Dec 30 2014

The End

Published by at 9:52 pm under Misc,Review,Tamil Cinema

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. After 15 years (I believe the first review I wrote was for 1999’s Veeram Velanja Mannu) and close to 1100 reviews, I’m finally stopping writing movie reviews. I know the timing seems appropriate given that we are so close to the end of the year and all that but this certainly wasn’t planned and its been on my mind for some time now. The lack of activity on the blog was a precursor to this and the only reason this post took so long coming was that I realized that Lingaa was releasing soon and its release date seemed like a sign that I shouldn’t end the movie reviews section with the review of a Kamal movie :)

The immediate reason for this move is a lack of interest in watching movies and writing, the two things needed for me to continue to write reviews. This has been going on for a while. Before Lingaa, I hadn’t been to the theater to watch a Tamil movie since Madras. Though I did continue seeing films on the small screen, I didn’t find the energy to review many of them(Burma, Nerungi Vaa Muthamidalaam). And this lack of energy was reflected in the reviews themselves as it became more difficult to write the ones I did get around to writing and I wasn’t too happy with the output when I did finish writing them. I eventually lost interest in catching up with new movies(I still haven’t watched films like Kaaviya Thalaivan, Thirudan Police, Pisaasu, Kayal or Meaghamann). Most telling of all, I didn’t watch Lingaa until the Saturday after its release(I know that’s only 3 days but its the first time since I came to the US that I haven’t seen a Rajni movie on opening night).

When I try to dig into what is behind the lack of interest, things begin to get messy. Some of the reasons are a tad personal. But there’s also the question of what I was offering to the readers. In these days when everyone with a Facebook or Twitter account can be a reviewer, I feel that I don’t offer enough to differentiate my reviews, to make them stand out enough to attract readers and keep them coming back. The declining number of hits and comments reiterated this feeling. Quitting reviewing is the natural end to this cycle of lesser output and fewer hits.

While I’m done with writing full-fledged movie reviews, this blog will remain online for at least 8 more months since I made the last annual payment in August. Rather than abandon it completely, I intend to keep it active by writing short posts about anything that catches my interest. These could be capsule reviews or notes about trailers, TV shows, articles, etc. Starting this and keeping it going will again come down to the interest level, both on my side and from readers, and that will eventually determine whether I keep the blog online come August 2015.

15 years is a long time and its definitely been a fun journey. Reviewing movies led to blogging a few years down the road and along the way I made some friends, earned a few fans, attracted many interesting readers and participated in several interesting discussions and fun arguments. Though the blog itself is not going offline, this just seems like a good time to say a big thanks for accompanying me on this journey.

45 responses so far

45 Responses to “The End”

  1. Karthik says:

    This is a shock for us. At least you can write reviews on selected movies. I agree that anyone can write a review, but the quality depends upon various factors like age,taste etc..Yours was top notch.
    Me and spouse always check your review before choosing a movie to watch(like a guideline we used, not entirely trusting those reviews even by popular ones).
    Anyway a big thanks for you Balaji. Wish you a happy New Year too…

    P.S – As a request, May i ask you to put an archive of all those 15 years review in a file sharing site?


  2. Sreela says:

    Wow I have always related you to movies and didn’t ever think you could lose interest in them. Part of me feels guilty, because I have been reding your reviews for many years and usually pick the few movies I watch based on your reviews, but I have never commented on your reviews.

    Thank you for all the wonderful reviews over the decade and a half.

  3. Nikitha says:

    What a bummer! Your site is the only site I read Tamil reviews, and I trust no other to give a proper opinion. Feel definitely feel a void with this site gone.

    Thanks for the reviews and happy new year!

  4. Prasad says:

    Well, as they say, this “good thing” has also come to an end with a filmy fashioned title though naturally..! Huge respect to your decision, while I would seriously miss your reviews. Especially during a time where a whole lot of movies releasing/waiting to be released every week during this season, your reviews would have made lotsa difference. It kind of feels odd to use “past-tense” while mentioning your reviews. Anyways, a huge thanks for the wonderful times and having been a pivot in getting together movie buffs from all over. Let the credits roll..!!

  5. KayKay says:

    Sorry to hear this, BB. There are only 2 blogs I frequent to get my dose of thoughts and opinions on Indian Movies. Baradwaj Rangan’s and yours.

