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Bollywood Box Office Unplugged-III: Movie reviewer

BheegiBasanti IF-Sizzlerz

Joined: 06 October 2005
Posts: 11062

Posted: 08 August 2012 at 6:22am | IP Logged

A convoluted article that boils down to one simple fact that a lot of us have been screaming hoarse about for a long long long time...Taran Adarsh is the worst...the douchebag of douchebags!


Bollywood Box Office Unplugged-III: Movie reviewers, reviewed

Sandeep Khurana | 08/08/2012 07:18 AM

In the big faking game to ensure first week collections, a reviewer is only a small culprit. Among the big names there is only one reviewer who is disposed to hand out benevolent ratings to producers to drum up business, which is obviously unfair to readers. The rest are doing a fair job

Like in every profession, movie reviewers come in all shades. There are trade analysts, willing to offer glowing reviews to help drive box office (BO) collections and there are others, who are courageous enough to stick their necks out and call a flop despite the producer's clout.


To be honest, a reviewer is only a chhota culprit, in the big faking game to ensure first week collections. Stars who promote Duds (movies that simply fail to take off with both viewers and reviewers) are bigger culprits. Interestingly, among the big names a dispassionate look at the numbers throws up only one reviewers as being disposed to hand out benevolent ratings to producers to drum up business, but being unfair to readers. As we said earlier, the first week collection, especially the all-important first weekend is often influenced by the marketing blitz and star promotions. The reviewers really influence only the second week. Since reviewers are after all human, we do understand occasional aberrations, mistakes or differences in perception; however, we have also come across a pattern of consistent, undeserved high ratings by a reviewer that stand out.

We considered an exhaustive list of 38 analysts and all available ratings by them for movies included in the study. (Refer Graph: The dozen Pied Pipers of Hindi Cinema). Those with less than 10 reviews are excluded from detailed analysis of the reviewers themselves but ratings given by them retained for the movie analysis. It must be recognized that any positive or negative outcomes are purely data-driven and unintended. (Only Hindi movies released in first half of the year, between Jan-Jun 2012 and surviving at least a week at BO are considered. There is a whole alternate business revenue stream of music rights, satellite rights, merchandizing agreements, in-film advertising that is not the subject of this analysis.)

It flows from the analysis and the chart above that not all analysts do justice to the ratings. A good analyst must exploit the full range from 0 to 5 to rate movies, especially when viewers reject movies frequently. If a reviewer gives a 3 and 4 star rating for all movies reviewed by him/her, you are not getting a worthwhile opinion. A reviewer can be purely value-based and unconcerned by BO collections; or can be purely a trade-based critic. But the review must be qualified by a disclosure. (Reviewers whose ratings were included in the research are—Rajeev Masand, Taran Adarsh, Shubhra Gupta, Anupama Chopra, Blessy Chettiar, Omar Qureshi, Martin D'souza, Komal Nahata, Raja Sen, Madhureeta Mukherjee, Kunal Guha, Avijit Ghosh, Srijana Mitra Das, Saibal Chatterjee, Sukanya Verma, Subhash K Jha, Aniruddha Guha, Khalid Mohammed, Piyali Dasgupta, Mayank Shekhar, Kanika Sikka, Vivek Bhatia, Prashant NDTV, Shomini Sen, Mrigank Dhaniwala, Preeti Arora, Zinnia Ray Chaudhary, Resham Sengar, Priyanka Ketkar, Puja Banta, Nikhat Kazmi, Soumyadipta Banerjee, Shakti Salgaocar, Aseem Chhabra, Shaikh Ayaz, Ritu V Singh, Anirudhha Guha, Gaurav Malani)


Head to head

The top two analysts of the film world head-to-head for all movies they rated in the period of study make for interesting comparison. Note that barring two movies out of 33, Taran Adarsh always rates a movie higher than Rajeev Masand. Rajeev Masand has an average ranking of 2.2 and the third horse in the race, Anupama Chopra has ranking of 2.3 as against Taran whose average is way higher at 3. For the statistically inclined—there is a significant difference in all parameters. Take away the exception—Bittoo Boss, and you know the rule. It is cognitively difficult to dissociate ratings by linking them with names; a high rating is a high rating and it fools us into an inflated opinion about movie's worth.

