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Are Movie Reviews Fixed?


Yesterday when I went to watch “Kaminey” with a bunch of friends, I was excited as the reviews of the movie were great. Right from TOI to Hindustan Times to CNN-IBN, every one gave glowing reviews to the movie.

When the movie started I couldn’t relate to it, but kept on watching in hope that it has got great ratings so something must be good. But the movie turned out to be a disaster with nothing to remember or speak of.


I thought I may be the odd ball out but then every friend of mine was cursing it too. I even saw my friends over Facebook speaking of the same – the movie isn’t worthy of more than 2 Stars!

This made me think – Why has every movie trade analyst and critic given such rave reviews for Kaminey? Why a single reviewer didn’t share mine or my friends’ point of view? Can these reviews be influenced? Can these be fixed?

Let’s understand the situation – The movie “Kaminey” is made by Vishal Bhardwaj who has earned critical acclaim in Indian film industry for making commercially viable off-beat movies like Omkara & Maqbool.

Kaminey has lost out on some of the largest markets of Pune and Mumbai due to Swine Flu. That made me think, is it possible for the directors and producers of a movie to influence the reviewers to fix these reviews, so as to cover for the losses? I have raised this doubt based on some very simple assumptions:

  • Most of the movies earn their revenues during 1st weekend.
  • People usually choose from the released movies based on the reviews
    which each movie has got.
  • Influencing Movie analysts and critics is a very simple job; there are hardly 5-6 of them whose reviews matter.

Whoa! I never realized this.

Those 5-6 film critics / reviewers actually decide the revenues which 100s of films could make during a year.

They are as powerful as any minister who decides on economic regulations for any business in India. Moreover this isn’t as serious as match fixing in cricket. See the irony here – the money involved is probably the same if not more as in the cricket matches but this type of fixing (even if
it’s proven) wont be taken seriously by anyone and can’t be treated as a criminal act either.

Why I thought about this is probably because I wasted my 3 hours watching the movie (my friend paid for the tickets ;)..), but why I’m cribbing about this is probably because I’m influenced by Mr. Shahrukh (How can you waste my precious 2 hours for suspecting me for my surname?)

Seriously speaking, I don’t know whether this happens or not. But there is high probability that this can happen. If yes, can we raise fingers to these analysts and producers?

[This Media Monday post has been written by Rabi Gupta, a start up enthusiast and soon to launch his first product iDubba (Intelligent Box).]

  1. subrat says

    Its not the review,but rather the reviewer who are a kind of biased to certain films,certain makers or certain stars.So reviews are not always trust worthy.
    But for Kaminey its a film I really admire and i am very much ok with what most of the reviewers have said. For me it deserves atleast a 3 star.
    Again reviews are nothing but just a very personal view of some one with in the boundry of his intellect with out much worrying about the mind set of the reader.
    So better we should see the movie and judge it by ourself.

  2. Murali says

    This is the best indian movie since satya… its not for people who like candyfloss and karan johar

  3. rabi gupta says

    @Chetan: Many of my friends were also having the same point of view.
    @cheth: yeah sure, let us also know about your reviews.
    @AbhishekP: Hey that’s a very valid point you raised. Critics love Directors and hence they can get easily biased with their work. Very true!!
    “Snatch” genre of movie, hehe rightly pointed out. Thanks.

  4. Abhishekp says


    I tend to agree with you. I believe that moviegoers are biased about actors.e,g, SRK/Aamir fans will adore the movie irrespective whether it is good or bad. And now this critics are immensely in love with the directors (read Vishal/Imtiaaz) and they dont want hear/write bad about the movie.

    I guess kaminey is heavily influenced by “Snatch (2000)” (Almost all critics mention it). But critics dont call it copy, now they are calling it “Snatch” genre of movie, which is ridiculously biased :-)


  5. cheth says

    You surely raised my eyebrow on this point. Havent watched Kaminey yet but we always knew that rating were influenced always. Well will watch it myself and let others know.

  6. Chetan Gole says

    Kaminey really suxx, i was expecting too much from the movie. But seriously Kaminey is FAIL and FLOP movie. Just 2stars/5 from me too.

  7. Shailesh says

    Btw Rabi, how influenced is ur review? ;)

  8. Shailesh says

    I think to certain extent reviews can be influenced but definitely not all.. So u would find most of the reviews good if movie is actually good..

