Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Book Review of The Adventures of an Intrepid Film Critic

The Adventures of an Intrepid Film CriticThe Adventures of an Intrepid Film Critic by Anna M.M. Vetticad

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I recently read James Altucher, an American entrepreneur and podcaster, state "immersion" as one of the penultimate rules on being more creative. Around the same time I noticed myself following film reviews of one particular critic - and finding her using a refreshingly progressive feminist lens.
On exploring further, here it was -- a book written by the critic Anna Vetticad, on her experience of watching every single movie in the Hindi language produced in NCR in 2011.

Already excited about the idea of "immersing yourself into an experience for a story," as Altucher hinted at - I sat down to give 'Adventures of an Intrepid Film Critic' a read.

The book, like any autobiography, or experience-laiden book, remind of the persistence and grit required to fulfill promises made to oneself. Vetticad once bought two tickets for a movie because the manager refused to run the film for only one person, she asked to restart the film because the movie was stopped as soon as the credits started rolling, went to a far-of theatre two days in a row to convince the manager to play a movie which only has one buyer, and watched three movies back to back in a day giving herself a headache. She took only a ten day vacation in the year, coming back to work to seek out the twelve movies that she had missed in the duration.

The book was an interesting and engaging read for the hard and tough questions she asked her interviewees— the directors and the actors. It resembled her fore-front, not-mincing-her-word style of her interview show StarTrek (except the one with Salman Khan where it seemed like her brief was to suck up to him.)

Her interview, or rather, argument with Rohit Shetty, who has very low opinion of critics because they give his movies low ratings, is a treat to read. The author really has the art of repartee and an unrelenting attitude!

Her way of operating, where she never discusses a movie she is to review with anyone before, does not prefer to phone a source unless they have said it is okay, brings in feminist critiques where you won't imagine -- I loved this book for its comic, moral, to-the-point, and detailed look at how her new year resolution came to be fulfilled.

Her personal way of maneuvering around the instances and questions that pop up during the experience, kept the book entertaining. "I throw myself a challenge: could I encapsulate in one line, a film that I loved that didn't make a mark at the box office?" She analysis as a good film critic, things that cold have been done differently to make a movie that deserved, yet didn't get, many eyeballs.

The author mentions that she intended to derive a book from the experience right at the start when she decided on the resolution- but I'd like to know whether she had a publisher or editor commission this idea at that time itself- because if not, then I would rank this book even higher, for her staying put on the resolution when she had nobody else but herself counting on it.

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