2002-2004, Friday mornings, 11am types.
Frantic looks from watch to the professor; professor to watch. Class finishes; ask your non-interested geek friends to carry your books to hostel. Go (rush!) to the movie theatre, buy the tickets in black (obviously!); watch the movie; love it or hate it, dissect it. Simply every person in the audience donned their role of serious reviewer VERY seriously. Afterall we had to get the paisa vasool for the grades we had to miss for watching these movies 1st day 1st show!
After getting our share of enough bad movies, we changed our strategy, We simply started going to movies for 1st day 2nd show (the night show). But to help us carry us through the trauma, we simply depended on our good friendly neighborhood reviewer who would be the very first one to review the movies and by afternoon we were mentally prepared with our expectations. We have our own reviewer Jeevi who did scathing reviews of telugu movies.
The scathing reviews are still there but then he has mellowed down quite a bit. Reviewers are no longer passionate film reviewers. He is now no longer the guy who does scathing reviews. If its a huge star’s movie, it gets 3.5 no matter how many Zandu Balms and Asprins we had to use to get over the trauma. And a really good small budget movie would get 3.25 however hard it tried.
And now in 2006, we have officially sounded the death knell for sincere reviewing. For a really pathetic reason for a movie[read Sainikudu], an otherwise serious wisecracking reviewer[read Jeevi] had inexplicably chosen altogether not to review the movie(!). And of course who can forget the Rediff reviews where its now a official norm; every big movie gets two reviews: one bad and one good. Safe play!