varnachitram

A Blog on Cinema

MammoottySpeak!

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At some point we thought, we should not make fun of geriatric actors for they are only doing their constitutionally mandated job of entertaining us. Then, they come up with some real howlers that we can’t keep our hands off the keyboard.

The issue at hand is not new and we have been discussing this over and over here. We know that we have talented superstars who still live off the suitcase acting in as many movies as humanely possible. Since they are exceptionally good and are hardworking, the film industry is not willing to risk their bets on newcomers or even promote new talent. We have been eagerly waiting for a day when there are more actors than the “superstars”. Looks like we won’t have that fortune real soon according to Mammootty.

You can’t throw us out too soon. We will be around for more,” he added.

Sure. Now if you want serious cinema you have Mammotty in Karuthapakshikal. When you want comedy movies, you have Mammotty in Rajamanikyam and Thuruppuglan. When you want action movies you have two Mammotties in Balram vs Tharadas. Mammotty is the youth icon in Mayavi. Mammotty is that, Mammotty is this. If he starts acting in Films Division Documentaries also, then we give up.

The problem for these senior citizens is in finding the right heroine. Sometimes when they do find a heroine, they look like father and daughter. But Mammootty has the ready answer.

Asked why he continued acting with younger heroines despite his age, Mammootty replied: “How old is your wife? Isn’t she younger to you? See, this is our culture and I don’t have any problem.”

Yes, but our wives are not 1/4th our age. Also, we don’t look good in make up.

47 Comments

  1. mammUTTi seems to cleverly have taken the question about heroines purely literally ( “younger heroines” rather than “heroines who are so young” ) – smart guy :-))

  2. there was one function where both Kunchacko Boban and Mammotty attended. It was Boban’s turn to address the audience – he was at a loss to address mammotty as mammooty unle or mammukka. He finally addressed him as Mammukka. After the function, he told Mammotty that he was in a dilemma as to call him Mammukka or mammotty uncle. When our superstar heard this he says “Mammotty uncle ennu enhgaaanum nee enne vilichirunnel vivarum arinjene”

  3. Finally the much talked about reasons for the anticipated collapse of the Mallu Films Industry is out. Lets look in to some facts.

    1. Due to widespread reach of fake CDs of new releases public got an opportunity to watch all movies with in a week or so without taking the struggle to go to the theaters, where only an unfriendly atmosphere is prevailing. Many of the theaters, including the best in Kerala are dirty and you cannot simply go for nature’s call.
    2. How the fake CD crushing the Industry, eg. I know at least 6 of my relatives’ families (some 25 persons in number) who are regular viewers of new movies but never visited a theater in the last two years, but with fake CDs.
    3. The fake CD racket is well supported and run by those high in the power, resulting only 15% people are going to movies regularly and majority of them are 2M supporters. (Means 40 Lakhs).
    4. Only exceptional cases of movies will bring other public in to theaters in large numbers, eg. Classmates and Rasathandram.
    5. Other Super stars movies just braced past or failed due to the support from only their fans not general public.
    6. Public fed up with the histrionics of the aged super stars, which become the next big reason for this exodus of public from theaters.
    7. No other reason for lukewarm support for excellent movies like Vasthavam, Vargam, Karuthapakshikal and Tanmatra (in spite of having huge media support it did not set the box office on fire, but just managed due to low budget)
    8. Huge print media support and big banners could not save Pothen Vava and Mahasamudram (many more are there), which further eroded the 2Ms family base support.
    9. Adding fuel to fire some print media is supporting only Super Star movies as if they depend on heir support, describing other movies as average.
    10. Big cities like Bangalore, Chennai Mumbai, Delhi runs Telugu or Tamil movies for weeks together and that too in 5-8 theaters release (depends on the city). But Mallu movies, though in all these cities Kerala population is higher than any one else run only for a week or so in a single station. Only exceptional run was made by Classmates since two years which, done a combined weeks run for 10 and 8 in Banglore and Chennai.

    Youngsters like Prithvi, Narain and Indrajith has done their maximum but still looking for that single hero hits, which under this circumstances looks very bleak. Only way out is the greedy and established Directors like Joshy, Satyan, Shafi, Priyan, Sibi, Kamal, Ranjith, Shaji Kailas etc. should do what Lal Jose has done. The 2Ms doesn’t need their support, but are still not confident of going alone with new directors. If this trend continues and looking at the comments from Mammoo, that they will be there for more, which made the 15% movie goers happy, will see the END of once Great Mallu Industry. Good luck.
    Raphel a movie lover.

