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  • Writer's pictureSajeev Varghese

Exposing the Truth about Bollywood’s Film Review Manipulation


Bollywood is fraying at the edges, with each release from mega production houses in Mumbai drawing intense anticipation, scrutiny, and criticism from Indian audiences. In this deep dive, we expose how Bollywood manipulates the perception of its products. Case in point: "Jug Jugg Jeeyo," the 2022 offering from Karan Johar's Dharma Productions. Promising a blend of family drama, humor, and emotional depth, this film was heralded as Bollywood's hopeful return post-COVID lockdowns. However, the execution fell woefully short, meriting no more than 2 out of 10 stars in our book. Directed by a “seasoned” hand and featuring a “star”-studded cast, the film aimed to capture hearts with its narrative about love, resilience, and familial bonds but ended up exposing the superficiality of the filmmakers' worldview. As we dissect its storytelling elements, critical questions arise about its success in delivering a compelling cinematic experience. We approached this film with keen anticipation, hoping for a blend of emotional engagement, narrative depth, and cinematic finesse. However, what unfolded on screen left us profoundly disappointed. From its storyline to its execution, "Jug Jugg Jeeyo" struggles to resonate on meaningful levels, failing to deliver the compelling storytelling and impactful cinema that Indian audiences have come to expect and crave based on the Golden Era of Indian cinema from the 1970s and 1980s.



Taran Adarsh, a well-known trade analyst in Bollywood, praised "Jug Jugg Jeeyo" as a "WINNER" and awarded it a generous 4 out of 5 stars in his review on Bollywood Hungama. His glowing assessment stands in stark contrast to the mixed-to-negative reception the film has received from audiences and other real critics. Adarsh's endorsement, which emphasizes the film's blend of drama, humor, and emotional storytelling, seems out of sync with the more critical analyses that highlight its lack of narrative depth and overreliance on spectacle. This discrepancy raises questions about the integrity of his review, fueling speculation that he might be among the cadre of paid critics in Bollywood who provide favorable reviews for financial gain. Such practices undermine the credibility of film criticism and mislead audiences seeking genuine insights into cinematic offerings.




The performances in "Jug Jugg Jeeyo" have been hailed as exceptional by some Bollywood critics, with accolades lavished on Varun Dhawan, Kiara Advani, Anil Kapoor, and others. Critics have praised Varun Dhawan for his precision and dramatic confrontations, Kiara Advani for her beauty and temperamental outbursts, Anil Kapoor for his veteran's balance, and Neetu Kapoor for her brilliance after a long hiatus. Maniesh Paul's comic timing and Prajakta Koli's natural charm were also highlighted, along with Tisca Chopra's delightful cameo. They even claimed 9.1 stars out of 10 on the IMDB Ratings. LOL!




However, this glowing praise starkly contrasts with the audience's perception and our detailed analysis. In "Jug Jugg Jeeyo," the acting is often subpar, with actors delivering comically exaggerated performances that fail to convincingly embody their characters. They appear more like caricatures, resorting to melodrama rather than delivering nuanced portrayals. This disparity between critic reviews and audience reactions raises questions about the credibility of Bollywood film criticism, suggesting that accolades might be influenced by factors other than genuine appreciation of the craft.



The story in "Jug Jugg Jeeyo" is flimsy, and the storytelling craft in its script development leaves much to be desired. It is just the typical on-the-nose storytelling with barely any foreshadowing, setups/payoff, or subtext. Dialogue is our typical Bollywood drab. Director Raj Mehta's execution is far from seamless or top-notch. Yet, Bollywood critics and industry insiders often lavish praise on such productions, raising questions about their understanding and assessment of true storytelling craft. This leaves audiences with a disappointing cinematic experience that is neither believable, engaging, compelling, relevant, nor meaningful.









Analyzing the IMDb ratings of "Jug Jugg Jeeyo" reveals significant deviations from the expected Gaussian Normal Distribution Bell Curve, suggesting a potential manipulation of ratings rather than a natural reflection of viewer opinions. It’s essential for viewers and stakeholders to approach such ratings with caution and consider additional sources and reviews to form a balanced perspective on the movie’s real quality. Here’s a breakdown of the issues:


  1. Extreme Ratings Distribution: In a Gaussian distribution, ratings typically cluster around the mean (average rating) with fewer ratings at the extremes (1/10 or 10/10). However, "Jug Jugg Jeeyo" shows a significant number of ratings at both extremes, meaning a large proportion of viewers either rated it extremely low (1/10) or extremely high (10/10).

