Of bad reviews and sad critics

I have always found the phrase ‘positive criticism’ baffling.  Dictionary defines criticism as ‘the judgment (using analysis and evaluation) of the merits and faults of the actions or work of another individual. Criticism can mean merely to evaluate without necessarily finding fault; however, usually the word implies the expression of disapproval.’ Going by that logic,  for who is the criticism positive then, certainly not the recipient. We take it upon ourselves to judge and value others with a severity that we seldom apply to ourselves. No one can be objective about themselves, but are always eager to put the other under the scanner called neutrality.

That is one reason why I detest critics who think they are messiahs of literature or good films. How fair is it to trash a book or film in just 20 minutes, when the writer or the filmmaker has toiled two years for his book or film. It gets worse when the critic lacks credentials, or fails to see the essence of the work

Recently, I came across two reviews of a book I loved, and both for some odd reason had decided to trash the book, mercilessly, denying the due the book deserved. Disappointingly, they appeared in one of the most respectable magazines in the country. The critic, Mitali Saran, a known columnist, (I believe) had reviewed the book ‘Chai Chai’ by Bishwanath Ghosh, with such belligerence that one would realise that the review was written even before the idea of the book had sunk in.

The reason I argue for Ghosh’s book is because I have read the book thrice and in no point have I been let down by its humour or simplicity – the same things that she calls ‘poor writing’ and ‘banality’. When you try to connect to the layperson, who is your reader, you need to ground complicated facts with innocence and nonchalance. That is certainly not an easy task. And, Ghosh being an accomplished journalist, whose blog is one of the most read, certainly doesn’t need a Mitali Saran to judge his language.

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One Response to “Of bad reviews and sad critics”

  1. Hmmm… you’ve got a good point there.
    At times I feel that ‘some’ critics are jobless people… just looking for a bakra in order to feel important.
    I hope such baseless critiques do not affect the sales of the books… or do they?

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