Monday, August 13, 2007

Goliath Is Winning...

I was in a bad, bad mood. Got into the car. Put on one of my fave songs lately, from Vadakkumnathan, Gange, the last classical song from the late Raveendran & Yesudas combo. Mohanlal's voice came up previewing the song and I shut it off hastily. "Drat! I want some silence." I clenched my teeth and felt like biting my lips to grind out the irritation with that voice which once soothed, once made me laugh, cry and fall in love with love. My sis giggled at my frustration, making an effort to hide hers. We had just come out from a screening of this years mega-blockbuster in malayalam, hit directorial team of Rafi-Meccartin's Hallo. This year had seen me repeat the angry act many times over...after watching Baba Kalyani, Mayavi and Chota Mumbai which have been the big hits this year. I have a new cardinal rule in place for watching malayalam films...also watch movies from newer untouted directors, younger fresh-faced actors, scriptwriters who have never delivered a hit and films that came and went without making a blip on the malayali conscience. As a result I have watched some good malayalam films in the last one year which many of you evaded, never heard of or never bothered to know of. As I write this two small films, Veeralipaattu and Thaniye, are dying or already gone from Kerala theatres.

The reason I write about Veeralipattu, though I havent seen it yet, is because it has my favorite malayalam actor of today, Prithviraj in the leading role, a debutant scriptwriting team, Ashok-Sasi who deserves early encouragement and finally the young director, Kukku Surendran whose debut film, Oraal, which I will write about later, was a brilliant effort. On Prithviraj, an actor whom I dedicated a post to, in this blog in July 2005, after watching his debut Tamil effort, Kana Kandein and realizing this was one man who deserved to succed in Kerala, i find he is in no better position, two years later in 2007. 2006 was his career-defining period where he broke out and away from all accusations of copying the superstars, limited range, lack of flexibility with such diverse roles as a wrongly accused victim of a sex scandal in Achanurangatha Veedu; the intense, brooding, rough-toungued corrupt cop of Vargam; the fiery SFI student leader with a romantic side who returns years later broken and mellowed in Classmates; the harmless, honest govt clerk from Kasargod whose transition into a guily, ambitious and cunning bureaucrat caught in between three women and salvaging his career when surrounded by enemies, all leading to his salvation in the classic film, Vasthavam and finally ending the year with an understated performance as a young, idealistic journalist in Pakal who reports on the actual scenario of Wayanad's crop failures and suicides blending himself beautifully into an otherwise shoddy film, Prithvi's career has come a long way but is Kerala listening? This year, in Mozhi, he made an indelible mark in Thamizhakam, in the role of a young, earnest musician in love with a deaf-and-dumb girl and in the process proved he could do comedy also effectively, if given the chance.

Well enough of Prithviraj, you guys might say I am overtly praising him, but I am frustrated by the continuing apathy of kerala's youngsters to go out and watch his movies on the big screen. It seems fashionable to say he is arrogant, loud-mouthed, not that talented, over-hyped and therefore his movies shouldnt be watched. I came across many people who pass judgement on him, without even watching his recent movies. Both Mammootty and Mohanlal are prisoners of their fanbase. Good Mammootty films like Karuthapakshikal, Kaiyoppu, Mission 90 Days and Big B have failed to run as they should have because his fans, especially in Malabar, crave for just a typical masala potboiler with comedy, action, romance, melodrama and sentiments thrown in. Mohanlal on the other hand is lucky he has admirers throughout Kerala among the old, kids, women and beyond his huge rowdy fan association, all of which will ensure even his good films like Thanmatra, Vadakkumnathan and Keerthichakra have a decent run at the BO, even without fan support. A few months back 3000 Mohanlal fans were present at the launch of Alibai and a similar number on his birthday celebration in Chengalchoola in TVM. What has Lal done to deserve so much praise since the late 90's. Teenagers and youngsters talk of him like he is their youth icon. But I am sorry. He is 45+. He was the icon of an earlier age...the eighties and early 90's when he did all those special roles. There is a simple explanation for all this. It is the psychology of the mob on display. It is cool among the rough and tough guys of Kerala to be a fan of these superstars and everyone else just joins in to become yet another cool guy and be part of a fraternity and soon they are sucked into believing these two are demi-goods and everyone else in Malayalam, a threat. Unfortunately, this is Kerala with a shrinking audience for cinema where across the board support is needed to rescue a film and not TN, Andhra or Bombay where theatre collections easily run into crores by the opening weekend itself. These superstars have lost it...they are treating us to average fare and we are deluding ourselves that Hello and Mayavi and others are another great effort from them. I have had enough pouring scorn and being cynical and all those things i hate to do and be...I move to the main purpose of this post...an eye-opener to recent good malayalam cinema which failed at the box-office that many of you maynot have had a chance to see, and which is available on vcd/dvd for all of u out there.