    But I totally understand. I used to…actually let me correct that, I STILL have a blog of which the last posting was almost a year and a half ago. There was a time I couldn’t wait to pen my reviews on books I’d read and movies I’d watched. But over time, my interest and energy levels have waned, with regards to writing about them that is, as I still read voraciously and average at least 4 to 5 films a week.

    There are times when my mind is bursting with thoughts and opinions as I watch a film and and that point, I can’t wait to pen them down, but then sitting in front of the PC later, I write probably a fraction of what I thought, or nothing at all. It happens. And I for one, hope this is a temporary respite for you and you’ll rediscover your love of reviews and get back with a vengeance.

    One point in which I will disagree with you. You DO bring something fresh and unique to your reviews. There’s a genuine affection and love for Tamil cinema which you articulate very well in your reviews. And even when a shoddy production is deserving of contempt, you’ve managed to find some positives in the whole sorry mess. It’s easy enough to go all “Search India” on an Indian movie, but it takes class to show restraint. The exception of course is TR’s movies which, quite rightly, tested even your patience:-)

    Wishing you a terrific 2015 and all the best, BB!

  6. veer says:

    Dhoni quit and now you? Not fair.

    Like another poster said, there is only one site I read reviews from.

    I request that even if you don’t write full fledged reviews, if you could do a one minute review like roger ebert did, it will be easy on you to write and will give something to the readers.

    I hope you keep writing and keep this site alive.

  7. Kalyan says:

    I’m a telugu guy and for about 4 years I have been following your blog.This is the first blog I turn to when I want to know how a tamil film fared!I even read some novels like ‘Think of a number’ only after reading your reviews of them.Though it is your call to continue or not continue with the blog I request you to continue atleast with the book reviews.Thank you for the reviews :).Happy New Year.

  8. Sri Ananth says:

    Hi Balaji,

    I didn’t see this coming. I interpreted the brief hiatus as you enjoying your time off during the holidays. I am also guilty as charged i.e. as Sreela says, have been reading the reviews to pick the movies, but never thanked or provided feedback.

    I don’t think you should quit writing reviews because there are lot of other reviews out there and your reviews are also of the same ilk. Quite the contrary. There are run of the mill reviews (granted most of the movies being reviewed are run of the mill), but your reviews are insightful, fun to read (even if the movie itself wasn’t). I have been reading your reviews since 2000. Even my 80 year old Dad asks me whether your review has come out for the latest movie.

    I do respect and understand if you don’t have the interest/energy or more importantly the time & patience to write reviews. You need to have that passion to produce quality output as your correctly say. I hope you change your mind.

    If you don’t, I thank for all your wonderful reviews. Will for sure miss it. No two ways about it.

    Wishing you and your family a Very Happy New Year.

  9. Karthik says:

    Hi Balaji,

    Both me and my wife are big fans your blog. We often decide what movie to watch based on your reviews. We also loved your occasional book/travel blogs.

    Thanks a lot for all the reviews over the years. We will miss your site big time.

    Sad to see you stop movie reviews. But, I can understand. Hopefully someday you will regain your interest and return to blogging.

    Very Best Wishes and Happy New Year.

  10. veer says:

    I got another suggestion and I will put it on the table for you to consider.

    I think its natural that at some point interest takes a dip and it becomes a burden. I have seen this with lot of bloggers. One of the things which they do is to have guest writers write articles periodically and themselves write certain articles which they like.

    Maybe the same way, you could have some guest reviewers review movies. But from time to time you can pick certain movies to review like Rajnikath movies and so on.

    Maybe some of your regular readers like KayKay ( cant remember the other names ) and others might want to review movies of certain actors, directors.

    Of course then it would not be bbthots anymore but bbinc or something like that.

  11. Sandya says:

    Balaji, you already know my views on that since you were so gracious enough to let me know of your intentions. Please give it some more time, which I know you already have, since nothing will be finalized until August 2015.

    May 2015 be a bright, enthusiastic and ecstatic one for you and the family, as it starts rolling from tomorrow. I hope it is so exciting that you will continue writing and keep yourself and us entertained. Chin up, my friend! :) :) :)

  12. A Rajendran says:

    Long time lurker. Had to comment for this.
    Thanks for all your unique takes on films.

