varnachitram

A Blog on Cinema

The Malayali Inferiority Complex

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First Rambha came on stage and danced to a Tamil song. Then Naresh Iyer crooned Cruise Control from Rang De Basanti which was followed by Mukta George dancing to the Tamil song Kutti Pisase. Naresh Iyer sang Kathal Koncham followed once again by Rambha dancing to Valayapatti and Mukta to a song from the new Hindi film Race. We looked around. The place was Kochi and it was the Amritha Film Awards 2008.

Looking for a Malayalam song or dance in such award events is like searching for a Priyadarshan movie which has not been ‘lifted’ from English. There are a few here and there, but rest are all imports. Then we cannot blame Amirtha TV alone. In Surya Awards 2008, there was a dance by Sada, Mayya Mayya by Chitra Iyer, Swetha Menon dancing to Ramana Puranthalum, Karthik singing Hindi songs and Oru Maalai, Shaan singing songs from Don and a Hindi dance by Isha Sherwani. Fortunately we also got to hear MG Sreekumar, Rimi Tomy, Swetha Mohan and Vineeth Srinivasan sing one or two Malayalam songs.

Since Kerala is so much into Tamil and Hindi film songs and dance, we decided to watch a few Tamil, Telugu and Hindi award functions to see if they had any Malayalam songs. There were none. All of their songs were in their language and none other – old songs, new songs, people like Prabhu dancing to the original Ponmagal Vanthal, Sharath Kumar and Radhika dancing to a new A R Rahman song, or Chiranjeevi dancing on stage to Nagarjuna film song.

There are two conclusions from this.

The first one is that basically no one outside Kerala cares about Malayalam songs or dances. Our pizza slice of a state does not have the cultural power in terms of music and dance to influence anyone. It is like the situation in politics. We read newspapers cover to cover and conduct protest meets condemning various world events like a bunch of ants complaining about elephant droppings at Punnathoor Kotta. We are inconsequential in the world stage about which we talk a great deal and we have the same influence at the national stage in film music as dance as Pinarayi Vijayan’s speech has on American foreign policy.

Second, we lack pride in our own culture and think adopting Tamil and Hindi songs is cool. In fact they are cool and we should enjoy the latest AR Rahman album or Pritam’s adaptation of Korean songs. We should not have hatred towards Hindi the way Tamilians do, but watching Amritha and Surya award programs, we do not see fascination, but an obsession. It is not just the award programs: in our reality singing shows there are more other language songs, and in our movies all our heroes now are settled in Pollachi. Some folks spin this as open mindedness of Malayalis, but spinning this obsession as open mindedness is just a cover for our inferiority complex.

Sitting few rows ahead of us in the award show was Kaithapram Naboothiri and he was so enjoying Karthik’s jamming session with Stephen Devassy. We too enjoyed it as much. But when one Tamil song follows a Hindi song and it is followed by a Hindi dance and a Tamil dance followed by two Malayali singers belting out the latest Hindi film hits we start feeling so shallow inside us.

The saving grace: At least for now, the hosts are speaking Malayalam. Soon that too may change.

39 Comments

  1. You are right … I accept every word written here. But first start releasing DVD’s of new movies like Tamil, Hindi and Telugu. Mallu movies will get more popularity. I remember Kavya and Dileep dancing to ‘Thotal …poomalarum..It was bad.

  2. i saw the video of Surya TV award programs. I felt that the audiance were not enjoying Shan’s or Karthik’s program very much.

  3. As you said no harm in watching or enjoying Tamil/Hindi numbers, but yes, it is shooting off the roof.

    When you come to think of it, there are hardly any “dance (read fast numbers) worthy” songs in Malayalam.
    One of the most popular ones, I would say would be Ariyaathe Ariyaathe, but again, the Kiran TV lovers or the Rasika Raja(A shame to TV Channels, this program is)fans very much love Hindi/Hindi numbers.They would never enjoy if a Dileep Kavya Madhavan dance number comes up(Lets not talk about our superstars dancing)

    Even if a newbie Malayalee singer sings a Hindi number in a heavily Malayalam accented Hindi, no one cares, after all its a Hindi song.

