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Review: Classmates

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In the teaser scene of the movie you see Sukumaran (Prithviraj) chasing Sateeshan (Jayasurya) along the campus. Finally Sukumaran catches him and beats him to pulp. Someone throws him a hockey stick and as he is about to kill Sateeshan, someone shouts that their friend Murali (Sunil) is found dead in the generator room. Suku wakes up from his dream and gets ready to go back to Kerala from Mumbai for a reunion among those classmates.

The reunion of the 1991 Chemistry batch was organized by Prof. Iyer (Balachandra Menon) and his wife (Sobha Mohan) in memory of their son Murali. The plan was to have a get together in the evening, recollect memories, stay in the hostel for the night and leave in the morning. Besides Sukumaran who is now a diamond merchant the other people who arrive are Sateeshan, who is an MLA, Pius (Indrajith), who is now in Gulf, Thara Kurup (Kavya Madhavan) who is a professional dancer and Raziya (Radhika).

As they arrive one by one, both Thara and Sateeshan give a hostile looks to Sukumaran and you know something is not right. His only friend is Pius, but since his daughter was sick, Pius leaves to see a doctor at night at the insistence of Thara. As Suku is drunk and lying in the hostel room at night, Prof. Iyer comes to meet him and talk about Murali and his guitar which Iyer kept in another room. That night when Pius returns he finds Suku is strangled by the guitar string and police comes to investigate.

Suku was not dead and he is moved to the ICU. The police meanwhile find his diary in which he had written that he wanted to end his life, but before that he wanted to go back to his past one last time. Iyer does not believe that it is suicide. He walks along with Pius and tells that to understand the present, we have to go back into the past. The movie then flash backs to 1991.

The college life of that era was a time of strikes, a time of romance, a time of political fights and the time of love letters hidden in books. Suku is the leader of SFK and Sateeshan that of DSU and they have their tiffs. Suku also has an ongoing feud with Thara ever since she refused to leave class following a strike call issued by him. They play pranks on each other and finally it turns out that they both are madly in love with each other.

To disrupt this, Sateeshan influences Thara’s father, a big shot in DSU and makes her a candidate in the elections. She disregards Suku’s warnings which irritates him. Murali meanwhile is the favorite of everyone as he is a singer and non political. Pius is the local kamadevan trying to flirt with everyone in the campus including Raziya who is called Penguin because of her purdah. Sateeshan plays dirty in the elections, steals a love letter written by Thara to Suku and deposits it in the ballot box.

Thara and Suku fall apart. Then Murali’s death happens and a disgusted Suku stops his education and leaves. Iyer then goes through more details with Pius and slowly he pieces the story of the last 15 years. In this process he learns how his son died. He also learns who attacked Suku. This unfolding of events forms the story of Classmates.

There are two aspects which made this movie very interesting to watch. The first one is the nostalgia it creates for the campus life. We studied in a college which is exactly same as the college shown in this movie. We had friends who were like Suku, Sateeshan and Thara. Writer James Albert has made that era very lively and realistic. In one of the scenes one of the guys mentions that he was in love with a girl for almost two years and another one asks, “Does she know it”. We had a friend who fits this silent lover to the t.

The second aspect is the very interesting way of narration. Initially a set of sequences are shown, both in the past and present. Then as Iyer learns more and more, the gaps left in both past and present and filled one by one leading to the identity of the killer and attempted killer. Also in this layered narration, a hidden story of relationship is also revealed which was very interesting. Due to this, characters who remained in the background in the first pass get more prominence in the second around. The same scenes are shown again and you get to see the new angle. Due to this style of story telling, even after the movie was over, we were re sequencing the story in our head. This was clever writing.

The movie was funny. Any college movie should have pranks and the ones between Suku and Thara where he swaps her dance song for a Rajnikanth song and kidnaps her from the hostel while she is sleeping had us laughing. In another scene, Murali is asked by SFK guys to sing their revolutionary song for campaign. As he is singing, he is lifted by the DSU guys and forced to sing a different son. Then the SFK guys chase him and he starts singing both songs.

