OU Degree 5th Sem English Film Review, Book Review
Describe the process of writing a film review.
Film review, also known as movie review, is a journalistic review written for the general readers and is usually published in newspapers, magazines, or published in electronic mode, such as websites, blogs, etc. A good film review typically informs, describes, analyses, evaluates,- and advises.
Step – 1. It gives the readers an assessment of the view-worthiness of a film without giving away too much of its plot: Therefore,-writing film review is a process which requires a special skill to write a good review. The writing of film review involves the following steps:
Step – 2. Understand the genre to which the film belongs. Knowing the features of the genre helps us assess the success or failure of the film according to the criteria relevant to the genre. For instance, we cannot find fault with a fantasy film for not being realistic, nor can we complain about sentimentality in a melodrama.
Step – 3. Understand the purpose of a review. A film review is not merely a narration of the story or plot of the film. It is not entirely an expression of the reviewer’s own opinions. The primary purpose of a film review is to help the reader arrive at a fairly accurate estimate of the film’s nature, quality, and suitability.
Therefore, a good film review should strike a balance between information, inference, and interpretation. Understand the structure of a film review. Although reviewers bring their own character to the reviews they write, most film reviews follow a fairly well-defined structure.
Step 4 : Understand the target reader. Knowing who we are writing for and who is likely to read the review helps us choose the appropriate style and vocabulary. Depending on the target reader, the review can be written in a formal or informal style using vocabulary that is appropriate to that group.
Step 5 : Understand the medium. Although film reviews are generally associated with print media (newspapers and magazines), they have now spread to the electronic media and the cyberspace. Each media has its own style and requirements. Therefore, we have to customize our writing according the medium. What works in one medium may not work in another.
Explain the structure of a film review.
Film review, also known as movie review, is a journalistic review written for the general readers and is usually published in newspapers, magazines, or published in electronic mode, such as websites, blogs, etc. A good film review typically informs, describes, analyses, evaluates, and advises.
It gives the readers an assessment of the view-worthiness of a film without giving away too much of its plot. Therefore, writing film review is a process which requires a special skill to write a good review. Although there is no fixed format of a film review, the following structure would be useful.
The title of the review should be short, catchy and it may suggest the reviewer’s assessment of the film. For example,
‘Tubelight’ fails to light up
‘Tiger’ roars again
This is a summary line that highlights the most noteworthy or interesting feature of the film. The subhead is written below the headline and above the review and is typographically distinct from the rest of the review. For example,
A watchable routine drama with its share of moments.
A predictable storyline embellished with hilarious dialogues.
The first paragraph, also known as the ‘lead paragraph’ or the ‘lead’, is the most crucial one. It sets the tune for the rest of the review and makes the reader want to read further. It gives the reader the overview of the film. It also conveys the reviewer’s overall assessment of the film. The overview may also include the background information about the film, its context, and the criteria used for evaluation.
The second paragraph should give the outline of the story. The subsequent paragraphs make an evaluation of the film in detail; the assessment of the plot, comments on the lead role and other important characters, screenplay, music, lyrics, dialogues, scenery, cinematography, etc. Reviewers may also cite specific examples in support of their assessment of a poignant scene, a melodious song, a lewd dialogue, etc.
The conclusion will consist of two parts: a summary of the reviewer’s assessment and their advisory (a must-watch, watchable, ignore, etc.)
Example: Karthavyam – Exposes loopholes in the system
It is serious and thought provoking Release Date: March 16, 2018 Starring: Nayanthara, Ramachandran, Sunu Lakshmi Director: GopiNainar Producer: SharathMarar Music Director: Ghibran Editor: Ruben
Introduction: Lady Superstar, Nayanthara’s critically acclaimed Tamil film Aramm has been dubbed in Telugu as Karthavyam. Touted to be a social drama, the film has hit the screens today. Let’s see whether it impresses us or not.