    To sum it up, let me say, its not a concerned Malayalee like you or me that is the target audience(pun intended)of these award functions, but a totally different crowd.
    As they say, there is a market of everything.
    –Nikhil

  4. Could’nt agree more… I think the reason for this are much more complex. One of them might be the “Malayali lobster-mentality”. The other could be financial.

    For e.g. if they include a song by M.Jayachandran/Alex Poul, someone in the organizing committe may feel that these composers are being given preferential treatment compared to other Malayali composers. In essence, as a result of our own in-fighting and groupism, we end-up ignoring our culture and promoting outside industries. Sad but very true.

    Another example: Has anyone read the movie section at http://www.mathrubhimi.com ? The content will always be on Hindi/Tamil movies! I suspect if there is any financial aspect to this kind of programming decisions. Obviously Hindi/Tamil movies make a lot more money and they can pay channels/newspapers for publicity.

    Its good to be open-minded, especially for a small state like Kerala, but predominance should be given to Malayalam songs/dances. Hindi & Tamil are good for fast “adipoli” dance/music numbers, which are very few in Malayalam. That said, there should be a good mix of all kinds of music/dance and Malayalam programs should give preference to Malayalam language.

  5. There are some very messed up issues associated with these phenomena, a satisfactory analysis of which will take up too much time. Let me mention a couple of points that immediately come to mind :

    There is a certain notion of coolness shaped by the interplay between entertainment industry and mass taste. Obviously tamizh and Hindi cinema have adapted more to the modern ideals of muscular male actors without chest hair and thin actresses etc. ( yuck! kAvya mAdhavan ) which makes malayALam cinema “uncool” but there are perhaps factors that are intrinsic to the malayALam language too. The anunAsika-atiprasaram for instance, but more :

    Sanskrit is a language that has relatively very precise etymology for each word, which makes sanskrit words considerably longer ( in terms of number of syllables ) than English words. This they cautiously safe-guarded by keeping it away from masses. Hindi sort of can avoid this problem ( of long words ) by resorting to urdu origin words. Plus all sorts of ghazal-type wine-women literature makes urdu cool. Tamizh can avoid sanskrit words too, though tamizh, like malayALam has conjugations and verb-affixes ( pratyayams ) that are long – in practice both malayALam and tamizh solve this problem by considerably shortening their endings ( pOkukayANu becomes pOvvuA etc. ) – to considerably higher extents than hindi or english. Now, I may be kicked around for saying this, but when tamizh does that, there is still a certain amount of “crispness” about the diction. malayALam sounds relatively “njaNunjaNE”, like soggy chakka-varuttatu; the distortions come across more as a slur, with sort of nauseating nasality. For instance see how this manifests with regards to speaking English – tamizh accent comes across as amusing while mallu accent as ( in extreme instances ) even sometimes nauseating. One can notice a clear difference in crispness between “Ankhon Dekhi” and any news-related program in malayALam. Add to it that many of the words in malayALam representing serious ideas are from sanskrit, and hence due to the afore-mentioned etymology reason, long.

    The other option is not to distort words – many people of our elder generation hold as sacred some pronunciation-related notions, what with many of our think tanks speaking awfully slowly, enunciating every word extremely painstakingly. The younger generation has neither the airs nor the patience for that; to them language has to convey facts efficiently. Period.

    So we are between the devil and deep sea – extreme inefficiency or nauseating slur; there doesn’t seem to be a good middle-ground for the language.

    How does all this come into play – I do think the above-mentioned factors make it difficult for fast “foot-tapping” numbers to be successful in malayALam. People want forgetfulness, not strain their mind in the least to capture melodic twists and turns during such celebrations. So even if the big companies come in as you want them to, I don’t know if there is much hope in this department.

  6. Blaming Malayalam language is not fare.. Malayalam, with its origin rooted in Tamil and adpted words from Sanskirt is much more expressive and rich in its vocabulary.