The movie had strong emotions too. The point where the relationship between Thara and Suku turn from hostility to love was refreshingly done. Similarly the hostility between Suku and Sateeshan build up over small incidents resulting in frequent fights and finally it reaches the climax with the ultimate prank that Sateshan plays which destroys Suku’s life completely. The drama here and the tension between the characters make for compelling viewing.

Besides writing such a layered story, dialogue by James Albert is non cliched as well. When Suku asks Thara not to stand for elections, she simply asks him to marry her immediately so that she does not have to listen to her father anymore. When they are locked up in the Chemistry lab, both Suku and Thara talk about their love for each other, mostly in third person which was interesting. When you have so many characters giving each one of them time is not easy, but James Albert has done justice to all the characters.

The movie is not without its drawbacks also. There is a scene where police enters the campus and beats all students including girls. We studied in a college where this was a regular feature and not once have we seen police beating girls. Also in this movie, lot of events happen because one person overhears what he is not supposed to. Thus we see Sateeshan overhearing the conversation between Thara and Suku, Sateeshan’s friend overhearing a conversation between Pius and Suku about Thara’s love letter and finally the person who attacked Suku overhearing something incriminating. This overhearing in fact forms the pillar of the movie and was overused.

Prithviraj did an excellent job as Suku. As we saw in Vargam, playing arrogant head strong characters is his forte. But in this movie he gets to be a romantic as well as a devastated helpless man. The other revelation is Indrajith. There is one scene where he grabs the letter Thara wrote to Suku and reads it out while Suku tries to grab it. His body language and the way he does it was really funny. Though we are not big fans of Jayasurya after seeing terrible movies like Immini Nalloral and Pulival Kalyanam, we were impressed with his role as Sateeshan. He can make a good villain. One versatile actor is Sunil, who morphs like a chameleon into each of the characters he is playing whether it is the rowdy in Chittiram Pesuthadi, or Police Officer in Four the People. In this film too he plays the musician’s role with ease. Among the actresses Kavya as usual has done her role very well. Radhika who played the role of Rasiya got some excellent scenes.

The music of the movie too deserves mention. Alex Paul and Vayalar Sharat Chandra Varma’s songs re-create the spirit of the campus with very memorable songs. Our favorite is Ente Khalbile. Technically too this film stands out with the use of steady cams to get us into the middle of the action. Director Lal Jose has impressed us with movies like Meesha Madhavan, Chanthupottu, and Achanurangatha Veedu. Once again he has impressed us with this well made movie.

73 Comments

  1. Looks to be a very refreshing movie from the review.

    Had an opportunity to see Sarvakalashala recently and that too brought back nostalgic memories

  2. Unni you should never see this movie, since it may make you to think of the talents we have at our disposal for the future. No surprise everybody sees it at least twice. Even at 60th day the collections are much more than the Ramzan movies. It is much better than Sarvakalasala, that is for sure. We just cannot belive how this makes a different Sunil and Indrajith, and of course with ease Prithvi does it one again. It is breaking all records and I doubt any other movie will do it again if the rats are not increased. Rajamanikyam’s 110 days record in Kottayam was broken by CLssmates in 42 days. Kavitha’s 140 days of Rajamanikyam is about to be broken in 70 days. Really astonishing. We really need to find faults only to find faults. That is the situation.

  3. “Unni you should never see this movie, since it may make you to think of the talents we have at our disposal for the future. ” – Sorry i cannot comprehend Raphael.

  4. Excellent movie, in all sense. One has to really think hard to point out the faults. Jayasurya’s sudden change in attitude (after he went to Prtiviraj’s home) was the only we could find. Maybe the director/writer should have picturised a much more valid reason here…

  5. Raphel, You are saying you doubt it any other movie will break Classmates’s record. Few years back no one would have guessed that a film in which Mammotty dances would be a top grossing film. Same way no one could have predicted Classmates. Next year there is an MT-Hariharan movie coming out. Who knows may be it will break all records, maybe it will not.

