Imagine a scene in a movie where Mohanlal is surrounded by a bunch of thugs. He looks each one of them as they take out weapons of single destruction like cycle chain and Malappuram knife. Mohanlal, tightens his mundu, twirls his moustache and takes a packet of tea bags and mouths an advertisment line to the audience.
After making classy movies, this is the new direction Malayalam movies are taking. The reason – mounting production costs.
Superstar Mammootty’s blockbuster “Nerariyan CBI”, released during the Onam season and running houseful at all theatres, has onscreen promotionals for a tea company, a jewellery shop and a biscuit company.
“The trend is certainly going to bring in money. We do not feel there is anything wrong at all in doing this,” leading producer Sureshkumar told IANS.
His next film, which features superstar Mohanlal, will have a few promos too.[Malayalam cinema begins hawking products on screen]
James Bond movies are known for hawking products, like the Aston Martin, BMW, whatever brand watch he wears etc. Then James Bond movies are cartoon films, meant to sell merchandise. But Malayalam cinema, which prides itself on making realistic movies going this route will definitely put off the viewer.
Santosh Sivan is releasing his first Malayalam film, Ananthabhadram starring Prithviraj, Kavya Madhavan, Riya Sen, Manoj K Jayan and Kalabhavan Mani. This movie, based on a novel by Sunil Parameshwaran is rich in folk stories and mystical elements.
But this story is actually set in real times. A young man (Prithviraj) from San Francisco comes to his ancestral village for the first time in his life with his mother’s ashes. He wants to light a lamp at the sacred grove, which his mother (Revathy) used to frequently light as a young girl. He slowly realises that all the stories his mother had told him were true; people of the village still believe in many things he didn’t. They believe in trans-migration. I have realised that those Indians who are settled abroad are more culturally bound to India than us who live here. They want something to cling on to. There is some element of disbelief in all these things, though we have added an element of believability to the script. The film is basically about trans-migration, the good and evil.[Santosh Sivan on Anandabhadram]
Santosh also directed the movies Asoka and Terrorist and both were rich in visuals. One of the songs in the movie, Pinakkamano, has been based on Raja Ravi Varma’s paintings and those images look brilliant (1, 2). But Asoka for all the grandeur was a poorly made movie. Terrorist was much better, but still did not have a great narration to suit the visuals. So it remains to be seen if Santosh’s talent for story telling has matched his brilliance behind the camera.
Related Links: Visuals from the movie