The Writer, The director or The Actor ? : A Whodunnit Of The Cinematic Kind.

Murali Gopy’s most successful work in terms of box office numbers, as a writer is also his weakest turn as one if you ask me. In Lucifer the narrative is functional yet downright bland and totally devoid of any real intrigue and complexity in comparison to what he achieved in films like Ee Adutha Kalathu, Left Right Left and Kammara Sambavam. But there’s one scene that caught my attention and I’m divided because I can’t quite figure out if it was Murali Gopy the writer, Prithviraj the director or Baiju the actor who is to be credited here.

At one point in the tale, the conspiracy theorist played by Indrajith is kidnapped by Baiju and his men and is locked up in a mental asylum. Indrajith kicks and screams when he is being pushed inside and that’s when you see Baiju displaying emotions that you wouldn’t ideally associate with a henchman. Baiju does this in around ten seconds or so and you hardly notice it. I for one did miss it in the theatre entirely and it was by pure chance that I happened to take note on Prime. The emotion conveyed is empathy I presume and the attention to detail here is quite impressive because at this juncture in the film you’re not sure who the bad guys are.

What intrigues me the most about the scene is if it was written to the dot by Murali Gopy or if it’s Prithviraj’s vision as a director at work or sheer improvisation by Baiju who is “staying in character”, so to speak. In any case, while taking nothing away from the writer and the director, the fact is that at the end of the day the onus is on the actor to deliver on screen and Baiju walks away with all the glory here. Malayalam Cinema’s search for the next great character actor, as they’re called in our part of the world could very well end here.

രംഗീല മുതൽ മിഖായിൽ വരെ.

രംഗീല കണ്ടിട്ടു വന്ന കൂട്ടുകാരനോട് ഇടിയുണ്ടോ എന്ന് ചോദിച്ച എന്നെ നിരാശപെടുത്താതിരിക്കാനായിരിക്കണം ഇടിയില്ല പക്ഷേ അമീർ ഖാനെ ജാക്കി ഷ്രോഫ് പിടിച്ചു തള്ളുന്നുണ്ട് എന്ന് അവൻ മറുപടി പറഞ്ഞത്. ഇനിയിപ്പോ ഇടി ഉണ്ടായിരുന്നേലും രംഗീലക്ക് പോകാൻ പറ്റുമായിരുന്നില്ല. അയ്യോ അത് കൊണ്ടല്ല. പത്താം ക്‌ളാസ്സ് കഴിയുന്ന വരെ ഒറ്റയ്ക്ക് പടത്തിനു പോകാൻ പെർമിഷൻ ഇല്ലാരുന്നു. ഞാൻ ആണേൽ മറ്റേ ടീമാരുന്നു റെഢി ടു…പറഞ്ഞു പറഞ്ഞു വന്നത് അന്നൊക്കെ ഇടിടെ എണ്ണം വെച്ചാരുന്നു ഞാൻ സിനിമ വിലയിരുത്തിയുരുന്നത്. വീട്ടിൽ ഭിത്തിൽ അർണോൾഡ് തോക്കും പിടിച്ചോണ്ട് നിക്കുന്ന ഒരു പോസ്റ്ററും ഉണ്ടാരുന്നു. പ്രെഡറ്ററിലെ ഒരു സ്റ്റില്ല് മുല്ലക്കൽ ചിറപ്പിന് റോട്ടിന്നു വാങ്ങിച്ചത്. യെസ് ഗ്ലോബലൈസേഷൻ താങ്ക്സ് ടു മിസ്റ്റർ മൻമോഹൻ. ഇപ്പോ നരേറ്റീവ്‌ സബ്‌ടെക്‌സ്റ്റ് ഓലക്കേടെ മൂട് എന്നൊക്കെ ഞാൻ തള്ളുമ്പോ എനിക്ക് എന്നോട് തന്നെ ഒരു ബഹുമാനം തോന്നാറുണ്ട്. അയ്യോ അഹങ്കാരം അല്ല സെൽഫ് റെസ്‌പെക്ട് …സെൽഫ് റെസ്‌പെക്ട്. അത് വേണം എന്നാണല്ലോ എല്ലാ എച് ആർ മനുവലിലും പറയുന്നത്. അതോ വേണ്ടന്നാണോ. ആ അതെന്തായാലും ഞാൻ പറഞ്ഞു വന്നത് ഇപ്പോഴും ഇടി കണ്ടാൽ എന്റെ മനസ് ഒന്ന് ചാഞ്ചാടാറുണ്ട്. പക്ഷെ ഇതിപ്പോ ആ ഹനീഫ് അദെയ്‌നി ഏങ്ങനെ മനസ്സിലാക്കി എന്ന് എനിക്ക് ഒരു എത്തും പിടിം കിട്ടുന്നില്ല. ഇനി പുള്ളിം എന്നെ പോലെ ഒരു ഇടിപ്രേമി ആണോ? സാധ്യതയില്ലാതില്ലാതില്ല. അല്ലേ പിന്നേ പുള്ളി നിവിൻ പോളിയെകൊണ്ട് ഒരു പോലീസുകാരന് മരുന്ന് എഴുതിപ്പിക്കും എന്നൊക്കെ പറയിപ്പിച്ചു ഒരു ഞെരിപ് ടീസറും പിന്നെ ഉണ്ണി മുകുന്ദൻ നിവിൻ പോളിയെ പറന്നടിക്കുന്ന ഒരു