    Please don’t use one instance to make random generalizations.

  6. The story was the real king. In particular the suspense in the end. Also, the sequence in which present day and the two flash-backs(college days and previous night) were interspersed was really good. Shows that the director and writer spent good amount of time to present it in such an interesting way.

    There were flaws. Apart from the ones already mentioned, in the morning after Murali’s death, we see Sugu and Satheesan fighting in the college. Only then they come to know about Murali’s death. Its seemed bit strange since Murali’s death came into light early morning itself. Still it took so much time for the news to reach college from hostel.

    Also, the dialogues b/w Sugu and Tara where they express their love seemed very artificial. Everybody including me were booing then, because till then the movie was very close to reality and looked like we are witnessing our own college life.. That scene looked bit too melodramatic.

    Performances were stictly ok and to be fair to the actors there wasnt much scope for performance.

    Lal Jose has this knack of creating a sequence of interesting events which keeps the audience interested (Meesha madhavan). And then the flashback by Razia was the real clincher for this movie.

  7. Collection record for MT-Hariharan!!. That too in Kerala. Time has changed. I think our people will enmasse accept clear entertainers like Rajamanikyam, Rasathandram, Classmates etc. not very good quality movies like Thanmatra, Kazhcha, Akale, Mayoogham etc. An MT-Hariharan movie is normally of this genre. This can maximum create a slow run for a couple of crores or slightly more as the case of Kazhcha or Thanmatra. In order to make a movie, which breaks records it must have mass entertainment formula (not masala, which will attarct only spice/fan lovers not family). If only good movies run then Bharatan, Mohan,Adoor Gopalakrishnan etc would have made bumber hits always.
    We must see a blockbuster, which ended up collecting 1800 Crores world wide and won 5 Oscar awards in the name of Forest Gump. This, in our standard was an art movie. There were so many examples like this in world Cinema. Why Mayookham failed. Our film standards are gone down along with the tast of the Audiance. I do not think any one will dare to say Classmates is better than Kazhcha or Thanmatra. But, collections and quality are tottally different. Narasimham was a mass masala movie but created records then. So lets hope MT-Hariharan will at best make a hit movie.
    We were watching world classics from Kurosova, Capola etc. as members of TVM Surya film society in early 80s. Those days we used to watch only Adoor, MT and Aravindan movies apart from thos eworld classics. Later when everyone started rejecting such movies we changed our mind to become a commercial guy watching all rubbish. That is the resaon why good movies are not running. Pl read Prithvi’s Interview in NANA, wher he mentions of this problem.

  8. Vadakkan Veeragatha was an MT-Hariharan movie which was a big hit and people watched it without caring if it is art or commercial (which is just a dubious tag). Good movies will always run. Frankly I never likd any Adoor/Aravindan movie. I thought lot of it was just hyped and people are afraid to say anything against them.

  9. WE are talking of collections above 10 Crore.This figure is already being crossed by Classmates and before it only 3-4 movied crossed it. Udayan, Rajamani, Rasathantram. Classmates is expected to touch 15 Crores, the first time by any movie.Lots of big hits which eneded up below 10, which are also huge hits.

  10. Murali need not have died yaar….he was so good..!
    Anyway, the movie is a must-watch for old students of some years back…

  11. After niram and nammal a wonderfull campus story from lal jose

  12. Happened to see Classmates yesterday (Raphael – Apologies!)

    Enjoyed the movie due to a few reasons

    * True depiction of Campus politics – how fights start between rival parties; gaining political mileage through below-the-belt tactics,

    * Love in the “pre-historic” ages when there were no cellphones. Proabaly the generation who studied upto around 1998 [approximately the period when cellphones landed in Kerala] may identify themslves best with the movie. Post that period, cellphones came in and everyone was texting the other every few seconds

    * Depiction of typical “Vaaalitharams” – wooing girls, commenting on their “structures” etc

    Prithviraj stole the show as Suku. For once he has acted in a movie where he acts his age – unlike Vellithira, Chakram etc.

