Mohanlal: From Narendran to Kunjali Marakkar IV, a Journey to be Admired

With all of us being confined to our homes for nearly 2 months or so, all thanks to the Covid-19 outbreak, we have seen our lives getting altered in ways that we had never anticipated and looked forward to. I have been someone who generally preferred the experience of watching movies in cinemas, not getting lured by the abundant content (films, web-series and much more) available on the numerous OTT/digital platforms that we have access to. Every few months I would ponder over trying to embrace the OTT platforms, but kept delaying the inevitable, only for this lockdown to finally bring in the transition in my case. So thus, I have been getting my daily fix of entertainment at home in the last couple of months, watching film after film, series after series. And in this process, I also watched Ranjith’s Drama (2018), a rare Mohanlal film in recent times that I had missed watching in a theatre.Continue reading “Mohanlal: From Narendran to Kunjali Marakkar IV, a Journey to be Admired”

20 Years of Kandukondain Kandukondain: A Pioneering Tamil Film In Many Ways

As I write this, we are 6 weeks into the lockdown, all thanks to the Covid-19 situation & most of us are working from home. With cinemas being closed (and with no clarity of when they will reopen again) and Satellite T.V facing an acute shortage of content (hence the re-runs of old soaps and reality shows), its thanks to the various digital/OTT platforms that we are managing to get our regular dose of entertainment. And with a mention of digital/OTT platforms it is also mandatory to add the point that in today’s times, the language barrier is not as severe as before and thanks to English subtitles (let me not elaborate on this as it requires a separate article by itself) a lot of regional cinema (and web-series) is being watched by people who aren’t fluent with the language in particular. Similarly, Hindi cinema (and web-series) is continuing to reach out to those who do not understand a single word of Hindi.Continue reading “20 Years of Kandukondain Kandukondain: A Pioneering Tamil Film In Many Ways”

The Best of Malayalam Cinema in 2016: A Perspective

2016 has turned out to be a slightly low key year for Malayalam Cinema overall, with strangely a decrease in the output, both in terms of quantity and quality. Talking of the number of releases there has been a sharp decline in terms of both straight as well as dubbed releases. From 153 releases overall last year (140 straight and 13 dubbed), 2016 saw the release count drop to 122 overall (118 straight releases and 4 dubbed films). And sadly the culmination of the year has ended on a really sad note for the industry, a pity considering the kind of promising films which were lined up for release in the Christmas-New Year festive season.  What started off as a tussle between the producers and distributors/exhibitors over revenue sharing and was expected to get resolved well before the Christmas weekend has extended into a huge deadlock of sorts. As a result all the major festival releases continue to wait for a release and will now in all certainty turn out to be the first few releases of 2017.Continue reading “The Best of Malayalam Cinema in 2016: A Perspective”

In Conversation with Rekhs, the Doyen of Subtitling in South India (Part 1): On Subtitling-the Journey, Process, Challenges, Milestones Etc.

Rekhs is someone who hardly needs any introduction as far as people who have been following Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu cinema are concerned. After all she is the one who has gone on to bring subtitling to the attention of the common viewer so wonderfully. In a relatively interesting span of 6+ years she has already gone on to take care of the subtitling for more than 350 films, mainly across Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu. This Friday (22nd July) sees the release of Pa.Ranjith’s Kabali, one of the most eagerly anticipated films of the year and this is again a film which has seen the involvement of Rekhs. Here in the first part of our conversation with Rekhs she shares a lot of insights on how it all started, how her journey has been so far, the challenges that she has faced and some remarkable films that she has been part of so far.Continue reading “In Conversation with Rekhs, the Doyen of Subtitling in South India (Part 1): On Subtitling-the Journey, Process, Challenges, Milestones Etc.”

Leela Movie Review: A Tale of an Unusual Individual

At times the human mind does play around with us quite a bit, or else how can we easily account for fantasies, fetishes and all sort of (weird?) desires that we come across or think of from time to time. There are some characters whom we encounter or hear about, who seem to revel in following a slightly convoluted path towards achieving satisfaction on various levels. Popular writer-director Ranjith‘s latest Malayalam film Leela talks about one such interesting character, Kuttiyappan. Ranjith has always been one of the few filmmakers who have managed to maintain a fine balance between art and commerce, as seen by a majority of his films. But it’s also true that he hasn’t really been in form of late, with his previous film Loham being especially disappointing. Leela also sees him play the producer, a role that he takes upon from time to time and not for all his films.Continue reading “Leela Movie Review: A Tale of an Unusual Individual”

The Best of Malayalam Cinema in 2015: A Perspective

At the very outset while I do feel that 2015 wasn’t an exceptional year for Malayalam Cinema, there were some interesting films and certain interesting trends were noticed as well. The number of releases overall dipped a bit this year, with an overall number of 153 releases (140 straight and 13 dubbed releases) compared to 163 last year. There were disruptions to the movie business seen in the form of the exhibitors association shutting down the theatres in Kerala on 2 separate occasions. While in July we saw a strike (thankfully only for a day) due to protest over the piracy controversy surrounding Alphonse Putharen’s Premam, we saw the the Christmas releases being threatened thanks to the strike over the Government’s decision to introduce a Rs. 3 cess on tickets intended to be used for helping poor artists of the industry with a monthly pension. There were quite a few films which saw success at the box office, including 3 bonafide blockbusters, all of them bringing in a fresh aspect of filmmaking.Continue reading “The Best of Malayalam Cinema in 2015: A Perspective”

In Conversation with Malayalam Filmmaker Salim Ahamed: On working with Mammootty, his latest hit Pathemari and More

Salim Ahamed shot to fame with his multiple National Award winning Malayalam film, Adaminte Makan Abu. He has since then gone on to make Kunjananthante Kada and Pathemari, both featuring Mammootty in the lead. Here in an exclusive interview with MAM he talks about his films, working with Mammootty etc.Continue reading “In Conversation with Malayalam Filmmaker Salim Ahamed: On working with Mammootty, his latest hit Pathemari and More”

How to revive the Malayalam film industry?

Kerala is a film loving state, it was the only state in India where one could see Baahubali in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. It has film societies and a film festival which is better than IFFI and on par with MAMI, yet the Malayalam film industry continues to struggle.Kerala is a state where Hollywood movies, Tamil, Bollywood and even Telugu films are accepted. It is a state where rickshaw drivers will discuss Fellini with you, yet somehow the business of Malayalam movies has not grown to it’s potential.Here in this post I have tried to identify the pain areasand tried to give a few solutions for the same. My three areas of focus are exhibition,distribution of content and promotion of content.Continue reading “How to revive the Malayalam film industry?”

Pathemari Movie Review: Old Fashioned But Still Relevant

As a kid I grew up listening to tales of people living in the Gulf countries,apparently making a lot of money and keeping their family members and friends happy. It would be tempting to see friends bringing in new toys or goodies whenever their father or uncle came back on a holiday, often making me even wonder why my father never even wanted to make his fortune over there :). But being interested in films even as a child, I remember watching films like Ee Naadu (1982) and Akkare (1984) which presented a slightly different tale of people associated with the Gulf in some way or the other. Nevertheless seeing Malayalam films those days on VHS cassettes from the Gulf while the film was very much in theatres those days was quite a kick in itself, making one feel good all the more about people working there, and feeling a tad envious of people benefiting from them as well :).  It didn’t take me much time to realize that not everyone working in the Gulf countries is a millionaire, nor is everyone a lowly worker, fighting for their basic survival itself.Continue reading “Pathemari Movie Review: Old Fashioned But Still Relevant”