    We do have very catchy, but still classy fast numbers. e.g: choolamadichu karangi nadakkum, ramayanakkatte, sundari sundari onnorungi vaa.. etc.. I think a lot has also to do with who owns the TV channel. Since Suriya is owned by SUN-network, they will inadvertently try to promote Tamil movies.

    The video is awful! Shan’s kind of singing is alien to Malayali audience and he is really forcing the audience to groove with him. What a pity!.

  7. vc – its not inferiority complex. these award shows reflect the changing tastes of malayalis. in the 90’s and even until recently malayalam award shows consisted of songs rendered by malayali singers, some mimicry skits from kochin kalabhavan/ guiness or harisree and that was it. however its recently that we have award shows containing item numbers and songs from non-malayali singers etc.

    award shows are dime a dozen these days. we have vanitha awards, jeevan awards, kairali, People, manorama, asianet , surya , amritha, ujala, film critics, nana, vellinakshatram and so many others. for these shows to bring in peope the organizers need rambha and mukta who also like to make a quick buck or two. They also like to listen to tamil/hindi numbers.

    However this is a bad trend. The day is not far when the “malayalism” will go out of our movies, award shows, channels etc. and that will be a sad day for malayalam.

  8. Well I dont think it has anything to do with inferiority complex or anything. Its just that catchy, peppy songs have never been that commonplace in malayalam cinema. Hindi and tamil movies have them in abundance. Our forte has always been melody. And still is. Last years best songs I guess were from Arabikatha. These melodies are good to hear by not good for song n dance stage shows. Once in a while a fast, “dancable” song comes and I think that does find its way to stage shows. Songs like “chella thamare”, “lajjawathi”, “chilamboli kaate” etc.

  9. It just shows the broadmindedness of the Malayalee that they knows, appreciates and cares for not just their own but other cultures and languages. This is unlike the general trend in the world and we should be supportive of it. Malayalam will not die because some people listen to and appreciate some other languages.

  10. “We should not have hatred towards Hindi the way Tamilians do” – WTF

  11. Great article and even more intriguing conversation!
    I agree with many ideas posted by froginthewall.
    I as a non-Indian and non-Malayalee do have a few thoughts to share.
    1. I have dabbled in learning Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam. I agree Malayalam has long words and of the three languages, Malayalam is the most difficult to write, read and speak, for me. But does this mean it should be more difficult for native speakers as well? Definately not. But there are a few issues with this I have come across. (a) As I understand it film songs are a newer addition to Kerala films to make them more popular. Not so long ago Kerala films either had no songs or few songs. If that is true, then the industry is still learning how to integrate successfully. Possibly imitation [of other cultures in India] is most flattering. (b) There are many melodious and beautiful songs in Malayalam and like another mentioned are not fast in tempo. Pop culture favors these fast and sometimes raunchy songs. Tamil and Telugu cinema seem to have more of these (Though I am sure true with Hindi too…). (c) Keralites living abroad somehow take up their host culture more fluently and easily compared to other Indians. THere is even argument among the Keralites I know here in New York why they don’t teach their kids Malayalam. They say unlike other Indians (Tamil, Hindi, etc.) Mallus don’t seem to be as interested or motivate to teach their kids Malayalam as the others. (This is not my thought- this is what the Malayalee community here has told me numerous times after learning I am learning Malayalam.)
    2. History and Geography of Kerala.
    Keralites liking foreign things most likely is not new. Kerala’s unique place on the world map has allowed for trade of ideas and people and cultures for hundreds of years. When I say people, I am actually referring to the Jews in particular. What other state in India has such an inclusive and varied relgious population as Kerala? Also, I refer to Keralites themselves trading over foreign lands for better job opportunities. Keralites must be the largest expat Indian linguistic group in much of the Middle East (How many Mallu films are based on that! Rarely would see such a theme in Tamil or Hindi movies.) Historically Kerala has adopted many foreign ideas because of geography which makes the mindset different. Even in terms of social revolutions in Kerala this makes societal change easier. This part of the discussion is better left in another post!
    p.s. I agree with the comment on actors also. South Indian actors have been the last to adopt the western look for actors and actress. Kerala has not yet been taken over by these kinds of looks and personally as an American I am happy about that. Beauty should vary based on culture and personally I don’t prefer the Hollywood standard of beauty… Kerala actors are much easier on the eyes and look more real than Hollywood actors.
    Thanks for reading.

