Filmmakers look upon reviewers as a necessary evil but is there a way they can benefit from reviews?From being looked upon as an upstart to becoming an inseparable part of the cinema ecosystem, movie reviews have come a long way. On the day of release, search engines are flooded with queries checking out the ratings given by various reviewers for the movie. Of course, there are many occasions when a movie has been lambasted by the critics and yet have done rip-roaring business at the box-office and vice-versa. Nevertheless, there exists a huge chunk of movie goers who still decide on whether to watch a particular movie or not based on the reviews. In Telugu cinema, there have been a few sites which were the pioneers in movie reviews. Based in the US, they catered to the Indian diaspora in the US. This was the period when US was becoming a major market for Tollywood. For a family of five in the US, watching a Telugu film would cost an average of 50 dollars to 75 dollars. In most cases, it also meant a journey of more than an hour to get to the theatre not to mention the associated costs such as fuel, snacks etc. In such a scenario, it was perfectly understandable for them to take a call based on the reviews of these websites. Therefore, while there are practical reasons for the audiences’ interest in reviews, can the filmmaking fraternity benefit in any way from the dissection of their offerings? In other words, can a producer, actor or director benefit from these reviews in any way? The late celebrated lyricist Sirivennela Seetharama Sastry once remarked, “A good song is one which elevates the thought process of the listener.” This benchmark probably applies to each and every aspect of films including reviews. A good review elevates the intellect of the reader and makes him more aware of the crafts of filmmaking. Given this heightened awareness, he looks for a similar quality in the fare offered to him forcing the filmmakers to follow suit. ‘Cinema’ is the eventual winner. And what can be the practical benefits that might accrue from a good review? Is there actually a way to segregate the good reviewers from the bad and use the information in a feasible manner? Good reviewers are those who have retained their credibility over a period of time instead of succumbing to market temptations. Having said that, it is equally pertinent to realize that a credible reviewer is not necessarily an accurate judge of the pulse of the audience. How then do we discern the wheat from the chaff?A leading Tollywood producer uses reviews in this particular manner: He collages various reviews and compares them with the box-office collections of the respective movies. This way, he gets an idea of which reviewer is more often than not connected to the judgment of the audience. This gives him an idea of which film that he has produced or is distributing would do well in the coming days based on the rating. It also helps him get an understanding of the mood, tastes and preferences of the audience in a particular period courtesy of the reviewer. As director Ram Gopal Varma said, “In the film industry there can be no template or formula for success. No one can predict in all certainty whether a film would do well or not at the box-office.” In an atmosphere of such uncertainty, any kind of information can come in handy for future projects and a good reviewer can turn out to be the perfect bridge between the market and the filmmaker.