‘There is hardly any good film criticism in India’

Adoor Gopalakrishnan, India’s most acclaimed film maker abroad after Satyajit Ray, took questions from the staff of The Indian Express as part of their Idea Exchange programme.

Shubhra Gupta: How do you deal with professional criticism?

Adoor Gopalakrishnan: There is hardly any good criticism. What happens is that the people who write reviews, who think they do critiques, they are hardly equipped to do so. Go and equip yourselves. It’s very important because if you have seen a lot of cinema, it is fine. But what kind of cinema you saw is very important. You have to be very open.

When I make a film, I am very particular that I don’t repeat myself, whereas the person who goes there, who is going to write a review of it, has never seen anything new happening on the screen. A critic should be as equipped, as informed as the creator.

I hardly read a very good review in any Indian language. We don’t have good films so we don’t have a good evaluation of films, so we don’t have good films — so goes the cycle. I think there are opportunities here. There are so many universities that teach visual arts. There’s a lot of awareness, it can also go the wrong way.

When multiplexes opened, we thought it was a great opportunity to show the best of cinema, in those small cinemas. It did not happen. Instead, they were showing the worst kind of films — there is no choice. This is our misfortune: when things look like clearing, it gets enshrouded.

Read the full transcript: ‘I just make films…’

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