  12. “South Indian actors have been the last to adopt the western look for actors and actress” – really i am proud of this fact. I am proud because eventhough we are seeing and mingling with every other culture.., we keep our genuineness and we are not trying to imitate them as othe north indians do. Our people really keeps our culture and are not shy to show that..

  13. 1. Ramayana Kaathe with Chitra’s out-of-comfort-zone singing and outdated rhythms discarded by Ilaiayraja in 1986 is quoted as a great dance/rhythm song in Mallu. This shows the level of importance given to Rhythm in mallu movies as a whole.
    2. And that is not such a bad thing,as a whole. Let the Rahmans and Loys experiment with Rhythm and let the Himeshes churn out pointless dance music – when we want simple soothin melody, we will safely come back to MFM, knowing that we will get our peace and comfort. If that changes, then that is like building amusement parks in kovalam beach to attract tourists.
    3. I think when someone says Kavya is yuck, that shows what this generation wants – made up plastic dolls with Zero acting talent. In such a scenario, it is no wonder the scenario you mention

    Also, when sometime back you listed all time great albums of MFM, most of them were indian-classical based. That probably shows why MFM is what it is. I mean, you cant even think of such outstanding efforts like GURU or MDK, which though werent based on the indian idiom, Especially GURU, which touched musical heights that very few mallu albums rpeviously would have managed to.
    It shows that to an extent mallus are limited in music appreciation – cant go beyond certain idioms and phrases. I mean no disrespect. Kerala makes great movies in many genres. But when it comes to music…

  14. raj – not sure whether you have listened to devarajan/raveendran’s/baburaj’s compositions.
    malayalam music ROCKS. while there may not be enuf dance numbers or hip hops, theres more than the share of the melody

  15. Vinay, I have acknowledged the greatness of MFM in melody definitely. But what I meant was that greatness of music need not only be in melody. And that somehow, MFM, while welcoming outstanding efforts like GURU, dont put them in the pedestal they deserve to be in.
    Ofcourse, Devarajan, Baburaj, Raveendran, Dhakshinamoorthy have all blazed a glorious trail. Even average composers in mallu like MGR or Johnson would be above-average elsewhere. But I definitely feel that there is a cosy comfort-zone dwelling by mallu composers.

    The point is Malayalam industry excels in various genres of movies but excels only in one genre of music – classical-based, semi-classical based or raga-based or soothing melodies.

    Again, to reiterate, stupid award ceremonies arent an indication of the inferiority complex. Rather I would say it is the security factor. I think Mallus are secure in the knowledge that while they will dance to ‘foreign’ tunes and words, when it comes to calling the best and opinions on all time greats, their choice would always unanimously be mally movies, mallu directors, actors and musicians. Culturally they feel secure is what I feel.

    This is the same as I feel with respect to TFM – there is no doubt that MSV, IR and ARR are perhaps the greatest film composers from South India ever. I can appreciate other music in the secure knowledge that when it comes to callign the best, we have had the best of them all.
    All of them have tenuous links to Kerala as well -MSV in his personal life and IR because of the wonderful movies he has done in Mallu while ARR’s father RK Sekar was a respected Assistant to many Mallu MD’s.

    Also, in a way, I am happy that way because if you seee, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi music are indistinguishable these days. Atleast, Kerala is retaining its individuality. But it also means that you will have to look out when you want other genres of music.

    And I have to mention Sharath here, and he doesnt even get much appreciation among Mallus?

  16. “We should not have hatred towards Hindi the way Tamilians do”

    There is a very thin line between the moustache twirling, rasam drinking, Tamizh ranting politician from Madurai/Chennai and you.

    “In fact they are cool and we should enjoy the latest AR Rahman album or Pritam’s adaptation of Korean songs.”

    This is exactly what Karunanidhi’s predecssors must have said and you know how that turned out.

