Saturday, September 08, 2007

Good Old Malayalam Films. Where have they gone?

I went home for Onam and as always stood in the queue to get tickets for almost all the Malayalam movies in almost all the theatres in Kochi .The bugs were there , bugbites were there , theatres were full of people and some of these films may turn to be hits. But numbers may not tell the whole story on what I missed at least .

AliBhai - Mohanlal does a Suresh Gopi in Lalettan style . A lead character as a goonda in Kozhikode market. He beats up all villains and at the end walks towards us in slow motion (Courtsey:Shaji Kailas) . Bombastic dialogues and thattupolippan dance , masala , Action , Slow motion sequences - everything that you expect in a Shaji Kailas Movie other than one thing a story line with characters we can identify. It was better to go to Kozhikode and shop for vegetables in Palayalm market instead of watching this movie.

Halo - Mohanlal is an advocate and is always in a bar. A lead character who is seeking Vodka and Rum. An instant comedy that may or may not give you instant satisfaction with some unimaginable , unrealsitic situations as always happening in the story. It was better to go to a bar and have a small instead of watching this movie.

Kitchamani M B A - The value of MBA's in general would have plummeted after this movie was released in Kerala . After watching this movie , I thought it is high time Comrade Achu banned all the Suresh Gopi films along with Cococola . Such a time waste . What a pity they have put my post graduate degree in the name of this movie ?.

Nivedyam - Thought it should be good because it was from Lohitadas , had new actors and all that. Not exactly a Sargam but comparitivelty better.

I was in a state of shock after this and seems that I have missed out on the only nice film that was released this onam , Ore kadal according to Varnachitram.

I had been in love with Malayalam movies ever since I can remember .

People look at me like a moron with a hollow head and sometimes have scorned @ me when I say I like Malayalam movies. People think it is too country or is an extremely bad taste. What Nonsense? . I like watching movies in my mother tongue as much as watching movies in Hindi and English .What a pity that even though the regional film industry is strong in India , many people in my generation just looks down on the regional movies, be it Mallu,Tamil or Telugu?. Everything western is not so great , buddies . There is lot of good things all around that entertain you and you can enjoy.

Good Old Malayalam movies make me as involved, as enchanted and as fulfilled as an Onasadhya which is followed by a pappadam , pazham and payasam. I do not watch Nadodikkattu for any other reason but that I enjoy watching it .I enjoy watching the sequels too - Pattanapravesham , Akkaraakkareakkare (Sadanam kayyilundo) Everytime I watch these movies I pick up something that I missed out last time.

There is a long list of movies that you love watching over and over and over again. Just as Nadodikkattu I enjoy watching Thenmavinkompathu, Chithram Thaniyavarthanam ,Kireedom , Bharatham , His Highness Abdullah , Ramjirao Speaking , In Harihar Nagar ... you can complete the list yourself. It is such a long list that any person who can understand Malayalamn and watch movies for enjoyment and entertainment will remember.

There is something about this genre of films in late 80's and early 90's that connect with us in a unique way. These films are full of characters are from real life who have a genuineness on screen which make them exceedingly likable and easy to identify with ourselves. But there is a deeper reason why they appeal to us so much after such a long time. These films are the best advertisements for what can be described as our middle class values.Isn't there a shade of our parents in the character played by Tilakan in the film Kireedom who wants his son to become a police inspector, is the film Thenmavinkompathu we see Nedumudi Venu trying out all his tricks to get his lasy love by cheating his friend . These are typical episodes from real life of real people we encounter in our daily life.

The characters in this genration of Malayalam films were a far cry from those old Malayalam movies which always had a Jayan , Soman and Sukumaran uniting with their mother in the end through three parts of the same necklace or Madhu searching for his lost love in a beach or Premnazir rowing on a boat singing a love song with Jayabharati and Sharada standing at a window wearing a Mundu with a blouse or Saree. Please note that there was no churidar at that time at least in movies ;)

The characters were etched from the scenes in real life .There was this good natured Mohanlal's character trying to save his daughter by acting as a husband in Chithram , Mammooty's character as an intelligent Brahmin trying to solve mysteries in CBI range of movies, Mohanlal's character who turns a goonda when he tries to save his father from a don in Kireedom ,Mammootty being ditched by his lady love and being mistaken for a killer in Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha and Mukesh and others running after a girl in Inharihar Nagar.

In doing so when they provide free entertainment they showed us the importance of family values , on the joy of the simple things in life .These films showed Joie De Vivre through very gentle lessons with out giving instructions to the audience or without having heroes shouting bombastic dialogues in one breath on why the humanity has been under the attack of corrupt and immoral police inspectors since time immemorial like Mohanlal's character does in Alibhai.