Varshini (Nayanthara) is a sincere IAS officer who takes up the challenge of rescuing a four-year kid who falls into a bore well. In this process, Varshini also comes across some unnoticed and political issues which are causing problems in the rural areas where she is deployed. She decides to sort all these issues and the rest of the story is as to how she goes all out and saves the kid and also changes the system for good.
ii. Plus Points:
As expected, Nayanthara is a major plus to the film. She literally lived in her role of a sincere government official and acted with a lot of ease. Being a commercial heroine, Nayan should be appreciated for accepting this unique script which addresses a core issue. The film has a very realistic approach without any deviations.
The last ten minutes of the first half and interval episode are executed well. Especially, the pre-climax sequence and the rescue operation scenes are narrated on an intense note. All the family members, who were showcased as poor and backward citizens did a good job in their given crucial roles. The ending which hints us of a sequel with strong political content looks good.
iii. Minus Points:
Though the film is straight to the point and narrated on a convincing note, it lacks proper commercial elements which may not appeal to the regular audience. Those who expect some good entertainment and glamour from Nayanthara may get disappointed as the film runs on a serious note.
Nayanthara resigning from her reputed post at a crucial conflict point has not been addressed properly. If the director would have handled those episodes quite effectively, things w’ould have been a lot better.
iv. Technical Aspects:
Director GopiNainar shines in addressing a social issue and interlinking it with various burning problems in the rural areas. His intention and questioning the loopholes in the system will make us think for a while.
Music by Ghibran is apt for the film’s mood and his background score brings a lot of depth to proceedings. Production values for this limited budget film are good. Cinematography by Om Prakash is superb. As the core film happens in a remote village, he succeeded in bringing the rustic texture in every frame. Editing by Ruben is good as he kept the film’s run time short and crispy.
v. Conclusion : On the whole, Karthavyam addresses a burning issue in a very straight forward and gripping manner. Nayanthara’scommandable screen presence and director’s intention to expose loopholes in the system are impressive.
But the film clearly lacks the regular commercial elements and this might not go well with the regular entertainment-seeking audience. For all those who like films which are serious and thought provoking, this film is surely worth a watch this weekend for its unique storyline. Rating: 3/5.
Write a review of a film you have enjoyed watching.
Baahubaii 2 – Salute to Rajamouli
It is a visual treat to the film lovers Release Date: April 28, 2017 Rating: 4/5
Director: S. S. Rajamouli
Producer: ShobuYarlagadda, Prasad Devineni Music Director: M. M. Keeravani
Starring: Prabhas, Anushka Shetty, Rana Daggubati, Tamannaah
Off late, where ever you go, there is only topic and that is how Baahubali 2 is going to be. Directed by the genius Rajamouli, the magnum opus has released in over 8000 screens all over today. Let’s see whether the film reaches our expectations or not.
As shown in the first part, Baahubali (Prabhas) is declared as the king of Mahishmati. As part of the kingdom’s ancestral ritual, the would-be king needs to visit the countryside to know what problems the people in his kingdom are facing. In this process, Baahubali visits a small kingdom called Kuntala and falls in love with its princess Devasena (Anushka).
He woos Devasena with his charm and brings her to Mahishmati. But to his shock, Baahubali’s mother, Shivagami (Ramya Krishna) changes her decision suddenly and announces Bhallaladeva (Rana^as the king. Why did Shivagami suddenly announce Bhallaladeva as the king? What is the back story behind her decision? and why did Kattappa kill Baahubali? To know answers to these questions, you need to watch the film on the big screen.
iii. Plus Points:
There are way too many things that impress you in Baahubali 2 but it is practically impossible to pen all of them down in this review. Let me start by talking about the gigantic scale of the film. It is like a never before and never again kind of scenario as Baahubali 2 is huge in every aspect. Every visual of the film is filled with surprises either in terms of graphics or the extravagant sets that have been put up. The costumes, drama showcased and performances are a first of its kind in Telugu films.
Credit should go to Rajamouli for taking Indian films to another level with his mind blowing story telling. The way he has induced a terrific conflict between the two brothers is the major asset of the film. Prabhas unleashes his beastly side in the second part and takes away your senses with his striking performance. From the first scene, his screen presence is top notch and the way he takes Bhallaladeva head on is just terrific.