    Now an observation which I thought – [Raphel sharpen your daggers 🙂 ] IMHO, Prithviraj looked to be imitating Mohan Lal in a number of scenes,[Imitating the great star is in itself a compliment.]

    The dialogue delivery – the look in his eyes – the pregrant pauses in between conversations all reminded ME of a Lal about 20 years younger.

    On another note, I would rate it alongside Sarvakalashala – For people who havent watched it – please do watch it. Its an excellent campus movie which is by no means out-dated. Couple of scenes in the movie when our stars like Maniyanpilla Raju were in their younger days was truly hilarious – the scene where they welcome the freshers and they smoke pot in their hostel rooms was very realsitic and reminiscent of those times.

  13. I have seen Sarvakalashala and I have seen Classmates. Although a decent movie, Sarvakalashala is not anywhere near Classmates. And to find similariites in Prithvi’s acting to that of Mohanlal, need to have  eyes of a diehard fan.

  14. “Sarvakalashala is not anywhere near Classmates”

    You can also say that Classmates is nowhere near Sarvakalashala. What I mean to say is that Classmates and Sarvakalashala are as far apart as they can be when it comes to college movies.

    Classmates, essentially is a suspense drama. A good script and a climax which really shakes you up.

    On the other hand, Sarvakalashala is a romantic college drama. It depicts the lives of various characters you find in a typical kerala college – lecturers in love, poovalans, PE maash, watchman, attendant and ofcourse lalettan as the central character. Story-wise there was nothing much, but the movie was very nostalgic and laced with high quality humor. Characterizations were so good.

    Cinematically Sarvakalashala was a treat. Classmates is more the “masses” kind of movie.

  15. Karthik, Actually it is the other way. When some young actor makes it big, all these people who walk around in Mohanlal T-Shirts tied around their head will find similarities. Tomorrow if Jayasurya or Indrajith makes it big, we will hear the same.

    Unni, Please spare us of this idolatory and don’t insult our intelligence.

  16. Happy go Lucky – I fully agree with you on Saravakalashala. Its a real college drama and I would even go to say that some of the scenes are far more realsitic than in Classmates. For ex: Its still a comon practise of many college hostels where students crack pot, where this ragging and all. Classmates doesnt depict any of those very common incidents. So I will go with HG Lucky’s comments that its a suspense drama with a college campus as backdrop.

    Siji/Karthik – As conveyed several times through VC, I am not ashamed to be a Lalettean fan. Having said that am not the type who watches tripe like Thandavam 11 times. If you read my post carefully, you will understand that its MY opinion alone and considering that this is a forum to express an opinion am in my rights to do that. Thank you!

  17. Correction that should read Students smoke crack and pot – Unni

  18. We just cannot compare two good movies. Sarvakalasala was centric with a main Character, Classmates more characters oriented. It is sure all the young guys especially Prithvi, Narain, Indrajit got the talent to be Gen Next who can easily move the Mallu Industry.
    The imitation is just an over cautious comment. I said earlier everyone is keenly watching for Prithvi’s negative side. As our friend said if someone says ‘Chumma’ with closed eyes how we can say it is Lal imitation. I think we need to have lots of good actors so that Theaters get good movies and they do not go for a close down. Just remember it took 50 days after Onam to get a new release. How theaters will survive? In any other state Prithvi or Narain would have been stars by now. But, it is Keralites dear, they make everyone struggle, before the final breaking out. I got the feeling Vastavam will make a new star’s arrival and he will be in the club of Dileep etc. It is good for Mallus.

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  22. Really a good movie! This movie was released day-before-yesterday here in Mumbai. The movie has been running to packed houses since then! Today for a special show, the multiplex screened the movie simultaneously in two halls!!!

    OVerall a very good movie – Worth watching!

