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Why Telugu Film critics love the rating 3/5 ?

May 2, 2010

PLAGIARISM ALERT : has plagiarized the entire content of this blog post! Would request you to pass on the word to the editorial team of that website to credit me for the original work. Otherwise, do pass on the message that I will rip apart that website and how shamelessly they plagiarize the content from different blogs/websites in my next blog post!

On April 30th, when I wrote a review of Balakrishna’s latest film Simha, quite a few people were shocked and surprised. Infact several friends of mine, messaged me to verify if I was in my senses while writing the review. Some people whom I have never even heard about, went a step ahead and asked me how much money have I been offered for writing that review? The reason for all this chaos was, I had rated the film 4/5 whereas, almost every other review on the internet, atleast the most influential ones had given it a 3 or less than 3 rating, The debate however isn’t about if Simha genuinely deserves a 2.5, 3 or 4 stars. It’s about why a lot of films are given a rating of 3. Although I am not criticizing any film critic, I must add that the rating ‘3/5’ is a powerful and at the same time a misleading number.

Lets categorize the films into three types – Big Budget films featuring big stars, medium budget films and low budget films. A low budget film often has the gulp the bitter pill that it wouldn’t stand a chance of getting outstanding reviews unless there’s something really interesting about it. In the recent few months, there were very few films which I thought deserved critical and perhaps more indepth reviews and they were ‘Yugaaniki Okkadu’ (a Telugu dubbed version of ‘Aayirithil Oruvan’) and Dev Katta’s ‘Prasthanam’. While the former film wasn’t even reviewed by most of the popular websites, the latter was critically acclaimed by quite a few websites. Yet, the average rating of ‘Prasthanam’ in these reviews was 3/5. I believe that there might be two reasons why most films are given this rating:

  1. The Critic would have liked the film but is not too sure whether it will work for a larger section of movie goers.
  2. The Critic would have hated the film but has a gut feeling that a larger section of movie goers would like the film.

In most cases, it’s quite difficult to point out whether the critic himself or herself has liked or hated the film which is being written about. The true essence of the review, the critic’s opinion and thoughts about the film are lost in the layers of having to be politically correct most of the times. One of the problems which I face while writing a review is spelling out the reasons why I thought the film sucked or vice versa. It’s not enough to hate or like the film in the end, it’s important that you have to like or hate it for the right reasons. For a critic, it’s all the more important to keep this in mind. Personally, I like the way Deepa Garimella ( and Sunitha Chowdary ( write reviews in their websites. Most of the times, my opinion about any film doesn’t necessarily coincide with what they write. However I like the fact that both of them write with conviction and the flow of their reviews is worth appreciating. You have to take a stand while criticizing a film and stand by what you write. But most of the reviews posted on the websites sound like one liners which the critic might have overheard somewhere while walking out of the cinema halls. There’s no reasoning as to why the critic has reached that conclusion. I confess that I haven’t learnt this art yet and most the times, perhaps I end up writing mediocre reviews.

Believe it or not, there are too many films which bite dust because they couldn’t cross that rating barrier of ‘3’. The way Telugu film critics rate films isn’t the same the way, a Tamil or a Hindi film critic would rate their respective films. It’s important to understand the history of each film industry’s evolution and the same goes for each of the stars, directors. It would be unfair to keep a movie which you loved to core, for example Bommarillu, and start comparing every other film in that genre and conclude that this film isn’t as good as Bommarillu, so lets give it a lesser rating! It’s just not the storyline or acting which act in favour of films which go on to become blockbusters. There are lots of other factors like the time of release, how it fares compared to other films which release almost at the same time, the star appeal etc. Can a film be judged on its own merit? It’s possible; however it’s not so easy. Every actor and director has his or her own learning curve which the individual has to go through to achieve cult status. This curve is all the more important while writing about young and promising actors, directors. So, why’s it not an easy process? Because, reviews aren’t God’s decrees! Lets face the fact that such Gods (critics) are quite few. And it’s hard to be a Roger Ebert or a Baradwaj Rangan!

This brings us back to the debate whether a review should reflect public opinion or critic’s own perspective? While I open-heartedly support the latter stance that it’s critic’s own perspective on what he or she thought about the film, the credibility of the website is often at stake in such cases. It’s exactly the same scenario when it comes to newspaper or TV reporting. Does a review have the points or perspective which you can relate to? If yes, then the reader concludes that it’s a good review and if not, then anything is possible! Right from bashing the critic to openly stating that the critic has absolutely no taste in movies. So, what’s the best way to save you from all the trouble? Simple. Give a rating of 3/5. It’s a politically correct way of saying, “Look, there’s nothing much to be excited about in this film. You may or may not like it. I am not sure whether I have had a satisfying experience after I saw the film.” However, it’s not the same in most of the cases. There are films which release with huge hype and when the critic believes that it ain’t worth it, then in such cases the film’s given a 3/5.

Most of the times, reviews are written on the spur of the moment. Films are often tricky in nature. Your opinion about any film might change if you watch it the second time or the third. In that sense, reviews aren’t completely effective in judging the box office potential about any movie! And as I say, ratings are all the more irrelevant. Read the reviews and *beep* the ratings!