    First principle of mass communication – Give the people what they want…

  17. Speaking about influences, Indian cinema as a whole in the international stage is just like Keralite cinema.

    We should learn something from our neighbors to the east (Hong Kong, Japanese, Korean).
    they have made an impact, and have influenced western cinema.

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  20. I strongly agree with what’s written here.
    It’s more of inferiority complex than it has something to do with interests.
    There are a lot of Malayalam songs that will definitely stand above the Oscar winning song, yet Malayalis show off their favourite songs as ‘Ottakathe kettikko’ or any Preetam ‘number’.
    If you ask a Malayali about his favourite movie he will start blabbering about Hindi or Tamil or Hollywood movies, while deep within his heart, he loves Malayalam classics and knows that they are far better than those other language movies. The latest trend is that he has started talking about Korean or Vietnamese movies, just because Google does everything he wants. Moreover he feels that “I am bad, my mother tongue is bad, and my culture is inferior to Tamil or Hindi or Brazilian culture”.
    To the people who used the word ‘mallu’ in this discussion – Don’t test our self esteem.

  21. Amith, good point…Malayalam movies, music, culture, language, etc are not given the credit it should be given by malayalis themselves.

    As Indians, we look at the Oscar or as some great, unreachable award…This is all part of the Indian and Malayali inferiority complex…There are lots of composers in India as a whole that are more talented than oscar winner AR Rahman for example. I really dont think ARR could create a pramadha vanam or a Rama Katha like Raveendran. I might be biased against ARR, but I really am not convinced of his talent. A lot of his music seems to be commercial noise, in my opinion.

    We look up to other industries and cultures, when there is an even bigger greatness in our very own Kerala…I agree, the malayalam classics are truly a class apart; Oru Vadakkan Veeragadha, Chilambu, Naadodikattu; comedy or tragedy, the list goes on.

  22. “The latest trend is that he has started talking about Korean or ”

    Well since you started talking about movies…instead of music…

    Let me just say, they make a lot of good films there. I love them.
    Since the late 90s a lot good films have been made in S Korea. I cannot say they make bad films just for the sake of saying Keralite cinema is better. I cannot lie. I do not have a superiority complex.

  23. ” “I am bad, my mother tongue is bad, and my culture is inferior to Tamil or Hindi or Brazilian culture” ”

    Looks like you have probably met a lot of people with such an attitude. It is wrong.

    But with the current state of Malayalam films, I don’t see any problem when a Malayli likes a non-Malayalam film over a Malayalam padam.

  24. James,
    You have a point..However, many malayalis dont realize, or dont try to realize, that other film industries produce just as much garbage as Malayalam does…The difference is that the Malayalam film industry is smaller.

    In fact, there are many movies made in Hollywood, for example, that have been completely brainless and stupid, that went on to become hits; some are even worse than some of the Dileep comedies in Malayalam…”Dont Mess With the Zohan”, released last year is one example. There are a lot more of these types of movies.

    The inferiority complex is that people blindly give weight to another culture without thinking. Appreciating another movie industry, or giving credit where it is deserved is another matter.

  25. “In fact, there are many movies made in Hollywood”

    true.

    The latest summer blockbusters that have been released from
    there such as the X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Angels and Demons
    can also be put in the “completely brainless and stupid” category.