These films never had item dances with seductive females displaying the fairness of lady skin with a perfect X-Y-X body or for that matter dance at all . Heroes sang and heroines at least expressed real life emotions on screen . As the world becomes more monetised, and when we chase the materialistic pleasures and life is inundated with SMSes and Emails and the nostalgia for yesterdays simplicity is growing and these films remind of those good old times.The fondness for the characters who exhibit the middle class struggle and simplicity on the screen is likely to remain evergreen at least for me.

When we read stars opening up new business ventures everyday or encashing the popularity to the highest level when they sign up for new films, we think of all those people who sweated it out for making Malayalam films what it is as Mohanlal's character says in Udayananu Tharam.May be when others are moving ahead we are losing out on the same quality that Malayalam films once had at national level when they had those simpleton chracters and real life storylines.
PS:Inspired from an article that I read long time back about how Hindi films are improving day by day.


Attribution said...

Watching movies these days are so demanding, you have to keep your eyes and ears open especially if you have kids around.

One cannot afford to relax, you never know when you would have to cover up kids ears before they get to hear those horrible exchange of words.

Good ol' mallu movies...sigh...

Jasmine said...

I completely agree with your list. I've often wondered why I like movies from that age but now you've hit the nail right on the head.

Ajith said...

Did u miss Arabikkadha by Sreenivasan ? If u missed it, u have managed to see all crappy movies in recent times and skipped the only good one ( Halo being a distant second ) .. Btw, the new template looks good :)

Black is beautiful said...

1) I love this new look of ur blog...
2) U missed padmarajan movies like thoovana thumbigal... and i love nadodikaatu, akkare akkare, patana pravesham....
and a fact which i would like to add is Tamil cinema is peaking right now (just like malayalam cinema of 1980s...)..

p.s. I love these day movies of sathyan anthikad... have seen his last 3 movies and i liked all of them...

Adorable Pancreas said...

Sadhanam kayyilundeeee.... I know exactly what you mean. I don't thin any of the new movies can compare with the laugh-a-thons of the 80's and 90's, many of which managed to make us think too. I agrre with ajit, arabikatha was good. Much better that the crap we get these days. Long live malayalam cinema. even if it's bad, it's good. Mostly.

By the way, nice template. I should know. I use the same one. :)

Adorable Pancreas said...

Oh, i forgot to ask. may I blogroll you?

Umesh said...

Just wondered how when those cult malayalam movies when remade to hindi got royally raped. When people say "Hungama" was hilarious i pity them; if only they watched and could understand the original "Poochakoru mookuthi", they wouldnt have said that.

Some remakes from your fav list

Thenmavinkompathu: Saath Rang Ke Sapne

Kireedom: Gardish

Ramjirao Speaking: Hera Pheri

In Harihar Nagar: Dhol

Udayananu Tharam: Is being remade with Akshay Khanna and Arshad Warsi in the lead

Manichithrathazhu: Bhool Bhulaiya (Akshay Kumar as sunny joseph?!!!)

Godfather: Hulchul

Punjabi House: Chup Chupke

Mannarmathai Speaking: Bhagam Bhag (Yuck)

Can any of them be even compared?

You are right, Hindi films are getting better. But our own Priyadarshan is not working towards it for sure.

Nikhil Narayanan said...

Hey NC
Sad da!!! Sad stage of Mallu filmdom!! No wonder there is an Ex Mohanlal Fans association on orkut!
How realistic were Lalettan of those days, unemployed youth or employed trying to make both the ends meet!! simply love those characters!
Che!!! u making me senti!!!

maya said...

rolled in from Seema's blog... cute blog u have here!

and on this post, i relate... wonder what happend to those good ol days of mal movies!!! me watched gandhi nagar second street and wished we had movies like that once more.. just for old times sake!!!

Jasmine said...

Nice layout..

Nariyal Chutney said...

@ attribution : Hmmm , Not even in movies but also while watching television you have to keep your eyes and ears open if you have kids around :( . Good Old Mallu movies and nostalgic Doordarshan days :)

@jasmine : Hmmm , You get to hit the nail on the head when you watch crappy movies .

@ajith:Someone mailed me about a theatre in Mumbai showing Arabikkatha after reading thsi post and saw it with afew friends . It is a very good movie :) evoking nostalgic feelings about those good old movies :).

@black is beautiful : Thanks , But since I write rather long posts , it is not fitting in and no time to customise the template in HTML. Well it is a long list and I missed out on so many . Moi too watch a lot of tamil Movies and some of teh recent ones are too good (Minus Sivaji:)) . Some movies like autograph are like those Mallu movies from teh old era :).