For now, 3 has turned out to be a politically correct, predictable, irrelevant and lifeless number. It lacks soul and more importantly it lacks punch. In my own words, a big thumbs down to 3! And that applies to my reviews as well.

Clarification: A lot of you have tried to reason that reviews are meant for public and they shouldn’t be a critic’s perspective. Well, matter of fact is, it’s very difficult to premeditate whether the film’s good or bad for everyone! A critic’s perspective of what a movie is or should be need not be the same as what a majority of the readers believe. All I can say is, a critic has to give his perspective and stand by what he/she thinks. If you don’t like that certain critic’s opinion, then you can always find a new one who shares the same opinion as you do! Watching films is an experience in itself. It will appeal to different people in different ways, which is why there are several opinions regarding any film. No one’s wrong…it’s just a difference in opinion!

P.S: The image is used for illustrative purpose only!



Also read my new article on : Why Masala Films are still in Vogue?

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45 Comments leave one →
  1. curdriceaurora permalink
    May 3, 2010 12:41 am

    3/5 is the zero of a -2 to +2 rating scale in everyones mind. That my friend, is the truth.

  2. Vijay Chand Ganti permalink
    May 3, 2010 4:02 am

    Hi hemanth..let me start by giving a “3/5” rating to this blog post ;o)……….I’ld love if u write anotha post on “Is a critical review and rating required for films?”…..I may sound i’m being kind to film makers….but just want to know your view on this. Do u approve a person going to a film “only after reading its review”? Well here i’m not talking about “review writing” as a hobby and passion…My view is from an economical and social perspective of it…in the sense…”how much” does a review writer earns, both in terms of “money” and “following”!!!Set aside the numb3r game..3..3.5..3.75….what good does it do to anyone!!
    To sum it up straight…..”tomorrow if the supreme court passes a law banning all film critics from writing reviews in any form………what would be your debate issues as a genuine review writer to oppose it?”
    P.S : I don’t mean to be harsh but just wanted to see the other side of the coin….and i want “the person” to show it 🙂

  3. Rahul permalink
    May 3, 2010 6:54 am

    I rate the above article as 3/5, just kidding… well obviously you are referring to ‘IB’

  4. May 3, 2010 7:34 am

    I like this. 🙂 You portray the inner turmoil of a film critic very well. I don’t think many people realize the limitations we function under – and my blood boils, I tell you, when someone accuses me of having accepted payment – such careless barbs, uttered without an iota of fairness or justice. Honestly, what do these people think?

    Our numbers differ a bit though – for you, the magic number is 3, for me, its 2.5. Any movie that crosses this threshold deserves a watch. 🙂

  5. May 3, 2010 1:51 pm

    More often than not in blogs like this a lot is written from different perspectives but not from an audience perspective. Even this blog written from the pov of the general audience is what really makes sense and will matter, since everything is done for them.
    I have seen so many 3/5 ratings of late that even those persons whos reviews i genuinely believed i have started doubting. There is one thing which is beyond my scope of understanding which is why do critics try to guess what will happen to the movie. The rating of the movie in its most simplest terms is just about how the movie is and on a scale of 5 how good or bad it is. It has nothing to do with anything else. Often reviewers tend to forget that this is what the guy who is reading it is expecting. A small post script is maybe what at the maximum you could give to other factors of hype and other areas of concern.
    What is even more puzzling is the way a 3 is given. For prasthanam for example, for a major part of the review in a popular website, it was praised but only in the later stages of the review did he mention a few flaws and also about the commercial aspect and gave it a 3. That movie for all its worth should have got a 3.5 atleast.
    I stay in the US, so ticket costs are high. For students like us a 3 or 3.5 or a 4 ratings makes a lot more difference than for a student in India. Back home i would have watched the movie in the theatre at any cost. But inspite of seeing relatively good reviews when the rating given is just 4 on a majority, the gut feel is that this movie might not be worth $12, but the moment i saw it online i repented for it.
    The scene in neninthe says a lot about the 3/5 . And like i believe the BCCI should be full of ex cricketers, i think actors should start reviewing movies.

  6. ARAVIND permalink
    May 3, 2010 1:52 pm

    Hemanth, First I appreciate for giving good rating to Simha. Its always to good to reserve the personal taste for crucial movies. But in general If you writing a review in your own blog what you said could be true.

    Audience would look up the websites for the reviews to see whats the view of the public on the movie not your personal passion. It would influence them from viewing. Thats how websites develop their credibility.
    Sometime back Jeevi used to rate based on his personal taste but he immediately realized to put if on back seat and give more weightage to public opinion. However he reserves his personal tastes for movies like YMC, Bommarillu..
    So as viewers we are aware how the ratings are what it would mean in IB…However your reviews are completely your personal taste
    As you keep on writing the reviews you would come to know more about these

    Rating of 3 means its completely left to discretion of audience without discouraging or encouraging..Good ploy..I like it..

  7. raghav permalink
    May 3, 2010 1:54 pm

    Artical is ok , but still i did not understand why u rate the simha 4/5. Can you give the justification ?

