Tuesday, November 24, 2009

kerala cafe--a new experiment in Malayalam cinema

It was after a long time that we, myself and wife, overlooking several inhibiting factors, decided to see the Malayalam movie 'Kerala Cafe' at the local theatre for a morning show(the film now available only as morning show here) The film was described as a new experiment in Malayalam cinema as it was a combination of 10 different films of about15 minutes each and we thought it would be a different cinematic experience.

Our hopes were not belied. It is a film different from the ordinary. Of course, we had seen films in two or three parts like for eg.,' Mera Nam Joker'. But the difference here is that the 10 different stories are told by 10 different directors including a newcomer, award winners, women directors and directors of proven ability. These 10 films are beautifully presented by director Ranjith making us feel that it is a wholesome single film. It is like reading a book of 10 short stories and in the end feeling like having read a novel.

The stories dealt with contemporary Malayalee life . The pravasi [non resident]experience ,recession, middle class worries, hardship faced by women, child trafficking, problems of the aged, fascination for the supernatural etc., have all been dealt subtly and with telling effect.

Padmakumar's 'Nattu vazhikal' depicts the true life and,often acquired, character of a Malayalee non resident played effectively by Dileep in a fast paced movie. In 'Mrithyunjaya', it was good to see the director [Udaya Anandan] not tempted to take the trouble of solving the mystery of the unnatural but the story , with a beautiful tinge of love at first sight ,kept open ,leaving the audience sure that it will be solved by Anup Menon and his friend.
The heroine of 'Happy Journey', a modern, bold, self reliant girl[a human bomb!],is a great relief for parents and grandparents who wait for their arrival. Anjali Menon's deft handling of the theme and the casting of Jagathy as the girl's middle-aged tormentor are excellent. The ill-equipped Portuguese couple in film 'Off Season' [director Syam Prasad] visiting India searching for a job, in the wake of global recession, the millionaire doing 'sheershasana' on the sand and the stray[slum?] dog sniffing at his face to his great discomfort and the group dance of the characters at the end with one of them carrying the dog in his hands all showed humour at its best. The fast paced film has Suraj Venjaramood cut out for the role of the unemployed tout.

Revathy's 'Makal' dealing with child trafficking is very touching with beautiful locations and picturisation though familiar cliche like the 'peacock feather' could have been avoided.'The Bridge' directed by Anwar Rasheed and 'Lalitha Hiranmayam' of Shaji Kailas were also soul stirring. These films showed that we have two highly talented actors in Salim Kumar [The Bridge] and Jyothir mayi[Lalitha Hiran mayam]. Infact the talents of Salim Kumar for serious roles, proved in film 'Achanurangatha Veedu' has once again come to the fore in 'The Bridge'. Jyothirmayi is great in her short role as the jilted wife. Pity that we see her only rarely in Malayalam films.

The last film of Kerala cafe, 'Veritta Kashchakal', showing the journey of a bus and its passengers all of whom except one were in a relaxed fun loving mood . The one tense looking traveller, played by a deglamourized Mammootty whose entire dialogue consisted of shouting thrice , one to start the bus, then at the delay at a stop and finally to stop the bus at a 'turning' of his convenience , though an exception in the crowd becomes a part of it when the poignancy of his impatience became evident after he got down from the bus.

We were hoping for more but the movie was over and the titles started rolling on the screen and we were back in the reality of the surroundings. All, except the two of us ,had left the hall. We wanted to read the titles. But fearing that the door man may, by mistake, lock us in we also walked out; the first to enter and the last to exit but pleased and full of hope for the future of Malayalam cinema.

1 comment:

Haddock said...

Wonder why people walk out when the title start rolling.