    As an earlier poster said, at least try to give
    two line reviews on twitter. Good luck with

  13. killer says:

    I feel that I don’t offer enough to differentiate my reviews,

    Nah, your reviews have a clarity, consistency and unpretentiousness that very much differentiates you from the rest. Most people “reviewing” are so busy showing off their attitudes that it is hard to tell what the film is actually like. And I include people who are paid to write reviews.

    I also thank you for all your reviewing. Even the ones that Sundar C. paid for :-) :-)

  14. Prakash says:

    My reaction is Wow, and not so wow.

    Not so wow because:
    – I have noticed many of the things you have highlighted in your post. Primarily the decrease in comments, and your own slower output
    – When there was no Lingaa preview, and the review was a few days late, I was fairly sure this was coming

    Wow because:
    – I have been following AND commenting on your blogs for a long time, possibly all 15 of your years (starting with geocities?). So it’s going to be feel strange to not read your movie blog
    – Much like you, my consumption has been decreasing over the years. But I don’t have your patience, and have always been very selective in picking movies to watch. You’ve been my go-to resource in helping me be selective. I now dread what’s going to happen

    On a personal note:
    – I admire your perseverance for all these years. Not just in maintaining the blog, but also in patiently responding to all the comments
    – I love how you give a sense of what’s good or bad about a movie, without giving away any key plot points. I feel that’s the best aspect of your reviews
    – I think I’m very close to you demographically – age, Chennai (or TN) schooled, moved to US around the same time, couple kids of similar age, taste in movies etc. So not only has your star rating matched my own rating, I have enjoyed your non-movie posts as much too
    – Having said that, there have been 2-3-4 cases in the last couple years where my own rating was on the opposite end of the spectrum i.e. I loved a movie you rated as 1.5/2 or disliked a movie you rated 3+. My wife knows I look at your blog before watching any tamil movie. So when this happens, she has “What’s happening here, your Guruji is wrong” or some such tongue-in-cheek comment :)
    – Thanks for all the time and money you have saved me in the last 15 years :) As others have requested, be great if you could share an archive of your old reviews, if you ever decide to take your blog down.

    Happy New Year to you and your family.

  15. thalaivar says:

    For the last 6+ years the only tamil movies that i ended up watching were the ones that you reviewed. The quality of most movies are going down so much that it was not worth watching most of them anyway.

    Thanks for the great job all these years, i will miss them for sure.

  16. Gayathri says:

    Hi Balaji

    I have been mostly a lurker commenting once in a while. I didnt see this coming and it is a shocker!! I have always enjoyed your blog right from geocities days when I used to go online after 6pm at work to check out what movie to watch during the weekend:-)

    In fact I was looking for your review of Lingaa earlier.. Having said that, I understand life changes and priorities change. I would second the request of other commenters that you could keep the blog open. I also enjoy your travel posts vicariously seeing different parts of US and also how your children are growing.

    All the very best and wish you a very happy new year 2015


  17. Bhaskaran says:

    Balaji, though I am disappointed that I may not get to read your reviews, I respect your decision for it is definitely reasonable decision. It is touching to see that you have shared your complete thought process & reasoning with all of us instead of suddenly going silent like most bloggers do.

    I have been frequenting your blog for so many years that I feel having a personal connection with you.will definitely miss that intimate feeling of getting in touch with a friend.

    Thank you for all these years of sharing your passion with us.

    I have left feedback quite a number of times in the past but declined recently due to longer work hours . Feeling guilty that people like me could have added to your decision that readership is declining .

    Wish you happy new year !!

  18. Bhaskar says:


    Again, I’m one of the guilty people who has read your blog but never posted…….and am truly gutted to hear that you’re stopping the reviews. As a Bengali, it was your reviews that actually got me into watching Tamil movies, and the few that I own are all based on your recommendations. In fact your blog and reviews have inspired me to do something similar for Bengali movies………….but I’ve been too lazy!

    Thank you for all the time you’ve taken to post up till now! If you haven’t already, please set up a Facebook page, or something else on social media that is easier to maintain – it would be good to still hear your thoughts on films, books, and other subjects as and when you have the time!

    Wishing you and your family all the best for the future!


