Monday, August 21, 2006

A Tribute

It has been over 78 years since we saw the first malayalam movie release in 1928. I think it has been one of the things we could be proud of about Malayalam. Though I cant relate to the term "Mollywood", I have grown up watching, enjoying and relishing a lot of malayalam movies. From poochekkoru mookuthi to boeing boeing, rajavinte makan to commissioner, adiozhukkukal to ennale, nadodikaattu to america america america, manichithrathazhu to pakshe, some of the best movies I have seen have been from Kerala.

Though at times I feel sad when I see current malayalam releases, there are enough memories to keep me happy. Mohanlal and Mammooty are two amazing actors, especially Mohanlal who has got the ability to adapt to any role. I have seen Mohanlal right from the days he began acting along with Sankar, his buddy then. It is amazing how he has matured as an actor. I haven't seen such fine acting by any other actor who has come into the scene after them.

That the movie industry is in trouble is evident from many facts: We dont see good movies like we used and have to wait for Onam, We see most of the actors moving off to Telugu or Tamil for work, We see them going on strikes..

Sadder is the state of cinemas in Kerala. As a child I used to hear people say how good the cinema halls in Kerala are, much before Dolby and Surround were there. From then it has been a lot of stagnation, along with Mallu movie-goers writing their names on the seats or peeling off the sponge off the cushioned chairs, that has led to the pathetic condition the cinema halls in Kerala are today. People in Kerala, most of them, will think thrice before going to the hall to watch a movie. It is high time a PVR or a Adlabs mutliplex opened in the Kerala cities, but I hope movie-goers will learn to behave more responsibly and civilized.

All said, the rich history of the Malayalam movie industry is worth its respect and here is my Tribute

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Click on the Pink Play button twice! And let me know your take on "Mollywood"!! Ugghh!!




quills said...

MC, great topic! Especially with Onam releases just around the corner.

But you know, I agree with you, the standard of Malayalam movies have gone way down. Atleast this is what I feel personally. And you have listed some of my all time favorites that I continue to watch over and over. Kireedom, Kilukkam, Sanmanassulavarku Samadhanam, Velannakalude Naadu and some very notable Srinivasan scripted movies are some of the best works from Kerala film industry.

I too have noticed the sad state of some of the cinema theatres in our state. I guess like you suggest we need some competition from some major multiplexes to get our theatre owners to spruce up theirs. But you know, as you pointed out, it is also left to the movie going public to take care of public property and observe the same care they would to something that belongs to them.

And MC! I am splitting my sides listening to that podcast you so kindly provided. :) You are not into mimicry are you? ;) Just a thought..

quills said...

Oh yeah, and I think Mohanlal is one of the finest actors in India, so versatile and he has essayed some great characters with ease. And from the new breed of actors, I think Prithvi Raj is a fine actor and hopefully he will get some great roles and movies to feature in.

Alex said...

Very true. I think what the current directors are doing is that, they try to copy what is happening in Bollywood and else where.
Why? Kerala has got a beautiful tradition of its own. Why try to emulate others?
Yes, Mohanlal is an actor whome we can be still proud of.
Kilukkam and ravanaprabhu are 2 of my all time favourites.
I still enjoy the retro movies better.

Sarah said...

The first malayalam movie I watched was kayalum kayarum..the only thing i remember abt the movie is my dad telling me,,if u change the first alphabet from k to p, it could be payalum payarum..

I like to watch malayalam movies.. they take me back home, back to Kerala..

Mind Curry said...

@ quills - thanks so much for the elaborate first comment..

yeah, i think every keralite has a lot of movie-related memories and passions. you are right about sreenivasan scripts. classic!

that clip was hilarious. i laughed and laughed non-stop listening to it.

@ alex - perhaps its all about economics..everyone is worried more about the financials and the profits than any quality perhaps..or i dont know..they must be really having it tough too to manage. perhaps in that perspective, all these ripped CDs and illegal camera prints must be a real threat to the industry.

i have to apologize to you for posting this one within 4 days of your post, ideally i would have preferred atleast a week gap. i hope my apology is accepted.

Mind Curry said...

@ IiC - thanks Sarah..thats a funny thing to remember. did you listen to the tribute? perhaps Jayan could remind you more about the movies! simble omblette!

