A Blog on Cinema

Repetitive Strains


The great French filmmaker Jean Renoir said that each director makes only one film. Echoing that thought is James Gray, the director of “We Own the Night,” who said that “If you’re lucky, you get to make the same movie over and over again.” By that measure there are many lucky directors in Malayalam, who have been churning out the same template movie year after year.

The first one that comes to mind is Shaji Kailas. From his hard hitting political movies starring Suresh Gopi to the latest comedy venture called Ali Bhai, it is hard to find much difference between his movies. The same goes with the box office king, Sathyan Anthikkad, who possibly can win an award for having the most cliched scenes in a single movie. To Sathyan’s credit, he has produced memorable movies when the basis was Srinivasan’s script. Another person in the template mould is Rajasenan. His light comedies, most often starring Jayaram as Jayaram, were a treat to watch initially, but then, a good comedy movie is only as good the jokes in it and it is hard to get people to watch the same family comedy shows when much better quality stuff is available on television.

Most of these directors complain that they have been typecast and it would look odd if Shaji Kailas did a historical movie or if Rajasenan did a murder mystery. If they have been typecast, they only have themselves to blame. Just look at the range of movies created by our favourite directors Bharathan and Padmarajan. If they are too classy, look at I V Sasi for that man has touched almost all genres possible. Present day directors like Kamal, Sibi Malayail  and Hariharan and even new directors like Blessy and Roshan Andrews handle varying themes.

Ultimately all this boils down to how you want to be remembered. Thirty years down the lane, when you think of Rajasenan and Shaji Kailas, you might draw a blank when asked about their memorable movies. At the same time, the directors like  Kamal, I V Sasi, Sibi Malayil and Hariharan would have etched their name as directors who were not afraid to handle any genre.


  1. Roshan Andrews made one nice movie and a terrible movie called Notebook. it is too early to claim that he is versatile. we should wait till each of these new directors have like at least 4 or 5 movies before passing judgement.

  2. i dont think notebook was such a bad movie.
    It had a bold theme;and also was directed well.
    Ofcourse it had some shortcomings,but thats understandable in a teenage movie.

    I dont think many people in the industry will have the guts to take on film on such topics.It was also a big risk that Roshan took by making a movie with so many newcomers.Honestly I like Roshan andrews for the movie ‘Notebook’ than for “Udayananu taram’.Udayanau taram was a good filmbut with a sreeni-script and with an actor like mohanlal one can make hits.

  3. In the current set of directors, variety is attempted only by three people – Roshan Andrews, Blessy and Lal Jose. The other ‘youngsters’ like Jonny Antony, Anwar Rasheed and Amal Neerad ae doing crass masala movies. Even Satyan Anthikad is going stale. Shaji Kailas is simply lost for theme.s Joshiey has not moved beyond the late 80’s.Rafi Mecartin uses the same formuala based movies. Even Shafi is guilty of the same.
    Jayaraj is an eccentric director who takes touching movies like Daiva Namathil and Shantham and crap ones like the of and by the people.

    PS: NoteBOOk was a really good movie if deals with a very sensitive theme that could have gone haywire. The director handled it very well.

  4. Dude,
    You have missed one prominent name in the list of versatile directors. Laljose! According to me he is the most versatile and successful director in new generation. Meesamadhavan, Classmates, Achanurangaatha veedu, Chanthupottu, Arabikkatha all were different and successful.

    Notebook was definitely not a bad film. It was very refreshing to watch such a well executed film. But, I fear Blessy also will be typecasted soon. Always he needs a star to promote and handles more than one social issue in the film. Only his Kaazhcha was outstanding.

  5. Maymon – if that was addressed to me (Dude..), I did mention Lal Jose. Please look above

  6. More the critics, less the admirers. Sigh! If only, there were people who took Crticism as Judgement and not just as Disapproval.

    There are too many takers for the half-empty part of the glass here. Wish we could hear someone on the other half too.

  7. Notebook was a great film. Now a days, the promising directors are Roshan and Laljose…

  8. It is too early to club Roshan and Laljose together. Roshan made one movie on Srinivasan’s script which was nice even though it was a copy of an English film. The second movie was terrible and I found it boring.

    Lal Jose in the mean time has shown his vast range so that people don’t remember only Rasikan and Pattalam. They are in two different leagues.

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