  19. ram says:

    BB, definitely a sad feeling because your site has been a very, very integral part of my movie watching experience…
    your writing has really made a huge impact on how i perceive my own writing as well as how to analyze movies…
    Instead of seeing this as “the end,” i am looking fwd to the new beginning and your evolution as a preeminent writer…

    Happy new year!!

  20. Harish says:

    I am very disappointed while at the same time I also understand. Writing is a creative process (reviews or a full book) and very often hits a roadblock. If I said, I did not see this coming, I would be lying. I have seen you touch upon this topic very often. After almost every trip, I put my camera down after a trip and never touch it for a few months. The next trip, I tell myself on the day of the return, I am going to carry a point-n-shoot. It has never happened. I always carry by full bag (much to the chagrin of my wife and airport authorities!). I hope, in similar vein, you rediscover your writing again. More importantly, I hope you give a vent to your creativity elsewhere. I know of your interests in photography (and have critiqued, mostly positively), for example. Maybe its time to load up with a 70-200 and a 200-400 now :0.

    Last, but not the least, I will definitely miss this blog. I might not have responded to your reviews as well as I used to before and part of those reasons are personal too. Mostly, it was because I had not had a chance to catch a movie yet. I have, in the past, as a number of others have stated used the reviews as a guide. It was fun reading different perspectives. Like your reviews, I will also miss thoughts from a number of folks such as Ram, Sandya, Killer, Prakash etc. That said, please do not stop watching movies. Just try not to throw your “reviewer” hat on :).

    Again, I will visit this blog frequently, hit the F5 button to be sure that I did not miss out on content whether it be about movies or otherwise :).

  21. Swapna says:

    I am a silent reader as you would know and through this blog I came to know as well. Though I knew your intentions, I will feel lost not reading your reviews. I don’t watch as many movies, but if and when I do, I will come back to your blog to re read the review to see if we are on the same page. Though this blog was primarily abt movies, I did get a few glimpses of your other hobby and your family. Do continue blogging about the things that interests you.
    Btw, A very happy new year to you and your family!!

  22. Poonam says:


    This is such sad news. I am also a silent reader who comes to this blog as least once a day. Have been doing this since 2007. Your reviews were refreshing and i always enjoyed them. I am going to miss your reviewing. Have a great year ahead.

  23. J-Jay says:

    I am one of those culprits that have been following your blog for many years now but never commented all this while. I find your reviews fresh, precise and wholesome. You cover every aspect of the movie from A-Z and often never biased. Just a suggestion, maybe you could consider capsule reviews thru you Facebook page where you can monitor the number of “likes”, “comments” and “shares” .. also, Facebook has a wider reach globally.
    Or, surprise us once a while with a review, dont stop completely. Wish you all the best and a very Happy 2015.

  24. nayagan says:

    I respect your decision but am disappointed none the less. I’ll repeat the oft-mentioned comment that your taste in movies are incredible and you haven’t been wrong once. I don’t read any other review sites when it comes to Tamil movies.

    15 years is a long time. Thank you for your perseverance and for sharing your work.

  25. Ink Blot says:

    It would be terrible to see you go. Still it has been a long journey. As a long time reader, fan and as someone working in a major production company, I would like to extend my deep gratitude to you. I don’t know if you realize what an impact you have left on an entire generation of young Tamil movie watchers. I personally have had several conversations with a diverse range of people who have asked me “Balaji unga padatha paththi enna sonaaru?”. 15 years has been a long time, and we wish you all the best as you ride off into the sunset.

    I also have here a tribute video I found to celebrate 40 years of Rajinikanth. This seems like something up your ally, and seems even more pertinent now that you have decided to hang up the boots as well.

  26. suresh says:

    Balaji sir, just like dhobi you have given us all movie fans a massive shock. But I appreciate your decision and it has been so much fun reading your reviews. I like most people will watch movies based on your reviews and I don’t read any other review sites. So now I have a daunting task of looking for a decent review site and there isn’t many esp for Tamil movies.
    Wish you and your family a great year and even better years to come. God bless.

  27. Ramesh says:

    I’ve been following you since Geocities too, and have literally grown up from 9 to 23 – reading your take on Tamil cinema. I take it a point to come back to your reviews and read up what you’ve had to say about a film – after I’ve seen it. Your opinion grew to have more impact on me than any of the other reviewers – print, press or online. Thank you, so much. Closet fan.
    Every good thing has to come to an end, but I do hope you continue your musings on life, kids, cinema and holidays in general – it’s a privilege to have a blog fan following like this, in the age where everyone has a Twitter account.

