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Home > India > Movies > Columns > Raja Sen

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The Reader Review Challenge


Raja Sen | November 25, 2008 11:47 IST


Okay, so it's been 27 weeks.

27 weeks since this column began. That's over six months of raving and ranting, and keeping the weekly flag flying high. And while that's been a positively exhilarating rush, I must admit I'm exhausted as hell. Tired in the best possible way, of course, but pooped nonetheless.

Which is what brings us to this week's feature: a challenge.

A challenge to you, dear reader, which will turn the tables for a bit. One that will let me sift through *your* analysis of a movie. We'll get to the rules and incentives in a moment, but I'm counting on you guys -- the regular readers who mail in every week as well as the occasional inbox-attackers -- to really have fun with this one.

Something I'm asked very often is whether it's easier to be nasty about a film than it is to extoll its virtues: is writing a mean, no-star review more fun than writing one which gushes about the film?

The honest answer, of course, is No. It isn't easier at all, and I speak for every critic I know when I say we would all much rather watch a great movie -- a movie so good it inspires us to dig deeper in our search for glorious adjectives, and turns us into wonderstruck little children smitten with cinema -- than a bad one. Without doubt.

Having said that, it'd be an utter lie if I said we didn't enjoy ripping the really horrible movies apart. The justification, I guess, lies in having to sit through them *without* the option of walking out. You have the option, each and every one of you, to leave the theatre mid-way, or after the seventh song, but we don't.

Plus, you can watch it and never think about it again, while we have to buckle down, focus, and discuss the film in print. Masochistic? Very likely, and the only thing that sometimes provides me solace is the fact that, faced with a truly awful film, I can sharpen claws, make like Wolverine, and slash. It's the only way to vent.

So this time, you try it.

Pick a movie you absolutely loathe. Something that had you groaning in theatres, something painfully outdated or ridiculously overdone, something obviously copied from one of your favourite movies and totally screwed over, something that resulted in migraine. Anything in Hindi or English would be good, but if there's a regional/international flick you particularly hate, go for it. Whatever. You just pick a really, really bad movie, and then spend 100 words telling me just what makes that particular movie truly godawful.

Isn't 100 words a trifle short? Yes, indeed it is, and that's where the challenge lies. I'm sure we all have long lists of groaners from bad movies, but you gotta splice it down to the bare minimum. Write any way that works for you -- from really funny bullet points to one single hundred-word sentence (the kind of thing I'm constantly derided for, must admit) -- but stick to the word limit. Oh, and bonus points for writing your review exactly 100 words long, no more no less.

Speaking of points, what do you get out of this? Well, seven of you who send in the most articulate/funniest/cruellest/most insightful reviews will get published in this column, but -- much more fun -- will also recieve DVDs in the mail. And just because everyone can't possibly like every DVD, I'll discuss prize options with each of you seven winners over email before deciding on something you like, from classic Bollywood to 70s Italian flicks to gangster movies to a recent Judd Apatow hit. Might take a bit longer than usual, but I want to make sure that if I shop for you, you end up with something you'll enjoy for sure.

Now you go ahead and try to do the same. Rip hard.

Mail in your entries to senterfold@rediffmail.com, and try to pick really, really horrible movies. You can choose anything you want, but my advice would be to go for something you don't expect too many others to pick. Have fun, and don't use those claws sparingly.



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