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****POSSIBLE SPOILERS****
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Oraal(2005)- The pair of Kukku Surendran-T.K.Devakumar's debut movie, a psychological thrller, Oraal, had Mukesh and Sreya Reddy in a leading role, telling the story of an avante-garde film director and his live-in partner, making a trip to a forest where he intends to write his next script. There, certain fears in the form of a young, bearded man who questions the pseudo-achievements of Mukesh, and gains the attraction of Sreya, enter his mind, all of which leads him down a path of self-destruction. It is what many of you call a slow movie...but I felt there was good suspense allthroughout, unguessable climax, and a very interesting young "villain" character, who is from a theatre background. Adoor Gopalakrishnan praised Kukku for his direction at a film festival.

Mayookham(2005) - Hariharan returns to a genre of film-making he seemingly ditched after the rotten, Prem Poojari. With Saiju Kurup and Mamta Mohandas in the lead, the film dealt with a young, jobless ruffian from a Brahmin family, Saiju Kurup, who fails repeatedly to find a job due to his upper-caste status and turns a rebel and falls into wild company. Enter Mamta Mohandas an NRI girl on a vacation who manages in him a change of heart and prompts him to pursue his old hobby of writing poetry and taking up a lowly press job. Shot in and around beatiful locales on the banks of the Nila, with beatiful songs by the last veteran standing, Bombay Ravi, enchanting cinematography by S.Kumar, a solid script by Hariharan himself and a splendid debut effort by the brooding and intense Saiju Kurup this film sadly went unoticed. The only flaw in the film was that it failed to factor in the IT age where jobs are available for those who try for entry there. Moreover today noone seems interested in the concept of wayward, idealistic youth rebelling against the establishment.

Achanurangatha Veedu(2006) - After the blockbuster, Chanthupotte in 2005, no one expected Lal Jose to take up an offbeat subject, give it as commercial a treatment as possible and extract a fine understated, sensitive performance from over-the-top comedian, Salim Kumar, in the scripts of Babu Janardhanan, for whom this was a second birth in malayalam cinema. Devoid of any sort of melodrama, this film based on the Suryanelli sex scandal, tells the story of a christian-converted widowed clerk, bringing up his three daughters, of whom the youngest is his favorite and a good student. She goes missing one day and incidents from there throw the life of the family upside down and gradually destroys them. Not at all dragging or slow, and not senti-senti, which many people cited as a reason to avoid this movie, i must commend director, Lal for the final shot of the movie which leaves a lasting impression on the viewer. Undobutedly he is a filmmaker at the prime of his talents, as proved later by Classmates and Arabikatha, but unfortunately all the clout he commanded at the box office failed to save this one.

Nottam(2006) - Everyone has listened several times to the wonderful Pachapanamthathe song in this movie. This movie is no less special for the wonderful performance of a handful of veterans of malayalam cinema, Nedumudi Venu, Jagathi Sreekumar and Gopakumar. A young man arrives in a village in Kerala to shoot a documentary on Theyyam accompanied by his friend, a native of the village. Nedumudi plays a traditional patriach who gives in, to videographing his performance, on the urging of his close friend and co-artist, Jagathi's insistence. Jagathi plays his age but comes up with a delightful performance which makes us smile(the malayalam world i use for his character is sarasan...jovial is a close parallel in english...but its not the same!) and then sad. Venu steels the scene in a spell-binding climax. Samvritha Sunil is lovable as the young, village belle. Directed by Sasi Paravoor, I felt gladdened, if only for consolation, that this movie won some awards also this year.

Akale(2005) - Perhaps the first of many noteworthy performances from Prithviraj which went unnoted by the masses. Akale tells the story of a middle-aged, almost broken poet who is still trying to reconcile with his disjointed, cruel past while akcknowledging his present is crumbling. Akale is about Sheela, in the role of a nitwitty, pushy mother whose repeated attempts to straighten her young, helpess son who hates his day job drives him to drugs, alcohol and despair and prods her fragile, physically unable daughter, Geethu Mohandas to escape the confines of her house and find companionship and love, only succeeding in driving her deeper into a shell. A young man in the neighbourhood catches Sheela's eyes as a prospective groom for her daughter, but much to the despair and lack of faith of both her children, she succeds in getting them to agree to it and what follows is a touching portrayal of four human lives thrown amidst a cauldron of opposing emotions, one night. Brilliantly scripted and directed by Shyamaprasad, and photographed to drop-dead perfection by the veteran, S.Kumar and costumes by Kukku Parameshwaran, besides superb performances from Sheela, Geethu, Prithviraj and Tom George, this is a must-watch movie for all. Our movies have become too fast-paced recently, if you are willing to slow down your pace, you should enjoy the artistic powerhouse that is this movie.