  28. Mani A.J. says:

    A slight tinge of sadness combined with a knot in the throat and a queasy feeling in the gut sums up my first reaction to your decision to end your reviews.

    I am also guilty as charged for reading, laughing, agreeing, seldom opposing but mostly smiling at your reviews … and at the many exchanges, banter & comments and mostly not commenting or committing any response, like a true blue arm-chair fan. For that I do extend my humblest apologies sir.

    As you deservedly ride into your chosen horizon, may good health and a warm heart be always your demeanour … Have a great new year in 2015 and I quote a saying – “it’s the journey that matters at the end of it all, not so much the destination” (para-phrasing here …)

    Many cheers :-}

  29. arun.e says:

    Sorry to see you stop this blog, Balaji. But, wish you and your family the best in life!
    Take care.

  30. Harish B says:

    I was one of those, mostly silent, consumers of your reviews that rarely bothered to comment. I have always enjoyed your writing and saw 2 Tamil movies in 2014 based on your reviews. I particularly enjoy your capsule reviews like the end of year recaps. Perhaps something else will catch your imagination soon which would motivate you to continue writing online. Meanwhile, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us all these years!

  31. Jordan says:

    I have always made some time to check your page for reviews, but did try to comment here and there out of interest. I always thought you were honest and forthcoming in your opinions about the movies reviewed, and you did justify your reasons well enough to like or dislike a movie.

    What I wish you had considered was not to always devote a paragraph at the end for artist’s performances or each of the songs in a movie. Its not all the time, that I feel you would have something to actually say about a heroine’s “performance” or an Anirudh hip hop number. If you had particularly liked or disliked an artist’s performance in a movie, maybe a separate article would be better, sorry, this is just my opinion.

    Nevertheless, I hope the passion or the interest in cinema is still alive, because we do have some interesting movies coming out soon, especially for Jan, and maybe some comments on the trailers or songs would be cool. Best of luck.

  32. Bala says:

    Well, that sucks :-(

    This was the place I come to check out which new movie to watch. Now what do I do man? haha..good luck and thanks for all the review and other posts.

  33. Snowsson says:

    I am little sad !!..Good Luck Balaji & Wish you happy new year. It was lot fun reading your reviews and you had set a standard for movie reviews.

  34. Sujatha Ramesh says:

    Hi balaji,

    This is really sad..

    you are one of the best reviewers I have read – no unnecessary frills and no unnecessary “varthai jalam” and always impartial… i never watch a movie without reading your review..

    Take care and best wishes for the new year.

  35. Krish says:

    Hi Balaji,

    Just wanted to say thank you for all your hard work posting all the reviews and insightful thoughts over the years.

    It’s quite funny, I came over to Australia to study as a teenager in the late nineties. Back in the day there was a great website called minnoviam which used to publish lots of tamil cine details. After that was taken down I chanced upon your website by good luck and have been hooked since.

    Used to be filled with nostalgia as I read through a lot of reviews especially mount ragam review among many others. It was interesting to know that we all tend to reminisce the old madras.

    After I got married I got my wife hooked into reading your reviews which she thoroughly enjoyed.

    For me coming to your website was a great way of keeping in touch with the tamil movie buff in me. Such a reassuring feeling that some things do not change in an everchanging world.

    Although I have never met you , just wanted you to know that you are a fantastic person filled with lots of care and compassion for the arts.

    I know you will succeed in whatever you do or touch and want to wish you my warmest heartfelt blessings for you and your family for the future.

    May the Good Lord always keep you happy , healthy and prosperous:)

  36. priya says:

    I never commented before. Thanks for all your reviews. I enjoyed them. I started watching more movies after I discovered your blog.

    I just wish you would keep writing.

  37. kumari says:

    if I were a director, i would include a shot of the waves crashing into the rocks and earth splitting.

    Having abandoned my blog very easily and very soon, I understand how difficult it is come back to a page time and again consistently for 15 years. Awesome work!