  23. [Edited to remove spoilers – VC]
    I liked the movie overall. I have not studied in college in kerala, so I could not relate to most of the events.. But I found few flaws which could have been avoided… Mostly they are related to Suku’s personality. Was he really a leader and stood up for what he believed in.. or was he afraid to face realities in life.
    2. Even though Suku and Thara loved each other, they play crude pranks on each other. That is fine because they loved each other above and beyond. But they split over something silly. Suku does not make an effort to tell her that it was not him who placed the letter in the ballot. In fact he could have told her before it became public and there was no reason for Thara not to believe it.

    Thara was ready to marry him at one point, which makes the audience think that they had a strong relationship.

    4. Thara says she was aware of events in Suku’s whereabouts. His life in Bombay, divorce etc through Pios. But she does not make any effort to unite with him until then.
    I am not sure if Thara was unmarried all these years waiting for Suku or because she did not find Mr. Right.

    5. Someone else mentioned this, the fact that Satheeshan changed his attitude so quickly and tells the truth to Thara.

    I feel the players have done well and it is a good movie provided we do not ask any questions like why did he leave college shattering his mothers dreams and leaving them all by themselves for something that he was not responsible for. Until then he was depicted as a leader – bold and living for his ideologies and ready to fight for it.

    The director makes it feel like a happy ending and I don’t see how since so many lives were devastated.

  24. First of all this story is originally not Writen James Albert, but by Suhaaib from Tiruvalla. He had circulated it amoung the top so called malayalam directors for their review and chance. But as shown in the movie ‘Udayan aanu Tharam” this script might have landed in the hands of Mr.lal jose or James. There are enough proof that this is not the original work of Mr.James. This piece of information is just for the readers to know that there is more to it than eyes meet.

  25. Richa,

    Actually I wrote the original script. Suhaaib took it from me.

    When you make random allegations like these, there will be some credibility if you provide refernces, proof etc. You sound like one Karthyayani who was here sometime back with some weird logic.

  26. Jibs – You can agree or not agree with Richa.
    But the fact of the matter is that there were allegations going around that James Albert had taken the story from someone else. This may or may not be right.

    This is not the first time that a director/script-writer has been accused of plagiarsm. Vinayan was accused of stealing soem writer’s story for I think it was Vasanthi/Lakshmi. Also this is not like saying all love stories are based on Romeo and Juliet.
    These are specific cases.

    What I wanted to point out is that such things DO exist in the industry and it was brilliantly brought out in Udayanaanu Thaaram

  27. What Richa commented is true. Me too saw it in the newspapers and tv channels. From what i gather the name of the short story was “pinakkam” which the so called suhaaib authored in 2002 which formed a part of his anthology of short stories named “valmeekam”. The theme of “pinakkam” was based on a reunion of former classmates in a former students meet after some span of time. The name of the protagonists were sudhakaran and meera(interesting to note that in film it became sukumaran and thara), who at the time of their study maintained unhealthy relation with each other. They meet in the campus after many years and resolve their old scores. A beautiful and definite instance of plagiarism!I hope all of you agree.

  28. Jibs..first of all please believe I have nothing to gain or loose by making this allegation, I just wanted to point out the fact thats it. Secondly when you say if I have any refernces, proof etc. well if you can let me know your convenient time and I can put you with all that proof frame-by-frame, right now I am in Sharjah. And finally why I am saying this is because Suhaaib is my buddy and I have a copy of his work ‘Pinnakkam’that was written in 2002, quite rightly said by Anil (thanx Anil for you have detailed more than what I have done).