  4. It is high time that the government in Kerala, brings in an Anti-Piracy Law, like Jayalalitha did in TN. Strict punishments should be given to people who indulge in video-piracy.
    But the problem is that many political big-wigs and their relatives are hand in glove with the gang of video pirates.

  5. Raphel, I have read few of your comments and they have very good points, but for every issue why do you keep on repeating it infinite times?

  6. If we discuss among ourselved it is of no use, since we are general public. The print and Electronic media is blind. Unless some worthwhile guys, who are close to the film world know these (they may be well aware but acts as if nothing is happening)things, it may find a discussion. That is why.
    Still the things are getting worser than earlier.
    How much pain Kamal took to promote his movie with the Mega star. What happened? Empty theaters, run for some time only due to the commitment.
    However, they are finally star getting the seeds of their own yield?

  7. Raphael, I agree with many of your points – especially about the state of many of our thetares – but blaming the superstars alone would be beating around the bush.

    Do look at what themes our movies have. Except for a Thanmatra or a Classmates, did we really see anything new this year? Vargam dealt with a hot-tempered cop (to say nothing about the blatant Devasuram ripoff), Vasthavam was about power-plays & Kerala politics, Karuthapakshikal was essentially a cleverly disguised sob-story…the list goes on. Compare this with the freshness of a Lage Raho Munnabhai, a Rang De Basanti, a Pudhupettai (same old story, but terrific directorially), a Kaadhal (ditto, plus a great debutante performance by Sandhya) or an Imsai Arasan.

    IMO the main problem is tht we have a dearth of new talent in the screenplay and directorial areas. Its no wonder that some our best movies in recent times – Maravathur Kanavu, Kaazhcha, Thanmatra, Classmates, Udayananu Tharam – have been from this new talent pool.

  8. Ranjith – To add to that, when was the last time any of our “veterans” have a hit – Kamal, Sibi Malayil, Shaji Kailas, Lohithadas [Moved to direction], Priyadarsan [busy in Hindi], Fazil [ all previous movies in recent times flopped]

    The only director who has been living upto his expectations is Sathyan Anthikad

  9. @Unni: True, though Kamal at least produces gems like Madhuranombarakkattu (done-to-death-theme, great treatment) and Perumazhakaalam from time to time. Sibi & Lohi used to be a great combo, lets hope better sense prevails!

    Including Shaji & Priyan here is a bit extreme, though. Shaji thrives on high-octrave stuff, and can hardly boast of any variety. Priyan, on the other hand, is creative but devoid of a single ‘original’ bone in his body. Heard tht Mani C Kappan sought and received compensation for Priyan ripping off Mannar Mathai…good for him. But yeah, Priyan is better than Shaji anyday.

    Satyan makes movies run alright, but I find his movies horribly regressive – hate most of his recent stuff. His movies are formulaic to the core and are littered with the same ole’ characters everytime – think he imagines himself to be RK Narayan making movies on Malgudi or somethin! But well, he makes them run, so…

  10. Ranjit, By including Shaji as a veteran I meant that he has been in the industry for over 15 years. Of course he is not in the class of Sibi/Kamal/Priyan. But he gave us a few hits like Commissioner, Ekalavyan, Aram Thampuran etc.

    Priyan, even though hes not original, at least he customized the Hollywood originals to suit our tastes – Kilukkam, Chitram , Mithunam etc.

    In the present scenario, Sathyan’s movies are a refreshing change. I woulndt call his Rasthantram not even good by his standards – but it had enough to make it a superhit. Of his recent movies Manasinakkare, Veendum Chila Vettukarayangal and Yathrakkarde Shreddhakku were good movies.

  11. And yes Mani C Kappan got 75 lakhs for the Mannar Mathai Remake – Bhagam Bhag. IMHO 75 lakhs would have been peanuts for the producer who would be getting his returns in excess of 50 crores.

    Full credit to Priyan though for customising malayalam remakes to suit the pop-corn fed Bollywood audience. And Varavelpu is also in the making to be directed by Sreekumaran Thampy’s son and produced by Priyan. It stars Govinda and Reema Sen

  12. Rasathantram was not a great movie, it became a hit because it was better than the rest of the gutter stuff.

  13. Am not a great admirer of Priyan – despite being creative (proof: Adwaitham, Midhunam etc), he chooses to copy movie after movie, and then deny tht he copies. He’s a blatant cheat, that’s what he is. And Varavelpu with Govinda – ohmygawd. At least if its with somebody like Aamir, I’d be interested!

