Yesterday, at a film event, 'Baby' director Sai Rajesh wondered why Tollywood websites never give 4-star ratings. "As far as I know, in the last 5-10 years, no film has been rated highly by Tollywood websites. In this period, we have seen films made by SS Rajamouli and the likes of 'KGF'. How come no website has given a 4-star rating even to such films. When you (websites) want to play a safe game, you give 2.75 or 3 stars for big movies," the writer of films like 'Hridaya Kaleyam' and 'Colour Photo' opined.
If you think about it, Sai Rajesh's comments are understandable. Over a long period of time, all sorts of films get made - great, good, bad, ugly. Is it the Tollywood media's case that there have been no great films in the last ten years? And if a great film doesn't get a 4-star rating, one wonders which one deserves such a rating. Are Tollywood media houses failing to read the greatness of some films?
These questions may not have definite answers, but it is true that thousands of readers have those questions about the Tollywood web media.
The audience were stunned by several movies that received a sub-3 rating from most Tollywood websites. 'Uppena' is a case in point. A reader once opined that 'RRR' deserved nothing less than a 3.75-star rating for at least three reasons: the performances, the stunning action choreography, and the technical finesse. Many web reviewers downrated 'RRR' by saying that the film paled in comparison with the 'Baahubali' movies. When the Hollywood media fraternity lauded the same movie, the Hyderabad-based web media came up with a silly cope: 'Those glowing reviews were part of the Oscar campaign. We are the true guardians of high taste. Hehe.'
This is where websites have been increasingly alienating the masses. Newspapers have long alienated the masses by publishing elitist stuff, especially dailies like The Hindu. Websites started to be taken seriously by movie buffs after the success of many reviewers to be fairly consistent. With time, even the web media has started to become snobbish by refusing to go beyond 3 stars for most films.
Sai Rajesh's criticism must serve as a wake-up call, perhaps!