The difference is more pronounced when it comes to big-budget movies. For the 10 costliest movies in the period, the average rating by Rajeev Masand is 2.15 and that by Taran Adarsh it is whopping 3.45, on same scale of 5. That Taran's ratings are influenced by a movie's budget, more than popular choice, is too obvious to require further explanation. It is no co-incidence either, that he is trade analyst and the bias shows. Week 2 continuation/drop of business and thereby the public verdict, supports possibly Rajeev and Anupama's review ratings as also those of most other analysts. Even last year, the costliest movie ever made, RA One was given the highest rating of 4.5 by Taran, when most analysts could not even tolerate the movie till interval. On other hand, after the same movie, Anupama Chopra wrote a very honest article—Box Office Followers—blasting the obsession of box office with moneybags. To quote her, "The multi-crore grosses that eventually follow are then bandied about as proof of quality. The art becomes irrelevant."

The Fakestars— the film industry helps create them because of what rides on them and not because of intrinsic merit of the movie reviewers can help build them up with an extra star. Check our film reviewer rating comparator for all movies in the Fakestar category for the top three reviewers (See graph: Aggressive promotion, inflated ratings and reality strikes in week 2). For seven out of eight movies, Taran Adarsh has more generous ratings than the other two. The eight movies listed below accounted for 50% production cost of the industry's cost of making 33 movies in the period under study.

Names like Agent Vinod (Rs60 crore), Agneepath (Rs55 crore), Rowdy Rathore (Rs50 crore), Players, Housefull 2 (Rs45 crore each), Ek main aur ek tu (Rs35 crore), Teri Meri Kahaani (Rs30 crore) are mostly movies that were either rejected outright by the public or were mediocre. Such big budget movies that are no Kahaani or Vicky Donor need help from reviewers to prop them up and some seemingly oblige with extra starts.


I learnt from Satyamev Jayate that cynicism alone does not help. Provide positive case studies, poster-boys and solutions, rather than just criticize. So, pikchar abhi baaki hai … we will return, Break ke baad, with ideas for positive change. In the meantime, bouquets and brickbats welcome.

Some material disclosures: The author has no business interest in movies/production houses/media companies. Box office data collected from trade journals. While all available known sources of ratings by analysts online were included, some analysts may have reviews which are not included. Such corrections, though not material for large movies, can be made if brought to my notice. Subjective views of analysts are considered to be in harmony with and condensed in overall rating; US and UK box office data is not included and separate analysis is done and available with some very interesting insights. It does not interfere much with analysis here.

(Sandeep Khurana is the founder and principal consultant, QuantLeap Consulting services, based at Hyderabad. An ex-army officer, he is well-read and experienced in government and corporate sectors. Sandeep holds a management degree from Indian School of Business. He has interest in social media, analytics and operations. He likes to watch all good movies. He can be reached at or his twitter id is @IQnEQ.)

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doser Senior Member

Joined: 26 January 2010
Posts: 827

Posted: 08 August 2012 at 6:55am | IP Logged
The writer mentioned about Housefull 2 and RR being Mediocre or rejected by public. Especially Housefull 2 topped the box office for 3 Weeks in a row despite being one of the Worst Rated Bolly Film of all time(only 2% Positive reviews out of 43 Critics). Its still the highest grossing Indian film(of 2012) in Abroad.

Edited by radsuinda - 08 August 2012 at 6:56am
Neetu_Unleashed IF-Sizzlerz

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Posted: 08 August 2012 at 7:26am | IP Logged

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TheRager IF-Addictz

Joined: 04 October 2004
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Posted: 08 August 2012 at 8:08am | IP Logged

This is true...I saw it all happen when EMAET released. The film opened poorly at the BO on Friday. Then suddenly all the big critics started talking about the film as if it was a great watch. After that the movie picked up on Saturday-Sunday thanks to all the great WoM on twitter(the film was targetted at the youth audience who are majorly on twitter). But on Monday it fell badly and couldnt sustain thereafter. But by then KJo had already made his profits thanks to his paid critics making a fool of the audience.