Vargam(2006) - If you are looking for the film, that for the first time opened a lot of Malayali eyes, to the talent and screen presence Prithviraj can command, it was this film. Out of theatres in a few weeks, but incredibly popular on torrent sites by word-of-mouth, this movie presents Prithvi as a never before seen policeman on malayalam screen. For the "superlatives" on his character refer to the passage on Prithvi above and I have nothing more to say. Scripted and directed by M.Padmakumar, on an evil cop's rough ride to salvation, the movie has slight similarities to his mentor, Ranjith's Devasuram, but saw Prithviraj improve his dialogue delivery and his physique to deliver a truely break-through performance.

Vasthavam(2006) - Babu Janardhanan returned for the second time in 2006 and paired up with M.Padmakumar to tell a gripping tale of the rise and fall of an ordinary secretariat employee, who plots his way up the bureaucracy to become a powerbroker, but one by one, finds himself losing the people close to him and finally alone...all leading to a finely shot climax stunt sequence, filmed by upcoming cameraman Manoj Pillai. Prithviraj in leading role shows why he is the only young actor around with the flair to take up a multi-hued character whose personal life is in a muddle as he deserts his lady love for a marriage of convenience, seduces and then ditches a divorcee who gives him a helping hand in his career, ignores his wife and connives to draw his lady love closer to him, even apologizing for his behavior to his wife while still helplessly in love with another. His professional life is not much better either with problems recurring again and again, most of it of his own doing. Jagathy in an unforgettable character, of a benefactor to the lead character, draws our applause, smiles and thoughts, sometimes all these, even in the same dialogue. Good performances from Salim Kumar as the tottering businessman trying to shore up his fortune, Samvritha Sunil as the docile, all-suffering wife is a revelation and Kavya Madhavan as the lady love, who does a balancing act with Prithvi, even after her marriage, finally having enough of other people drawing the strings of her life.

Oruvan(2006) - A badly scripted film which stood out for Indrajith's intense performance as a psychopath and debutant director, Vinoo Anand's deft handling of the subject and coming up with some finely shot scenes.

Pakal(2006) - What I call an activist film. A young journalist goes to Wayanad to investigate farmer suicides and crop failures. He lays the blame squarely on the private money-lenders in the area and goverment's callousness and negligence when formulating policies. The film is taken us through the lives of some families, and introduces us to sitiations like women unable to find husbands, people who got overtaxed by uncaring offcials, people taking loans beyond their means, etc. Despite the good efforts of debutant drector Nishad, the script is too bad to give him a chance. Again if you are a Prithvi fan like me, you notice how, he manages to stay the course despite the uneven script.

Sancharam(2005) - A brilliant movie set in a central-travancore village depicting the friendship between two girls growing gradually to the point they fall in love with each other, catch the attention of teachers and family, and are seperated, with the movie ending tantalizingly at a point where one girl stares down a waterfall and the other is about to tie the knot. Possibly, only the second malayalam film, about lesbianism, this film directed by NRK, Ligy Pullapally, stands out for good direction, very life-like dialogues, haunting background music, excellent camera-work and splendid performances by the two lead girls and the supporting cast. A must watch movie...one that deserved a lot of theatre time.

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No apologies for this long post. I had to get it out of my system. I am no intellectual or know-it-all film critic. I just want people to open their eyes to the mediocrity before us. Good malayalam cinema is not dead...the movies i wrote about above are some of the good ones...small films we fail to know of, drowned in the worthless, pointless advertising, marketing, superstar-centric overdose that you and I are spoonfed in Kerala. I don't want Prithviraj or any other youngster to be a superstar in the future. The reason I loved his movies recently was that he played characters who are vulnerable, characters with flaws and faults, a leading hero who lets other characters also have scope to perform, even at the risk of outshining him. Mohanlal, Mammootty, Suresh Gopi, Dileep films are all about themselves. None of the acting talents of malayalam are allowed to shine in their movies, no slice of life of Kerala comes out in their movies, finally none of their characters look like you, or me, our parents, or any ordinary person in Kerala. It would be good if you remember the kind of films, they did earlier for us to put them up on such a high pedestal, now it would be equally good for us and our cinema, if we pulled these superheroes of Kerala down to our own level. Its just a suggestion!

