(As mentioned in the 1st Anniversary Post, this is a series on “What Ails Malayalam Cinema”. Unni has written a three part article on this topic. Part 1, 2 and 3 were published earlier. Today’s contributor is Jo – Editor)
Two days back I was in a movie hall in Trivandrum, to watch Yes Your Honor with my friends. I heard good reviews about the movie and there is Srinivasan in the lead role and so I had high expectations. There was a family sitting besides us with their kid. As the movie began to show the title credits, the kid started to cry. Not that she was hungry or wanted to go home, but the opening scenes throughout the end of the beginning credits were so violent. The parents were trying to cover the kid’s eyes. That one incident made me realize what ails Malayalam cinema. It’s the urge to copy the ways of other language movies and the lack of originality. We are not what we were. We lost the identity because we are not original anymore.
What do we see now in the Malayalam cinema these days? Gory and violent scenes that you see in the movies like Yes Your Honor, overload of obscene dialogues like we hear in the superstar movies, larger-than-life characters coming again and again like the oldest wine in the old bottle, sizzling young girls dancing and running around with the 50+ superstars â€“ All of these were usually seen only in the other movie industries in South India like Tamil, Telugu or Kannada. But now we have all of it in Malayalam and the day is not so far when we will not be able to differentiate Malayalam cinema from the rest anymore.
Who is to blame? I will blame it mostly on the directors who make such crappy movies even though most of them blame the superstars for it. I can guess the superstars are ruling the lot in the Malayalam cinema and they might even be interfering upto a level in the script and all, but can you blame it ALL on them? Mammootty still proves his acting talents with his latest Karuttha Pakshikal, or Mohan Lal excels in one of the best roles he had like Major Mahadevan in Keerthichakra. Even the young guns like Prithviraj cannot say they cannot grow because of the superstars, because these two M’s are the gems of Malayalam cinema (I know they do more bad movies than worthy movies though) and if they are surviving, that’s because of the talents they have.
I think a director like Lal Jose is going to save Malayalam cinema. His recent movies like Chaandupottu, Achanurangaathe Veedu Classmates were commercial and critical successes. One can see a responsible, cinema-loving director in him. Or take Blessy, or Shyama Prasad or Roshan Andrews. We have a number of young and up-coming directors who have that flair in them for cinema and they have shown it. On the other hand we saw that even a crisp movie like Keerthichakra couldn’t do without a song sequence that has camera goes all the way to show Lakshmi Gopalaswamy’s tummy in the full screen, more than once. Who decides that it is needed to pull junta into theatres?
Where are the good old tie-ups like Hariharan-MT, I.V. Sasi-MT, Padmarajan-Bharathan or Sibi Malayil-Lohitadas? The major problem is we have so many good stories and story writers, but still our directors do not look around to dig some good stories from good story writers and find some good script-writers and make a good cinema. They just try to copy movies from Tamil or Hindi. They fly abroad to shoot the song sequences. They import sizzlers from Bollywood. When such a team like the above mentioned comes up, we will be saved. Recent example is Classmates.