  8. Uma alluri permalink
    May 3, 2010 1:56 pm

    Well written article:))every bit of it makes sense. I guess crictics should be more responsible and non biased as they impact audience:( also Telugu film industry should bring in more stricter rules to stop online piracy.

  9. Sunil permalink
    May 3, 2010 2:51 pm

    Hello Hemanth…Good article & good discussion as of my view 3.5/5 would be My rating for SIMHA…As i watch in theater some people like the movie even better…Be your self in writing the need to answer for every one.

    • harsha permalink
      May 4, 2010 11:16 am

      i think u saw people enjoying making fun of movie,not because it was sucha goob film!!!

  10. sivaram.medidha permalink
    May 3, 2010 2:58 pm

    anna sirish anna simha ki 1.5 rating isthe chala ekkuva nijamga headache movie .
    it was so boring as if i felt coming out of the theatre.
    really many people went out of the theatre from interval…….
    so , i felt sorry to my self for wasting 100rs for simha movie….
    so i dont understand why u have given rating of 4..

    sivaram(from amalapuram)

    • Kilaru permalink
      May 4, 2010 9:32 am

      Janalandhariki nachi neeku nachaledhu ante..neelo edo teda vundhi ..Go and check with the doctor. Orelse Tv9 ki vellu…idhemi pedda rogam kaadhu le…mandulu vaadu taggipothundhi

      • kanna permalink
        May 6, 2010 7:58 am

        In reality Simha is types of avg movie but i guess media is giving more hype???

    • Ram permalink
      May 4, 2010 5:00 pm

      ee kurrodu edavataniki vachchesadu…review evaru rasaro kuda chusukokunda… Anna Sirish antu start chesadu…kiki….

      edupu…edupu…emi edupulu ra nayanaa!

  11. May 3, 2010 3:16 pm

    We too gave a 4/5 rating to simha ..

  12. Sai Rohit permalink
    May 3, 2010 3:17 pm

    Hello Hemanth….Good Article But I Still Dont Understand How You Could Give a 4/5 rating to an undeserving film like”Simha”.
    The Film Was Just Like Any Other Balakrishna Film…..With About 15 Fights 10 Dialogues And 5 Songs.
    Nothing special about the film.the final fight scene in the flash back was however copied from the 100 member massacre scene in “Magadheera”.
    The Film Had Heroines Who Would Never Suit To Balakrishna.Sneha Ullal Is Like The daughter Of Balakrishna and I Advice Namitha Immediately To Shed A Few Kilograms.Whereas Nayanatara Was Okay.
    I Think It Was A waste of Rs.100 For Me.But I Still Cannot Understand How A Film Where The Director Gave More Importance To Hero”s Fights And Dialogues than The Story Of The Film Can get 4/5 And 3/5.I Can Simply Rate The Movie As 2.5/5.
    Sorry If Anything Said Wrong.

  13. harsha permalink
    May 3, 2010 6:40 pm

    if u give 4/5 to SIMHA, i’ll give 0/5 to ur review!!

  14. Sridhar permalink
    May 3, 2010 6:51 pm

    Its sad that websites like greatandhra and idlebrain chose to pursue their own personal agenda through would be good if websites provide readers just the details of story and tech departments instead of their opinions about movie or ratings and let the viewers to form their own opinions

  15. Sridhar permalink
    May 3, 2010 6:55 pm

    i loved simha and balayya gave very gud performance…i would give it 4/5

  16. Vasu permalink
    May 3, 2010 6:57 pm

    apara naina sollu …
    bommarillu ki 4.5 ichi Simha ki 4.5 iste inkem untundhi hero ..
    kastha nee formula marchu

  17. Vasu permalink
    May 3, 2010 6:58 pm

    PS : Simha movie baledhu anatle nenu …but not worth a 4/5

    • harsha permalink
      May 4, 2010 11:08 am

      anna,baledhu anochugadhe

  18. Rajender Goud permalink
    May 3, 2010 7:28 pm

    Some movies should be left to the masses to decide their fate…

    Indra was one such movie which has routine faction story, 60yr old hero flirting heroines in their 20’s, same old fights with punch dialogues and killing everyone almost copied from Samara Simha Reddy including attire of hero in flashback. It has nothing worth to offer to people but it went on to become a big hit. It definitely deserves 1/5 rating.

    Reviewers cannot give it 1/5 rating just because they feel it intellectually low. Let the people decide for themselves.

    Simha connected well with masses and its a big hit . I liked the movie and i appreciate your rating of 4/5

  19. Vasu permalink
    May 3, 2010 7:37 pm

    babai..ippude nee gurinchi and old posts chadiva 🙂 bits aa nuvu
    nenu kooda ( 2 yr ju) 🙂
    gud luck
    reg copyright infringement ask them at
    or shoot an email (get it from )

    • May 5, 2010 6:45 pm

      Nuv maa 2K5 Vasuvegaa?? ekkada padithey akakda kanpaduthaav kadaraa 😛

  20. May 3, 2010 8:27 pm

    hahahah….You gave a 4/5 to Simha?? You have no idea abt movie-making. Do you? You don’t deserve to be a critic! I wish I didn’t read this article. What a buffoon u are!

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