    Guys the damage is already done, and maybe there is very little to amend, but I guess you can understand the pain and agony one goes through when he finds his literature is stolen

  29. Richa,

    I believe your friend plagarised it from a 1983 movie – The Big Chill. A really beautiful and definite instance of plagarism. I hope you agree.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Big_Chill_(film)

  30. WELL “BIG CHILL” IS NOT AT ALL COMING TO THE PROXIMITY OF SUHAAIB’S “PINAKKAM”. I HAVE BEEN THROUGH YOUR LINK, JIBS. THE FILM IS PRETTY OLD(1983)TOO.I DO NOT HAVE MUCH MATERIAL TO WRITE ANY FURTHER. SO I WIND UP. JIBS, PLEASE DO NOT MAKE ANY FALSE ALLEGATIONS. AS COMMENTED BY RICHA THE DAMAGE IS ALREADY DONE TO THAT WRITER. DO NOT HURT HIM AGAIN BY MAKING SOME LAME ALLEGATIONS WHICH DO NOT HAVE ANY SUBSTANCE IN IT.

  31. Jibs – its very similar to Classmates. So who copied who.

  32. Anil,

    From now please do not leave comments in all upper case. It is irritating to read and will not be approved.

  33. @Anil, So what if the film is pretty old? Your friend probably thought that no one will find out. Stealing from English movies is not new and our film makers do it all the time. Usually it is a film to film copy. You friend has now done a film-story copy which probably is new.

    Why is he hurt by allegations? Didn’t he make such allegations against James Albert? At that time did he think if James would be hurt?

    @Unni, apparently Suhaaib in Sharjah copied it from Lawrence Kasdan and James Albert copied it from Suhaaib. Looks like James Albert has joined the illustrious class of “inspired” film makers like Priyadasrshan and Sinivasan who blatantly copy from English movies and don’t give credit.

  34. Jibs, you only know what wikipedia offers. You have not seen the movie “The big chill”. Here we all of us have got classmates and suhaaib’s work “pinakkam”. Wikipedia only speaks of a former students meeting to pay homage to one of their friends who committed suicide. See the story is entirely different. There is no mentioning of the hero and heroine, their issues and settling of their old scores at the time of their reunion. From what I gather from the newspapers of 21-11-06(I made a study) and channels,(surya tv, ACV and manoramavision)suhaaib made a novel too out of his short story “pinakkam” which was published in 2003. See he is so dedicated to that partcular story idea. And those two works are the basis of his allegation. Jibs, I have no hard feelings in this issue but always have a sympathetic stand to the down-trodden. That’s it and that is the final word of mine on this issue. Nothing more on this matter. To VC I extend my apologies for writtig in upper key.

  35. Anil, Wow! How do you know I have not seen Big Chill? Please tell me. Did you check the list of movies I rented this Friday?

    In the movie there is a heroine Karen, who has an affair with Sam Weber but they do not marry. In the movie Sam Weber does not turn out to be diamond merchant, but a TV star.

    “down-trodden” – is that what plagarists are called in Sharhah?

  36. Dear Jibs The big chill is about a group of friends who are suddenly pulled back together by the death of one of their friend alex who committed suicide and its about how they come to terms with their grief for alex. Its a story of eight old friends searching for something they lost, and finding that all they needed was each other. It is about searching for oneself. Its a classic movie that makes you sit down and think what we are. And let me tell you it is very different to Classmates and Pinakkam. But we can go on arguing this with many more examples there will be no end to it.

    If you think what I said is something new then let me quote you another example and I am not sure if you know that the original story of ‘Nadodikaatu’ the Mohan Lal super hit was original written by siddique (Director) when he was trying to set his footing in Malayalam industry. But that script somehow landed with Satyan Andikad who went on to make the movie. What did Siddique did then, nothing but cry foul, and he learned his way and decided he direct movie himself. Siddique has openly admitted this in one of the TV channels. So this is not something new thats happening.

    The poor guy Suhaaib is still running around TV channels claiming that it was his work, but he is too little a creature to be heard in this selfish film Industry. As said earlier the damage is already done.

  37. Jibs, Anil, Richa – IMO what you have been debating about forms a classic example of where inspiration end, and plagiarism begins. And I’d tend to side with Richa & Anil on this one – simply ‘coz Classmates seems to have many elements that are separate from ‘The Big Chill’ (now I have not seen Clasmates, but have viewed the latter).

