22 Oct 2009

Take a cue

Seems like its always travel that tickles my thinking cells. Last weekend, on my return travel from Kerala, I was watching the evergreen "Chitram" an the oft-repeated thought came back - Why don't they make movies like that anymore. Malayalam movies in the 8o's and 9o's were always a cut above the commercial potboilers and formula laden flicks. They had genuinely sparkling storylines, fresh humour and realistic drama portrayal. The films were simplistic and every viewer could connect with the characters and movies in general.

For people who have grown up watching Hindi movies, before you can brand all south films as alike and full of kung-fu'ish dishoom dishooms and thunder thighs, you can take a sampling of any three mainstream mallu movies and observe for yourself the carefully scripted plotlines, the simplistic story telling, the realistic portrayal and the commitment to quality in visuals and lighting. Not to mention actors playing their roles dedicatedly and not vying to be heroes/heroines. You won't find a "Sholay" over here - but if you loved those Amol Palekar type light-hearted movies, then they are there in abundance.

Sadly today there seems to be an attitude amongst filmmakers to emulate Hindi and Tamil techniques (song dance razzmatazz). What they miss out here is realism. Doing a 50-50 is gonna ensure that neither audiences are gonna enjoy their movies. The average mallu is a bit intelligent. If Tamil cinema does it, they have mastered it - the choreography, the innovation required in song dance sequences. Malayalam cinema needs to focus on its strengths - good storytelling, good realism. And please stick to the mainstream culture folks. Thats what the Chinese or the Japs do - make movies that portray their culture so very effectively but still deliver brilliant movies. Lets not fall into the trap of dancing, singing in foreign locales.

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