ട്രെയ്ലറും ഒക്കെ ഇറക്കി എന്നെ കൊണ്ട് ടിക്കറ്റും ബുക്ക് ചെയ്യിപ്പിച്ചു തിയറ്ററിൽ കൊണ്ടെ ഇരുത്തുമോ. ഇടി കൊള്ളാം വല്യ കുഴപ്പമില്ല . പിന്നെ ഉണ്ണി മുകുന്ദന്റെ ഇടി കൊണ്ട മിക്കവരുടെയും സമയം തെളിഞ്ഞിട്ടുണ്ട്.അയ്യോ അതല്ല. വിക്രമാദിത്യനിൽ ദുൽക്കർ പുള്ളിമായിട്ടു മുട്ടി. പിന്നെ ടോവിനോ ഒരു പടത്തിൽ പുള്ളിടെ ഇടി കൊണ്ടു.ദേ ഇപ്പോ നിവിനും. ഉണ്ണി മുകുന്ദനെ ഇടിച്ചാ സ്വർണം കിട്ടുമോ…ഉറപ്പിക്കട്ടെ ?അതൊക്കെ പോട്ട് ഉണ്ണി മുകുന്ദനെ കൊണ്ട് വെല്ല ബ്ലഡ് ടെസ്റ്റിനും വന്നതാണ് എന്ന് പറയിപ്പിച്ചാ പോരാരുന്നോ എന്റെ ഹനീഫ് അഥേനി? ഷാജി കൈലാസിന്റെ അവിടുന്ന്‌ ഇറങ്ങേ ചെയ്‌തു അമൽ നീരദിന്റെ അവടെ എത്തിയേം ചെയ്‌തില്ല എന്ന് പറഞ്ഞ പോലെയാണ് പുള്ളിടെ ഏർപ്പാട്. എന്തരായാലും എന്റെ ശതം സമർപ്പയാമിയായി.

Andhadhun : In Retrospect.

Spoiler Alert ! Andhadhun, I think was one of the best movies to hit the screens this year and Sriram Raghavan’s return to fine form. Even wrote a piece on it but I honestly never gave the ending much thought until Sandeep brought it up the other day. Yeah, I guess this is what happens when you start writing your own reviews and stop looking up movie info online, you miss out on perspectives and trivia. Personally I do that to stay original, an impressionable mind I have, alas. Back when I watched the film in the theatre nextdoor, the part where Ayushman Khurrana’s character hits the can with his cane was just an indication that he was not blind anymore.The only fact that registered in my mind rather I was receptive of, was the simple explanation that he had moved on having escaped from the shady doctor and the femme fatale thanks to the random rabbit. Now that Hafeez had also asked me about the ending I had little choice but to watch the ending again, thanks to the Netflix progress bar.