Jiby said...

i see no hope until a new generation of writers comes up...mohanlal and mammooty are still good...realized that after watching lal in thanmatra and vadakkumnathan....they are unreplaceable. I am hopeful the onam movie Classmates, will help the young actors like Prithviraj and Sunil to survive in Kerala instead of them having to go to Tamildom.

i dont think a pvr and satyam will work anywhere in kerala except maybe cochin. balcony tickets still sell for Rs.35 in tvm and who would want that to change?

Jiby said...

cudnt listen to ur podcast...need to go get new it something u mimicked?

Anonymous said...

I like Malayalam songs, those that I have heard by KJY and Chithra. I like the exclusive style of melody in Malayalam songs of yesteryears.

I like 80s/90s Malayalam films that I have seen, which is few. The subjects are so diverse, compared to the repeated love stories, family stories or gang stories in Tamil and Telugu.

I can think of Truth and Manichitrathazhu and Nandanam. I liked these.


mathew said...

It will be too much to ask for those golden days..when directors like Padmarajan and Bharatan rooled the roost along with KG George..They complemented well with the talents of mohanlal and mammmootty..Sadly not enough talent these days..

Alex said...

No apologies

Yes, economics has a part to play in films too as a lot of money is involved. A lot of politics too. It is difficult of actors who are mediocre to rise to a very high level.

A movie tends to reflect the milieu of the state. I wonder the plight of our state then! We are looking towards the west for development and change, when Kerala has a beautiful tradition of itself.

Mind Curry said...

@ jiby - well i hope plenty of "moota kadi", stink, rats and torn seats will provide enough stimulus for the keralites to accept paying a higher charge for the tickets, and it is worth watching movies in peace. i didnt mimick. its some talented soul. you should definitely listen somehow.

@ kajan - welcome here..yeah kj and chithra are also so talented. but now everything has got a pop touch to it, even the church songs!

@ mathew - true, golden years indeed..

@ alex - yeah politics too i guess..i recently saw suresh gopi in an interview complaining how he has been singled out and there was a campaign to ruin his career..weird..

on another note, there is nothing wrong in looking westward if thats where development comes from. preserving tradition is in our own hands.

silverine said...

Doc, everyone in my house is ROFL, especially my Dad who can do a mean Jayan impression :))

One of my first Malaylam color movie was Boeing Boeing, loved fact I liked Mohan Lal in comedies more than in a serious role. That era saw some really good movies and people like Srinivasan, Mammooty.

silverine said...

p.s. "mollywood" sounds awfully like silk smitha :|


Anonymous said...

ha ha..this is really great.

Babin said...

I feel bad for all non mallus. Poor people, they don't get to laugh like we do when watching movies!! Its worth learning malayalam just to enjoy our movie classics..
Kudoos to Mollywood or is it Malluwood??

Shinu Mathew said...

The state of Malayalam movie industry is evident from the recent activites of the so-called "AMMA" & Macta fight. Some fine actors were banned(!) by the organization and I feel that collective brgaining is gaining it's footing in our film industry too.
Another factor that everybody mentioned is how much of a fine actor Mohanlal is. While there is no dispute he is one of the versatile actors in India, other's contribution shouldn't be forgotten. There is my favoutite actor Mammooty, who even at this age, looking more & more young and day after day produces better performances. I am baffled why none of the comments mentioned his name. He is the finest actor in Indian cinema today, second only to Kamal Haasan! aboput Mohanlal, he can act any role with easiness, but recently he has been stereo-typed. The -super human image that he now dons is pure & simply "tamilification" of our cinemas. Plus the paunches and bulges he sport doesn't add to his performance.

Anonymous said...

Nice audioo post....made me laugh quite a bit. It ended too soon :-)


Mind Curry said...

@ silverine - well i am glad! :) you know i feel happy when i hear your dad laughed or liked what i write.

boeing boeing was sooo funny..especially when i saw it that time..but later it didnt see as funny.

mollywood sounds so are so funny.

@ anonymous - :)

@ babin - well malluwood sounds as bad! :)

@ shinu - you are right about the politics..its part of the kerala culture i guess to politicize everything.

i just differ with you about mammooty and mohanlal though. i dont think mammooty has the versatility mohanlal does. yeah hes a great actor anyway.

@ kamla - welcome here! glad it made you laugh..what else could be better. i loved your blog. the interviews were good.

Shinu Mathew said...

