What is Malayali about Malayalam cinema except the language? Hardly anything. Almost gone are the days of stories with soul in them, themes that deal with people of the land, their lives, the situations they face, their dialogues and music. In the process, Malayalam cinema has lost its identity.
What we have today is a concoction of fighting where the hero vanquishing a group of baddies with incredible ease, bomb blasts, AK 47 firing away, taking law into own hands, spiting the police, theatrical dialogues, dances that are choreographed almost identically. I am told that the thugs who fly off the hero’s fist are paid by the number of turns they take in the air before biting dust.
Is this the formula that the audience wants? Not if the figures are to be believed. Out of the sixty odd Malayalam movies released in 2008, only about five were commercially successful. There were movies which ran for only three days. Why do the producers persist with the beaten (!) path?
It seems that an emerging trend is for some of the actors to come up with story lines where they are depicted as larger than life heroes. The thread is then developed into a script. Who now cares whether the producer loses money or not. There will be always another one who is ready to sell his ancestral house or beg or borrow to produce a movie.
Where is the scope for good stories, enchanting music and soul stirring lyrics in this scenario? In the rush for knocking together a movie, creativity and histrionic talents have no place. Pulling the trigger does not require great acting capabilities. And, there are enough English action movies to borrow from.
Songs are sometimes finalized in a few minutes. The director explains the situation to the music director and the lyricist. An instant tune is hummed and the poet fills in the words. Presto, the song is ready. There is no chance for the music director and the song writer to apply heart and soul. It is almost like a factory production line.
Amazingly, in the crumbling Malayalam celluloid world, two figures stand tall – Mammootty and Mohanlal. There is still no one to challenge them. Among the heroine, in my opinion, the pride of place goes to Meera Jasmine and Gopika.
Do you agree with me on the current state of Malayalam cinema?