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 â€œIf youâ€™re lucky, you get to make the same movie over and over again.â€ 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 MalayailÂ 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 likeÂ Kamal, I V Sasi, Sibi Malayil and Hariharan would have etched their name as directors who were not afraid to handle any genre.