There is a herd mentality that plagues fund managers — the top holdings of the funds they manage are frightfully similar. The Indian film critics seem no different. They kneel at the altar of Kurasowa’s Rashomon but there are no eight versions from eight critics on offer. They pray to De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves but there are no twists in their climaxes. They worship Ray’s Pather Panchali as a classic, but there’s nothing beyond black and white in their writings.
I laughed my guts out. I cried to my heart’s content. I danced with Katrina and fought alongside Akshay, whose second coming in Singh is Kinng (SiK) is endearing. And, like millions of film lovers out there, gave SiK a great ranking for the three hours I invested there.
What do our critics have to say? The Times of India critic calls the film “King con” and “breezy time-pass”. This paper says it’s “contemptuous of audience taste”. CNN-IBN ripped it apart, saying the film had, “little or no regard for its audience”. Only The Indian Express seemed to like the film.
The rustic power of Happy, the bumbling villager with whom you sing Punjabi folk to modern beats — a phenomenon that would be ‘oh-so-crude’ to the finer senses of our reviewers but one that I can bet my faltering bhangra steps would do very well on dance floors — carries far more conviction than its critique. Sure, SiK is not a Mrinal Sen, a Mani Ratnam, or a Ritwik Ghatak. But on the entertainment scale, it equals Main Hoon Na, Dhoom, Jab We Met…
A few hours that take us away from deadlines into a fantasy world of gun-toting Sikh gangsters with soft hearts, un-fleshed-out characters of ‘poor Australians’, or the predictable good-over-evil happy ending, make a welcome entertainer. It shouts, it howls, it says goodbye to logic (what a relief!).
I think our critics have trapped themselves into narrow confines, where their reviews are more an intellectually-inspiring graffiti for the few than any meaningful value-add for the many. Nothing they write will influence film lovers who will watch SiK twice over. Readers will wonder exactly when reviewing films turned into a self-indulgent, space-filling time-pass.