Anupama Chopra recalls how once she bumped into Ram Gopal Verma after giving his film, Agyaat, a bad review, he didn’t say hello.
Anupama’s strange encounters
Chup: Revenge of the Artist’ by R Balki revolves around cops trying to hunt down a serial killer who targets film critics. He murders them in a brutal manner and marks the same amount of stars they gave to a film on their foreheads. Yes, it’s as terrifying as it sounds! The film pays tribute to Indian cinema great Guru Dutt as well and tries to highlight the importance of film reviews.
“You critics are killers,” a character says in Chup: Revenge of the Artist. After the film got a rave response from the audience and analysts, popular movie critic Anupama Chopra, speaking to Hindustan Times, shares the strangest encounters she had in over 25 years of being a critic and analyst.
“Thankfully, the death threats that I receive have only been online, from anonymous, vicious voices that insist my reviews have a larger agenda, an inherent bias, or are driven by political leanings. Offline, in the real world, the repercussions of negative reviews have been less grave; some, even darkly amusing, says Anupama Chopra.
In one of her craziest experiences, Anupama talks about an incident where she had once reviewed Ram Gopal Varma’s horror film called Agyaat in 2009.
She said, “The story centered on a film unit shooting in a jungle. Suddenly, members of the unit start to disappear. Agyaat was bewilderingly bad. I wrote in my review that the characters were so annoying that we, the viewers, “were waiting and rooting for the creature that kills them.” A few days after my review was published, my husband Vidhu Vinod Chopra and I bumped into Ramu at a premiere in Mumbai. He didn’t say hello, or mention my critique. He simply looked at me, screamed, and ran in the opposite direction. It was hilarious.”
The 55-year-old critic, another time, had an incident but it was less hilarious this time. She says, “the director of a hugely successful war film suggested that my review (which was less than swooning) was perhaps muted because he was a rival to my husband and I was in some way trying to undermine his success. A superstar once suggested that my review of his latest blockbuster was impacted by jokes he had made about Vinod at an awards function.”
A memory with Priyanka Chopra
Film Companion’s Anupama also shared an incident that she calls to be ‘one of her favorite memories. “One of my favorite memories of an artist gracefully acknowledging a bad review comes courtesy of Priyanka Chopra. In 2010, I reviewed Anjaana Anjaani, a rom-com starring her and Ranbir Kapoor. They play strangers who meet and make a pact to commit suicide, only to then have life and love get in the way. It was an intriguing premise, flattened out by mediocre storytelling and direction. In addition to my unflattering review, I posted this on Twitter: “Note to filmmakers after watching Anjaana Anjaani: Stars + styling + foreign locations do not = film,” she explains.
“As luck would have it, on the Friday of the release I had a telephonic interview scheduled with Priyanka, for a story I was writing for a fashion magazine. I was apprehensive about how it would now go, but her opening line was: “You really liked my film, didn’t you?” She laughed, put me at ease and we finished the interview without a hitch. The professionalism was admirable,” she adds.
And finally, the well-known critic shares another favorite memory related to the film Baby (2015), which was co-produced by T-Series. “A few days before the release, T-Series head Bhushan Kumar invited Vinod to a preview. Vinod said he couldn’t make it but suggested that Bhushan invite me, since I did intend to review it. Bhushan hesitated, then said, “Woh kya hai na, Bhabhiji ka kuch bharosa nahin. Woh kuch bhi bol sakti hain.(You know what, I can’t trust her. She will just say ‘anything’ about the film)” I didn’t get an invite.”
Anupama Chopra concludes by saying that she loves her job being a critic and will continue to do the same. “I consider that a badge of honor.”