P.S - In the malayalam film, Rajavinte Makan which propelled Lal to stardom, a character delivers this line..."Ente Achane Paranjaal Njan Sahikkum. Pakshe Ente Nethavine Paranjal...". On a discussion forum I saw a Lal fan use the same line, but substituting the Nethavu with Lalettan!!! Mohanlal is only a reel-hero, damnit...

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Brace yourself...they are coming:-)

But don't you think that you are an exception? How many people really will go to see good films? Today's film going crowd is largely the youth, who also largely want to ape the west, in lifestyle and culture. Yes, there are exceptions, but exceptions don't make the box-office ring. And moreover, with the production cost of so-called superstar films, they can't afford duds.

But yes, these superstar films in general are pathetic. Aging stars beside teenage girls. Better to avoid.

Prithviraj is a very good actor. But I think the youth in Kerala don't want to accept him because they feel inferior to a guy who knows his mind, and speaks it. Basically, as you would say, he fails to follow the mob syndrome.

Jiby said...

anon, yeah ppl like me are exceptions...i blogged about this issue to bring more malayalis to my fold. glad to know you somewhat agreed to what i wrote of and which is encouraging...i expected a lot of flak right away!

mathew said...

Jiby a brave post in all sense..I dont expect many takers who will empathise with you...Mainly coz all those so called fans actually adore Mohanlal than his acting..

I am a big fan of his acting..So it was painful for me when I saw Chotta Mumbai..Although I wont say right now Prithviraj has the histronics of Mohanlal when he was its best..Folks fail to understand that when Lal came on screen he wasn’t a Devasuram..or a Kireedam..or a Chi-tram material either..Actors evolve with age and Prithviraj can definitely get better..I saw Vargam and loved it..Just wonder why it never got the reviews…

Like you said blind following at the expense of good fare in Cineworld is taking its toll..These older actors should reinvent themselves to roles that suits there age..In west the actors do that..The Al Pacino in Scarface evolved into a more refined actor in ‘The scent of a Woman’..But here they churn out the same pathetic fair again and again..More pathetic are the reviews which gives the impression that it is gonna be a masterpiece….

‘Sancharam’ was a real bold movie..although a tough topic for a Family audience..Sad that even the so called Intellectuals don’t even say a word about it…

Am a diehard fan of Mohanlal..but that was of the 80’s and 90’s…Now I don’t find it eager for a first day first show ticket of his movie anymore…

Hope this post convinces people to be more open and embrace the younger talents.

Anonymous said...

----
Mohanlal is only a reel-hero, damnit...
----

Staying in Thirontharam, you dared to say that? I mean .. you see ... just take care ... you never know .. well, enthu parayan ;)))

~NJ

bombay dosti said...

mgdyou know what ...jiby..
thats quite an unfair post to ... the superstars and to people who have adored the acting of these superstars...
i adore mohanlal.. for some of the most beautiful moments in indina cinema.. and whther he is 45 or 55, one likes him means one likes him..
so, forget whether he is a superstar or not, but giev him credit to what he has contributed...
and two give some credit to people too jiby.there were a number of forgettable lal movies that did not do well in the BO too... (i even forgte their names) . they too know when lal's movies are good and when they are ridiculous.. ?and if someone says that they are lal's fans, it does not mean that they are oblivious to his mistakes.. .
maybe its like love, you know he has his faults ,but you still love him... just blame it on the brilliant performances that you have to give him the credit for..

and films like thanmatra did well...

and about prithvi, there will always bbe criticism but the fact that he still has so many movies to his credit show that he has value...

and dont make thse general statements yaar.. its not about being cool to like asuperstar.. gosh.. will it not be difficult to put up with such judgements to even like an actor????

well then you have all rights to your opinion..but then since you gave a commenting choice..

Jiby said...

mathew, glad you got the essence of the post. i agree with what you have written. so i want write a long comment corroborating you.

NJ, ezhuthi poyille, tharavazhi kaatiyille...ineem thirichadi kittatte. allaathe enthu parayaan.

