(Reader Raphel Lazar left a comment on our Review Roundup on Classmates analyzing what is wrong in Malayalam Film Industry. The comment was long and he expressed many points worth thinking about that we are publishing it as an article)
Since this is the only forum to express the state of affairs of once great Malayalam film industry, I take this opportunity to highlight the worms in the industry as a simple lover of films. I am not writing on behalf of anybody or taken money, which is not required since I am working as a Senior Executive in Multinational Company earning very good salary.
I grew up watching the movies of Sathyan, Nazir and others who exchanged roles and acted together without ego. I was an active member of TVM Surya Film Society in the early eighties during my professional college days. Only Satyan could offer the difference in acting style, which he depicted with ease, the free acting style without struggling. Then came Sukumaran and Jayan who excelled in certain roles.
The dramatic change happened when Mammotty and Lal came. But I do not think anyone can watch the movies of both actors during their early days, though we could observe a better approach in their acting. The flashes here and there occurred when MT, Hariharan, KG George, Bharatan (who created the best campus film of all time Chamaram), Padmarajan, Mohan etc did the job for them. Then we had the blessings of good directors Sibi, Priyan (most of his movies were good copycats, but made differently), Satyan etc. Other directors excelled only when everything clicked. Good directors make good movies most of the time.
Now when, after the early struggle, the two M&Ms became super stars we had lots of movies, some of which were simply great. They started doing better in their late thirties only. Till then they never had any role worth remembering. The same yardstick applies to anybody. All the great actors in India or Hollywood struggled in their early times, which is the law of nature. Most of their good roles came from creative directors, not from the likes of Joshy, etc.
Now, when Prithvi came lots of things happened and mostly every actor tried to isolate him. May be everyone thought of him as a threat, which we failed understand. How come a guy of 21 years would be a threat for very senior and established ones? We as simple viewers were watching all these dramas. With very good support from most of the Film weeklies and other media they tried to do this. We could see a difference in his acting, if you are neutral, which is the reason why Fans associations became active in his tender age, including an active member in the name of the then Cochin Mayor. No other actor has created such an impact in the initial days.
Obviously the existing stars who want everyone to struggle tried everything possible to outcast him. We have as ordinary film goers seen all these dramas and these forces were successful in clubbing him among the poor hapless young actors, who failed to get any good movies. What happened to Naren (a.k.a Sunil ) after the success of Achuvinte Amma? I have seen a weekly pointing out the canned movies of young stars, including Seetha Kalyanam, everyone knows it is Jayaram movie, which was given as Indrajitâ€™s movie. When Boban could dance superbly in one movie, the supporters of his co-Super star started booing simply due to jealousy.
The growth of any industry depends of blossoming of youngsters, along with experience. In Tamil, Vijayâ€™s father makes movie with Naren. Kamal, Rajani, Vikram, Surya and Vijay attend functions of other young actor’s movies. Does it happen in Kerala? In Kerala, everyone thinks only his movie should win all other should fail. This is the basic problem our industry is facing. Also, lack of good directors and scriptwriters ramp up the problems further. Due to the availability of lots of options every director in other languages make their own time to make good scripts and selects good actors for that.
Now, everyone should think why Prithvi got very good movies in Tamil, not only for his looks but free acting, which many of my Tamil friends appreciated. Think why most of the talented actresses are crossing over to other languages. In Malayalam they will act, as sisters of the senior actors or in insignificant roles. The Industry became super star oriented which blocks making good movies which is the reasons why only active movie goers watch movies and why many of the theaters closing down. If this trend continues the end of Malayalam industry is very near, especially since Keralites are watching lesser movies.
In Chennai, any Telugu movie runs for weeks together when Malayalam Movies rarely run for two weeks, even though the Malayalee population is much higher compared to Telugu people. The main theater, which was showing only Malayalam closed down. What is the reason? People fed up with a repeat of ministers or cops with same pattern or rowdy, or sizzling with young girls who are half their ages.
Now, to remember the characters of Prithviraj, whatever he played at his young age in movies like Violence, Vargam, Satyam (only he was very good), Classmates, Vellithira, Ammakilikoodu, and Muthuvinte… etc. he enacts them with ease hence we do not notice them and he set a standard in acting, which is his own. The performance in Anandabhadram is not far from excellent. If you are comparing him with senior actors then it is insane. He is just 24 and the great actors are experienced more than that. No other actor has ever acted so brilliantly at this age.The other young actors like Naren, Jaysuria, Boban, Indrajit. etc are the torchbearers of the future. Keeping the respect to the senior actors we appeal to have better cooperation, shedding of ego, appreciation of others performance etc., will make the industry strong which is a big job market in Kerala like any language. Please do not destroy it due to short sightedness.