    Yeah, Shaji’s been here for 15 yrs – although he ‘arrived’ only with Thalasthanam, I guess. I used to like his movies (still like ‘The King’ and ‘Narasimham’), but yeah he used to be able to make slick thrillers. Now he’s just repeating himself.

    Satyan seems to have become a parody of wht he used to be. I hated Yatrakkarude (Sidhique as an NRI groom was intolerable cruelty), couldnt sit thru Manassinakkare (with all the stereotyped characters parading thru the screen all over again), and didnt bother to see the rest. Mabbe I’m in a minority here, but doesn’t anybody else feel that Satyan seems to be caught in a time-warp?

  14. Ranjit – Slightly differ here about Sathyan’s recent movies – they are no way anywhere in the league of his classics like Nadodikatu or Varavelppu but again, his recent movies are wayyy better than the tripe being churned out now-a-days ex: Thuruppugulan, Pothen vava, Don etc.

    Sathyan’s last “good” movie was Veendum Chila Vettukaryangal. Rasathantram was a hit because of Lal, Meera Jasmine aided by an average plot by Satyan

    Also remeber Sathyan’s best movies came with Sreenivasan and Lohithadas. Except for Yathrakaarde Shradhakku, Sreeni is not writing for Sathyan

  15. Also IMHO Shaji’s good movies were – Ekalavyan, Commissioner, King and Aram Thampuran

  16. @Unni: Yeah, that’s certainly true. Satyan’s always remained true to his sensibilities, even when some of his movies collapsed at the BO (Narendran Makan etc). Its just that his movies always give me a feeling of ‘been there, done that’ :(.

    Shaji’s best films were certainly those; I’d include Narasimham ‘coz at the time it was a novelty in Mal-cinema. I liked Thalasthanam better than Ekalavyan, though (once again, guessing I’m in a minority here).

  17. Ranjith – If we look at all our yester year veterans, everyone has degraded without exception. I forgot to include Hariharan and Josheiy also in my earlier list.

    But Sathyan has degraded lesser than the rest. Thammil Bhedam Thomman

    Aram Thampuran was new because of Lal in super-human format for the first time [devasuram didnt project him that much of a superhero] And also for the fact that Manju Warrier was also there.

    Narasimham was a typical potboiler aimed at the masses

  18. Unni, Shaji Kailash is a skillfull showman… Give him a solid story and a gripping screenplay, he gives back a superhit… All his superhits had great stories and racy and gripping screenplays by Renji Panicker and Renjith etc… After they left him for good, Shaji has become a poor caricature of himself… Now-a-days his camera shots are racy and nothing else!!

    Then I would rather rank Aaram Thamburan and The Truth as his best movies… By the way “The Truth” is Shaji’s movie, right?? Correct me if I am wrong!!

  19. Unnikrishnan – you are absolutely right..its bcos Shaji had good scripts from Ranjith and Ranji Panikker who later moved to direction.

    Unfortunately a lot of script writers think they are good directors only to miserbaly fail – Lohithadas the perfect example, Ranjith etc. Sreenivasan is the only excpetion.

    Truth is Shaji’s movie. It was a good movie though it didnt become a hit. I think SN Swami was the script-writer

  20. @Unnikrishnan: Now, I didn’t like ‘The Truth’ much, and everytime somebody raves about the movie, I’m always amazed – did I miss something?

    As far as I remember, it was another typical whodunit…with Mammootty prancing around in yet another eyebrow hiding wig, and speaking lousy dialogues (the one correcting some spelling error was sickkkkk)…we are talking abt the same movie, aren’t we?

  21. When good scripts dried up, directors were at a loss and had to rely on Super Stars ‘pull’ to get people into theatre. Mediocre scripts and Superstars ‘Hysteri’onics were the preferred tools. Thus this mess.

  22. Ranjit – the surprise elemnt of the movie was that the killer is a man as bharath patteri puts it and how we wipes of all trace from where he lived etc

    having said that, there were some howlers in the movie – one scene where mammotty is working on his computer in the night and thilakan his dad comes in and asks mone urangiyille to which mammotty looks at the screen and says illacha orupaadu joliundaayirunnu..and the comp screen shows the windows screensaver!!