    I liked the movie.. Everything aspect,u name it, of the movie was good. May be this was not ur type of movie.. A biased opinion is not welcome

  9. Sumedh says

    May be there is an opportunity of creating a rotten tomatoes out of india…where public can vote movies… :)

  10. chidevi says

    i have not seen this movie so far,actually i have planned for today’s last show thats why i thought lets first check the review,but now i am confused what to do?and in india any thing can be fixed from minister to writer and from income tax any of the dept.

    yaha sirt paisa bolta hai…this is india…

  11. pk says

    Kaminey is truly a masterpiece, I have met so many who abused Dev D, but it was a classic. If you had pointed out any other movie for this blog post, I wouldn’t have bothered to comment, but picking out a class movie like Kaminey to make your point really shows that you do not understand genre movies, the art of screenplay, movie-making, editing etc etc. I never used to believe the reviewers but I am so damn happy that Kaminey got great reviews from almost all, which is diameterically opposite to the views expressed in this post. So I do believe even the fixers and fixed reviews will give out an honest opinion when a good movie comes along. So much for your immature and uncultivated taste for movies.
    Apologize for being harsh on you, but this is a review on your post, and it is not fixed:)

    1. rabi gupta says

      hey that’s completely fine with me dear “PK” :). Everyone has their own choices and suggestions and I respect your taste too.

  12. indian businesses says

    I like to whatever you said. And truly speaking I’m not a dance and song lover in movies.

  13. Arun Prabhudesai says

    I agree with your point of view. The talks right now reminded me of movie DEV D which had such mixed opinions. It was one of the most pathbreaking movies that I saw in Hindi Cinema, but some did not like that movie at all.
    I haven’t seen Kaminey yet, and after all this furor, I am waiting to watch it.

    Having said that, I am quite sure that movie reviews can be easily fixed , and it sure must be happening.

  14. jayant says

    This movie does not deserve 4 strarts.

    Everyone in the theater was abusing.I have not anyone appreciating this movie.

  15. rabi gupta says

    @always: I agree to your point that most of the reviewers over internet are genuine but we usually go to watch a movie after seeing reviews at various newspapers. We only consider other media after first weekend is gone :).
    @Ryan: I agree to whatever you said. And truly speaking I’m not a dance and song lover in movies. I like intelligent movies but what I genuinely felt for Kaminey was “lack of soul”. At the end there was nothing to connect to. I mean when you watch movies like- “Slumdog” or “Lagaan” or for the matter of fact “Omkara”, you think about the movies after they get over. It may be a feeling of joy or motivation or you may simply like it because of the connect. Such feeling was missing for me for this movie. And yes, for reviewers I wrote what I felt may be happening. It may be 100% wrong too (I hope it is :)..).

  16. ANKIT says

    i think u went to see some kaminapan on the screen. i heard it from many. u need to understand the attitude of the characters in this movie. the movie is certainly a masterpiece.

  17. Ryan says

    The movie was very good.. dark, yet entertaining.. What impressed me most about this motion picture was exquisite acting, the music and most importantly, the dialogues. It’s a smart movie and isn’t meant for everyone.

    In reference to the crux of your article, I have no clue how corrupt your reviewers are in India but I, as a critic here in Hollywood, genuinely loved the film because of the following reasons:
    . Direction
    . Music
    . Acting
    . Camera work
    . Script
    . Dialogues
    . and most importantly, ORIGINALITY (Something that sadly doesn’t exist in Indian movies and music)

    I would respectfully advise you to stick to your song and dance movies, and watch cinematic gems like ‘Kaminey’ with an open mind.

  18. always says

    You are looking at a fairly small sample (which mainly consists of your friends and contacts..hence “might” have similar tastes).. so its difficult to digest the fact tht the movie was crap..

    I saw the movie.. liked it.. wud like to watch it again.. but thats it.. :)

    About the reviews.. I hav to agree with you that most of these are either fixed or display the herding behavior where reviewers dont like to be left out. There r some reviewes who wud like to take the completely opposite position to cash in on the publicity.

    However there are genuine reviewers but these are mostly found on the internet.
    So if you r among the normal junta which doesnt hav much time to sift thru the web.. u r stuck wid these reviewers..

  19. arvind agarwal says

    This is by far THE BEST Hindi movie I have ever seen.
    Vishal and Shahid deserve all the acolades in the world for their extremely laudable work.

    I am 100% with the Reviews, you can fix 3 reviews maybe 4 but how can you fix each and every review that has come out from the media.

    This movie is just freaking AWEFOME!

    But you are entitled to your opinion and I respect it.

    1. Avik Chatterjee says

      I go with the writer of this blog. This is by the worst movie I have seen in recent times other than Tashan. The movie had nothing in it to remember neither speak of. Even at times I was having severe headache to see how Vishal Bharadwaj could make such a horrible movie.

    2. rabi gupta says

      Hey Arvind,
      you got me wrong here. I said that I got this thought after seeing this Movie. Offcourse there will be many who would have liked the movie. The point I want to make is – there are only 5-6 influential reviewers in India (whose reviews matter alot!)- for e.g. reviews over TOI, HT,CNN etc.
      I just saw an opportunity here for fixing :) and nothing more!

      1. vinal says

        Well then you should say. I saw Kaminey..Didnt like it!! and by the way can movie reviews be fixed? Another sensationalist Heading.

  20. aryan says

    Exactly!!……. you cannot trust these movie critics anymore…..
    Kambakht ishq got 4 star rating on ….. and even worse….
    the same critic gave 3 stars to a crap like Agyaat !!

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