BD, my post is not against mohanlal the actor. after reading my whole post i am appalled all you could take out of it was my grouse against mohanlal, the superstar and people who admire his acting. i am sure i have watched more mohanlal films than most malayalis. this post is against the people who are influencing superstars to keep dishing out crap after crap movies.

what general statements...i am not talking abt ppl like you sitting in bombay...i am talking of ppl i know in kerala who blindly support a particular actor's movie, deride another actor's movie, spread wrong info(bad word of mouth) of a movie to see it flop.

my dear, you have no idea what you are talking about...the film fans in kerala who go for the first few days of a movie and bring in that huge initial are different from the people you seem to know of who acknowledge lal's or mammootty's faults. worst of all many among them are educated youngsters too!

yes films like thanmatra did well...and i am happy...i saw vadakkumnathan first day, first show and recommended it to atleast a thousand people...i also had to see a superb movie like devadoothan running in empty theatres...i have walked out of theatres on films like onnaman, praja, etc while fans association members tried to make us stop from leaving theatres and tried in vain to project a good opinion by cheering for horrendous scenes... those movies flopped...but that was 7 years back. today rasathanthram, mahasamudram, baba kalyani, chota mumbai, hello were all below average to the core but i find them reaping success beyond deserve and several good films failing to get their due collection.

i said all this bcoz malayalam cinema needs fans of good cinema...ppl who will go watch a good movie, regardless of the stars in it...5 or 6 films out of 50 or 60 released in a year recover money...is this some way to encourage art and culture? our sporting heritage which was very popular once is down in the dumps due to audience apathy to go out and cheer athletes...i see the same happening to good cinema too.

bombay dosti said...

hey jiby, :)
well if it was about those vocal
"ppl i know in kerala who blindly support a particular actor's movie, deride another actor's movie, spread wrong info(bad word of mouth) of a movie to see it flop." then i am with you..

It would be irritating to see that presence of the stars gives more money to do your marketing bit for the movies and some good movies dont get that much attention...

your post was about a lot of things and maybe i was not justified in commenting on just one part of it... you know, i like that fat man .. so it hurts to hear comments on his age and flops...thats all...

some people like me might be locked in the past.. but then wanted to tell you that there are some people who do take pride in some good malayalam cinema... as a whole.. with or without stars

and the point is, we make them superstars and in fact that finally ends up as a huge cage for them too, as you yourself said...

sitting here, wanted to see vasthavam for one... but never really got the opportunity... guess thats what happens to people sitting in bombay ;-)
there is another movie.. guess a little older.. oru cheru punjiri..
was a nice one... saw in tv though..

Vinod/Kakka said...

I liked the first part of Vargam, kind of like a Q. Tarantino movie, but then got lost in trying to be a typical Indian movie.
I was in college during 87 - 93. The phase when tear-jerkers, Sukumarans generation and I.V. Sasi etc were replaced by more realistic movies with more comedy, action, and Mohan Lal. The time of Padmarajan, Hariharan, Sathyan Anthikkad, Bharathan, and Siby Malayil. There was a time when Vadakkan Veeragatha was playing at Kripa, Varavelppu at Sree Padmanabha. There were movies with no love angles at all... Jayaram was becoming more popular with movies like Peruvannapurathe visheshangal, Nagarangalil chennu rapparkkam etc.

Prithvi is by far the best among the new actors. Salim Kumar is very good too, he can go over the top, but he has a timing for comedy that none of the others can match (Harisree Asokan etc)

After the age of Nazir, Sathyan and Madhu, there was a period of lesser stars (Raghavan, Soman, Sukumaran etc). That gave way to the Mohanlal - Mammootty era, which then kind of gave way to a period of lesser stars again (Dileep and Jayaram). But then, no new bankable stars came up, and all the associations and groups decided when to release movies, which actors can play how many roles etc, which has kind of made the movie industry as dynamic as the general society: not very. Hopefully, this time will surely pass too..

wanderlust said...

Finally, a guy who dares to admit he likes Prithviraj :-) Been an admirer of this talented lad right from his first movie. And his elder brother is no less talented too.
Yes, it is really sad whenever one thinks of Mohanlal, the nostalgia is associated with his movies from the 80's. The current Lal on screen is as if only his body is there, the soul is missing.
Mammootty at least has a few good movies to his credit each year.

Jiby said...

BD, Peace :) The trends we concur on is happening as i write this comment with another "great" mohanlal Onam offering, Alibhai opening to record number of screens and fans working overtime to project good opinion of the film.

