Monday, October 1, 2007

What happened to good old Malayalam movies?

A good movie is the communion of many factors. Its success lies in its ability to enthrall all people or at least most people with its varied charms. To “enthrall” guys like me, it is pretty easy. We are suckers for good old sex and violence, the more the better!

For long now, Malayalam movies have had neither. Gone are the innocent hippie days of the seventies when a Malayalam movie simply meant the collection of 3 stunts and 4 rapes. The actors changed between films and sometimes they didn’t. Films were not made for winning awards or scoring a point. They were just meant to entertain and believe me, they did!

Things were so simple back then in those golden days of Malayalam cinema. It was truly a mass entertainer. You did not need to have a degree in psychology or a PhD in philosophy to watch a movie. All people, right from the humblest rickshaw puller to the snootiest estate owner were entertained by the same genre.

Then came the eighties and already there was a dip in standards. I guess it had something to do with the “sick young men” doing rounds at that time. Every hero/heroine/kid had to die of cancer or some other God forsaken disease. But then films like Layanam and actresses like Silk Smitha more than made up for these minor shortcomings. During this era, Malayalam movies started winning national awards on a nearly yearly basis. A sure sign of impending decadence!

Come nineties and the spiraling downward trend was truly visible. This decade proved beyond doubt that “family” films were there to stay! And into this pathetic era, I was born. Actually, I was born in the eighties but as far as films go, I am a child of the nineties! Doordarshan which was very much a “peepul’s” channel, with Friday night hotties and wet Saris suddenly found out about morality. Unfortunately for me, this new found morality came at the crucial time when I was desperately trying to be immoral!

I don’t want to sound arrogant, but it is said that most states do what Kerala did about 20 years late. It is no wonder then that Kannada, Tamil and Telugu movies have discovered the unfailing formula for the perfect movie now. Way to go guys!! Keep it up and don’t follow us hopeless mallus anymore, you just found nirvana, believe me.

The final blow to “funny” Malayalam movies came when directors changed their modus operandi for star selection. Earlier the criterion was simple, actresses just needed to be teeth achingly beautiful, that was it! But along came the “Kala Prathibas” and this happy situation was repealed.

They were “good” girls from decent families who were exceptionally talented and had won state awards for their acting skills at school. They were the last nail in our coffin. These sophisticated women just refused to show skin!! Gone were the days of Sheela, Seema and Jaya Barathi with their in-your-face cleavage and king size posteriors.

Malayalam films had touched an all time low! Instead of judging by cleavage they actually started judging heroines based on their artistic talents… can you believe it!! If Ripley’s “Believe it or not” heard of this, it would be up for the picking as the most unbelievable thing ever in the movie industry.

But what irks me most is the step motherly treatment that these heroines give ONLY to Malayalam films. Many a heroine who has shifted to Tamil/other languages has gone in for the good old skin route. But the moment they hear “Malayalam” these same heroines get all conservative and nun-ish. I ask you, don’t Malayalees too have feelings?? Is this fair?

But, if truth be said, I really do not bemoan the hippie films of the 70’s. They had no real substance. On a more artistic level it was the death of Pathmarajan that was a huge blow for viewers. He was one man who could direct films with such panache that I get goose bumps each time I remember them. The genius of that man lay in the fact that none of his movies were vulgar. He had the ability to take sensual shots and still make it a family film. The scenes would be a cent percent natural, in touch with the story line and absolutely mouth watering in its execution.

Did I leave out something… yeah, sure I did. I left out Shakeela! But even though I am a true Malaylee, I simply cannot understand the rage she created with her Minnara Pookal and the rest. I still don’t know what the Malayalee saw in that movie or the rest of the sleaze that came after its release. I mean, wake up guys, those were the crappiest movies ever made in Mollywood. After serious thought into the matter I have come to the conclusion that most guys, like me, in the hope that there was a new “awakening” watched them to make sure for themselves. It was a waste of my father’s hard earned money is all I can say for myself!

These days, like many other Malayalees, I still live in the hope of seeing another Pathmarajan.


Nikhil said...

god knows!!

may be after couple of years we will see new genious "ABY" (genious director, script writer) in the mallu film industry :)

മഞ്ഞുതുള്ളി said...

@nikhil: GOD HELP THE NATION THEN !!!! :)

Abraham Menacherry said...

Nikhil: That is one of my aspirations...:)
Tess: It takes a genius to understand another genius...:)

stillwaters said...

Hi Abraham..
I dont really watch too many Mallu movies.. so can't comment about what u seem to be missing..
What i miss are those genuinely refreshing comedies.. u know the Mohanlal-Srinivas genre..
All These new comedies seem so overdone!!!

മഞ്ഞുതുള്ളി said...

@abhi:yeah right!!!
(1000 meanings attached and no offences intented)

Nikhil said...

ippozhum pazhayathu pole thanne??? :):)
Perfectoo!! Genious understands another genious :)

Abraham Menacherry said...

Stillwaters: That is one genre that everyone is missing...:( Seems like the golden age of mal film is over! When I started writing the post this is what I wanted to write about, but then my "sick" mind took over and convoluted the whole thing...:)
Tess: :D
Nikhil: Yo man Yo!

മഞ്ഞുതുള്ളി said...

All right geni"O"us
i give up

stillwaters said...

haha.. your "sick mind"..
I'll second that.. :D

N!$#@N^# said...

Aby i am disappointed with such nasty description of our own great super duper star "Shakeela".

Her thunder thighs have mesmerized the people of mallu land for more than a decade & still do. Its good for your health that all her admirers don’t read your blog, if they did we would have had a hartal in Kerala & a fatwa against you.

I strongly recommend that you to write an apology blog & praise the good deeds she has done, like she brought the people back to cinema the generation which was threatening to quit it for the cable TV, internet, & video games.

Also, keep in mind that a kick from her will have the effect of an elephant standing on your torso. Its better late than never, I repeat write an apology.

Abraham Menacherry said...

StillWaters: :D
Nishu: Sorry yaar, I will never again repeat this act of blashpemy...:)

deepu said...

....The “bad boys” went a bit further peeping at dubbed Mallu soft-porn –a world inhabited by people who looked like the “Before” picture in weight-loss infomercials........ courtsey: GreatBong

Paddy said...

Well I would say that the 90's were a briliant period for malayalam movies. All the lalettan classics were released in that decade.

Rajesh said...

Nice post indeed.
Work from home India

Rajesh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paddy said...

Dude you are getting a bit too obsessed with skin and sex... :)

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