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BheegiBasanti IF-Sizzlerz

Joined: 06 October 2005
Posts: 11062

Posted: 08 August 2012 at 8:22am | IP Logged
^ So true. Other than a handful (read few), it is all one big business of "scratch my back and I'll scratch yours"...with Taran being the worst of them all! 
Lord_Voldemort IF-Dazzler

Joined: 10 June 2011
Posts: 2510

Posted: 08 August 2012 at 8:37am | IP Logged
Fantastic article. That's a great expose!

See, every critic/analyst can be biased sometimes, but then Taran makes it so obvious by his outrageous ratings that it screams how corrupt he is...

There are so many examples I can quote. He gave Anjaana Anjaani a 4 star rating when the lead actor himself called it a terrible film. LOL

He is fooling the public. The discerning audience can make out when he gives fake ratings, but what about the rest? I hope some sting operation is done on him and he gets caught and then banned forever from talking any crap about cinema.
ashna26 IF-Sizzlerz

Joined: 09 January 2010
Posts: 18115

Posted: 08 August 2012 at 12:22pm | IP Logged
Lol who trust these reviewers they all are baised they have all there likes and dislikes some even get paid.
gilmores IF-Stunnerz

Joined: 30 June 2005
Posts: 28628

Posted: 08 August 2012 at 12:50pm | IP Logged

More brilliance from Taran Adarsh:



Taran Adarsh - The most illiterate yet popular film critic

I've been waiting to write this post for a long time. Don't know when. May be from Dil chahta hai time or Swades. I was thinking that it aint the right time to post anything about the stupid Indiafm reviewer, but after reading his movie review of Dev D I had no intention to hold back. I don't want to explain why he is bad, or why he is biased. I don't even want to prove anything as the facts I've collected speak for themselves. Here are the various movies, some great, some bad, placed not in any particular order. You can clearly see that the rating and the excerpt from the review make totally no sense with the movie:

Kabhi Alvida na kehna - 4.5 / 5

On the whole, KABHI ALVIDA NAA KEHNA is an outstanding film from the writing, performance and execution point of view. ROFLROFL It has style, substance, it takes challenges and doesn't follow formulas -- and that is its biggest strength.

Rang de basanti - 2.5 / 5

A.R. Rahman's music is ordinary. Barring ?Paathshala? and the title track, Rahman?s score doesn?t stay with you after the screening has ended.

Singh is Kingg - 4 / 5

Few minutes into the film and you know that SINGH IS KINNG is a lavish spectacle that's high on entertainment. Sonu Sood chasing a gora assassin at the very start or minutes later, Akshay chasing a hen ' SINGH IS KINNG starts with gusto.

Chak de India - 2 / 5

On the whole, CHAK DE INDIA is a well-made product, but its fate at the ticket window wouldn't be as glorious as its intentions. ROFL Only TA will call a film a "well made product" and then proceed to give it 2 stars. LOL

Welcome - 4 / 5

Welcome to the crazy, mad, funny, outlandish, outrageous, zany world of WELCOME, directed by Anees Bazmee, who gave us the rib-tickling NO ENTRY.

Thoda pyar thoda magic - 3.5 / 5

That Kunal Kohli is a fine storyteller has already been proved [HUM TUM and FANAA were accomplished works]. Now watch him handle a simple, uncomplicated story with dexterity and you'd agree, Kunal has only matured with time.

Swades - 1.5 / 5

A.R. Rahman's music may sound soothing when you hear it, but when viewed with the story, most of the songs are of the 'fast forward' variety. Clearly, there's not one track you carry home after the screening has concluded. ROFL In fact, it would be in the best interests of the film to delete a few songs in the second half, for that would perk up the goings-on to an extent. It would prove to be a good exercise in some damage control at least!

