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Open letter to Johnny's Critics, PK's fans and Jeevi
You are at Home > Community > Open Letters is frequently visited by all the Telugu film industry celebrities, who are net savvy. Here is a platform for the fans to express their sincere suggestions to their stars. Write open letters to your stars and we make sure that they are read by your favorite hero. But make sure that all the letters are positive-minded! You can send your open letters to [email protected]

1st May 2003
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Open letter to Johnny's Critics, PK's fans and Jeevi

Johnny is out, and looks like everyone is talking. Johnny certainly disappointed the fans and distributors as it lacked all the entertainment components one expects out of a venture of this magnitude. But I am surprised by the reviews of the critics who are supposed to look at the movie from an independent perspective, without any expectations and bias whatsoever. It seems to me that most of these critics are actually relishing the disaster.

I believe Pawan's biggest mistake was choosing a story that is too serious/sensitive, and provides little scope for any entertainment value that's expected from a big star's movie. But, I totally disagree with some of the statements these critics have to say. For example, Jeevi ( had this to say, "One can watch this film with an academic interest to study how not to direct a film". I think this is one of the most ridiculous comments Jeevi had ever made in his reviews. Jeevi and lot of other people opined that the movie lacked comedy, songs, dances, and yada yada.

Almost a year ago I watched the movie 'Lagaan'. Though I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, there was an unanswered question in my mind that "how did this movie manage to be a big hit in India?". Knowing the taste of cine-goers, that sure was a miracle. And, now I draw some parallels between Lagaan and Johnny. All right, here me out before you brush this off. Here is my rationale: Both films though illustrate stories from different time periods; the underlying theme is poverty (with varying degrees), a cause, a struggle, and the mere resolve and determination of the hero that saves the day. Both Lagaan and Johnny are very slow in narration. Even Lagaan didn't have any mass entertainment values in the movie. Where Lagaan is created with Cricket as the backdrop, Johnny showcases Martial Arts. And the similarities end there, Lagaan ended up as a hit, and Johnny is going down in the history as big flop. Just like Ameer experimented with Lagaan, Johnny is Pawan's experiment to create a different film, albeit an unsuccessful one.

Now, coming to the criticism that Johnny didn't have comedy scenes, and dances in the second half, come on guys, do you really think that the guy who insisted in Kushi (the songs in the second half and the fights in the movie were not part of the original script by the director) that the songs and fights should be there for the masses and directed himself and gave the edited copy of those sequences to the director didn't know that mass elements are necessary in Johnny. I think the reason Pawan didn't address the comedy, dances in the second half is that those elements will undermine the theme and mood of the movie. How can you expect a cancer-stricken patient dreaming of hip shaking dances? I don't think he neglected those elements, but decided that they work against the theme. And, in that sense I commend Pawan that he did total justice to the theme and story of the movie. One critic said that the roles in the second half speak Hindi fluently confusing the viewer, hello, it's Mumbai, what do you expect? - The mafia guy in Mumbai speaking Telugu just so you understand it?! I also commend Pawan for trying to portray the movie that's unconventional and sticking to the basic theme, 'a poor guy loves a girl, and tries to save her from illness by raising money by doing what he knows best - martial arts'.

I restate what I said all along that Pawan didn't deliver what the fans and masses expected out of the movie - which is a mass entertainer. But, if you take yourself out of this notion that 'all Telugu movies should be like this - comedy, dance and fights', I think this is a sincere effort by Pawan. I also commend Pawan for accepting the fate of the movie and returning his remuneration back to the producer. The sad part is that - none of the critics seem to realize what he tried to do taking a serious and sensitive issue and coupling that with some mind boggling martial arts display (that are on par with any Hollywood flick) in a stylish and unconventional way. Though, I don't intend to rank Pawan yet among the novel directors like Varma and Krishnavamsi, we wouldn't have Varma and Krishnavamsi if it were not for their unconventional way of filmmaking. And, I can also see how Jeevi would have changed his tune in the review of Johnny if the movie were well received by masses. He would have said something like 'Pawan creates a new dimension in Tollywood going breaking boundaries of the conventional film making' or something like that.

I will say this again, Pawan indeed failed in delivering what's expected, and the fate of the movie clearly indicates that. That doesn't necessarily correlate to the quality of work put in, or the skill level, or the product itself. It's a shame to see that the product itself is getting a beating from all these so-called 'critics'. I sincerely believe that shot taking in the movie was just awesome, the choreography of the fights was spellbinding, and some of the comedy scenes (surprisingly nobody mentioned that so far) like the chase scene that's revealed back to the villain in the first half was hilarious. The train sequences in the love track between Pawan and Renu were really cool and funny. And, I certainly agree that the length of the movie was too much and testy, it should be reedited, though I don't agree with the reports of what's been reedited at the theaters.

Well, what can I say? Critics are cine pundits, and they know it all! They tell you if a movie succeeds or sucks, and they sure did this time!

[email protected]

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