Now to get down to the brass tacks, this is what I found, the narrative of the film ends from the audience’s perpsective when the doctor and the blind Akash are driving in a car with Tabu in the boot. The doctor tells him he would give him a cut once Tabu’s liver is sold and that he can get his cornea replaced too, if its a match.Akash doesn’t say much, rather he’s contemplating. Then the doctor dishes out his piece of instant philosophy, Whats’s life, it all depends on the “liver”. A tractor passes, carrying a bunch of people singing prayers aloud, chimes and all (1). With that we see the car driving down the road , off into the distance with a lonley tree standing guard by the side (2). That’s essentially where us viewers get off from the car too and the tree is our landmark for a reason, I can’t but help feel.Next, we see Radhika Apte’s Sohpie meeting Akash somewhere in Europe, as the movie prompts and we are at a point where she asks, and then?, echoing our thoughts.

The movie cuts back to scene in the car and we are at the point where the doctor just finishes his liver line. No chants, no chimes, no tractor this time around though, conspicuous by absence as they say (3). Akash, in his own version is now righteous, trying to convince the doctor otherwise when there’s thumping in the boot and the doctor stops to put Tabu out of her misery. He gets out and walks over to the boot. You see that the car has stopped by the tree (4) . To me atleast, this is proof enough of what happened, with the tree and the spot where the car stops being the tell-tale signs, literally. It’s safe to assume now that Akash is indeed lying to Sophie and most probably he decided to join the doctor in his little scheme. But then, is it that simple again, why the one eyed rabbit? why the cane  with a rabbit carved on the knob in his arms?. Red herrings, maybe. Nolan is not the only one who can spin a top, I guess.

 

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Kanalkaattu : A Late Night Rendezvous With Some Lohitadas Characters.

Kanalkattu is just one of the many movies in Malayalam which I have never watched in full to date. Maybe it’s the character played by Mammooty which was totally removed from the conventional concepts of a typical leading man of the 90s. In 1991, the year Kanalkaatu was released, Mammooty appeared in roles as diverse as the iconic Achu of Amaram to one of his most remembered police avatars, Inspector Balram in the eponymous film. He played a politician whose family ties strain against his political ones in Nayam Vyakthamakunnu and thrilled the audience with his outing as an advocate in the murder mystery Adayalam the very same year. Neelagiri, his second film with I.V Sasi that year didn’t make waves but remains a personal favorite for reasons I cannot put a finger on. Another Mamooty vehicle that I havn’t watched yet, Anaswaram too hit the screens in 1991.

Even today when I chanced upon the film on TV late into the night on Surya, over a quarter of it’s total runtime had passed. The scene playing when I switched channels had Mammooty’s small time crook Nathu Narayanan squirming before Mohanraj’s Karim Bhai, not exactly the kind of role you’d expect an actor to play at the peak of his career as one of the reigning stars. Few scenes later another stalwart of Malayalam Cinema, the quintessential embodiment of defiance, Murali was seen joining Mammooty on the screen. The exchange between the characters set me thinking. The roles played by the actors and the words they spoke had the signature of none other than Lohithadas. See, at that moment I didn’t know for a fact that Lohitadas was the writer of the film but there was this gut instinct that told me that these men and women  who were disavowed and disowned  by their closest of kin but found solace in the company of eachother couldn’t have come to life from anywhere else but the pen of Lohitadas. These were people who spoke about the pleasure in sleeping on pavements, individuals who exist and thrive in the spaces between the edifices and compounds owned by the priviliged. Wiki confirmed that it was indeed Lohitadas, few minutes later.

Nathu is more or less an orphan who left his home as a child when his father was killed and his mother remarried. He is a small time crook until he turns murderer accidentally. He has a brother from another mother in Murali’s character with whom he has practically grown up and is willing to bleed for. Another character who bears the Lohitadas signature is that of KPAC Lalitha’s. Her Omana lends comic relief for most part until Lohitadas turns the tables on the viewer with a scene that’s performed by KPAC Lalitha like only she can. In one scene you see her practically trying to push an autorickshaw over and the next she leaves the viewer with a lump in his throat. Emotional rollercoasters, Lohitadas scripts are. What was more surprising was the discovery that the film was directed by Sathyan Anthikad because while it did bore the stamp of the writer, it had no resemblance to any of the movies that we have come to associate Sathyan Anthikad with as viewers. Movies are rarely known in the name of their writers unless of course you’re M.T but even M.T had a perpetual Hariharan tag to be honest. Lohitadas, I guess left his eternal tag on all the scenes and characters he has written.

