All actors at some point in their careers have a love/ hate relationship with critics and many A-listers have spoken out against the odd film critic here and there. However, the latest celebrity to talk about film critics is Bollywood’s Shah Rukh Khan at the recent Critics Film Choice Awards 2019 in Mumbai.
Khan in his speech, called out the ‘archaic’ star system that Bollywood movies are still ruled by on opening weekends.
“We filmmakers have fought along to give more credit to constructive and jaded ideas. We search for art, we search for form without the essence of the stories. We find logic and disregard the free-spirit of story telling. We have to remind ourselves that truth is formless, only untruths are formed. We as film fraternity have to be truer to ourselves, to the stories we set out to tell. So I request all my critics friends here, please don’t be like us Bollywood film stars, and get carried away by what Bollywood succumbed to many years ago – the star system. The star system cannot be the only way of summing up films by our critics. 3 stars, 3.5 stars, 3 and a quarter stars, 5 stars….It’s a film, not a hotel for God sake. With critics sprouting all over, film critic is becoming an endangered species. Please let it not get replaced by consumer service…”
The Bollywood actor’s speech may or may not have to do with the reception of his latest film — Zero, which tanked at the box office in 2018.
At the 9th Beijing International Film Festival, SRK called the movie “quite a labor of love.”
“I am going to see the film after three months, so for me, it’s very significant, let me just go see, maybe I will be able to figure out… what went wrong. ‘Unfortunately Zero itself wasn’t received too well back home in India, maybe I made the wrong film, maybe I did not do the right storytelling so I am a little wary how it will be received here and I hope people here will like it,” he told Chinese website CGTN.
It’s hard to say whether the reception of the film or that the fact it crashed is what led to one of Bollywood’s biggest stars delay in annoucing his next project.
“I haven’t decided what I will do next. I thought I will take a few months off and try and work on what I want to do because it’s very important for me to be most excited about it. I have worked for 30 years, I work 16 hours a day, so if it doesn’t excite you in the morning, you should not wake up,” he continued.
“At my stage, when I have worked in over 80 films, have done some satisfactory roles and have made a career out of what I do, I should be like I don’t want to get up and go if it’s not going to be an absolutely, stunning, scintillating and exciting day as an actor. So, right now I don’t have anything that’s stunning, scintillating and exciting, If I will have it, I will start working on it,” he added.
But is the role of the film critic dead in this day and age of instant and opiniated reviews on social media?
Gone are the days when people waited with bated breath for the next Roger Ebert review in the evening post. With the advent of Twitter and Facebook and Instagram, everybody is a film critic. With this in mind, perhaps Khan should focus on making movies and ignore the film critics once and for all.