  2. Possible Manipulation: This pattern raises concerns about potential manipulation of IMDb ratings. When a movie receives a high number of 1/10 ratings alongside 10/10 ratings, it suggests that the rating distribution might be artificially skewed. Such patterns can sometimes indicate concerted efforts by groups or individuals to either boost or lower a movie’s rating, often without genuine viewer feedback reflecting the actual quality of the film.

  3. Impact on Perception: For potential viewers and industry professionals relying on IMDb ratings, this skewed distribution can distort perceptions of the movie’s quality. It becomes challenging to gauge its true reception and merit solely based on the IMDb rating.

  4. Factors to Consider: Factors such as targeted campaigns (positive or negative), organized rating brigading, or other forms of online manipulation could contribute to this unusual rating distribution. IMDb and similar platforms continuously work to detect and mitigate such manipulations, but occasional anomalies can still occur.


Let us compare the IMDb ratings of the 2022 movie "Jug Jugg Jeeyo" with classic Bollywood family dramas from the 1970s like "Chupke Chupke" (1975), "Koshish" (1972), "Chhoti Si Baat" (1976), and "Khubsoorat" (1980) reveals interesting insights into audience reception over different eras and genres within Indian cinema.


Adherence to Gaussian Normal Distribution Curve:


Classic Bollywood Films (1970s):

  • Chupke Chupke (1975): This comedy-drama is highly regarded and maintains a steady rating distribution over time. IMDb ratings for such classics often follow a Gaussian distribution curve, with a peak around the mean score (often 7-8/10), representing a balanced view from audiences appreciating the films' quality.

  • Koshish (1972): A sensitive portrayal of disability and love, Koshish likely shows a similar Gaussian curve in ratings, reflecting consistent appreciation and critical acclaim.

  • Chhoti Si Baat (1976): A romantic comedy known for its simplicity and charm, likely follows a Gaussian distribution with ratings clustered around the average, indicating a well-received film across regions.

  • Khubsoorat (1980): This comedy-drama starring Rekha also likely adheres to the Gaussian curve, with ratings reflecting a balance of positive reception and constructive criticism.


"Jug Jugg Jeeyo" (2022):

  • For "Jug Jugg Jeeyo," which received polarized ratings (including extremes like 1/10 and 10/10), the distribution might not follow a typical Gaussian curve. Such patterns suggest a divisive reception, possibly influenced by various factors like marketing, star power, or thematic content. Or, it is being manipulated via paid reviewers who deliver the ratings dictated to them. So, they neutralize the effect of the 1/10 user rating by that many more paid 10/10 user ratings.


Movies from the 1970s like "Chupke Chupke," "Koshish," "Chhoti Si Baat," and "Khubsoorat" are characterized by their adherence to storytelling craft, strong character development, and often subtle yet impactful narratives. Their consistent adherence to the Gaussian distribution in ratings suggests a broad appeal and enduring quality that resonates across generations.






This comparison highlights the evolution of Bollywood cinema from the 1970s to the present, showcasing how audience tastes, filmmaking styles, and reception metrics have shifted over time. Classic family dramas from the 1970s often set benchmarks for storytelling and emotional engagement, while contemporary films like "Jug Jugg Jeeyo" navigate newer challenges in meeting diverse audience expectations amidst changing cinematic landscapes.


Comparing the 2022 movie "Jug Jugg Jeeyo" with family dramas made in the 1970s like "Chupke Chupke," "Koshish," "Chhoti Si Baat," and "Khubsoorat" across criteria such as believability, emotional engagement, intellectually compelling, relevance, and meaningful impact reveals significant contrasts and similarities:


Believability:

  • 1970s Family Dramas: Films from the 1970s often prioritized realistic portrayals of characters and situations, grounding their narratives in everyday life. For example, "Chupke Chupke" humorously explored linguistic and cultural misunderstandings within family dynamics, making the story relatable and believable.

  • "Jug Jugg Jeeyo" (2022): In contrast, newer films like "Jug Jugg Jeeyo" struggle with believability if plot developments or character motivations feel contrived or disconnected from reality. This can impact audience immersion and engagement.


Emotional Engagement:

  • 1970s Family Dramas: These films excelled in creating deep emotional connections with audiences through well-developed characters facing universal human dilemmas. Emotional resonance was often achieved through subtlety and authenticity.

  • "Jug Jugg Jeeyo" (2022): Modern films like "Jug Jugg Jeeyo" may employ more dramatic or overt emotional cues to engage audiences, but the effectiveness vary drastically. Emotional engagement could be heightened through performances and narrative arcs that resonate personally with viewers.


Intellectually Compelling:

  • 1970s Family Dramas: The intellectual depth of 1970s family dramas often lay in their exploration of societal norms, human relationships, and moral dilemmas. These films prompted reflection and thought without being overtly didactic.

