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These days, the common man has turned into a film critic. The three-day opening collection in Indian cinema has come to depend on the word of mouth of the audience who are also backed by amateur critics. So, the common man perspective has largely come to depend on a mix of five kinds of audiences:
- The quintessential moviegoer
- The closet reviewer
- The Meme creator.
The questions we have formulated are based on the perspectives of this blend of audiences. It covers the points, issues and ideologies they’ve raised in the past.
If an audience were to use this questionnaire to evaluate a film they have watched, it would be more than sufficient for us to analyse how greatly they have liked or disliked a particular film and the reason for their conclusion will be evident too.
An average movie-goer may not be able to discuss the three-act structure at length, but they have grown to make observations in genres, social reflections and the uniqueness of a particular story.
- Did you find the story a) Great b) Average c) Bad
- Did you like the story because of its genre? Eg. Pizza (2012)
- Did the director try to merge two different genres in the movie? Eg. Jigarthanda (2014)
- Did you find the story interesting because of its a) Summary/One line/Theme b) Social reflections Eg: Social Reflections: Joker (2016), One-Line: Avvai Shanmugi (1996)
- How unique was the story? Eg: Jigarthanda (2014)
One of the first aspects through which the audience recognizes a good screenplay is by how unpredictable it is. They also have started to talk at length on how the first half, second half, interval block and climax sequences fare in the overall picture.
- Did the film have unpredictable twists?
- Did the climax sequence impress you?
- Was the interval block done effectively?
- Was the screenplay consistently paced?
- Did the film start off slowly?
- Did you like the introduction sequence?
- Did you find the film predictable?
- Was the second half better than the first?
Dialogues are the first aspect; the current audiences note about a film. Good dialogues are repeated, made into merchandise and even used as taglines whereas bad ones are splashed across the million memes that make their way into social media everyday.
- Were the dialogues realistic?
- Were the dialogues a) Minimal b) adequate c) lengthy
- Did the dialogues reflect the nativity of the film?
- Were there punchlines?
- Were the punchlines memorable?
- Were the dialogues driven by personal propaganda?
- Were the dialogues preachy?
- Were the dialogues like a a) conversation b) speech
Music establishes the first impression of a film. It is one of the key aspects in driving crowd to the theatres these days. Once the audience form an opinion on the songs, this opinion gets altered when they are exposed to the picturization of the said songs. Apart from songs, certain BGMs too have impressed people enough to be set as their hello tunes and ringtones.
- Did you like the songs?
- Was the picturization of the songs memorable?
- Was the song placement good?
- Did any of the songs distract you from the story?
- Did the BGM uplift the essence of the story?
- Did any particular part of the BGM impress you as a standalone track? (Vikram Vedha BGM)
An average Joe might not dive into the technicalities of visual storytelling, but he is skillful enough to appreciate its visible nuances. The questions in this category are mainly centred around how visually pleasing he found the film.
- Did you like the cinematography?
- Was it a) Larger than life b) realistic
- Was it suitable to the genre?
- Did it live up to the story?
From films that have prominent actors to films that house newcomers, actors hold the crucial power to drive audience to the theatres. In this category, we will analyse how convincing the actors were and if the other characters too had tangible roles to play.
- Was the acting realistic or artificial?
- Did it contribute greatly to the story?
- Were the secondary characters/ supporting characters given importance?
- Did the lead actor impress you?
- Did any character actor impress you?
- Was there a balance between the Hero-villain equation?
- Did you find the hero worship (if any) a) off-putting b) entertaining?
Costumes & Styling
Styling and costumes create a lot of buzz among the audience. The more relatable or powerful the film’s styling is, the more popular it becomes. Case in point: Nivin Pauly’s Dhoti and Black shirt in Premam or Nayanthara’s ethnic fusion clothes in Naanum Rowdy Dhaan
- Did you like the look and costumes of the characters in the film?
- Were the costumes related to the character’s personality (Kaala) or role (police officer)
- Were there costumes in the film that you would want to wear?
- Were the costumes/styling stereotypical or realistic? Example: Stereotypical: A girl wearing Modern clothes is bad.
VFX & Art Direction
Basic VFX and Art direction are a part of even low-budget films like Kootathil Oruthan (2017) or Kaaka Muttai (2014) these days. So, apart from observing directors and their signature props, people have also started to evaluate VFX on how convincing it is rather than just noticing it for its grandeur.
- Was it in line with the story’s requirements?
- Was there a noticeable flaw?
- Did anything (prop/special effect) in particular impress you?
- Was the VFX/Art direction convincing?
- Did any particular prop reflect the story’s ideology? (The Ambedkar statues & photos in Pa Ranjith’s films. Mani Ratnam’s use of colors to reflect the mood of the scene)
- Did it stay true to the film’s geography/location?
Earlier, no matter the genre a film was action was a part of it. These days, the short attention span of the audience not only require the film to have realistic stunt sequences but short ones too.
- Were the stunts realistic?
- Were the stunts interesting?
- Were the fight sequences relevant to the plot?
- Were the stunt sequences too long?
Production houses backed by producers such as CV Kumar, Sashikanth and SR Prabhu have established a reputation for bringing in fresh content. People have slowly started to recognize production houses too. So, this becomes an important aspect in evaluating a particular film.
- Do you recognize the production house?
- Did you watch the film because of the production house?
- Did you consider the legacy of the production house before deciding to watch the film?