Few arts inspire and move us in ways like cinema does. Fewer still forge a relationship that’s intensely personal and yet universal.
Indian Cinema, now over a century old, is at the cusp of a big change. With the explosion of technology and mediums to make and showcase films, it is now throwing up talent, techniques and stories that we hadn’t seen before. This new-found democracy is also challenging us to engage with cinema in a way we hadn’t done before.
That is why, for the first time in India, independent, well-known, movie-loving film critics from across the country — from newspapers, TV channels, websites and radio — have come together formally to form the Film Critics Guild. This registered body aims to foster a better understanding of cinema by nurturing qualitative film criticism and putting in place exacting ethical standards for reviews across platforms.
India is the world’s largest producer of films, and in money terms, the industry will be worth $3.7 billion by 2020. And yet, in our movie-loving country, there isn’t a single independent, unbiased platform where the best of cinema from across the country can be rewarded.
The Film Critics Guild (FCG) will, over time, create a platform where the best Indian movies — short, feature and documentaries — can be honoured and celebrated. Needless to say, the standards will be high, and the independence fierce.
The Guild’s other priorities shall include representing the pan-Indian membership while lobbying for better interaction with studios and production houses, attending film festivals and conducting workshops.
The Film Critics Guild will be run by an elected managing committee. Currently, the committee is headed by Anupama Chopra and includes Rajeev Masand, Bharathi Pradhan, Bhawana Somaaya, Rohit Khilnani, Shubhra Gupta, Baradwaj Rangan, Suparna Sharma, Udita Jhunjhunwala, Suhani Singh and Rahul Desai.
“The Film Critics Guild aims to bring together Indian critics so that we can further the cause of criticism and help to raise standards. It’s very important for us to come together as a community, especially in the age of social media, when everyone has a platform to express opinions. What is it then that differentiates what we do? These are interesting and complicated times and we hope the FCG can help to provide clarity,” Anupama Chopra, Chairperson of the Guild said.
“With members who have been reputed critics for a variety of publications and outlets over the years, the Guild aims to map the direction and outline the relevance and responsibility of professional critics in a landscape where everyone In a climate where ‘everyone’s a critic’. The Film Critics Guild will serve as a reminder that solid, professional journalism is the bedrock of our craft and our discipline,” said Vice-Chairperson, Rajeev Masand.