Padmarajan’s Interpretation of Dreams.

Sigmund Freud interpreted dreams and even wrote a pioneering book on the topic. Had he been around the time when Padmarajan was breaking path in Malayalam Cinema, he would have ended up a fan of the filmmaker just for the way in which he depicted dream sequences in his films.Almost three decades back, at a time when the term CGI was still unheard of in Indian Cinema, Padmarajan used some basic visuals and music to create a surreal experience for his viewers that resonated with the nightmares and dreams they must have had at some point in their lives.

This is mashup of scenes from two of his movies, where the characters have nightmares after some truly traumatic experiences.The first is from Moonampakkam where Thilakan plays a grandfather who is mourning the loss of his grandson who has drowned in the sea and is waiting for the body to be recovered.Padmarajan creates an atmosphere thats almost palpable to the viewer with some haunting images which are right out of a dream that you yourself had on one of those bad nights in bed.The most striking image is that of the actor walking down the desolated beach and being startled by a coconut tree that has bent out of shape.Its a visual that you would immediately relate with for some inexplicable reason.
Padmarajan did this again in his film Innale, about a woman who is recovering from an accident and is suffering from retrograde amnesia.Shobhana plays the character here and she has a nightmare on the hospital bed and which reflects her predicament.This sequence would rank behind the one from Moonampakkam to me because its more direct in terms of the visual analogy but it is no less haunting in terms of effect.Padmarjan has used music to great effect in both of these scenes too.
To me these scenes are awe inspiring because this is exactly how a dream or nightmare would look like in real life .Yes, the images you see have a meaning and a reason always as Freud has sweared by all his life.The only time i have seen a filmmaker come close to beating this is when Nokan took on dreams in Inception.
The detailing and thought that have gone into these scenes are what sets Padmarajan apart as a filmmaker who had a direct line not just to the hearts but to the minds of his audience too.

 

India, As Hollywood Sees It.

1984 was the year when Rakesh Sharma walked into the history books as the first Indian in space.It was also the year that saw the Indian army storming the Golden Temple and we all know how that ended, for the country and the PrimeMinister, especially.That event doesn’t have anything to do with what i have on my mind but i just couldn’t help mentioning it,almost a testimony to the fact that for every glowing achievement of ours we have a dark memory that tags along.Now, to hop back onto my original train of thoughts,1984 was also the year when Spielberg and Lucas released their second Indiana Jones film, Temple of Doom.It was Spielberg’s 11th film as a director and was around for long enough to have known better than showing Indian kings devouring pregnant pythons ,beetles and monkey brains for dinner, if you ask me.Yeah,i admit the kings of the land did indulge in most of the other excesses depicted in the film at the expense of the common folk but that single sequence was Spielberg’s Tiger Woods moment, at least to me.

In the 90s,almost a decade an half since Spielberg’s vision of India comes Michael Bay with his disaster movie Armageddon and during the customary moving speech by the American president which were the norm in every other movie where Americans set out to save the world, we see turbaned Indians squatting before the Taj Mahal with hands raised in prayer.Yeah Indians squat for various reasons across the length and breadth of the country on a daily basis, to this day but i doubt they’ve done that before the Taj Mahal, Mr.Bay, to point out the least of your factual errors.Almost two decades into the third millennium, Hollywood tries to revive the disaster movie genre with Geostorm and when it comes to India, again its an auto rickshaw in a dingy street that flies off in the tornado.Nolan again was the only exception i guess when he showed an Indian drone in Interstellar.

Now, i understand that theres no point in holding a grudge against Hollywood for looking at us they way do and refusing to change that over time, but maybe the blame doesn’t rest entirely upon them too.We, ourselves wouldn’t put up anything but the glossy pictures of opulence and excellence of our surroundings on our Instagram and Facebook pages so the sense of indignation that we feel when we see something like that about us as a nation on display for the whole world to see is quite justified, i guess.No better moment than now to pause and consider the stark fact that its the same country that managed to demonstrate its technological prowess to launch a Mars orbiter that failed to sustain life by providing something as basic as oxygen.We are all mad here,irrespective of our allegiances and beliefs and we can’t help that, to take a cue from the Cat.20786046_10155109549649545_3392954167716493093_o

സ്‌പൈഡർമാമൻ :മടങ്ങിവരവ് , ഒരു വരവ് കൂടെ വരേണ്ടി വരും.

