Director Vikramaditya Motwane has had a Twitter account since February 2011 but it’s only now that he’s become more vocal on the site. He has raised issues that most movie buffs identify with (such as overly long intervals in theatres that disrupt the viewing experience), and highlighted problems many of us may not have noticed. For instance, did you know that Hotstar speeds up their premium content by 5%, leaving you with a much shorter Bhavesh Joshi Superhero?
“After Sacred Games, Anurag (Kashyap) called up and said, ‘Yeah I’m feeling guilty for taking credit so please come on Twitter.’ Once you’re there, you might as well have fun. I’m not an activist or anything, this is more about reacting to certain things,” he says. He also shrugs off the suggestion that his tweets have the potential to bring about change, given his large Twitter following, many of whom are A-list Bollywood celebrities. “It’s not like a big Bollywood person is tweeting about these issues. First of all, I’m not even verified yet. So I don’t think people take me seriously. ‘Is it a fake account or not?’ No one knows,” he says.
Here are a few issues the director brought up:
1. PVR’s claim of screening Searching without an interval
The director most recently called out PVR Cinemas on Twitter for falsely advertising that their shows of Searching had no interval. “This was something people were already discussing but I guess someone had to say it. I had to call out on PVR’s hypocrisy. ‘We announced that there are uninterrupted shows’ – where did they announce that? It’s not on their app, it’s not anywhere. It’s on their website. How are we supposed to know which shows are out there? So their plan was: Oh it’s on our website, but we’re going to hide it under lots of things. That’s very dishonest. It’s like throwing a bone and telling me, Go find it. You’re not telling me where it’s thrown. What nonsense is this? I had to call them out on that,” says the director.
He adds that the chain has yet to call or email him, choosing instead to only reply on Twitter. “That’s why I keep joking that they’re bots. Some of them keep messaging me, ‘We will get in touch with you about your concern.’ Is anybody even reading what I’m writing? There’s no response from them saying, ‘Okay we hear you. You have a grievance? Let’s talk about this.’ Which actually makes you want to troll them even more.”
2. Hotstar streaming movies 5% faster
When journalist Aroon Deep discovered that, compared to Netflix, Hostar was streaming shorter versions of Kaala and Bhavesh Joshi Superhero, Motwane stepped in and asked the company for an explanation. He also speculated that the firm’s decision was a financial one – the shorter the movie, the cheaper the hosting costs incurred by the site.
3. Apple Music and Saavn not crediting lyricists
Motwane says he was compelled to tweet about the issue when another Twitter issue brought it to his notice. “I realised we’re so used to looking at music from the view of the actor. Especially in the streaming world, it’s become such a thing – where the cover of the song will only have the composer which will be in the album list and the singer will be in the song list and then there’s nothing else. Those things must change, you have to update them for the times we live in. Nothing’s happened yet, which somewhat tells you why Twitter is a bit disheartening for people because you can shout and shout and shout but it’s not like things will change. But I guess you have to start somewhere,” he says.
4. Isle of Dogs being shrunk to accommodate subtitles
In July, Motwane criticised PVR for cropping Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs to make room for subtitles. He said he understood the need for English subtitles, but called PVR “too lazy to adjust them over the other titles in the film.” This is another issue that is yet to be resolved, he adds.