Recently in an interview, Producer Maniyanpilla Raju (Chotta Mumbai, Ananthabhadram) told us that Malayalam film industry is unique in the sense that it alone has an organization which supports retired artistes. Then Malayalam Film industry must also be unique as it alone has an organization which calls for a ban on the money making superstar movies.
Movies like Mayavi and Hallo which don’t have anything interesting become blockbuster hits and this in turn increases the value of the M&M’s. Producers are willing to shell out Rs. 1.25 crore for Mohanlal, which is the cost of a Kalabhavan Mani movie or the entire cost of all the movies Adoor has made. This is pure supply and demand at work, with the cost of scarce resources going up depending on the demand. Hindi film industry too is seeing the same phenomena with just a few stars guaranteeing ticket sales. Unlike Malayalam cinema, there are lot of rich producers in the Hindi film industry, but they are facing a shortage of actors and due to this the price of stars are going up.
Putting a ban on superstar movies will only reduce the number of financially successful movies and this in turn will affect not just the producers, but also the large number of people who work behind the camera. The solution is not to push everyone into poverty, which is the socialist way, but find out a way by which the maximum number of people can move out of poverty.
Maniyanpilla Raju mentioned that Malayalam movies have to offer people something more than what TV Serials offer. The competition for Malayalam cinema is not just from serials, but also from movies like Pokiri and Dhoom 2 which are two movies we did not like a bit. It is in fact insulting that Vijay is even considered an actor, but sadly that is the reality.
Malayalam producers need to think big, think on a larger canvas, think of people outside Kerala who would love to see Malayalam movies. Like how Malayalees love to watch Vijay or Ajith, there would be an audience for Malayalam movies outside Kerala and they could benefit from subtitling. Recently we watched the movie Dhoom 2 on DVD and it had Malayalam subtitles. Producer and production houses can make block buster movies, by learning from Hindi film producers who are tapping into foreign investment markets, domestic stock markets and alliances with other production houses.
The mom and pop production setups have reached their limits and it is time to move past them.