Mayalalees usually boast that their movies are realistic compared to the ones made in other languages and to a certain extent it is true. One area, in which we are not different is the area of songs. Even in very realistic movies, both the hero and heroine break into a song. Thus we had to bear Prem Nazir enacting the beautiful song, Aayiram Padasarangal Kilungi to Suresh Gopi dancing to Manimuttathu Avani Panthal or Dilip and Kavya making a spectacle in New Zealand.
Song visualizations in other languages exert tremendous influence in Malayalam these days. While earlier movies had the hero and heroine walking in a park, mostly in Subhash Park in Cochin, later songs had lots of extras in the background running around with color paper or balloons. Nowadays it’s common to have a Tamil style Dappankuthu in almost all the movies. Then came the realization that, it would add some value to film the songs abroad though it has no relation to the story
We are not against songs in movies, but do not fancy the hero and heroine doing 1-2-3 clap with hundreds of people in the background. Sometimes directors like Sathyan Anthikkad and Lohithadas use songs to advance the story. In such scenes, the actors do not dance, but go about their lives and the song plays in the background.
Now Hindi movies are moving away from the song and dance routine.
“New directors are now making shorter films where heroes and heroines don’t lip-sync songs,” said Shankar Mahadevan of the popular Bollywood music director trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. “Music happens in these films as background tracks.” Most current releases are trimming the song-and-dance sequences as directors agree movie-goers are starting to accept more restrained films, and even some with no songs at all. [Changing India forces Bollywood to turn down volume]
Hindi film song picturization had fallen to such low depths that all songs had an angry looking unshaven Sanjay Dutt being run over by scantilty dressed models. You could replace Sanjay Dutt by anyone it would not matter. These film makers had not spared any nation in the world for filming songs as well.
The new trend of short movies without songs has come due to the fact that people don’t want to waste three hours in a movie hall. Another reason is that the Hindi film industry is seeking a world audience which cannot tolerate stupid song picturization.
While that may be true for Hindi films, Malayalam movies are different. We are not seeking a world audience, but Malayalee audiences around the world, including the guy running the chai shop on Moon. There is no pressure to follow the Hollywood model of short movies nor capture new markets in Europe or America, we just want to dance in the markets of Europe or America. So for a while we don’t expect songs to disappear from Malayalam movies.