Vinodcheta, lucky you...i dont even want to remember the movies that ran in theatres when i went to college...yet we racked up almost 250 films watched in theatres in the 4 years of engineering...maybe coz pappanamcode was so close to thampanoor!

wanderlust, anganeyalle vendathe. if youngsters dont encourage youngsters who do you expect to? if prithviraj, indirajith, naren and jayasurya had come up in my college years...trust me i would have gotten my whole college to watch their movies.

Anonymous said...

Alibhai kandu first day first show....onnam tharam thara (worse than Ezhupunna Tharakan) my two cents here http://tvmtalkies.com/archives/259

if you are going to watch the movie, take a football along atrakku space undu Kochi theatresil :)))

Abt the post...I completely agree on the Prithvi part...starting from "Stop Violence","Chakram" to "Vargam" and "Vasthavam"...I am his fan. He is a bold actor and a very good one. lets not talk abt naren and jayasurya :)))

Pinne Lalettan as a leader, yes he is one, he is more than a reel hero. It is not for nothing that he has ruled over such a cynical state for so long. that will be a long and winding reply, and I need to re-read yr post too.

pinne enthu sambhavichalum Alibhai kanaruthu :)))

- B V N

E Pradeep said...

I appreciate the sentiments expressed by you, Jiby. I may not necessary agree with the quality of the movies mentioned by you but in principle, I do agree that our cinema is slowly but surely corroding. It urgently needs some fresh blood and when I say fresh blood I mean not new actors but new literature and scripts which are not run of the mill types.

Padmarajan has gone; MT no longer writes while Lohithadas has for some unknown reason got entangled into unforgettable cinema. Mohan Lal had endeared himself to the critics and masses alike with his sensitive portrayals but now with the avalanche of movies you see him, I am terribly saddened. He remains my favourite hero but I cannot sentence myself to the Thandavam, Ali Bhai type of movies which you see him nowadays in. God save Kerala cinema…

rakesh said...

prithviye pokki vidaan lalettane thazhthaathe ninakku patilla.. kaaranam entha?? Lalettane patti oru line polum ezhuthiyilenkil ni adichu kootiya webpage vaayikaan all undavilla athu thanne...

Ninteyonnum ithu vendada manda njangalude lalettanu..

mattavanu athinte aavashyam und'.. thaangikko... iduthu tholatheykku vacho...

Syam said...

Jiby chettoo..
im again one who belives that malayalam cinema died a long time ago- A belief which has recently been upheld after i and around 10 pals went to watch HEARTBEATS. ho enthoru durantham
its supposed to speak of stuff happenign in a medical college campus
All 11 of us were like silenced after seeing the movie...
just simply speechles.... enthoru durantham
as noble put it "enthonnadei atu... oru bandham illatha cinema"
its just a serioes of unconnected snapshops
no one i asked has yet made sense of the story or dialogues.


furious at have lost 35 bucks we found peace by tellign everyone we met that its the best malayalam movie we saw in our life. A friend went to the extend of saying that it has the potential to replace the godfather from the internet movie database hehe

we send half of HAC .. STRS and sarvodaya , besides the unsuspecting innocent souls from our own class...on a run to book tickets to a show which would not have run that day if we hadnt sent this batch.

already recieved gifts of .. umm words...stones and growls from many ... and counting.

Syam said...

Btw Seeing "sphadikam" on tv again last week did wet my cheeks a bit. He was perhaps he best actor of his era. BUT. his era seems to be OVER.
Those were the real classics. But i do belive its time for those two gentlemen to call it a day and go home.

Jiby said...

bvn, ur tvmtalkies kollaam...keep at it...been bit lazy these days...so couldnt come over and read.

pradeep, yeah we need fresh screenwriting blood who can atleast bank on the wealth of literature available world over, if not come up with their own original ideas.

rakesh, mohanlaline kuriche ezhuthi vaayanakaare konduvaranda gathikede ithuvare enikkondayittilla. pinne prithvirajine njan thaanganda aavashyam illa...thaangalkke mumbe vannu comment cheythavarkke ayaalude abhinayaprathibhaye kurichulla swanthanthramaaya abhipraayam vaayichu kaanumallo. vere paniyonnum illengil, ee blogil njan vadakkumnathanile lalinte abhinayamikavine kuriche ezhuthiyathe vaayichitte, happy aayitte ee blogil ninne pokuka!

syam, seems like you are enjoying your 12th vacation to the hilt. have fun!

Mahesh said...

All I can say is, "Blame Shaji Kailas!!".