@ AP: Hi Hi ,every industry goes through cycles and may be the good times are yet to come . Arabikkadha is good . Saw it last week . Thought I should chnage the template :)

Nariyal Chutney said...

@AP: Ya , Anytime . No Problems :)

@Umesh :Hmmm , Right . May be the people who remade the films took it from my earlier list :). Yupz , Wish Priyadrashan can make a decent film like we had in those days . All his Malayalam films are mish mashs these days and his interstate migration has not come good for both his fans inside teh state and outside the state :).

@NN: Hi Hi , Lalettan looks too fat and chubby to play the role of an unem0plyed youth these days :P. Wonder what will he do in the current trend we have if he goes back to his old frail frame :).

@Maya: Hi , I am a regular at Seema'z blog . I enjoy her writings :) . Yupz , may there is still a scope for a Gandhinagar Third Street with many of us wishing for the same :).

@Jasmine : Dhanks :)

mathew said...

yesterday was watchin this movie "Unikale oru kadhaparayam"..maybe 3rd or 4th time..but it still never reminded me of the same what you said..where did all the quality go..those movies conveyed relevant social messages at the same time churning entertaining fare...i guess we need a whole new generation of screenplay/story writers/directors and bold producers to get back to the golden times..

p.S bheja fry is a copy of a french movie...

@s said...


'm new around here.. But loved this post.. Those good old malayalam movies...

I miss them soo much!!!

Return-2-Innocence said...

Hi NC,

Superb blog here , I have posted a link to this in my blog as well. I totally agree with you . And here's one more blog I read long ago on similar lines , hope you like it:

Thanks again

Nariyal Chutney said...

@mathew : Yupz , that too is one of my favourite movies with a thinner Mohanlal :). The quality has not dried up . Last week saw Arabikadha and it was really good . Hope some new poeple will come as you said :P

@s: Smiles , Yups Hopes the pst increased ur missing nostalgia :P

@return to innocene : Return to innocence is one of my favourite songs . The picturisation is superb :P of the man going backward in his life :). Thanks for the link and nice to know that you liked it :)

tom mangatt said...

just found this blog. realy interesting. feel like coming again. all the best NC.

Sindhu Nair said...

I couldnt agree more with anyone. You wrote exactly what my opinion is about the current state of Malayalam movies. And you write so well, keep it up !

I totally agree with you - yes, I miss those old Malayalam Movie days. Wish today's movie maker's could understand that 'western' culture does not go well at all in a Mallu movie! I dont fancy the blazers or colorful costumes in recent malayalam movies. I prefer the mundu wearing Mohanlal and Srinivasan from Malayalam movies of 80s and 90s. I hate most of the new songs shot in digital looking backdrops. I prefer the green paddy fields and streams from older movies. I prefer the simpleton Mohanlal in Irupatham Noottandu to the supposedly stylish one in Sagar alias Jackie.

If you feel like watching some old Malayalam movies, go to It has a nice collection of movies which you can sort out by year, by actors, by director, by music director and ofcourse alphabetically by movie name.
Here are some useful links :

Huge List of Malayalam Movies1980s Malayalam movies1990s Malayalam MoviesMohanlal MoviesMammootty MoviesAnd some of my favourites Movies:
Watch NaadodikattuWatch Pattana PraveshamWatch ChitramWatch ManichithrathazhuWatch KilukkamWatch Aye AutoWatch Irupatham NoottanduWatch Sagar Alias Jackie ReloadedRegards,

Anonymous said...

Hera Pheri (Ramji Rao Speaking)
Bhagam Bhaag(Mannar Mathai Speaking)
Har Dil Jo Pyaar Karega(Chandralekha)
Golmaal(Kakka Kuyil)
Chup Chupke (Punjabi House)
Hungama (Poochakkoru Mookkuthi)
Hulchul (Godfather)
Kyunki (Talavattam)
Garam Masala(Boeing Boeing)
Khata Meetha(Vallanakalude Naad)
Sunil Shetty starrer(Keerthichakra)
Ye teraa ghar ye mera ghar(Sanmansullavarkk Samadhaanam)
Dhol(In Harihar nagar)
Mere baap pehle aap(Ishtam)
Billu Barber(Kadha Parayumbol)
Hey Baby(Thooval SParsham)
De Dana Dan(Vettom)

Anonymous said...

Can't agree with you more. Its all these and more that really pushed and prodded me to share what I had in my head on the movies that I was fortunate enough to watch in my growing years. Hope you find something worthwhile too :)

This is the place

Thanks again..Cinematters