  • "Jug Jugg Jeeyo" (2022): Contemporary films tackle intellectual themes more explicitly or use complex narrative structures that fail to engage intellectually. However, achieving depth without sacrificing entertainment value has become a challenge for the current crop of Bollywood filmmakers.


Relevance:

  • 1970s Family Dramas: Despite being set in a different era, the themes of love, family, societal expectations, and personal growth explored in 1970s films remain relevant across generations.

  • "Jug Jugg Jeeyo" (2022): Modern films often strive to address current societal issues or contemporary concerns to resonate with today's audiences. Relevance can enhance a film's impact and cultural significance. Coming off an excruciating pandemic, Indian audiences everywhere found the subject of this movie by Dharma Productions tone-deaf.


Meaningful Impact:

  • 1970s Family Dramas: These films left a lasting impact by touching upon universal truths and offering insights into human nature, leaving viewers with a sense of reflection or catharsis.

  • "Jug Jugg Jeeyo" (2022): The impact of contemporary films like "Jug Jugg Jeeyo" vary depending on their ability to deliver a message or provoke thought effectively. Meaningful impact can be measured by how well the film resonates with its intended audience and contributes to ongoing cultural conversations. But, this movie had barely anything worthwhile to takeaway.


While both the 1970s family dramas and the 2022 film "Jug Jugg Jeeyo" aim to engage audiences through storytelling, they differ in approach and execution. The classics from the 1970s often excel in subtlety, emotional depth, and timeless themes, while contemporary films navigate newer challenges of audience expectation, relevance, and narrative complexity. Both eras contribute uniquely to Bollywood's rich cinematic landscape, reflecting evolving storytelling trends and societal contexts. But the central dilemma and the story world are so contrived and unrealistic, that it seems like these filmmakers live in an alternative world. Don’t take our word for it, go watch the movies from the 1970s – 80s to see what we mean.


Real IMDB Rating:


Based on our in-depth analysis and the potential manipulation of IMDb ratings through paid favorable reviews, the real rating of "Jug Jugg Jeeyo" could be significantly skewed. With highly polarized ratings—many 1/10 and 10/10 scores—suggesting manipulation, and considering the movie's anecdotal reception and critical reviews, it’s prudent to take a conservative estimate. The pattern of exaggerated high ratings combined with genuine negative feedback hints at inflated reviews. Therefore, a more realistic rating for "Jug Jugg Jeeyo" might hover around 3 stars out of 10 at best. This estimate considers potential paid reviews and genuine audience discontent, highlighting the complexities of rating manipulation and authentic reception in Bollywood's current landscape. The Bollywood filmmakers bait the audience into the theatres with high-octane marketing of falsehoods, and then deliver a bad product. In the world outside of their echo chamber called Bollywood, it is called fraud!


In "Jug Jugg Jeeyo," the narrative's core is its biggest weakness. The story is predictable and lacks the depth needed to engage audiences emotionally or intellectually. Even with humorous moments, particularly those involving Maniesh Paul's character, the plot remains weak. Dramatic scenes are exaggerated, and the humor, though sometimes effective, doesn't make up for the lack of a compelling storyline. Raj Mehta's direction is criticized for being overly simplistic and lacking the finesse to elevate the narrative. His previous work, "Good Newwz," managed to intrigue audiences with unusual couple situations, but "Jug Jugg Jeeyo" fails to achieve the same level of engagement or emotional connection. The film's multiple couple dynamics, intended to add complexity, end up contributing to a convoluted & contrived plot that doesn't resonate. Critics have lauded the writing and direction, claiming them to be the film's heart and praising its supposed effectiveness and humor. However, this acclaim appears disconnected from the film's actual execution. The finale, aiming to deliver a significant message, comes across as forced and unconvincing, potentially alienating conservative audiences in the heartland and casting doubt on the film's overall appeal and impact.



The disparity between critic reviews and audience reactions suggests a disconnect in Bollywood's evaluation of filmmaking. Critics often seem to prioritize star power and spectacle over genuine storytelling craft. This trend is evident in the glowing reviews for "Jug Jugg Jeeyo," despite its numerous shortcomings in story development, storytelling design principles, script execution, and directorial vision. "Jug Jugg Jeeyo" exemplifies the issues plaguing modern Bollywood cinema – a reliance on big names and flashy visuals at the expense of solid, engaging & meaningful storytelling. For Bollywood to reclaim its narrative prowess, it must prioritize the fundamentals of story and storytelling craft, ensuring that scripts are well-developed and directors are equipped to execute them effectively. Without this focus, films like "Jug Jugg Jeeyo" will continue to fall short of their potential, leaving audiences disappointed and raising questions about the credibility of critics who overly laud them with barely any understanding of story and storytelling craft.

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