A lot was said about Anushka’s weight but boy she looks top class in this film. Right from her traditional costumes to her mature look, she has pulled off both the roles with ease. She looks slim and quite beautiful throughout the film. Coming to Rana, it would not be exaggerating to say that Rana will never get such a magnanimous role in the future. What makes the film even more fiery and ghastly is his fabulous villainous avatar. No other actor apart from him could have played this role of a lifetime and Rana has done full justice to it.
Nassar and Satyaraj are excellent in their roles and especially Nasser, is the major highlight among the supporting cast. Ramya Krishna showcases superb emotions and brings a lot of depth to the film. The family emotions are yet another highlight of the film as they elevate the proceedings with a lot of depth. The fistfight between Rana and’ Prabhas is a feast to the eye.
iv. Minus Points:
A number of audiences might get disappointed with the way Rajamouli has answered why Katappa killed Baahubali. Even though, the twist gels well with the script, it might not meet the expectations of many. Once the twist is revealed, the film becomes a bit predictable.
The climax looks a bit rushed upon as things happen way too quickly. Tamanna is hardly seen in the film and only appears during the climax. There are certain areas in the film where pace gets slow and some unforced drama overtakes the proceedings. The romance between Prabhas and Anushka could have been edited out a bit to make things better.
v. Technical Aspects:
Baahubali 2 is one of the most technically efficient films made in India. If part one surprised you with its scale, then second part will leave you speechless with excellent visual effects and emotions. The kingdoms shown and sets created look top-notch on screen. The entire team of Makuta should be appreciated for taking the film to another level with their VFX work.
What takes Baahubali to its peak is the stunning background score of M.M. Keeravani. Even though his songs are not that effective as the first part, the way he elevates the proceedings with his score is impressive. Dialogues are decent and so were the lyrics. Costumes done for every character look top class. The weaponry created and props used look quite lethal. Coming to the director Rajamouli, he has surely done India and the film fraternity proud with Baahubali.
He has dreamt of something out of the box and has also succeeded in bringing life to India’s biggest motion picture. The way he has continued the story in the second part and made the drama even more intense is superb. There is more depth in the proceedings and every character has been given complete justification.
Every frame of Baahubali is his creation and you can’t but salute to the genius of this filmmaker who will be the next big thing in Indian cinema. At times, you just wonder how did he perceive all this in his mind and execute it in such a convincing manner. Technicians like him are rare and Telugu folks should be proud that our own director has gone ahead and proved that nothing is impossible.
On the whole, Baahubali 2 is one film which leaves you speechless. Right from the word go, it has intense drama and action as every frame in the film is a visual wonder. Be it the heroic fights or the lavish war scenes, Rajamouli showcases some never before scenes in Indian film history. This film will be remembered and spoken about for years to come and break every possible record in the country.
The performances, drama and the lavish scale look jaw dropping and make this film a never before experience for every movie lover. Finally, just ignore the simple story line and do yourself a favour by faking your entire family to watch this magnum opus called Baahubali as wonders like these only happen very rarely. Rating: 4/5 ****
Write a review of a film you did not enjoy watching.
Review: MLA – Politics mixed with some fun
It is a typical mass masala movie with not much attraction Release Date: March 23, 2018 Starring: Kalyan Ram, Kajal Aggarwal Director: Upendra Madhav Producer: Kiran Reddy Music Director: Mani Sharma Editor: Tammi Raju
Out of the two films, Kalyan Ram is doing, a typical commercial entertainer called MLA has hit the screens today. Let’s see how it is.
Kalyan (Kalyan Ram) is a happy-go-lucky youth who falls in love with Indu (Kajal). He proposes to her but Indu rejects him and sets off to her village. Kalyan follows her and requests Indu’s family for her hand. This is the time when Indu’s dad (Jaya Prakash Reddy) throws a challenge at Kalyan and asks him to become an MLA and then marry his daughter. Why did Indu’s dad ask Kalyan to become an MLA? Will Kalyan take up the challenge? And how does he become an MLA is the whole story of the Film.
iii. Plus Points
Kalyan Ram is perfect in the central character of MLA. He looks quite handsome and fit in his new look and carries his role sincerely. Kalyan Ram has improved a lot with his performance and mouthed all the mass dialogues with ease. All his confrontation scenes with Ravi Kishen have been executed well.