This guy, IMHO, played the greatest role in steering the taste of Kerala movie watchers towards movies with larger than life heroes. Mohanlal, as we liked him, was the biggest casualty of this phenomenon. What started off with "Aram Thamburan" (which was not too bad after all), and then peaked with "Narasimham", both by the same director, has seen Lal unashamedly indulging in several crappy movies of the same genre since then.

I have lost count of the # of movies since the late 90s when I have bailed out of a Lal movie within 15 minutes of the start. And it seems to be an unabated trend to this date.

manoj said...

Hi,

right on target friend...i dont confess to be an die hard fan of any of those superstar, but off late one gets a feeling that ' the immensely talented ' mohanlal is teaming up with the wrong guys....people who have grown up watching clasics like chithram, dasaradham, kireedom, his highess , bharatham etc cannot digest this crap he is rolling out with consistency...mammotty sems to be doing much better roles these days ( palunku, kp, mission 90 ) ....lets al encourage and promote good cinema like we had in the late eighties and early nineties...else we would be going back to the seventies when i beleive mal cinema was at its worst....way to go mate..good job...

bombay dosti said...

hey.. watched achanurangaatha veedu.. thanks to you.. amazing movie

Adorable Pancreas said...

I love Prithviraj too! For totally different reasons, I grant you [:p] but love him I do. So much so that I sat through a debacle like Vellinakshathram and left the theatre with a raging headache. The worst part was yet to come. My parents refused to take me to movies after that, and I'm not allowed to go with my friends. Waahh!

I rarely get to watch movies in the theatre these days, have to wait for them to appear on TV. No vyaja CDs for me, thank you. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, I'm not unhappy with the situation. Most of the movies these days are absolute crap. I don't like Mohanlal anymore, and I never liked Mammootty. Whatever happened to good ol' nadodikkaattu, boeing boeing, pee-in-your-pants funny movies? What happened to Sreeni, the guy who gave us laughathons like vadakkunokiyanthram and mukundetta sumithra vilikkunnu? I saw Arabikkatha, and liked it, but where did Sreeni's brilliance go? And don't get me started on priyadarshan. I've lost count of the number of times I've sen Kilukkam. At least 50. OK, all the movies I'm talking aboput are comedies, but those are my favourite kinda movies. Instead of serious comedy (yes,serious.Vijayan and Dasan made us laugh, but they did it while they were starving), we now have shitty movies like thenkashipattanam. And mohanlal is no longer human. My beloved lalettan, who made me laugh and cry all at the same time, is no more. *sigh* Let's face it, malayalam comedy is dead.

I haven't seen most of those movies you mentioned, but I did see achanurangatha veedu. Awesome, it was. Couldn't sleep that night. See why I prefer comedy? And are we getting any of that? meesha madhavan apart, where is comedy? We see people trying really hard to be funny, and all I can do is grimace.

silverine said...

The fact that my Dad and mom prefer to watch old movies is testimony itself to the nadir that Malayalam movies have sunk to. Both of them are movie buffs! Nowadays it takes a lot of coaxing for them to try out a new movie. I myself prefer to see the old Mohan Lal movies. He was awesome! Please do more such movie reviews. I have take a printout of this and given to my Dad. Hopefully he will see some of these.

p.s bold post :p Welcome to the land of the living life on the edge lol!!!

Anonymous said...

good post..
even though i haven't watched many malayalam films for the last few years, i have seen both prithvi's and indrajith's beginnings and i do think they have talent.. and i also do think they are getting the short end of the stick from the audience, just for daring not to be masala material..
but the worst ignominy, in my opinion, is the number of potboiler tamil and telugu films which are succeeding in kerala after dubbing (while the good ones in even those languages generally go unnoticed).. as my roommate used to say, 'all of those movies are like krrish'.. what, don't we make enough crap in malayalam??
the decline in standards of cinema and the reception to cinema in kerala is just indicative of a much larger decline in the overall standard of culture, politics and life in the state..
jackson

Jiby said...

mahesh cheta, shaji kailas has been pandering to mohanlal's fans. i hope with Alibhai he has reached the end of the road.

manoj, the mainstream cinema of the seventies was bad but the middle off the road and offbeat films of the seventies set the tone for the high point in the eighties. the difference was that those good films of the seventies had audiences and won praise...today you and i know what the situation is.

BD, cool...now spread the word!

adorable pancreas, yeah i feel your pain...even i havent laughed watching comedy in malayalam films in a long time. i thought arabikatha was the only film in recent times with some delightfully funny situations.

silverine, thanne sammathichu thannu. it takes a lot to muster courage to write against status-quos.

jackson, don't tell about ur opinion of masala tamil and telugu films to youngsters in kerala...there are those who believe these movies actually maintain a high standard! really tough for us to climb out of this pit. the link you made with falling standards in every sector in kerala is 100 percent right...i agree.

