The Mollywood Revolution - I
Almost everyone has seen ‘Drishyam', ‘Hera Pheri', ‘Bhool Bhulaiya' and ‘Chup Chupke'. Each of these movies has made a mark in your mind due to its entertaining story, its eye-grabbing storytelling or just due to the brilliance of a particular scene (Yes, that one particular scene in Chup Chupke still makes you roll on the floor laughing). So what exactly is common in these movies? If you have a so-called ‘mallu' friend in your group, you definitely know the answer by now! These are all the remakes of hit Malayalam movies. And these are just a few; as the list is way too long. And most of the times Bollywood takes a superb Malayalam film and ruins it with its adaptation!
The movie 'Traffic' is considered as the film that actually started this revolution. It was also recently remade in Hindi by the same director.
So I just want to answer two questions in this post. 1) Why do Bollywood filmmakers almost always copy a Malayalam film? Is the Malayalam film industry that good? 2) Why do most of the adaptions flop? (Ruin the original)
The answer is very simple. One is a star-driven industry while the other is content driven. Yes, you read it right. Bollywood has always been a star-driven industry. Be it Kaka, Shehenshah, Baadshah or the Sultan, their movie screens are filled with fans because they want to see their favourite star do what they always do. The stars are typecasted with a certain genre, a certain style. Anything other than that is almost always not accepted by the audience.
Whereas on the other hand, the Malayalam industry is flourishing movie after movie because of the importance they give to the script. The actor is chosen not by the virtue of his star power but on his capabilities to do justice to the role and the script. Even actors like ‘Mohanlal' and ‘Mammootty' have time and again said that the script is the soul of the movie and the secret behind their stardom. (They have the status what the three Khans have in Bollywood). Do you even remember the last time Bollywood award shows gave an award for the best writer or the best story? I remember it was in the late 90s. Malayalam industry still gives the writers as much importance as the directors and actors. There have been instances when movies have been marketed with the statement ‘written by so and so'. And in Bollywood, we give awards to actresses for losing weight (yes, it really happened)
Okay. I know you still won’t believe me because for you south movies are the ones where the hero kills the villain removes his heart and throws it into the hospital, and a transplant is done (yes, everyone has seen that disgusting piece of shit. And I am not calling it a movie or art). Or your definition of mallu movies will be those b-grade movies with the curviest of actresses in the wettest of clothes making out in the weirdest ways. But that is the saddest part of our country; we typecast everyone and everything. Every South Indian is a Madrasi and all they watch is senseless shit is what they think but it is not.
So to all those who say Indians don’t know how to make movies, there is no good film made in India, they should learn from Hollywood, give the regional films a try. There are people who work very hard to provide us with a cinematic delight. There are the likes of Dulquer Salman, Fahad Fazil, Nazriya Nasim and Nivin Pauly (this guy will have his very own article soon). There are movies like Bangalore days, Premam, Ustad Hotel, and Charlie. Movies you won’t believe can be made by Indian filmmakers. Movies that will make you crave for more good cinemas.
Be open to change and you will definitely love what Malayalam industry has to offer. No industry is perfect, movies are an individual's piece of art. It is not necessary that everyone will like it. Also not every movie that has been made has to be good, some can be bad as well. So judging a film industry from one bad movie is like judging Sachin on one golden duck innings. So if you really want to support Indian cinema, go watch the regional cinemas, especially the mollywood ones. They will not just entertain you, but also make you realise what cinema is all about.
So go fall in love with Nivin, Dulquer and Nazriya just like I did.
Image Courtesy: Cover- Anwar Rashid Entertainment, Magic Frames, Filmy Keeda, Ashirwad Cinemas.
You can read the next piece in the series at The Mollywood Revolution - II