Tamil producers ask for 3-day delay on film reviews, reviewers ask how

The Tamil Film Producers Council had on Sunday come out with a request to film critics and social media influencers, asking them not to post their reviews on social media for at least three days after the release of a film.
Audience in a theatre
Audience in a theatre
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A few days ago, on Sunday, September 18, the Tamil Film Producers Council (TFPC) came out with a rather strange request to film critics and social media influencers, asking them not to post their reviews on social media for at least three days after the release of a Tamil film. According to the council, the decision was taken after noting that negative online reviews were damaging the films’ collections. Understandably, the guideline has not gone well with the reviewers, many of whom feel that this is an infringement on one's freedom of expression.

“I don't see why anyone should be restricted from sharing their views/reviews after watching a film on the release day. How is such a 'review ban' going to be enforced anyway? This feels like an infringement on a person's freedom to express themselves,” says Sudhir Srinivasan, film critic and entertainment editor at The New Indian Express. Having said that, he also thinks reviews must follow basic decorum, and must not be created with the aim of killing the film experience, Sudhir points out to TNM. “When I write reviews, for instance, I am careful to speak about my own experience and analysis of a film, with the understanding that someone else could feel differently about it. The need of the hour is for all parties to be considerate and empathetic to each other,” he adds.

Kavitha Muralidharan, a film critic and an independent journalist, points out that in the age of social media, it would be really difficult to ask a Twitter user not to post their opinion on a film they just watched. “They can ask people not to put out spoilers for a film, but it is unreasonable to tell people not to put their reviews on social media,” she says.

Meanwhile, the TFPC is yet to provide clarity on whether this ‘request’ applied to all reviewers across print and electronic media, or to social media influencers alone. When TNM talked to members of the council, there seemed to be differing opinions on the same.

According to C Kalyan, a noted Tollywood producer and member of the TFPC, all reviewers and film critics will be asked to refrain from posting their reviews on social media immediately after a film’s release. “This would be officially announced in an official press conference in upcoming days,” said Kalyan, who is also the president of the Telugu Film Producers Council. RK Suresh, Vice President of the TFPC, also confirmed that the guideline applied to all reviewers.

However, TFPC General Secretary R Radhakrishnan is of the opinion that the council was only talking about social media influencers, and not print or electronic media. “Many people who claim to be reviewers are coming to the theatres and sharing the movie, shot by shot, frame by frame on social media on the release day itself. In the case of big releases, this is even more frequent. This is damaging the collection of the movie. Hence, we are requesting them to refrain from posting anything on social media for at least three days, so that producers would not go into losses,” he said.

Radhakrishnan also pointed out that they were not restricting any social media influencer from coming to the theatre to watch the movie, but only urging them not to post about it. “The press screeners would continue, and print and electronic media reviews can be put up on the release day as usual,” he added.

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