Good v Popular

Never judge a book by its movie #MondayMorningWakeUpCall

Popular vs Quality

What’s your PQ quotient?

A couple of weeks ago Bahubali released, made (still making) tons of money @ the box office, and was (probably still is) a topic of conversation at cocktail parties and local trains alike.

One such conversation with a good friend who’s in the media business and with whom I often chat about our common pet peeve, movies, whenever we are catch up went like this –

Friend (in an eager tone): Did you watch Bahubali?

Me (in a neutral tone): Yup!

Friend (in a more eager tone if imaginable): Did you like it?

Me (in a more neutral tone if imaginable and not wanting to disappoint him from the joy of shared approval): Ummm…I wish the execution was better and…

Friend (in wide eyed astonishment): You didn’t like it!!! I LOVED it! I mean I just LOVED it!! How could you NOT love it?

Me (defensively): I mean it’s not that I…

Friend: Do you know how much money it’s making? I went to watch it on the 2nd week on a week night and it was housefull. It was housefull dude. Same movie a firang would’ve made and you would have been showering Oscar praises at him. I’m telling you, you guys have white skin syndrome.

Me (speechless and in my head): How did racism gate crash the conversation and more importantly, Bahubali MUST really be the son of the divine if he can command so much passion with no sense of fashion. Oops.

I didn’t mind the movie, though I did walk out 2/3 way through the movie (I happened to miss telling my friend this little detail) before the apparently really good battle scenes came on. What I tried to explain, which fell to deaf ears, was that there definitely is a distinct difference in the quality of execution in many scenes. Even if one suspends disbelief with regards storylines, the finishing, i.e. the output on the screen, needs to look believable. Maybe I shouldn’t compare it with LOTR, which people may argue is 10 times Bahubali’s budget, however I can’t help but see the glaring flaws if I were to measure it up with say a Gladiator made 15 years ago.

Add to that, the poor Hindi dubbing did more damage than good.

But I’m rambling. My point is I don’t have a problem with you loving the movie. But I do think it’s worthwhile trying to objectively appraise quality. Else the benchmarks we set ourselves might just be wanting.

Especially if we mistake popularity with high-quality. It’s possible for something to be popular yet fall short in quality. Gadar Ek Prem Katha & 50 Shades of Grey (book & movie), a lot many item songs, Chetan Bhagat novels, Saas Bahu serials, Newshour with Arnab, junk food as opposed to health food, action stars vis-à-vis better actors are some examples just to give you an idea of what I mean.

They may be more popular because of smart marketing or they strike a universal chord with many or simply may just be easier to access physically and intellectually.

Similarly there are enough instances of brilliant products, art, people going into oblivion. The G-spot obviously is when remarkable quality meets all-embracing popularity. Whether the twain meet or not, it may be worthwhile to acknowledge that popularity and quality are NO twins, monozygotic or dizygotic.

Only then will you be able to create something world class.

You are of course free to love a bad product/art or hate any good product/art. That’s your personal prerogative.

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