Kajal looks lovely as always and the whole story revolves around her.
Performance wise, she has nothing much to do but Kajal does her best in whatever she gets. Posani generates a few laughs here and there. The interval bang has been highlighted quite well and ends the first half on an interesting note. Certain emotions regarding the kids in the second half have been executed well.
iv. Minus Points
MLA is yet another routine commercial drama which has nothing new to offer. The same old storyline, hero challenging the villain and helping the village people have been showcased in many films to date. The story of the film only kick starts during the interval point and till then the proceedings that are showcased are just below average. The way Kalyan Ram and his gang cheat Ajay looks a bit silly. More romance should have been added between Kajal and Kalyan Ram to make things better.
v. Technical Aspects
Production values of the film are pretty decent as the village set up and mass elements have been showcased well. Mani Sharma’s music is good as all the songs have been also shot well. The camerawork is top notch and so was the background score which elevated the mass scenes quite well. Editing is decent and so was the production design.
Coming to the director Upendra, he has done just an okay job with the film. He chooses a simple story and narrates it in an okayish manner. The only problem with his direction is that he has showcased the same old stuff which we have seen in many movies. The difference here is the energetic performance of Kalyan Ram.
On the whole, MLA is a routine commercial entertainer with some good moments here and there. The confrontation scenes between Kalyan Ram and Ravi Kishan and some decent emotions are major assets. There is nothing new that this film showcases and all those who do not mind this factor and want to watch a typical mass masala movie, this film is for them. Others can look out for better options. Rating: 3/5 ***.
Explain the difference between a book report and a book review?
A book review is a balanced assessment of a book. It offers a brief description of the book’s key points and provides an evaluation of its strengths and weaknesses. A book review should not be confused with book reports. Book reports are short descriptions of books.
They summarize and explain the content of a book- its theme, plot, characters, and so on and give a personal opinion-whether they like it or not. Book reviews, on the other hand, are relatively longer. They analyze a book and give a reasoned argument about the strengths and weaknesses of a book. Book reviews provide the following:
- Basic information about the book-about its title, its author, publisher, number of pages it contains, its price, etc.
- A preview of the book-what it is about, what it is like, how it works, etc.
- The reviewer’s response-whether or not the reviewer enjoyed it and for what reason.
- The reviewer’s advice-whether the book is worth the time, efforts, and money the reader is likely to spend on it.
Describe the process of writing a book review.
A book review is a balanced assessment of a book. It offers a brief description of the book’s key points and provides an evaluation of its strengths and weaknesses. Book reviews, are longer in length. They analyze a book and give a reasoned argument about the strengths and weaknesses of a book. Writing a book review is a process which requires constant practice to master. A book review could be written in four distinct steps:
Step 1: Before reading the book
Before you begin to read the book, think of the elements that could go into your review. For example, try to find out the answers for the following questions:
- What is the title of the book? What meaning does it convey to you?
- Who is the author and what else has she/he written?
- What does the author usually write about? Politics, religion, social issues, etc.
- What kind of a book is it? Is it a work of imagination or of practical utility?
- What is the structure of the book? Is it divided into chapters? Do chapters have titles? Is there a preface, introduction, disclaimers, postface, appendix, etc.
- What is the physical quality of the book? Its appearance, size, bulk, print, quality, etc.
Step 2: While Reading the Book
As you read the book, think of the components of the book which you want to focus in your proposed review. Generally, every book consists of two broad components: content and form. The answer to the question ‘what is the book about?’ is content, and the answer to the question ‘how is it done?’ is form. Content of the book can be divided into the following:
Theme: Theme is the abstract idea that a book explores-freedom, slavery, friendship, beauty, etc. It generally remains unstated and has to be inferred.
Subject: Subject is the concrete manifestation of the abstract idea. For example, to convey the abstract idea of nature’s beauty, the writer may write about flowers or rainbow, or the writer may write about a caged bird to convey the idea of slavery.
