Today I read totally diverse reviews from two different friends, on the very same movie, on Facebook. This is nothing new. You see the same thing happening with books, places… even people. Years back I looked up in surprise when I heard someone describe a woman derisively as an ‘I-me-my story-teller’. True, she figured in most of her own stories, but they were narrated so hilariously that I could listen to her all day. It came as a surprise to me that day that there were those who thought differently.
But this post is not about opinions regarding people, but more about taste in books and particularly about the diverse opinions when it comes to movies. If you search the net you will find raving reviews about Chitra Divakaruni’s The Palace of Illusions (a personal favorite of mine) and also those tearing it apart. A friend had given five stars to Anand Neelakantan’s book Asura: Tale Of The Vanquished, but interesting premise of the story notwithstanding, I found it long drawn out and boring, and not worthy of even three stars. Tastes differ.
Some years back, I happened to hear my nephew describe a movie as ‘utterly boring’ and ‘a total waste of time’. Since I had heard raving reviews from some others about the very same movie, I was curious. Would I like the movie or not? I wondered. To find out, I asked him, “Tell me the name of some other movies you really liked.” He gave me the names of some of his favorites and I found we had some common ground.
This is something I often do, to try and get a picture of the other person’s likes and dislikes and see if it coincides with mine. If we seem to have more common likes, then I decide that I can take a chance on the person’s opinion and go for it. If not, well, then too I can take a chance if I want to. It is all up to me in the end either way. This is just an exercise in curiosity with no sinister motive whatsoever.
So imagine my surprise when I asked a simple, ‘What are some of your other favorite movies?’ to a person (on Facebook) who had expressed a liking for a particular one, and had them turn on me in annoyance. Friends and relatives immediately closed ranks around the person. Who did I think I was questioning the excellent taste of their beloved so-and-so? To say I was shocked by this unwarranted response is an understatement. My submission that it was just an idle curiosity, with no ulterior motive of undermining the person’s tastes found no takers. So that was that. Curiosity had actually killed that day, though what died was not a cat.
©Shail Mohan 2018