  23. Ranjit, Adding to Unni’s comments about “The Truth”, the surprise element in the investigation story as who the intended victim was, was the biggest catch of the story.. Though U will be able to make a guess about who the killer is half way through the movie, the motive behind the killing was the surprise element.. That was the novelty in the script that got etched in my memory…

    Then Unni, Bloopers of Mammooty and Computers go a long way back… I remember the distinctive talking computer that talks in a peculiar computerised Mallu accent, when one types something in it, that featured in one of the ever green hits of Mammooty, “New Delhi”.. 😉

  24. Guess I do have to re-watch the movie – don’t remember anything of it (except for Thilakan being some magician-astrologer cum Mam’s dad).

    Mammootty & computers? Don’t tell me! Went to watch Indraprastam in a theatre (college hormones – simran, you know!), and laughed my guts out. Morphing – discovered by Mammootty – for NASA! Incredible – why the hell our actors don’t correct glaring blunders like that is beyond me!

  25. Unnikrishnan – Theres more. In Indraprastham wehre Mammotty played a software engineer, its mentioned in the movie that it was Sathish (Mammotty’s character) who founded morphing technology for NASA!!!

  26. Ranjith – You are not alone. Even i watched Indraprastham in the theatre for Simran as she was touted as the next hot thing. 🙂

    The movie was a damp squib – Mammotty’s dancing and these gems like morphing

  27. How many new stories and innovation came in 80s or 90s? I think, if films did well, directors would have the guts to go in a different route, try out new stories. But they are sticking with success formulas because audience is not coming to theatre. Even for an average film, 1000s of people download off the net or view with pirated CDs. They are not willing to go to the theatre though, for even a good film. Kerala being the most educated state in the country, I am surprised at the ethics of the community.

  28. @SK: The golden age of the 80s and the early 90s had the magical duo – Padmarajan and Bharatan, though the latter seemed to lose his shine a bit toward his last years – churn out one good movie after another. In fact, a movie like ‘Parannu Parannu Parannu’, considered bad by the standards then, seems like a ‘Schindlers List’ by the standard of the stuff coming out now. And BO success never did dictate their method. Their passing away has truly left a void that’s been unfilled till now.

    Today’s directors – save a Kamal, Lal Jose or Blessy – do seem to have the conviction to try out new stuff (I’d like to add Padmakumar to the list, but its early days yet). When you have a Pithaamagan, a Thandavam and a Vargam running at theatres near you, which one would you choose to watch – its a pretty straightforward answer, IMO.

  29. Script writer and directors are the ones to blame for on screen bloopers, the actor is not responsible – like NASA, screensaver etc. Choosing to act in movies like Praja, Thandavam, Udayon etc – Rajnikanth style punch lines , super human acts etc are the direct reasons for the curent state of Malayalam cinema.

  30. Ranjit, I would watch Vargam for the excellent performance by Prithviraj.

  31. @Srini: However, couldn’t actors say something when given a dialogue as idiotic as ‘I invented this morphing software for NASA’ – I mean, come on! We’re not talking about puppets or newcomers, but some of the best actors of the country.

    @Jibs: I did watch Vargam too. However, an average viewer – me included – would opt for a clearly superior Pithamagan over a Vargam anyday. And again, I stress: except for a Prithviraj follower/fan, the movie Vargam has little new to offer to a filmgoer, which is why (I suspect) it did not do too well at the BO.

  32. True, they are top actors, I would judge them on their acting, not by the mistakes of screenplay writer or director.

  33. @Srini: Well, Indraprastham did not exactly feature the best Mammootty performance ever, either.

    No, what I was talking about above was about the reluctance of our senior actors to meddle/interfere/correct the script, even when there are glaring bloopers such as this one (one could think of 500, just in this years’ movies, I bet). Or mabbe they just dont’ bother for substandard movies like these 🙂 !!

  34. Ranjit – Why would our stars look to change the script for bloopers. They may be as ignorant as the script-writers. Now changing the story to showcase their superhuman image is a different thing

  35. Lohithadas in his early days has come up with very innovative ideas in films like Dasharatham. Even Ranjith did Nandanam. But then due to the decision by the superstars to do the Rajanikanth act in Kerala, we had to see all those mundu madakki adi and so many movies which would put Superman to shame.