സ്പൊണ്ടേനിയസ് ആയിട്ടു എഴുതി പിടിപ്പിച്ചപ്പോ സിംപ്ലിസിറ്റി വേണം പോലും .പോരാത്തേന് സിംബോളിക് ആയാലും മതിയെന്ന് .എങ്കി ആയിക്കോട്ടെ എന്ന് ഞാനും….
ഇന്ത്യൻ എക്സ്പ്രസ്സിന്റെ സപ്പ്ലിമെന്റിൽ സ്ട്രിപ്പായിട്ടാണ് സ്പൈഡർമാനെ ആദ്യം കാണുന്നത് പിന്നെ അങ്ങോട്ട് കാർട്ടൂണായിട്ടും സിനിമായിട്ടും കണ്ടിട്ടും മടുപ്പ് തോന്നിയിട്ടില്ല.കഴിഞ്ഞ പതിനഞ്ചു വർഷങ്ങൾക്കുള്ളിൽ ഇത് മൂന്നാമത്തെ സ്പൈഡർമാനെ ആണ് സിനിമയിൽ കാണുന്നത്.നേരെ നിന്ന് ഉമ്മ വെക്കാൻ പോലും വകുപ്പില്ലാതിരുന്ന കാലത്താണ് തല തിരിഞ്ഞു കിടന്നു ഉമ്മ വെച്ച് ടോബി മഗ്‌യറിന്റെ സ്‌പൈഡർമാൻ കടന്ന് വരുന്നത്.പിന്നെങ്ങനെ ആരാധന തോന്നാതിരിക്കും?മൂന്നാമത്തെ പടം ആയപ്പോഴേക്കും സാം റൈമി തനിക്കൊണം കാണിച്ചു സീൻ ഡാർക് ആക്കി തുടങ്ങിയ കൊണ്ട് ആണെന്ന് തോന്നുന്നു സോണി പുതിയൊരുത്തനെ വലയിൽ കെട്ടി ഇറക്കാൻ തീരുമാനിച്ചത്.ഗാർഫീൽഡ് പയ്യൻ വല്യ തരക്കേടില്ലയിരുന്നു.ചില സമയത്തു അവൻ ഷാ രുഖ് ഖാന്റെ ആരാധകൻ ആണോ എന്ന് വരെ സംശയം തോന്നിപ്പിക്കും വിധം ആയിരുന്നു പ്രകടനം.ഇടയ്ക്കു എപ്പോഴോ കി കി കിരൺ എന്ന് വരെ അവൻ പറഞ്ഞോ എന്ന് എനിക്ക് തോന്നാതിരുന്നില്ല.പയ്യന്റെ ആദ്യത്തെ സ്‌പൈഡർമാൻ പടം വല്യ തരക്കേടില്ലായിരുന്നു എങ്കിലും രണ്ടാമത്തെ പടം അത്ര മോശം ആയിരുന്നില്ല എന്ന് ഞാൻ പറഞ്ഞാൽ പക്ഷപാതം ആണെന്ന് ചിലർക്കെങ്കിലും തോന്നിയാൽ തെറ്റ് പറയാൻ പറ്റില്ലെങ്കിലും സോണി ഗാർഫീൽഡിനെ വെച്ച് പടം പിടിക്കുന്നില്ല എന്ന് കേട്ടപ്പോൾ ഞാൻ അല്പം നിരാശനാകാതിരുന്നില്ല എന്ന് പറഞ്ഞാൽ അസത്യം ആകും അത് .സിംപിൾ അല്ലേ ഇപ്പോഴും?