Heyy Babyy - 4 / 5

HEYY BABYY promises entertainment unlimited and delivers it with aplomb. Do carry your kerchief along. It makes you laugh, it makes you moist-eyed. This Babyy rocks!

Yuvvraj - 3 / 5

Yet, in all fairness, YUVVRAAJ is a notch above the commonplace. If you intend spending your hard-earned money on it or devoting 3 hours of your precious time on Ghai's new outing, chances are you won't regret it.

Life in a Metro - 2.5 / 5

Another area where the film suffers is that each and every song has the 'Metro Band' coming up from nowhere and humming the lines. Agreed, they are good singers and using the Band in a song or two would've been okay, but every song? They're such a terrible put-off! Besides, the music [Pritam] is strictly okay.

Dil Chahta hai - 2 / 5

The biggest flaw of the film is that it has been treated like an English film. To be honest, it is too western for the Indian masses to digest. Moreover, in the post-interval portions, the story moves on three different tracks, which are alien to each other. The film suffers in the scripting department. The storyline is new, but it has its limitations. It might appeal to a select few in metros; universal acceptance is ruled out.ROFLROFLROFLROFL
Karzzz - 4 / 5

At the box-office, the film should fetch a thunderous start and in due course, should be amongst the biggest achievers of the year in terms of business. Reincarnation themes have a super-successful track record, right from KARZ to KARAN ARJUN to OM SHANTI OM. Now add KARZZZ to this list. Damn the pseudo critics who even rubbished KARZ three decades ago. Go by your instinct and have a blast!

Rab ne bana di jodi - 2 / 5

The business in Overseas, however, should be better, but the business in India RAB NE BANA DI JODI is no DILWALE DULHANIYA LE JAYENGE, it's not MOHABBATEIN either. will totter, tremble and fumble after the initial weekend.

Black - 2 / 5

But Bhansali is letdown, and terribly at that, by the screenplay department. The screenplay does not offer much in the post-interval portions. In fact, the story takes its own time to unfold in this half. Also, the interaction between Amitabh and Rani gets cyclic and monotonous after a point.

And finally, the latest movie review ...

Dev D - 1 / 5

There's no harm if you pick up an enticing story and tell it your way, but Kashyap goes a bit too far, crosses all limits and tends to get abstract once again. And that's the reason for DEV D's downfall. Watching DEV D is akin to doing atyachaar on oneself! On the whole, DEV D is NO SMOKING II. Does one elaborate more?

Reading these reviews and seeing these ratings I feel even a monkey can give better reviews than Taran ( no offense to the monkey ). There are two important observations one can draw from his reviews. One: he doesn't review a movie based on its merits, charms and experience, rather he goes for the box office outcomes. Two: if he fails to understand a movie, it becomes an abstract movie or something which won't work for the Indian public. Now obviously his pea-sized brain could not comprehend the hidden beauty of Dil chahta hai or Dev D.

Why is this bad for Indian films ??
Recently there's a wave of new, fresh, and talented directors who are coming out with innovative themes for movies. Obviously they hardly get proper funding, or in other words they aren't backed by big production houses. Now who can support these films? If not with money atleast with words / praises. The CRITICS !!!

Critics are the people who irrespective of promotions, should talk about the strong points of films and promote it with their words. Millions of viewers actually read their views and decide whether to watch a movie or not. The movies which anyway get huge publicity will do well in boxoffice irrespective of what reviewers say. In such conditions what is the use of someone like Taran who calls himself a leading film critic and yet fails to understand movies like Dev D, Swades, Dil Chahta hai, Black or even Chak De India ??? I can have my 6 yr old cousin to write about a Shahrukh khan big budget movie and believe me you will hardly find any difference between his review and Moron's ( read Taran's). I just hope he stops calling it Movie reviews and calls it something like Box Office prospects, because thats exactly what his so called distasteful and biased reviews aim for.

Edited by chocolover89 - 08 August 2012 at 12:56pm
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