    Was the script of Classmates inspired from ‘The Big Chill’ – well, maybe. Personally, when I first heard the concept of Classmates (before the movie released) – I thought it was a rehash of Cheran’s ‘Autograph’ (unjustififed though, in hindsight). But plagiarism would be too strong a word in this case, I feel. This is sorta like the old Mammootty-Joshi combo ‘New Delhi’, which was defnly inspired from the novel ‘The Almighty’ by Irving Wallace; but thatz all it was: mere inspiration. Plagiarism would be what Priyan does in his Hindi movies.

  38. To Richa,
    I disagree with you re your comment on siddiq-lal’s “Nadodikkattu” issue.In the movie “Nadodikkattu” siddiq-lal’s names appears as story writers in the title card. They were not totally neglected.Well for beginners it is not so bad. It is with their ambition, perseverence and patience they became the noteable directors of malayalam movie industry. Another movie in the genre of classmates is coming along-Notebook. Let us wait for that.

  39. There is also an old ’80s movie from eastern Europe that had the same theme. The theme of classmates is certainly not new. I don’t remember the name or even the language of that movie. I will try to find out.

  40. IMHO inspiration is where you borrow an idea from Hollywood or some other source and customize it to suit the appropriate audience’ tastes. It need not be a scene by scene copy.
    Ex: Blessy clearly mentioned in Thanmathra that his story is based on Padmarajan’s short story.

    Plagiarism is a scene by scene rip-off. What Priyadrasan did for Garam Masala, Hera Pheri and now Bhagam Bhag are examples.

    In this case, I would however give the benefit of doubt to Suhaaib. As i mentioned, some other writer similary accused Vinayan of stealing his stories. It happens all the time. What they showed in Udyanaanu Thaaram was by no means exaggerated

  41. I agree with Ranjith’s view on “inspiration”. There are many cases of good Malayalam movies inspired by other movies that cannot be called plagiarism.

    “Swapnakoodu” was inspired by “Dil Chahta Hai”, but there’s no real connection in terms of storyline. There was another malayalam movie based on the Hollywood movie “Ghost”. The malayalam version was based on the superstitions of Kerala, so the storyline had to be changed to match. I’ve read Irwing Wallace’s “Almighty” on which Joshi’s “New Delhi” was based. The only common thread is that of a newspaper editor who plots killings and then has the full story in print before any of his competitors. I think these are good examples of how one person’s story can inspire something fresh.

    I hope that no one here is under the illusion that all Hollywood movies are based on new material. Some of Hollywood’s biggest hits are either “inspired by” or are direct copies of foreign movies. Some examples that I’m aware of are:

    “The Magnificent Seven” — based on Akira Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai”

    “Three Men and a Baby” — based on the French movie “Three Men and a Cradle”.

    “Scent of a Woman” — based on an Italian movie.

    You can find a much longer list by typing “remakes” at Wikipedia.

  42. The eastern European movie is called “Hey, Babu Riba”. It’s from Yugoslavia. It’s about the story of four friends who reunite after the death of a childhood friend and remember the “good old days”.

  43. Karthyani

    Malayalam directors [mostly Priyadarsan] have borrowed a lot from Hollywood.

    Thoovalsparsham is based on Three men and a Cradle. Thalavattom on One flew oer the cuckoo’s nest, Boeing Boeing on Beoing Boeing, Nadodikattu and the sequels on the Pink Panther series, Ayushkalam on Ghost, Sethurammayar CBI on Arthur Hailey’s Detective, Sathyam on Kakka Kakka – the list is endless

  44. What they showed in Udayananu Tharam is not exaggeration, for Udayananu Tharam itself was ripped of some Eddie Murphy movie.

    Here is what happened in Bowfinger

    “But desperate times call for desperate measures, so Bowfinger decides to put Kit Ramsey in the movie whether he likes it or not. His cast and crew begin stalking the star with hidden (not to mention stolen) cameras. Actors run up to him on the street and say their lines, then run away. As long as Ramsey is in the shot, Bowfinger is happy. He’ll piece the story together later.”