MC, I am not about to start a silly fan-argument over who is better. Both are fine actors and do justice to roles but recently the films, started from "Aaram Thampuran", I am guessing it, Mohanlal, the actor took back seat and MohanLal the superstar took charge. Since then there was a lot of rubbish released in the same vein. Praja, Raavanaprabhu (not forgetting the older Mohanlal), Onnaman, just to name a few. I think these films don't do any justice to a man capable of films like VaanaPrastham, Kireedam or recently Thanmatra. On the other hand, Mammootty was selective in his role, no great perfomance except in Kaazcha but other were just digastable.

Anonymous said...

@Shinu Mathew
What you said is true and everyone in their lives go through downs.
Many movies which were released recently was not worth watching.

Anonymous said...

Hi I am amazed at the contents of this site. Its strange, I have been born and bought up in an adjecent state. I always had this bad feeling about missing the social ecosystem in Kerala ( I am a mallu), and I have been spending time to know more about my roots and I always felt that is our energy, when we know we are from a great place and among good breed of people. You guys have let me down completly.

Dear Friend, I would like to hear things which would make a mallu proud, or else would loose in the crowd. I actually was planning to go to some Univ in Kerala and request some good Prof to run thru the heritage and culture.

Man, you guys let me down, so much filth about my home state Kerala. I am sorry...

Anonymous said...

hmm..u seem to have missed everyone who really mattered in mallu cinema..the reason by mallu cinema (along wiht bengali) is the merging of the parallel and commercial cinema..Adoor,George,Padmarajan,Aravindan
and the great many literary figures which came to work in cinema..ONV(with super poetic lyrics),music everything,scripts(MT,thikkodian,..)etc..which lead to a highly asthetic appeal to cinema in the 70s and 80s.I think the new gen Blessy,Murali Nair and others are in the 2000s going to bring it back to some of the lost glory..actors are no doubt very important..but maybe the most important is the director who manages everything..
these parallel cineamatic movement inspired the so called commercial classics which has a very exceptionally realistic Sanmanass ,Vellanakalude..etc.

Mind Curry said...

@ shinu - i agree with you 100% on your first sentence.

@ alex - thats so true.

@ deep - yeah, it will be worthwhile spending some time in kerala and relishing its realities.

but for the record, this blog was started not for bashing kerala and keralites, but try and identify what we lack and where we need to improve. in the process it might appear we are pessimists as we focus mostly on the negatives. clearly thats not the case. we love our state as much as you do.

anyway, the truth is, some of the aspects of kerala and its "mallus" are totally disgusting, and we really need to work hard to change that if we really love our state!

@ anonymous the displaced - i am glad you could identify the main contributors to malayalam movies. i dont really have so much knowledge, but just enjoyed some of the movies i watched over the years. but you are right, i have heard so much about the characters you described. thanks bro for the comment and pitching in.

Alex said...

One more actor, whom all malayalis adore is Jagathy.
He is awesome. He is just too good.
I dont have words to decribe him though.

quills said...

@alex: I agree. :) He is amazing and some of his comedic routines has me in splits most of the time. :) I can think of so many..classic!!

Ajith Prasad Balakrishnan said...

audio kettu..In a typical college slang -- " Overaakkal " :) .I dont think Malayalam movies will have a prolonged dearth of quality..Maybe, the frequency of good quality movies may come down..In any educated and democratic state there will always be audience who'll be there to watch good quality movies.

Thanu said...

I don't think anyone does comedy as good as they do it malayalam. How come no one named Dilip?

kochuthresiamma p .j said...

a few observations:

mohanlal is easily the best actor going in the country.

srinivasan, a true genius- his sophisticated comedies are as good as any in the world - being comedies based on 1.quirks in character 2. cultural peculiarities of kerala 3. superb dialogue, his films cannot be translated effectively- but he truly deserves a lfetime achievement award. can malayalam film votaries do something to market him?

the fall in the standard in malayalam movies is on account of the reluctance of producers to let go of mohanlal and mammooty. like the saying goes, nothing grows under a banyan tree.mayalam cinema is bending backwards to accommodate these aging heroes, creating roles suited for them, perpetuating stereotypes - guess u cant blame them- the bottom line has a lot of say in this matter. but the harm done is serious. we have powerful women actos who are migrating to other language films which do not tap their immense talent because a manju warier or meera jasmine stealing the show is not acceptable to the hero obsessed malayalam audience. or is it a case of cinema not having its finger on the pulse of the audience?
kochuthresiamma P. J.

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