Praveen said...

great post! can we ever get back the golden period of malayalam films in the late 80s and early 90s where each movie was a gem, i have my doubts :)

Kishor said...

Jibs,

nice writeup on movies for serious movie lovers. Is Sancharam commercially released in Kerala? I don't think so. With KPAC Lalitha and Valsala Menon, its very much like a Malayalam love story and I don't think its tough for family viewers.

I have a review and interview with Sancharam director (in English) posted in my "My Story" blog.

Ajith said...

Hi Jiby,

Happy New Year!

There is no doubt that the recent malayalam movies are pathetic. It lost its realistic approach, which differentiated it from the rest of Indian cinema. Stupid songs, horrific costumes, lack of depth in script, direction and acting. Good movies are unnoticed and masala movies somehow make money. I think the tamil culture is slowly influencing our cinema as well which is very worrying.

Fans associations - This is a concept which is very popular in other state, where people see actors as gods. I am saddened to see that stupidity is spread to kerala also. I saw an interview of the president of a star's fans association in a TV channel. absolutely hilarious!! They are nothing more than a bunch of unemployed youth wasting their precious time.

Mohan Lal - he is one of the greatest actors in the world. There are thousands of people who adore him (not just members of his fans associations). He still rules the minds of countless malayalees. I felt its just not right to blame him and mamooty for the pathetic situation of malayalam cinema now. Cinema is made by a team and not by the the actors alone. There are some harsh comments against ur post, u should understand that is coz of people's affection towards lal. And i dont think any malayalee can hate Mohan lal's voice. :)

Pritvi- I think he was really good in films like Vargam and Thalapavu. Lot of promise. But to replace Mohanlal and Mamooty, he has to go a long long way to go. Its a fact even the most loyal pritvi fan will have to accept. :)

Anonymous said...

For Ajith...
entamme....ningal veendum pazhaya pallavi thanne paduakayaanallo...'to replacemohanlal pritvi has to go far'.Ithu thanneyaa mallusinte kozhappam..ivide aarum lalettane replace cheyyunna kaaryam paranjilla..In tamil nadu,vijay,vikram,chimbu,soorya are all mass supported huge stars.BUt avaronnum Rajanikanthine replace cheythu kondalla nilkkunnathu...Rajni is always there in hi s throne but others have their too...athu pole ivideyum aayikkoode?
puthiya oru star venam ennu paranjaal,like Dileep or Pritviraj,avar lalineyum mammuttiyeyum replace cheyyanam enna false belisf aadyam maattuka..
angane replace chayyanam enkil avarude kaalam avasaanikkendi varum...allathe aarkkum replace cheyyaan pattilla...
just give pritvi or dileep their own place and stardom..avar laline mari kadakkaan pattiyavaralla ennu paranju downride cheyyunnathu thanne aanu puthiya aarum star aavaathathinte allenkil malayalikal aakkaathathinte kaaranam......

Anonymous said...

ivide ellaarum pritvirajine pokkaan taalparyam kooduthal kaanikkunnu....
13 varsham fieldil ninnittum ethrayokke variety roles cheythittum DILEEP enna manushyane ellaarum puchikkunnu..consider cheyyunnu polumilla ee discussionil...
wat z da reason 4 dat???

Anonymous said...

Rajine pole glamourum heightum support cheyyaan aalum onnum illathe irunittum swantham kazhivu kondu uyarnnu vanna prathibhayaanu Dileepettan...
limitations polum mari kadannu kondu ella rolesum cheythu kaaanichu..palathum vambicha hits aayi..
ippozhum no angeekaaram..
Dileepine avoid cheyyunnathu is the graetest cruelty by malayalees....
Rajine aalaakkunnathinu munpu onnu chinthikkanam e kaaryam...

Ajith said...

Dear Anon - If you read my comments properly, I never said Prithvi is a bad actor. I also like to see new faces in Malayalam industry. But the fact remains that he needs to go a long way to be on par with the greats. The standards set by the seasoned actors in malayalam industry is unfortunately very very high when compared to Tamil industry. I am talking about acting skill and not the 'superstar' image. And the point about comparisons, whether u like it or not whoever wants to be a star in malluwood have to face comparisons with the existing stars. We cant compare film stars with politicians, Can we???? :)