varnachitram

A Blog on Cinema

The mind of a Malayali movie goer

| 3 Comments

Pokiri Raja (Comedy), Pappi Apacha (Comedy),  Happy Husbands (Comedy), In Ghost House Inn (Comedy). These were the four Malayalam movies that money so far. Two movies, Katha Thudarunnu (Semi-Comedy) and Mummy and Me  are still trying to break even.

So what does this say about the Malayali movie goer? We want entertainment. We want comedy. We don’t want any sort of movie which will make us think or weep. (We have our lives for it).

Lets look at the top movies in Tamil. Singam (Action), Paiyya (Romance), Vinnaithandi Varuvaya (Romance), Thamiz Padam (Satire),  Angadi Theru (Human interest),  IKMS (Cowboy spoof).

The standard response to this comparison is that movies like Paleri Manikyam  can only be made in Kerala. But the point is that if no one sees it, then no producer will bet on a movie like Paleri Manikyam in the future.  If you want only Pokiri Raja, Pappi Apacha genre movies you will get more of it and there is a limit to how many movies a human can tolerate in which Mammootty is dancing. (CIA is considering this as a replacement for the banned craft called  waterboarding).

If you look at the movies that have made money in Malayalam, even Seeman can guess where this is all going to end. Couple this with cutting-the-branch-we-are-sitting-on mentality like denying new movies to theater owners, banning serial actors from appearing in movies, banning movie actors from appearing in serials, affinity of Malayai viewers towards Allu Arjun movies, Overdose of Suraj Venjarammoodu – all this   can only work wonders for malayalam cinema.  In fact the ban they should enforce is script stealing. And maybe a ban on Malayalam fim personalities from organizing themselves into various albhabet soups.

3 Comments

  1. The mallu audience of the 80s laughed at Tamil films because they had an engaging team of creators who made mallu films the audience enjoyed.

    Today, the technical teams and actors that audience loved are all old. A period will come when new actors and technicians come in, just like in the Telugu/Tamil industry. No need to worry.

    Our generation prefers to laugh than think. It doesn’t really reflect on our economical status. Those with no worries, prefer to keep that way.

  2. malayalee audience are ready to accept anything new,provided they are marketed well..at the time of it’s release there was not even a proper news paper ad for palerimanikyam.only after the second week did the makers realise that the average malayalee hasn’t even heard about the movie..ditto for td dasan.Kerala cafe was pretty mediocre barring a few shorts like ‘bridge’,Makalkku,island express.
    even in tamil nadu a lot of ‘made in madurai’ films are biting the dust..but we talk about only subramaniapuram,nadodigal or an angaditheru.
    so make good movies,market it well….they will click..dats for sure…but that doesn’t mean to make a ‘loudspeaker’ and market it as a slapstick comedy.Marketing should be aimed at the target audience,i.e those people who will be able to enjoy and appreciate the movie.

  3. Not so sure whether flawed marketing is a culprit here. Marketing can only do so much. It can create interest prior to a movie’s release, and can influence opening week attendance. Nothing more. The real boxoffice performance depends on the audience’s perception of the movie. Palery wouldn’t have fared better if it were aggressively marketed. Not many Malayalam movies have failed at the cash counter for lack of aggressive marketing.

    That said, some one–off marketing tips could be employed like maybe targeting schools and kids and using contests to market Daasan, or using lucky draws, using stars outside of a particular movie to promote the movie etcetera. But these methods can’t be used routinely. And frankly, I don’t think any amount of these pranks could have saved a movie like Daasan at the cash counter.

    The current scenario isn’t as much about an actual crisis in Malayalam cinema as a whole as about the lack of willingness of audience to appreciate / help good cinema. That the movies made using the tested comedy and family formulas do well at the boxoffice means there is no crisis. The only movies facing a critical situation are the real good attempts at moviemaking – they don’t get any encouragement. However, realistically, for an industry with a very small target audience, it is at best only a bonus if good movies manage to make money. But such oddities happened in the past, so we, rather hopefully, expect them to happen all the time. The truth is, it is a bit ambitious considering the small economic scale of our film industry.

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