Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu

I often wonder about star/numerical ratings for films. How does a film earn, say, 3 stars out of four? Is there a sort of formula employed by those who give out these ratings, or is it a quantified version of what is essentially a qualitative reaction? Is there an objective way of doing this?

Here’s a potential algorithm: Start off with a baseline score. Anything the movie does right, it gets plus points. Anything the movie does wrong, it gets minus points. Add them to the baseline and you get your final score. This could be above or below the baseline, depending on whether the movie got more things right than wrong, or vice versa.

According to this algorithm, EMAET would end up with a baseline score. Not because the pluses and minuses even out, but because the film does nothing right or wrong. It has about as much edge as a perfect sphere and about as much personality as a dead bacterium.

If I try really hard, I guess I can come up with a few things to say. On the plus side, there’s this well-observed dinner scene late in the movie where the hero essentially blows up at his parents. The ending seems sensible. On the minus side, the lead character gets totally drunk for no reason other than that the plot needs him to do that and get married in Vegas, the world capital of Marrying While Intoxicated. Okay, that’s it.

Why did they make this movie at all? Even the cast doesn’t seem to care. When Kareena Kapoor screams in one scene, she sounds so tentative, it’s like she’s just pantomiming a screaming action in a silent movie. Her character is written as a version of Geet, the one she played in Jab We Met. Except, this one is played as if Geet fell into a vat of valium as a baby. Imran Khan has an excuse — his character is a milquetoast to begin with, so he can just claim to be faithful to the script. Not that this helps.

There is an exchange late in the film where the heroine describes the hero as being perfectly average. Having had to deal with his parents’ extraordinary expectations of him all his life, he sees this as the nicest thing anyone has ever said to him. Now, I could say the same thing about the movie. It is perfectly average, with no hope of anything on the variance front. But to paraphrase Hans Landa, where our conclusions differ is that I do not consider this a compliment.

 

7 thoughts on “Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu

  1. veracious says:

    Of course there’s no objective way to give a film a score, but I do wonder about it myself.. I only rate films with numbers on IMDb because it’s a way of keeping track of everything I’ve watched, but their 1-10 rating means I normally don’t give any film 1-5 unless the film is incredibly awful. Normally even a film I don’t care for at all gets a 5 or a 6 – so I don’t attach that much importance to film ratings on IMDb. Some people over there every film a 10 or a 1, like there are no in-betweens.

    The baseline thing is interesting, but it obviously also depends on expectations. If you start watching a film you expect to be good, but isn’t, are you seeing more things it gets wrong? And vice versa – a film you expect nothing out of gets something right?

    But you’ve inspired me – I think the next film I’m going to watch, I’ll start with a baseline score of 5 (as it’s that average film score for me on IMDb) and if it gets things right, I’ll mark points in its favour and deduct points for things it gets wrong.

  2. “Why did they make this movie at all? Even the cast doesn’t seem to care. When Kareena Kapoor screams in one scene, she sounds so tentative, it’s like she’s just pantomiming a screaming action in a silent movie”. Bang on. At that point I decided it was a pointless movie made with typical Bollywood incompetence.

  3. Quite spot on though if I had written I think I’d have been far more charitable. It was harmless alright, with some nice moments here and there thrown in. Also, I liked the way it ended. A bit cheesy and un-grown up like it might be, but then it didn’t have the imagination to make it a JTYJN.

  4. There is no perfect way to rate stuff but I prefer an imperfect rating to none. I interpret Masand’s rating differently than Taran Adarsh’s and “get” their score. Saves me time when I don’t want to read the entire review. I’ve given thought to this topic myself and came up with a formula to rate songs on my blog – http://www.mavrix.in/2011/12/the-formula-to-rate-music/. Some examples – http://www.mavrix.in/2011/12/the-formula-to-rate-music-some-examples/.

  5. Okay, I should probably clarify here: I came up with that rating algorithm on the fly, just as a way of backing into my assessment of EMAET. But if you do decide to adopt this method, I’ll let you know where to mail my royalty cheques :-D

    Veracious>> I wonder if there’s a biased sampling issue with imdb ratings. Would people bother to rate movies they consider average? Wouldn’t most entries be from people who either loved or hated the movie enough to bother?

    Fatema>> Pointless just about describes it.

    Gradwolf>> Had I not watched this one on a Sunday morning while recovering from jet lag, it is entirely likely that I would’ve been a bit more charitable myself. The ending was nice, I agree. It was all the more plausible given their chemistry — a “romantic” ending would’ve felt false, so I suppose the makers ought to get some brownie points for that.

    Param>> Personally, I don’t believe much in star ratings. Having said that, I do admit they’re useful as a sort of shorthand — for instance, if Roger Ebert gives a movie a very high/low star rating, I’ll mark that review as a must-read. He’s usually very eloquent about the movies he loves, and awesomely nasty about the ones he loathes, so it makes for good reading.

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