Similarly, form is abroad category, and it includes everything that a writer uses to transmit the content: language, style, narrative technique, point of view, setting, symbolism, imagery, and so on. Besides, the review writer uses the following means to convey the idea behind the text:
- The main theme or chief argument of the book
- The substantiation of the argument with proof or evidence
- The important characters or events in the book
- The language and style of the author
- The tone and mood of the book-humorous, polemical, genial, informal, etc.
- Any special feature of the book-illustrations, references to other sources of information
Step 3: As you write
After reading the book and forming an opinion about it, get down to writing about it. Go back to the notes you have made while reading the book and write the first draft of the review when the book is still fresh in your mind.
a. Begin with a short summary of the book without going into details of the book. In the same paragraph, try and contextualize (not evaluate) the book-by referring to other books of author or books by other writers on the subject.
b. After the first paragraph, which introduces the main plot or chief argument of the book, provide further details of the book-how the plot progresses, who the main characters are, how the argument is developed, what the supporting arguments are, etc.
c. After information about the book and discussion, provide your evaluation. Remember that purpose of the review is to give not merely a summary of the book, but also a critical evaluation. If the review is meant for a general readership, description and discussion may be given more space than evaluation. If the review is intended for a specialist readership, evaluation may be given preference over description.
Step 4: After you write
While you should write the first draft of the review as soon as you have read the book and formed an opinion about it, it is advisable to not send the review for publication immediately after writing it.
You should reread your review, preferably after a time gap, and see if you still want to say the same things about the book and in the same manner. While revising and finalizing the review, you should recheck the following:
- Spelling, particularly of the title, names of the people and places, punctuation and grammar.
- Factual information about the book, publisher, year of publication, etc.
- Accuracy of your quotations from the book
- Logic of your argument based on the evidence from the book or on the basis of your assumptions, opinions, and impressions.
- Check whether language used is clear or opaque; the style straightforward or convoluted; and the tone cordial or prejudicial. Revision is not a waste of time, but is as important, if not more, as the writing itself. Revision helps you moderate some of the strong impressions you had earlier and thereby makes it more impartial and professional.
Explain the. structure of a book review.
A book review is a balanced assessment of a book. It offers a brief description of the book’s key points and provides an evaluation of its strengths and weaknesses. Book reviews are long in length. They analyze a book and give a reasoned argument about the strengths and weaknesses of a book. Though there is no fixed blueprint or structure for writing review of a book. However, writing book review may broadly follow the following structure:
a. Headline/Title: The title of the review should be short and may suggest the reviewer’s assessment of the book. For example,
- Shashi Tharoor’s Inglorious Empire: Atonement of the British
- Chetan Bhagat’s Half Girlfriend: Old wine in an Old Bottle
- Ramachandra Guha’s Makers of Modem India: Conformity as history
b. Opening Statement: A strong introduction is crucial to the success of a review. The lead paragraph should grab the attention of the readers and make them read the rest of the review. It should provide basic information about the book-title, author, publication details, genre, etc.; a short synopsis of the book; and the reviewer’s overall impression of it.
c. Discussion: Paragraphs following the lead, discuss the book further. The discussion may be spread over two to three paragraphs which form the body of the review. The discussion should cover the important aspects of book-central theme, supporting evidence, style of writing, etc. Relevant passages may be quoted to illustrate the points being made.
d. Assessment: Evaluation of the book should be based on its merits and demerits and not on personal opinions. Praise or criticism of the book should be substantiated by evidence from the book. While unsupported praise is unconvincing, unsupported criticism betrays professionalism and is prejudice. While assessing a book, it is important to remember that the review is of the book that the author has written and not the book the reviewer wishes the author had written.
e. Conclusion: The final paragraph is as important as the lead paragraph. Readers are likely to remember and be influenced by the reviewer’s comments in the last paragraph. The concluding paragraph contains the reviewer’s final comments on the success or failure.
Write a review of a book of fiction (i.e., a book with a story).
