Thursday, April 28, 2005

Television is the future of malayalam cinema

" Television is the future of Malayalam cinema". Don't take these prophetic words of Parashu lightly.

The much talked about 'malayalam cinema prathisandi' (the malayalam cinema crisis) was blamed on the emergence of satellite television. This lead to bans being imposed on films stars doing shows for television channels or acting in soaps and shows. Basking in the past glory, those at the helm of the Malayalam film industry can choose to ignore television at their own risk.

The real reason for the crisis in malayalam cinema industry is the lack of quality content and form. Innovative content comes from vision while form is dictated by techniques. Innovation in content calls for addressing issues that are relevant to the times. There is a need for production of commercial and art house cinema that appeal to the masses by tickling their senses both primal and evolved. But unfortunately, the existing filmmakers fail miserably as torchbearers of their society. There is a void of genius in the industry which now is filled with flash-in-the-pan hit makers and pretentious art filmmakers. If MACTA has real intention of saving the industry they should seriously think about launching a voluntary retirement scheme for filmmakers who have outlived their context. Cinematically speaking they should be archived.

The other reason for the current sorry state of affairs is the lack of support and respect towards the emergence of new technicians especially editors. More than any others, Malayalam cinema needs editors who understand and can make use of the digital technology in post production. It is the editors and post production artist/ colorists who have graduated from television that are giving the hindi/tamil films the sheen that they have now. They bring with them new way of crafting the stories. Television is the breeding ground for these digital artist. So instead fearing the emergence of television, the film fraternity should accept the strength of the medium. They should realize that the big screen will always be the ultimate dream for the small screen fraternity. It would be silly for the lion to look at the rat and panic, instead get the rat's help to cut free from the trap it has fallen into.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

meals ready

Once on a lone trek to the himalayas i met a person who owned a lodge on top of the mountain. He invited me over to his house for dinner. Amongst other things this man in his late 20s told me that the luc besson film 'the 5th element' was his concept. We talked some pseudo philosophy. I forgot all the gyans he spoke that night but for one. He asked me if i knew the mother of all philosophies. He elaborated animatedly waving his four fingered left hand "food is the greatest philosophy in the world, when the stomach is full there can be great thoughts and philosophizing"

Food in Kerala is probably the cheapest in the world. Saying that no person in this land will ever go hungry, would be an understatement. Rephrase it appropriately- no person in this land will have less than full stomach. True. Courtesy the serving traditions in the hotels in Kerala. A second serving of rice, or the side dishes is not charged. And if you are ordering 'parotta' which could cost you as low as Rs. 2 to 4, gravy comes free. (the system popularly known as 'parotta and paint'). This is similar to the buffet arrangements in star hotels. Pay a huge sum and eat and choke yourself with food. Only here you pay a pittance to fill full-tank. God forbid, if at any point "The hotel-owner's Association of Kerala" decides to change some daily buffet rules, Some folks would understand that work is worship and respect the costumer.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

En achaney aanenikishtam

Not very long time ago in one of the Gulf states, a police bike pulled over to an accident site. Nothing serious, the indicator of the toyota is smashed, it is the honda's mistake. The toyota man and honda man stood shook hands before commencing the examination to see the extend of damage. The police arrived. He too shook hands with the men exchange courteous words before they got into business of charging the guilty. There this is a very common sight. It would seem very odd for a person who is used to driving on the indian roads. The arab culture is very courteous. It has elaborate vocabulary for the "hello" occasions. (also known as stroking rituals in Transactional Analysis)

I have my ways of "helloing" friends and those younger than me. But how does we malayalees show respect for the elderly?. In north india they touch feet. That is not a practice seen in Kerala. "namaste ji" the use of "ji" and "aap" to show respect. What are the cultural equivalent in Kerala? There is the use of "Taangal" for "aap" denoting respect. But i dont think they use anywhere other than stage plays and mythologies/fictions dubbed for malayalam television channels.

"How do we show our elders respect nowadays?" i asked Parashu.
"Have never thought about it!! " Parashu replied with 'is that important?' look on his face.

We have non verbal ways of doing it. When a young malayalee meets and elderly. He stops the conversation if he was chattering with a friend while the elder comes by, stubs the cigarette or beedi or keeps off the path when he see the shadow of the elder approaching. Then there is the classic pulling down the lungi/mundu that has been lifted and knotted above knee length. I almost thanked God for the lungi. But then those were pre- 'spadikam' days. Many hands of full sleeved shirts have been chopped since. Many versions of 'narasimham' has hit theatre since.

Friday, April 15, 2005

bat over cochin

bat over cochin
Originally uploaded by Tenny Tomas.
The pitch darkness was stolen by the neon and sodium lights. The city rose from the water. The sea was reclaimed. The mountains were flattened out. The caves and forest cover was long lost. But the creatures of the night still roam. While some roam the bus stations, hotel rooms and streets the others take to the skies, sometimes as bats...

- A bat shot over the city of Cochin. 11:30 pm, half an hour before the Vishu, the Malayalee new year.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Price of a revolution

Evolution. Evolution is slow, unnoticed. unseen. unheard. Revolution. Revolution is always red. Blood is always shed. It is the law or nature. A price has to be paid.

The Keralite society was in the grip of social and economic apartheid for centuries.
One generation was all it took to change all that. Now the society is equal. literate. healthy. This revolution was bloodless. But the color still was red.

The peasants got land. They learned to read and hate the rich and wealthy. The upper class became ‘no more class’ and the lower class became the privileged class. Equality was achieved without death. Or so it seemed. Until, the next generation…

Energy does not die it just changes forms. The servile will have the servitude, only the master changes. The political father figure replaces serving servile fathers and the served landlords.

(The dreamer gives dreams to the idealist and thus is born a rebel.)

For the sake of the dreamer and his dreams, the rebel is willing to go hungry. The rebel is willing to go die. pulldown down shutters. become martyrs. leave his wife and children.

Then the son of rebel hates the dreamer and the rebel. he becomes a conformist and lives comfortably numb, comfortably alive: As King of his political father’s land…

He wants a high paying job for his low productive skills. If he is not fed he will fight with his father and commit suicide! At home he is the master. Sneak away outside the state and becomes a servile. And confirms that revolutions certainly has a price.

Revolution is as of now dead. Revolution still is red.

                                                        -From the songs of Parashu

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Caution couples!!

A travel tip for honeymoon travelers in 'Vanitha'** april 1-14, 2005 issue, starts with this paragraph.

"vivaaham kazhinjulla aadhyatey orrumichulla yatra. ee lokatu nigal randu perum maatramulluennu thoniyekam. annaal matullavar nigale shraddikunudenu marakadirikuka. apakadam ozhivakaan pakvathayaarna perumaatavum sradhayum aavashyamanu..."

"While on your honeymoon trip you could be elated to feel that you are the only people in this world. But don't forget that others are watching you. In order to avoid trouble, be cautious and behave in a mature manner..."

Without being judgmental, can we ponder about this caution notice, it is telling something about the state of our society and of kerala culture, after saying this Parashu turned around passing the mike to you, he looked blank and shouted- "comments please"

** (Vanitha is a malayalam magazine for woman)