Entertainment journalism, as we know it, is dead. More entertaining than what we write are the battles that Bollywoodians are fighting among themselves on social media.This week while Anurag Kashyap and Ranveer Shorey were battling it out on Twitter over the nepotism issue, author Chetan Bhagat, in what would rank as one of the most recklessly impulsive and monstrously thoughtless articulations I’ve ever seen decided to play the moral police to film critics.
His tweet read, “Sushant’s last film releases this week. I want to tell the snob(sic.) and elitist critics right now, write sensibly. Don’t act oversmart. Don’t write rubbish. Be fair and sensible. Don’t try your dirty tricks. You have ruined enough lives. Now stop. We’ll be watching.”
At first I thought this was a joke. I mean, ‘Don’t act oversmart’ … seriously? But bullying entertainment journalists is now an accepted form of entertainment for the empowered sections of our society.Tearing a page from Kangana Ranaut’s book , Chetan must have felt the same self-gratification while tweeting his warning to us critics that mob lynchers shouting nationalist slogans feel while thrashing someone for not complying with unwritten guidelines for all pro-national Indians.
I am not sure if writing critical reviews of films qualify as an anti-national activity. But yes I have lost goodwill from those whom I respected for refusing to genuflect before their films. In my experience objectivity in film writing died with Medianet. Chetan’s tweet very clearly tells us critics not to criticize Sushant’s film. The tone of the tweet is aggressive.
“We will be watching,” is a particularly Kafkaesque touch. Who are these self-appointed custodians of calibre who will have us buckle down to our knees at any cost? And what is the price we must pay if we don’t comply? Pretty heavy, I am afraid. Stars who don’t like what you write will ban you. PR Agencies whose clients you displease will blacklist you. And worse of all, if you get in the bad books of Kangana Ranaut you will be summoned for questioning any time she says so.
If at any time as a film critic or an entertainment journalist (I am afraid I am both) you have critiqued any star or any film, be afraid. Be very afraid.
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