Bibliography : The Blue Umbrella Author : Ruskin Bond
Publication : Rupa Cover Art : Prasun Mazumdar
It was a Saturday noon when I and my son sat together after lunch. We were discussing the past week’s events at his school. Meanwhile, he insisted on reading a book as it’s been a long time, we read anything. And here is our review of the blue umbrella by Ruskin Bond.
The blue umbrella is a children’s novella written by the legendary author Ruskin Bond. The fiction story is set in the hill village of Garhwal. The story revolves around the heroic acts of ordinary characters. A short entertaining story about the ordinary life of people in hills. It’s a reader’s delight to read, how a simple urban stylish blue umbrella makes its owner popular and envied among others in the village.
A little girl Binya, loves herding her cows in the Himalayas. While roaming in the hills, she saw a beautiful blue umbrella. The umbrella belonged to some tourists. Binya was desperate to get the beautiful umbrella. She exchanged her lucky charm pendant for an umbrella. Her proud ownership of the attractive umbrella caused her to earn the jealousy of some villagers.
Especially of the shopkeeper Ram Bharosa who wanted to own the best umbrella in the village by hook or crook. The story is engaging and interesting. No, I am not going to reveal if the shopkeeper was able to get the umbrella or not. Read the book and find about it yourself. Let kids enjoy reading fiction.
Binya is the main character of the story. She is a simple mountain girl with fair skin. She loved going out with cows. She is brave and kind. The other characters are Vijay (Binya’s brother), Ram Bharosa (the shopkeeper), tourists and a little boy. All the characters have their own quality of being shrewd, kind, clever, and brave. There is also a character who does the wrong action of stealing. And kids, you should not do such actions ever in life.
iv. My Favourite:
I liked the simple writing style of the author. The beautiful village life of Binya roaming in the hillside.Her acts of bravery, kindness and her fondness for the umbrella. The kids tackling the daily chores and helping their mother. The dramatic scenarios and beautification of Garhwal Hills are all well-crafted. Children will learn to be kind, and empathetic with this fiction work.
A good read for youngsters in the age group 8 to 10. Though it is only a one time read, yet a good option to engage your kids. The sketch illustrations are not very appealing to children.
Write a review of a book of non-fiction (i.e., a book with an argument).
Title of Review of the Book: Playing It My Way: Inspiring Autobiography Title and Author: Playing It My Way and Bona Mujumdar and Sachin Tendulkar Pages: 486 Price: Rs. 899
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Rating: 3/5 Lead Paragraph
When it was first announced that Sachin Tendulkar was writing an autobiography, the initial feeling was of euphoria. Who would not like to get personal insights from the most popular Indian cricketer ever? Sachin Tendulkar is not merely a person or player: he has become an icon, even an institution. A peek into the heart and mind of such an institution is always a hugely welcome proposition.
However, on second thoughts, the conscientious cricket fan would have realized that the autobiography could not be expected to shake the foundations of world cricket. Tendulkar, who was a reticent man during his career both on and off the pitch, preferring to duck controversy rather than confront it, could not be expected to suddenly throw caution to the winds-. This would not be an image-altering exercise in exposes.
Synopsis of the Book:
This impression was sought to be challenged by the PR exercises Tendulkar and his team carried out before the release of the book. They kept feeding interesting tidbits about the book to the media. Greg Chappell circa 2007 still had the potential to create controversy, and it did. There was a rallying cry from India’s seniors, now happily retired but once hugely disgruntled with Chappell. There were photo ops, television appearances and posturing.
Anyone who has read the book now would know that most of the juicy bits had already been told before the book released. After the storm was over, what we received was rather dull weather. In the form of a mediocre, run-of-the-mill narrative of Tendulkar’s career which is exactly how ‘Playing It My Way’ can be described in stark terms. It would be fitting to describe the book as a chronological recollection of Tendulkar’s career rather than an insight into the genius of Sachin Tendulkar. For a hardcore Indian cricket fan, there is not much to savour.
Details of the Plot:
Every cricket fanatic in India for example, knows that Tendulkar made his debut against a hostile Pakistan attack in 1989. Most also know that he was struck on the mouth by a Waqar delivery in one of the Tests that followed, bled profusely and continued to bat on.