    I have always preferred reading you to all the other pretentious idiots out there.
    We may not have entirely agreed on certain movies but that was the whole point for me in this – do i match upto Balaji when it comes to discerning the subtle points of a movie :)

    Usually i get interrupted while commenting and then somehow the moment passes by so I did give up commenting on most blogs. But this time even though I have been writing this one comment for the past two days, i felt it had to be said, lest you leave without knowing you have a great many loyal readers like moi, who read and enjoy but sometimes just don’t comment :(

    After Aug 2015, if you decide to go ahead and abandon us (guilt tripping you :), all i can say is So Long and Thanks for all the fish!

  38. Kumar says:

    I am also a lurker and a silent reader of your blog and reviews for a long time now but never got around to comment.

    I just want to say a big THANK YOU for the good times.

    P.S.: Sandya Krishna. I would also like to take this opportunity to also mention that I was once your fan and have enjoyed your tamil movie reviews, news, etc on your former website

  39. Kaushik Narayan says:

    Thanks for your great reviews Balaji.

    I appreciate all your reviews since I had only one criteria to watch a tamil movie and it was that Balaji has rated it greater than 2 1/2 stars. I could only think of the effort it took to write 1100 reviews and I enjoyed your writing and your passion.

    Hope you have a time doing what you are planning to do ? If your reviews are any indication, I would expect it to be great.

  40. Rajesh says:

    Hi Balaji,

    Thanks a lot for your wonderful reviews over the past several years !!!

    I’ve been a silent but regular reader of your blog & really used to look forward to your film reviews – the occasional book reviews & the short travelogues were also something I used to look forward to.

    All the best for your future endeavors….

  41. One more Ram says:

    I have been a reader of all your reviews for over 10 years but commented probably all of twice. Truly speaking as many of the readers have commented, yours was one review which I trusted and quite matched with my movie watching sensibilities. I will definitely miss your reviews going forward. Let me take this chance to wish you a fantastic year ahead with lots of movies even without the reviews.. Cheers and Thank you!!

  42. Ram says:

    hey mate,

    can definitely undertand what you are going through. Have been a big fan and have the RSS feeds coming right into my Outlook to keep the adrenaline going. it is possible that the RSS feed count probably camoflauges the site statistics (though i could be wrong).

    i feel that you should keep your thots live as not everybody has the gift of being able to express their thoughts in a clear manner. My view is that this is more like a mild break to get your creative juices flowing and when the next wonderful tamil movie comes along, your natural instinct to provide a POV on the same will trigger the energy levels back again. Till then, some of us will wait and watch as you go through this creative metamorphosis. I am sure this is part of your evolution and the next avatar is going to be even better than the current one.

    Keep them coming maestro….

  43. Vicknes, Malaysia says:

    Dear Balaji,

    Reading and checking for updates in you blog has been part of my daily routine for more than 10 years. Your review is a must read before I decide to go for any movies.

    THANK YOU so much for your reviews all these years. All the best.

    Vicknes, Malaysia

  44. Chandramohan S says:

    I sincerely, sincerely hope you continue giving us your POV on movies, books, family aspects….although i have never seen you in person, i have developed an emotional connection with your website (and of course you, your family as well) over the past 5 or 6 years i have been reading your blog. I am sure that’s the case for quite a few of the readers that frequent your blog.

    My eyes are welling up, not because i won’t be seeing as many posts as i used to before, but because I am a little guilty as I am one of those folks that read all your reviews but chose to comment only on some of them. Since I don’t get to watch all movies, i stayed away from commenting on those that I didnt get to watch. But looking back I feel I should have, because it never occurred to my dumb brain that, as a provider of such excellent reviews that’s a bare minimum expectation you could have from the readers. A line or two is not going to stop me from launching a space shuttle :-) you know what I meant.

    Having said all that I can completely understand your reasoning behind this decision of yours, Family always comes first. We are very happy to know that you would continue posting updates once in a while. Keep giving us updates about Kavya Karthik music performance…their graduations all that… :-)

    I second what Mr Ram has said here: “I am sure this is part of your evolution and the next avatar is going to be even better than the current one.”

    Best wishes Balaji…May God bless you all

  45. Karthik ( SRM karthik) says:

    Thank you for all the hard work you had put in to write the review for the past 15 years. I pick up movies to watch only after seeing your review.

    My suggestion is you should continue reviewing for selected movies.