അത് എന്ത് തേങ്ങാ ആയാലും ഇനി മൂന്നാമത് ഒരുത്തനെ സ്പൈഡർമാനായി വേഷം കെട്ടിക്കാൻ മാത്രം വേറെ ഒരു മാനും ഇല്ലാത്ത എന്താണ് സ്‌പൈഡർമാന് ഉള്ളത് എന്ന് ചോദിച്ചാൽ ഉത്തരം മാർവെൽ സിനിമാറ്റിക് യൂണിവേഴ്‌സ് അല്ലാതെ മറ്റൊന്നുമല്ല.റോബർട്ട് ഡൗണി ജൂണിയർ അഥവാ അയൺ മാൻ എന്ന സൂപ്പർഹീറോയെ തുറുപ്പു ചീട്ടായി ഇറക്കി എത്ര പടം ഇനി വിജയിപ്പിക്കാം എന്ന ആലോചന സ്റ്റുഡിയോ മൊതലാളിമാർക്കു വന്നാൽ അവരെ കുറ്റപ്പെടുത്താൻ പറ്റില്ല.എതിരാളികളായ ഡിസി ഉടനെ എങ്ങും എന്തായാലും മർവെലിന്റെ അടുത്തു ഓടി എത്തില്ലെങ്കിലും തങ്ങളുടെ ഏറ്റവും പ്രസിദ്ധനായ ഹീറോയെ സോണിയിൽ നിന്ന് കൈമാറി കിട്ടാതെ എം സി യൂ എന്ന ആശയം പൂർത്തി ആക്കാനും സൂപ്പർ ഹീറോ യോണർ കുത്തക ആക്കാൻ മാർവെലിനും ആവുമായിരുന്നില്ല എന്നാണ് എനിക്ക് തോന്നുന്നത്.മിനി സ്ക്രീനിലും സ്ട്രീമിങ് സൈറ്റുകളിലും മാർവെൽ തങ്ങളുടെ ആധിപത്യം ഉറപ്പിച്ചു കഴിഞ്ഞു.അവിടെയും മാർവെൽ യൂണിവേഴ്‌ എന്ന പ്രമേയം തന്നെയാണ് അവർ പിന്തുടർന്നത്.

കാപ്റ്റൻ അമേരിക്ക : സിവിൽ വാറിൽ അരങ്ങേറ്റം നടത്തിയ ടോം ഹോളണ്ട് സ്‌പൈഡർമാൻ ഇത് വരെ കണ്ടതിൽ വെച്ച് ഏറ്റവും പ്രായം കുറഞ്ഞ സ്‌പൈഡർമാൻ അഥവാ പീറ്റർ പാർക്കർ ആണ്.ഇതിനു മുൻപ് കണ്ട പല ക്ലിഷേകളും മാർവെൽ പുതിയ സ്പൈഡർമാനിൽ ഒഴിവാക്കുന്നു എന്ന സൂചന സിവിൽ വാറിൽ തന്നെ തന്നിരുന്നുവെങ്കിലും അയൺ മാന്റെ രക്ഷാകർത്താവ് അവതാരം എനിക്ക് അത്ര ദഹിച്ചിരുന്നില്ല.പ്രായത്തിൽ ബാക്കി അവഞ്ചേഴ്‌സ് സ്പൈഡർമാനെക്കാളും മൂത്തത് ആണെങ്കിലും ജനപ്രീതിയുടെ കാര്യത്തിൽ അവരെക്കാൾ കാതങ്ങൾ മുന്നിലാണ് സ്പൈഡി. സൂപ്പർ ഹീറോ പടങ്ങളൂം സിജിഐ ആക്ഷൻ രംഗങ്ങളും കണ്ടു പതം വന്ന കാണികൾക്കു പുതുമ ഉള്ള അവതരണവും ത്രസിപ്പിക്കുന്ന സീനുകളും കൊണ്ട് മോശമല്ലാത്ത ഒരു അനുഭവം കൊടുക്കാൻ ഹോം കമിങ്ങിനു കഴിയും എന്നാണ് എന്റെ വിശ്വാസം.സ്‌പൈഡർമാൻ ടുവിലെ ട്രെയിൻ രംഗത്തെ അനുസ്മരിപ്പിക്കുന്ന ഒരു ഫെറി രംഗം ഉണ്ടെങ്കിലും അവിടെയും അയൺ മാൻ വന്നു കേറി വല്യേട്ടൻ ചമഞ്ഞതു എനിക്ക് സത്യം പറഞ്ഞാൽ അത്ര പിടിച്ചില്ല.പിന്നെ എടുത്തു പറയാൻ ഉള്ളത് മൈക്കിൾ കീറ്റൺന്റെ റോൾ ആണ്.ബാറ്റുമാനും ബേർഡ്മാനും ആയി തിളങ്ങിയ കീറ്റൺ ആ രണ്ടു കഥ പത്രങ്ങളുടെയും നിറഭേദങ്ങൾ ഉള്ള വളച്ചർ എന്ന വില്ലൻ കഥാപാത്രത്തിന് തന്റേതായ മാനങ്ങൾ നൽകിയിട്ടുണ്ട്.മാർവെൽ സിനിമകളിൽ അല്പം രാഷ്ട്രീയം എപ്പോഴും പ്രകടം ആയിരുന്നുവെങ്കിലും സ്പഷ്ടമായി ഒരു ഡയലോഗിൽ ആദ്യമായി അത് കണ്ടതും കീറ്റൺന്റെ ഇൻട്രോ സീനിൽ ആയിരുന്നു.
ഇതിൽ കൂടുതൽ സിംപിളാക്കാൻ എന്നെ കൊണ്ട് പറ്റൂല്ല .തൽക്കാലം ദിത് വെച്ച് അഡ്ജസ്റ് ചെയ്യണം എന്ന് താഴ്മയായി അപേക്ഷിക്കുന്നു .