But these pieces of information would at least be of interest to a casual fan, or a very young fan who has fed off the Dhonis and Rainas of the world. It’s the even more mundane bits which challenge a cricket fan’s intelligence. For at the book’s core is a tepid description of the events of every important match and series in Tendulkar’s career.
That kind of information could easily be obtained online. Few really want to be reminded for example, that Tendulkar scored a hundred on a minefield in Perth in 1992. They already know that. The book does not attempt to scratch beneath the surface to reveal the mental and psychological aspects of that great innings, or of most other innings.
Consequently, there is little in the book that could spark fan interest. One aspect of an interesting sports autobiography is the politics behind the scenes, or behind the curtains of power. We get none of this in the book. The 1990s were tumultuous times for Indian cricket off the pitch, and so were the early 2000s.
But Playing It My Way does not even attempt to venture close.Another aspect of a good sports autobiography is an insight into the workings of an art. In the case of Tendulkar, this means insights into the science of batting. While the master batsman does give us some information in this regard, it never becomes the focal point of any chapter.
Nor do we get much in the way of captain-coach relationships, captain-team mate relationships, board-captain relationships, or any kind of cricketing relationships at all. Sachin only consents to blow the cover off his secretive relationship in the early 1990s with his eventual wife Anjali.
The chapter, titled ‘Anjali’, becomes the best chapter of the book simply because Indians love romantic tales (though it has to be conceded that Sachin-Anjali was one of the more interesting romantic stories). This says a lot about the quality of the book itself – if romance is the best part of a megastar sportsman’s autobiography, the manuscript cannot be held in high regard.
Some autobiographies flop because fan expectations are too high. Some flop despite being full of spicy controversies. Tendulkar’s book has outsold most others in India already and yet it a major let down, simply because the author did not TRY to make it insightful which is extremely unfortunate. Eventually, you get the feeling that Tendulkar holds himself back nearly as much in’ his autobiography as he did during his high-profile, extremely successful cricketing career.
SRT merely feeds the fans with things they would like to discuss, and that too without scraping the surface much. Between the chronological drivel, the sub-headings merely speak about issues widely discussed and debated by media and fans. The book is not so much a revelation of Sachin Tendulkar the man as it as an attempt to give the casual fan a reason to discuss Tendulkar’s career.
Nor can it be said that the book is a masterpiece in linguistic expression. The language is plain, even cliched at times. One also gets the impression that the book was written with haste, for there are several statistical inaccuracies.
But the sad truth is that good autobiographies can never be written with haste, for an autobiography is meant to be a revelation of the person behind the image. Another disappointing aspect of Playing It My Way is the lack of first-person insights. Events are described almost dispassionately, like an observer in third person. There is also no attempt to bring in diverse perspectives on any single subject, to make the ardent fan think.
Why then, was this autobiography written? It ends up being a brilliant opportunity that has been superbly wasted. There can be no argument that Tendulkar needed the limelight – he still has it more than some of the players in the current Indian team. Nor is he a struggling ex-cricketer looking to improve his finances, and he is unlikely to ever go down that path. Without the spice of controversy, the force of cricketing intellect or eloquence of language, Playing It My Way is just another ordinary book.
There are a few positives though. Despite the mundaneness, an unbiased fan would come to appreciate and respect Tendulkar the cricketer after reading Playing It My Way. It is simply amazing that a man could play cricket at near-peak level for over a decade while in constant pain. The book succeeds in bringing out the passion for cricket that the master batsman possessed.
It also nullifies half-baked theories that Tendulkar, unlike Dravid, Laxman or Kumble, relied more on genius than on hard work to achieve success. Incredibly, one can say that Tendulkar’s performance over the second half of his career remained underappreciated because we knew little of his physical and mental struggles.
In conclusion, the book succeeds in elevating Tendulkar the batsman, but fails in revealing Tendulkar the person. It is a decent one-time read but would never rank anywhere amongst the greatest sporting autobiographies ever written.