  26. Yes..Surely it is inferiority complex of Malayalees. I hav always thought of this subject.People in Kerala think that everything coming from outside are superior.THey do not have any pride in saying that thay love Malayalam movies, actors and music.I know this very clearly.I will tell the example of my brother.He is a person who was born and brought up in Kerala.In our home,nothing other than Malayalam channels and films will be allowed because our parents always want to watch Malaylam only.So i am sure that he havent seen anything other than our language.He is only 16 years old and havent even stayed anywhere else other than our house.But last year he created an orkut profile and he started adding tamil,hindi songs only in it..He joined a community in the name of tamil actor Surya.I am sure he doesnt even know who this surya is.He havent watched any of his films,but only heard of him from his frends.He loves Malayalam films only especially Mohanlal and Dileep movies.But ,through his profile,he is trying to be a person who he is not actually in real life.He wont add any malayalam songs or videos.He didnt join the fans communities of hios favourite malayalam stars..
    ITHU INFERIORITY COMPLEX ALLENGIL PINNE ENTHAANU????????????
    Mallus are having terible inferiority complex more than any linguistic groups in India…I am outside Kerala,so i know about other state people.
    A Tamil would never watch a malaylam movie..BUt we take foolish ‘pride’ in watching all the crap vijay stuff..THey will ask who this guy mohanlal is??But mallus know even the third grade tamil actors. We criticise good stories in our malayalam for silly reasons.BUt will chumma go sit and clap for senseless vijai rajinkant films.I know many of my friends who simply believe that after watching a tamil film,they shud say daa super kidilam etc..BUt they equally believe after watching a malayalam film,they shud say potta padam,or their ‘status ‘ will go.
    ITHOKKE INFERIORITY ALLAATHE PINNE ENTHONNAA???
    some one above said’give poeple wat they like…that is if they are truly likng it…Ippo sambavikkunathu,like cheyyunnillengilum,frndsinte munpil entho oru false notion of status kaanikkaan vendi mallus are pretending that they enjoy other language stuff..athu anuvadikkanda kaaryamilla…

  27. This inferiority complex has always inhibited the growth of malayali culture. There are various reasons and the foremost reason is globalisation. This has affected not only Malayalam (or Indian) films but Indian products also. How many of us prefer Chandrika soap or Krishna Thulasi soap to Pears or Lux? How many of our young Malayali men grow moustache these days? We had ditched following Santhosh trophy , saying football was a game for low class people; why do we follow English Premier League now?
    It’s bad when we grow this complex inside us; but it’s even worse when we don’t exploit this to the benefit of Malayalam films and Malayali culture, in general. The best way we can save Malayalam films is by transporting it from West to India. What I say now may seem to be Utopian ideas or even stupid, but I don’t care. Many of our films are released in US, Canada and UK after several weeks of its release in Kerala. Reverse it. Release Malayalam movies in western countries first. I know, Malayalis living abroad love Malayalam films more than those in Kerala do. This will spread mouth publicity among NRIs; in the mean time this mouth publicity will reach Kerala. When those living in Kerala come to know about this films from their ‘cousins’, ‘uncles’ or ‘aunts’ living abroad, they will prefer going to a Malayalam cinema rather than going for 2012 or Avatar. An here in Kerala, stop releasing Malayalam films in ordinary theatres. Release these films in Multiplexes(which should be run by Malayalam cinema producers association, AMMA, and other associations) They must charge Rs. 250 or Rs.300 per ticket. Selling tickets at higher rate will compensate for the loss caused due to low attendance. Moreover, it will stop those idiots who sit in the front row and howl for no reason. Watching Malayalam films will become rich people’s hobby; and the middle class men who stand in the long queue in front of beverages corporation stall will shift their position to multiplex ticket counter. We malayalis imitate what Saayipp and rich people do – it’s a bitter truth. Don’t get offended of this. Think wise and Save Malayalam cinema.
    PS: And now, don’t worry about ordinary theatres – they will make money from English, Hindi and Tamil films, as usual.

  28. To the people who used the word ‘mallu’ in this discussion – Don’t test our self esteem.

    @ Amit
    mallu enna word is not for ridiculing anyone..At first me also thought the same..It is only used for convenience.malayali ennu type cheyyaan kurachu tough aanu..speedil cheyyumbo spelling thettukayum cheyyum …mallu ennaavumbo easy aanu..dats why its used in informal contexts…
    Australiane ‘aussie’ ennu nammal abhimaanathode thanne parayaarundallo..ithum atr ullu…Stop the false pride regarding just a word..

  29. those of you criticizing AR Rahman in this thread are extremely ill informed!….being a malayalee i love many malayalam songs…to like Rahman’s music or to believe it is the best in India (and amongst the best in the world) does not mean you look down on Malayalam music!

    and those who compare Rahman unfavorably to Raveendran…look at it this way

    Raveendran composed His Highness Abdulla

    while Rahman composed Sangamam (full carnatic) AND Boys

    can Raveendran (or ANY indian music director) do that?