What do Michael Bay, Rajiv Rai and I.V Sasi have in common?

If a cinematic parallel is drawn across film industries the world over, for every kind of film making out there, the names Michael Bay,Rajiv Rai and I.V Sasi would figure on the same line for more than one reason, I’ve felt for a long time now.For one, their films were always intended to do just one thing mostly, to entertain the audience that is.All three of them have a penchant for featuring ensemble cast in their movies too, apart from being synonymous with big budget blockbusters in their home turfs.While the critics have rarely been kind to Bay and Rai, Sasi has had the best of both worlds i’d say.They have always played to the gallery and have been the favorites of the viewers if the box office records of their movies are anything to go by.Goosebumps are what they dealt in primarily and its no mean feat to draw those kind of emotions from audiences irrespective of their color, creed and race on a consistent basis.

Some of the best names in the Malayalam film industry, from script writers to actors to technicians frequently collaborated with I.V Sasi to deliver the most memorable films of our times. Devasuram, the film that redefined Mohanlal’s image as an actor and marked the birth of his larger than life on screen persona is seldom spoken of as an I.V Sasi film but the signature is evident throughout, if you care to notice.The scene where the antagonist played by Napoleon, literally makes his thunderous debut on screen in the film is a fine example and is a personal favorite.

With movies like Tridev,Vishwatma,Mohra and Gupt, Rajiv Rai proved on more than one occasion that he had a direct line to the pulse of the Indian masses.The bad guys of Rajiv Rai movies had a sense of humor and a colorful persona too with actors like Amirsh Puri,Raza Murad and Gulshan Grover making regular appearances.He also gave those champions of serious cinema, Nasseruddin Shah and Om Puri, their most memorable turns in commercial cinema.Om Purim’s deadpan delivery in Gupt is priceless and is almost a tribute to his roles in the Nihlani films if you ask me.Viju Shah faithfully delivered his best work in the Rai films every single time they collaborated too though he had his moments of “inspiration” if you know what i’m talking about.

Michael Bay of course had all the privileges and options that the studios of Hollywood endows up on their artists and though he’s been a director that the critics love to hate, has delivered some of the most popular action flicks of our times,The Rock being his magnum opus.Sean Connery in his mid 60s was nothing less than the rock star he already was, in The Rock, with a classy Ed Harris in full throttle and Nicholas Cage at his “Cagiest” best keeping him company.If Bay were to make a western, the cowboys- yeah there would be more than one for sure- would be riding into the sunset for ever in slow motion with the most rousing of scores playing in the back ground.

If you still feel that i am not making any sense at all, this scene from the first Transformers movie where one got to see a glimpse of the Michael Bay signature for the last time in a long time might help, though i admit i would have a hard time explaining what’s so damn overwhelming about a scene where – no, i’m not talking about Megan Fox- a truck just rumbles up a dark alley to a BGM thats so “Hans Zimmerish”(for obvious reasons).

 

Manichitrathazhu: In retrospect.