    Once I heard Ranjith mention on an interview in Asianet that the current scripts are not written by the script in isolation. They first need to be approved by the megastar. Then as he politely put it “suggestions” are given to improve the script. Since these script writers now have to depend on superstars for their rice and chicken curry, they have to write autrocious script and import teenagers to act as heroines. Now with the drivers and cooks of superstars producing movies, you know where the money comes from.

    Script writers and directors have become merceneries in the hands of a bunch of wealthy actors who have decided to torture us with their “acting” till God decides to step in.

  36. @Unni: Sorry, disagree with you. If our film-magazines are to be believed, Mammootty is quite tech-savvy – at least enough to know that morphing and NASA are as alike as apples and coconuts.

    @Jibs: This is sorta similar to something I read – apparently K.Viswanath and Singeetham are two of the few directors that Kamal Hassan trusts completely, and blindly leaps into. All the others have him tinkering with every little thing – which is perhaps many of his movies do have a ‘Kamal-touch’ – children suffering, morphed images, hints at atheist philosophies etc.

    I think we might be seeing something similar with Lal and Mammootty too. For instace, I’m sure neither of them would have dared say a word to Blessy, Kamal or Shaji Karun, or someone of that ilk. All this is mere supposition of course, but probably its when apporach with the Rajamanickyam-Ravanaprabhu kinda stuff that they offer ‘suggestions’!

  37. Karthyani – Your comment was not approved as it has no place in a civilized forum.

  38. Ranjith – Even though we know Mammotty is tech-savvy, I think his knowledge is limited to digitcal cameras, mobile phones and hi definition plasma tv’s. I dont think he may have any clue about morphing and all. Assumption!!

  39. vc,

    I think you are showing a double standard here. Many goondas on this blog abuse people, including myself, all the time. I don’t think my comments stooped that low. It was meant as a joke, unlike many of the comments others have made here.

    Anyway, thanks for the opportunity you’ve given me to express my opinions. You’ve got a nice blog here. In the future, try not to screen out people who don’t agree with you.

  40. Karthyani,

    We don’t care if you disagree with us. We care that you disagree politely. You violated that rule and we have zero tolerance for the kind of language you used.

    If we screened out people who disagreed with us, lot s of discussion including the one above would not have happened here.

  41. @Jibs: Reading this reminded me of the ‘suggestions’ bit you’d put across; apparently our superstars are not alone!

    http://brangan.easyjournal.com/entry.aspx?eid=3202440

    Sad that actors of this calibre still bother about such things. Its an insecure profession I guess!

    But looking at something like Manichitrathazhu (old, I know) or Mumbai Express – the superstar comes almost halfway thru the movie. And the same stars express their misgivings about the length of their roles in other movies. Whew!

  42. Ranjit – Since you spoke of Manichitrathaazhu and Mohan Lal’s entrance just before the interval – compare to that of Rajnikant’s in Chandramukhi. Its inconceivable to even think of Rajni making an appearance in the middle. Tamilians may even burn the director’s house if that happened 🙂

  43. Ranjit,

    Excellent link. It is amazing that one of India’s most talented actors, who is also writer, producer and director feel so insecure and feels that he has to stick to a template. I would have thought that Kamal fans are used to him doing crazy things and would not mind if he is not on screen for some time.

    Recently I read that in Rajni’s Shivaji they decided to do away with the custom intro song. Then after thinking for a while, they decided to add it back. It is all about templates.

  44. Jibs – In Manichitrathaazhu, Mohan Lal appeared before the intermission. Can you imagine the same thing thats happeneing for chandramukhi?

  45. @Jibs: Templates – made me LOL, esp as I work with Domino, a technology that uses Domino a great deal! And indeed, its sad that somebody like Kamal does things like this. And Rajni, without the quintessentail SPB intro song? Theatres would be bombed or something!

    @Unni: I was watching Chandramukhi just yesterday – torturing my wife with it, in fact. What a terrible, terrible movie. Now Priyan is making Manichitrathazhu into Hindi with Akshay Kumar…ughhh…somebody assasinate that man, puhleez!!!!

  46. I don’t hold Ranjikanth movies as a benchmark for anything.

  47. Jibs – Its not about Rajnikanth movies. It was about Rajnikanth the actor.

    Since people here raised a hue and cry about how our malayalm superstars interfere in the scripts, I just wanted to make a point. This problem is there everywhere.

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