    NO.

    Also…yes there have been many great movies in malayalam…but i think we overrate them by saying they are on par with world classics….of course they are on par with indian classics….but even very good indian films are far below the standards of the best american/european cinema

    that being said…a good movie is a good movie (whether it is art/commercial/action/comedy/drama)…so no point in putting too much emphasis on language

  30. also..the fact that we have tamil and hindi songs in our programs reflects positively on many malayalee’s knowledge of both the languages and openness to enjoy their media….though telugu is the most productive industry in terms of movies produced you dont hear telugu songs being played…its all a matter of access….if more malayalees knew telugum their songs would be played as well….

    ALSO…there is LESS music in malayalam..an average malayalam movie may have 2 songs while a film in another indian language has 4-6…..

    id say that most malayalees think their culture is superior to that of indians in other states actually…

  31. @Filmbuff – I have heard lot of Telugu songs – most of them are poor clones of ARR songs. Melody is unheard of …

  32. Raveendran composed His Highness Abdulla

    while Rahman composed Sangamam (full carnatic) AND Boys

    can Raveendran (or ANY indian music director) do that?

    NO.

    R D Burman composed the Raina Beeti Jaaye and Dum Maro Dum
    Raveendran composed Sundari Sundari Onnorungi Vaa and Harimuraliravam
    Even the plagarist Pritam composed Mere Dolna and Dhoom Again
    Illayaraja composed the ultimate reethigowla song – chinna kannan and also Kattukuyile of Dalapathi

    Rahman is a good arranger. There are better music directors than him.

  33. to Srini- check out music by Mickey J Meyer and Devi Sri Prasad….you can’t make broad generalities about a certain language’s music like that

    also…a good melody is not all that is required for a song…you have to look at all the elements blending in one….i mean by your logic..a heavy metal song could never be good because its not traditionally melodic…thats an overly restrictive statement

    to Murali- yes they are good composers but it’s ridiculous to think they are better that Rahman….the music of the others has no international appeal while Rahman’s music could be liked by non-Indians as well as Indians

    u can’t denigrate him by calling him just an arranger…what about songs like Nila Kagirathu from Indira or Ekla Chalo from Bose?

    Rahman is the king.

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  35. “THere is even argument among the Keralites I know here in New York why they don’t teach their kids Malayalam. They say unlike other Indians (Tamil, Hindi, etc.) Mallus don’t seem to be as interested or motivate to teach their kids Malayalam as the others. (This is not my thought- this is what the Malayalee community here has told me numerous times after learning I am learning Malayalam.)”

    I second that..there are malayalam school and classes..etc..the kids just don’t take intitiative themselves as they are drawn more the American culture, though many of them do have some touch of the malayalee culture except speaking the language. It just doesn’t interest them, though some may have a interest later on and will learn then. Thankfully my kids can at least understand malayalam though they don’t speak it after putting them in malayalam class for 2 years. It’s the mentality that makes them this way, and it’s nearly impossible to change the mentality of living. Yes you can hound the culture on your kids, but when they get older, they’ll end up making choices, sometimes the kind that parents will onject against. In any sense, parents shouldn’t blamed for this as it’ the exposure of the region they are living in. This not only goes with Malayalam, but also other Indian groups as well. By the way, today’s kids don’t care anyway regardless. Everyone lives for what they strive. As for films, I love Malayalam films because I am a native Keralite..I think malayalam films are only popular amongst NATIVE KERALITES..hardly any of those born and raised abroad will ever watch a malaylam film because today’s society is influenced by more modern and western style songs and such, which is seen in almost every country in the world, while Kerala is still one of the regions that appears to be living the “old days”, like when I was growing up. My own kids don’t really watch malayalam. It does not interest them, though they do know and are aware of Mohanlal, Mamoothy..etc. They do sometimes watch Hindi and a bit of Tamil. Globalization is happening everywhere and times are changing everywhere. Just my opinion.