Flipping through channels on TV is a ritual that’s being seriously threatened by the arrival of binge watching and i was honoring this time old tradition the other day when the sight Mohanlal,Thilakan,Innocent and Nedumudi in a single frame made me stop and put the remote down.Manichitrathazhu was playing on Asianet,for the umpteenth time but i didn’t find myself complaining, rather was only too happy to sit back and watch though the film was almost close to its ending.The fear of ghosts and darkness i had outgrown as a kid, when I realized that the living were far more sinister and dangerous but Manichitrathazhu managed to stir up my fears of the unknown every time I watched it, especially the scenes where Nagavalli starts making her presence felt.I can’t decide if it’s just the visuals or the background music, maybe bit of both, in fact I’ve been told that the makers researched raagas that invoked fear for the haunting BGM that has attained cult status today.

The film needs no introduction and it has been remade in all the major regional languages but the original remains a class apart, the fact that the best minds in the Malayalam film industry came together behind and in front of the camera, being just one of the reasons why. Manichithrathazhu is what happens when a Malayali filmmaker sets his mind on making a horror-thriller for a Malayali audience, that is to just say, a thinking man’s horror film. You could rightly debate that the film is a psychological thriller and not a horror film in the true sense but then again, you didn’t know that until the end credits had rolled.

While even the most celebrated Hollywood horror movies have resorted to demonic possessions and supernatural presence to send a chill down the viewers spine, Manichitrathazhu delves into the complexities of the human psyche with a subtlety and realism that is indeed the hallmark of malayalam movies our times ,notwithstanding the fact the protagonist does break into a song at the most crucial of moments in the film, but thats just our way of telling a story and i wouldn’t want it any other way either.

The movie does not attack the customs and traditions of the largely patriarchal community against the backdrop of which the story unfolds, rather it chooses an inclusive narrative, treading a middle ground where scientific methods and cultural symbols find equal footing in the progression and culmination of the tale.That the film successfully managed to scare the living daylights out of the viewers without any special effects sequences speaks volumes of the skills of Madhu Muttam, the reclusive script writer and Fazil the director, though the movie is also known for the collaborative efforts of the most successful filmmakers of the time.

Aey Dil Hai Mushkil: Not a Review.

This is not a review simply because I haven’t watched the movie ADHM yet, for various reasons, but the fact that i love to hate Karan Johar like a fair number of my compatriots out there is not one of them.Karan Johar movies do not excite me anymore.They are the Bollywood versions of the Terminator series these days I’d say, at least to me.

I have my own reasons for “hating” him, i have never quite gotten over what he did to me back in 1998 with KKHH to start with, thats Kuch Kuch Hota Hai by the way for those who came in late .I was leaving school and ready to join a college when he simply did me in with this story about one guy and two girls where the guy has a hard time choosing one as a friend and the other as a lover and ends up marrying one after the other too.And when you watch this movie in a packed hall with people your age, there are greater chances of ending up with dreams about life in college and I’m not even going to start about how that one turned out now.’Tum “Pass” Aaye’ as it turned out was all about an ordeal between me and the University,literally.

Johar was still not done with me, i realized when he returned with Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gam.K3G they called it, yeah i admit that’s when I started seeing Kareena in a different light, if you know what I’m talking about.The heavy dose of melodrama did not deter a part of me from seeing myself jumping out of a chopper and running home, in the near future.These thoughts may not come to you if you were watching these movies in other parts of Kerala, for me it always had to be a full house Sreepadmanabha in Trivandrum, Crown in Calicut also has those vibes I’d say.K3G was the last KJo movie that i watched in a theater but the Karan Johar school of filmmaking was always lurking around the corner with the most alluring of tales.
I came closest to being taken on a ride again with Kal Ho Na Ho, to the point where his camp almost had me convinced that chronic heart disease is what it takes to find a girl ,no wait a minute, two of them.That’s where this story ends for me and the Karan Johar phenomenon at the box office too I’d say.

His movies grew older just the way i did,rather they matured in the themes they handled though I wouldn’t say the same about myself, not in the conventional sense of the term .The trend is evident ,from Kuch Kuch Hota Hain to Kabhi Alvida to Aey Dil.I understand that he tried his tricks again with the adolescents of this generation in Student of the Year but I’m not sure how many of them did he successfully manage to dupe this time around.Kids these days are smarter, i guess or should i say not as dumb as i was.And what’s a Karan Johar movie worth at the end of the day if it doesn’t have SRK spreading his arms out in it.