Sunday, November 14, 2010

Comparisons - How To Misinterpret Any Creative Work

I see so many controversies stemming out of comparisons between two completely disparate creative works and I wonder why the need to compare at all while reviewing. Unless the work is plagiarised, there is really no need to compare works - especially in a fashion that discredits the creator than give any great insight into the work.

For example the controversy regarding  Chetan Bhagat's 'Five Point Someone' and '3 Idiots'. If you read the book and view the film, you'd find that there is very little of the book in the film. The entire perspective is different in the movie which dwells on the principle of excellence, while Bhagat dwells more on a fictionalised and humourous account of his experiences in the IIT with love, expectations and  youthful playfulness. Both works original and different, and addressing completely different forms, and you wonder what all this hullaballoo is about.

Another comparison I hear is that of Karan Bajaj's 'Keep Off the Grass' with 'Motorcycle Diaries'. Now again, if one reads both works, you can clearly say that there is nothing in common - not even the bike - then how is it similar at all. Is it just because this protagonist goes on a journey of self discovery - or let us make it even simpler - just a journey. I mean I heard the same comparisons when 'Gamyam, a fine Telugu movie was released, that it was based on Motorcycle Diaries'. There is nothing in common again - just two guys on the road who meet quite by chance an they happen to travel by bike. What kind of a comparison is that? I am sure there are so many more such irresponsible, provocative and ill-researched comparisons which are merely meant to show the entire work in bad light. I'll write more about them when I remember. But my advise to reviewers and critics is this - create something first, and then feel free to start comparing and writing down other works. That makes your review far more valuable, credible and readable.

And then we have movie makers who base the movies on real life incidents and people and advertise that it is not based on any real life character or story. Recent movies that come to mind with these disclaimers are 'Raktha Charithra' and 'Once Upon a Time in Mumbai'.

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