  36. First of, stop trying to say crap like Tamilians hate Hindi. We don’t hate Hindi FYI. We just don’t care that it exists , and we have as good songs in Tamil as in Hindi. Why would we go in for Hindi songs in such a case. Malayalis should stop generalising about Tamils and stop bringing them into the picture everytime, like you (the blogger) have done !

  37. Why Malayalam songs don’t come up ?? The reason here is Malayalam movies are story oriented say 90 %. But Tamil is just 50 % story oriented. There is very less commercial or masala space for Malayalam that’s it. There are always melody numbers which stands longer be it Malayalam or Tamil. When we get bored of melodies we switch for a alternative which is missing in Malayalam that’s it. This does’t mean Malayalam songs will be gone.

    Now to the Guy who told No one knew Mohanlal,mamooty or a third grade actor.
    may be you would have asked a Kindergarten kid.I strongly disagree as you said malayalam songs/Movies are not popular in TN.The industry is always looking in to Malayalam cinema.They are unlucky since they dont get audience like kerala to support a good scripts rather than masala.

    I will tell you why Tamil movies are preferred in Kerala. 90 % of the heroin’s and 80 % of the singers and atleast 25% of the hero are based out in kerala (MGR,Arya,AJith,Naren,Prithivraj,Jayaram etc ). Kerala had introduced so many talents for tamil cinema be it kamal hassan,ARR and lot more directors if i will need to name them all. Think that way.

  38. I am from Andhra, and I am a great admirer of Malayalam movies.. Over the years I might have watched more than 200 movies, and now I can understand almost the languguage (but subtitles still help).

    I think more than Hindi, Telugu and even many Tamil movies (I am not into Bengali or Punjabi that much), Malayalam movies offer a lot more substance in story and tend to be natural with less histerionics and more real life naturality in them. With songs or not, they are more intellectually satisfying than most other Indian movies and they are also more Indian in the sense that the stories and scripts are rooted in the day to day Indian life, rather than “Don” or “Kick” type of movies in Telugu/Hindi which the common man cannot relate to.

    There should be no reason for Malayalees to have inferiority complex, every other actor including comedians like Salim Kumar and Suraj V (can’t remember his surname spelling) bagging national best actor awards! There hasn’t been EVEN ONE such award in the long and illustrious history of Telugu movies, with all their close to Hollywood type budgets and extravaganza. Most of them are cliched copies of international films/songs.

    I am more proud of suggesting a Malayalam movie anyday as a good “Indian” movie to my colleagues here in America – than other languages. You have a great, thinking film industry out there in Kerala..

  39. BINGO !

    WHat do malayalees watch on a Saturday- Sunday night on a malayalam channel ?

    A TAMIL movie.

    All malayalam channels air Tamil movies in the prime time on Saturday-Sunday night (the only time there should be a malaylam movie).

    If i need to watch a tamil movie, i’ll go watch Sun TV. But no, they have to air it in a malayalam channel.

    All malayalam reality shoes have judges who speak in Tamil rombo rombo. Frankly speaking I understand malayalam cause its my mother tongue and i love it. But I wasnt born and brought up in Kerala so I dont know Tamil.

    Malayalam movies too are generally all based on tamilNadu boder these days and have a lot of tamil in it. Situational ones are okay but it seems like they have specifically been directed to include Tamil in atleast a quarter of the movie.

    Malayalam movies these days have Songs in TAMIL. YEah they work had on composition and make a good song but they have to make it in Tamil. Else who would listen ?

    Another phenomenon :
    Tamilians dont understand malayalam(Justified). But anyone born as a malayalee knows tamil cause both are the same(same for malayalees but not for tamilians).

    I started noticing this when we had a bunch of freshers recruited from kerala and when anyone asked them where they are from they used to say Chennai.
    When i asked them they were born and brought up as well as educated in kerala but they thought Nobodoy would understand Trissur or Ernakulam and instead be impressed if they say Chennai.

    So thats the problem with tamil freak malayalees. No self respect and eager to live under Tamil Nadu’s shadow.

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