    Isn’t this like a scene by scene description of what happened in the climax of Udayananu Tharam, written by the eminent Srinivasan. As per our definition this would be plagarism.

    Now why would Mohanlal agree to act in such a plagarised movie. Maybe he is ignorant unlike the script writers.

  45. Unni,

    I am not disputing that plagiarism exists in Malayalam cinema. Priyadarshan is a total embarassment for malayalam cinema. I was just supporting Ranjith’s comment about the difference between plagiarism and inspiration.

    I don’t think that “Thoovalsparsham” was a direct copy. It was “strongly inspired”. So was “Life is Beautiful” — from “Dead Poets Society”.

  46. I mentioned Udayaanu Thaaram (UT) to stress the point that stories written by lesser known people are blatantly stolen by directors and script-writers. Not to indicate whether UT was plagiarised or not.

    I doubt Mohan Lal.Mammotty get the time to see Hollywood movies and suggest that this is plagiarism and this is not. They are actors – not directors or script-writers. He may well be ignorant

    Jibs – the point is not to find faults with people on whether thay plagiarised or were inspired. If it were that easy, virtually every hollywood hit [minus the hi graphics/action movies] would have been remade in Malayalm or some other language. If audience can find these scenes convincing and enjoy them, you cant help it if the movie became hits. And most Priyaradarsan/Sreenivasan are hits.

    Now please dont bother to check up wiki or IMDB and tell that Chinthavishtaya Syamala and Vadakkumnokkiyantharam are the copies of Die Another Day and Jurassic Park.

  47. Pingback: varnachitram » Blog Archive » Preview: Notebook

  48. The story of classmates concerning Murali and Rasiya is lifted from the movie “Friends”. Lst saturday I happened to watch “Friends” when it was played in Surya TV. Then this thing clicked in my mind.

    In “Friends” in his childhood days, Jayaram accidently locks the deaf-mute brother of his friend Mukesh in the cellar. This deaf-mute child gets suffocated and dies eventually. When Jayaram comes to know about it he is devastated but keeps it a secret. This secret tortures Jayaram all the time he grew up. After some 9 years Jayaram gets married and when his wife questions why Jayaram give too much importance to Mukesh in his life, he reveals the dark secret which haunt him. Their conversation is overheard by Jayaram’s relative Sukumari who immediately pass the terrible news to Mukesh. Mukesh come yelling to kill Jayaram but others prevents him from doing that.

    [Spoilers removed] This is similar in Classmates
    Now the linking of characters of “Friends” to “Classmates”.Mukesh’s deaf-mute brother-Narain, Mukesh-Rasiya, Jayaram-Pritviraj, Cellar-Generator room.

    How is it folks? Embers glow in the dark, no?

    I have gone through all the reviews of “Classmates” appeared in this blog. Seems that the writer of “Classmates” do not have anything to call it as his own. He has admitted in an interview he got Murali’s dying method from a news in a newspaper. So he changed the dying place of Murali from cellar in Friends to generator room in Classmates. He took the base story from Suhaaib’s “Pinakkam” and the parallel story from “Friends.”

    Another news enters my mind. It is admitted by Lal jose when he and the writer told the story of “Classmates” to Distributor Lal, Lal had commented the beginning and ending were superb but more punch had to be given to the middle part of the story. After this the director and writer of classmates spend some 2 days and nights brooding over the problem. It is interesting to note that Lal is the distributor and one of the producers of “Friends” and he is the distributor of “Classmates”.

  49. Everyone’s life some time depend on similar incidents of others. When we say lifted it shows the immature mind and trying best to explain is quite hilarious. If Youngsters can give such a hit, many people sat back and start wondering, deliberatly giving full credit to the director only. Super star mania, which destroys the Industry is the main reason of such thinkings.

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