A Blog on Cinema

Venu Nagavally Whines


When Malayalam cinema lost its original flavour,
directors like me also lost relevance-observed Venu Nagavally, the veteran actor and the director of the latest release ‘Bharya Swantham Suhurthu’. He was talking to the press as part of the promotion of his latest movie. [Malayalam cinema has lost its flavour – Venu Nagavally ]

A successful film maker goes with the times and tells stories which people want to hear. A great film maker tells the story he wants to tell and gets people to come and watch. Just because your movie flopped does not mean that “original flavor” is lost. Also the new thing is “original choice”.

Venu Nagavally’s new movie, though it has a story relevant to the times, has flopped. According to one reviewer:

But it’s the dull, predictable storyline and its unimaginative execution that makes the film an ordinary film. Quite a few scenes into this documentary on morality, we can guess pretty easily, where the story is heading to. And the script never surprises the viewer with some imagination or twists. The preachy tone of the film and its disdain of anything modern could have been an okay one some two decades back, but it fails to make much sense now. The visuals are quite ordinary and the music is jarring to the core, to say the least.

Having a great story is no longer sufficient. You need to let go of the past, move from documentary style, and stop assuming the audience have not grown since Nagavalli’s best days.

He added ”When I started my career in Malayalam as an actor, directors were much more powerful than those of these days. And now the industry and actors have become too big which is leaving out small storytellers
like me”.  

While this is true to a certain extent with success of designer films from Shafi, it is no  constructive if someone just whines about it. We would think that a person like Venu Nagavalli would find a way out instead of running out to the mini-screen like Sreekumaran Thampi. Just look Sreenivasan. He has been in the industry for a long time and even now a movie written by him – Katha Parayumbol – runs to packed houses. 

It is not that all Sreenivasan movies have run to packed houses; people who saw Bhargava Charithram can vouch for it. But still, like the story of Bruce and the spider, he keeps trying, adapting to the times. There was another movie called Classmates which had a bunch of non-superstars and the movie ran, just on the strength of the story.

Venu Nagavally also said that it is no longer possible to make political films in Malayalam as no consistent political views are conveyed by the Parties. ‘Every ideology has been affected with cancer and people no longer believe that any of Political outfits are ideally suited to rule’ – adds Venu who had directed hit political films earlier like ‘Lalsalaam’ and ‘Rekthasaakshykal Sindaabad’.

This is again part of  what-I-did-was-great-mentality. We are not sure if Mr. Nagavalli saw a movie called Arabikatha. It was one of the best political movies to come in recent times – well made, well writen, and appropriate for the times.

People like Nagavalli need to stop crying and start being the change they want to see. The 80s are gone; now it is 2009.


  1. From a non film critique/analyst :

    Referring to VC “Having a great story is no longer sufficient” , story is just a part of film , our film makers should see how the 4th avatar (2nd of the decade) of the bengali classic “DevDas” has became a top grosser & critically acclaimed movie.

    “You need to let go of the past, move from documentary style, and stop assuming the audience have nt grown since Nagavalli’s best days.”

    People in Kerala not just watch the malayalam movies, they do know that “Bhargava Charithram” has been inspired from De Niero’s “Analyze this” & the “Udyananu tharam” climax has been brilliant adapted from Steve Martin’s “Bowfinger”

  2. Its a shame the film flopped..Venu Nagavalli had made so many beautiful movies in the past; Sukhamo Devi, Kizhakkunnarum Pakshi, etc. I hope he makes a comeback

  3. Yaawwnn!

    I think VC needs to have a ‘Deadpool’ like Techcrunch and dump these movies and the whining into those.

    Red Chillies running in Chennai. Any good, anyone?

  4. VC which had whined about bygone golden era of 80’s when songs were considered now whining again,but for a different cause 🙂

    The 80s are gone; now it is 2009.

    • Arun,

      First we thought you had a valid point, but it seems like you do not. This is mainly because you missed the point completely.

      We like those songs from the 80s, because it fits the narration well. The songs themselves tell a story and hold your attention. Now look at Mammotty’s song from Rajamanikyam , Annan Thampi etc, where a thousand extras dance behind the heroes. There are many such songs with Mohanlal, Dileep, Kalabhavan Mani etc. For us, there is nothing special about their picturization. Seen one, seen everything.

  5. VC,
    I think the movies made in 1980’s were better than now especially in Malayalam. It was the time when mohanlal and mamootty came up. There were quality movies from padmarajan,iv sasi, bharathan etc along with comedy movies from priyan,sreeni,sathyan anthikad etc.
    I think Arun has a point but he got it wrong by showing the songs…
    some good movies of 1980-1989 are
    Oru Minnaminunginte Nurunguvettam
    Oru CBI Diary Kurippu.
    Manjil Virinja Pookkal
    Poochakkoru Mookkuthi
    Aram + Aram Kinnaram
    Boeing Boeing
    Pappan Priyappetta Pappan
    T.P. Balagopalan M.A
    Ramji Rao Speaking
    Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha
    Nammukku paarkkaan munthiri thoppukal
    The good movies made even after around 20 years is about the same or less.

  6. hi VC
    Actually most of the best movies of malayalam were made in 1980’s. It was the time when Mohanlal and Mammooty came up. There were lot of good director like Bahrathan,Padmarajan, Priyadarshan, Sathyan Anthikad, etc..
    some good movies made from 1980’s to 1989 are
    Manjil Virinja Pookkal
    Boeing Boeing
    Poochakkoru Mookkuthi
    Aram + Aram Kinnaram
    Gandhinagar Second Street
    Namukku Parkkan Munthirithoppukal
    Oru CBI Diary Kurippu
    Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha
    Chidambaram etc…..
    Even the golden era of malayalam movies start at 1986………..

  7. Good point, Mani. The most memorable films of Malayalam were made in the 80s and 90s. The first movie that comes to my mind if someone asks me to name a comedy is Nadodikattu. And I wasnt even born when it was released! If someone asks me to name a good movie in general, I would say Vadakkan Veeragadha or Bharatham.

    Venu Nagavally has a point that Malayalam movies are losing their flavour. Still, I think that Malayalam gives more scope for actors and actresses.

    In other languages, there are a handful of good movies that are being released. However, the “masala movie” is a surer hit in those languages, such as in Tamil and Telugu. You would never see a movie like Veruthe oru Bharya complete 100 days in Tamil or Telugu.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.

Get Adobe Flash player