former editor of the Screen Weekly Rauf Ahmed lamented. ''The popular media usually does not like to publish academic writing because "they are heavy for the audience" and academic people find reviews in popular media to be "naive pieces for mediocre people,'' Iranian film critic Houshang Golmakani said. Film critic Jerry Pinto, however, said a majority of the film reviews in the media today were typical example of a "self-patting cucoldian" analysis that is written more to impress the other film critics and writers rather than to address the readers.

''Most of the space in the mainstream newspapers is filled by gossip about the lives of the film stars. There is no proper attempt to provide information to the public about films,''film writer and editor of the Asian Age Kaushik Mitter said. Media personalities also lamented the trend of celebrities replacing writers as newspaper and magazine columnists. ''Today celebrities from various fields be it cricket, films, commerce or businesspersons are replacing regular writers, who have put in several years of hard work in the profession, as columnists in newspapers and magazines. Nothing could be a greater reflection of commercial interests governing the media '' Jerry Pinto said.

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