From a movie buff

From a movie buff

Last week when my friend kitty mentioned to me that he is off to watch ‘mozhi’ for the second time in theatre, it got me thinking as to when was it last that I felt this way about a tamil movie? I irksomely remembered the last flick I had watched of ‘pokri’ which I almost branded as tolerable before the item number with cheesy lyrics like “my name is apple” had made tolerable an understatement. For goodness sake, I was not in a theatre.

However, the movie of ‘mozhi’ from last night, I watched in a theatre in Belmont in Mass, the single show that was being played for the three hundred odd tamil movie ‘rasikars’ from Boston and around, had gone a long way to bring faith in good movies back to the tamil industry. The little theatre set-up had the feel of a theatre in India in the 80’s, with tattered seats (may be a mice or two running underneath), concrete floors, home-theatre type screen, intermissions and not to forget the howling and whistling I missed so much when the favorite stars came on screen. ‘Mozhi’ was a complete entertainer, with roles and story having ingenuous emanating from every scene and dialogue. I had laughed till my tummy ached for the spontaneity of prakash raj and prithvi (I recall the last time being for ‘raam ji rao speaking’ in Malayalam). The blend of subtle move from one scene to next, laughter, emotions, and soft numbers simply made this movie touch your heart and wear an engaging smile for the two and half hours!

Nevertheless, as I walked out of the theatre, mesmerized and satisfied, still hanging in aura of the feel-good factor the movie provided, I couldn’t help but analyze, why was it that tamil industry had such few actors who actually lived the role and brought such refinement to the movies with ease. My thoughts were driven to the much hyped and worshipped god Rajnikanth and his obscenely commercialized cinema lines. I am sure every rajni-fanatic is going to kick my ass if I said that he had turned the most beautiful movie of ‘manichitratazhu’ into a practical joke in ‘chandramukhi’ which was a run away hit not only in Tamil Nadu, but in Japan as well.

I must confess that living in a Chennai for four years and bragging of a friend circle of two hundred percent rajni fads didn’t turn me into one. I have for the love of the theatre spirit and finding out about the frenzy rajinisms enjoyed his high-spiritedness, on which tamil-nadu thrived. So much is his potential to live in the minds of these people, that his biggest flop ‘baba’ was watched by my pals atleast thrice, to be able to do justice to rajni ‘talaivar’! Satiric? As if breaking into my reminiscence, my friend exclaimed “ I can’t wait for Shivaji, rajni’s next movie!”

It easily got me into the argument with my friend on why the tamil industry lacked the charm and simplicity Malayalam industry did. I, owing to the passion for feel-good movies had quoted my favorite lal-etan (Mohanlal) and his myriad of roles and artful cinemas of Bharatan and Adoor gopalakrishnan. After ten minutes of exchange of view points, I was just left with some conclusions. The people in tamil nadu simply accepted their films, the way they are and worship them and follow them. How else can you explain the film stars turned politicians? And the public in kerala was demanding. They simply expect movies be made for their tastes.

I, in the sea in between both worlds, simply sank in my seat, complacent that I could understand and enjoy movies from both ends. I would love to shed a tear at lal-etan’s ‘Thanmatra’ and cheer and attempt to whistle at Rajani’s self-made tornado from a twist of the feet!!


12 thoughts on “From a movie buff

  1. Lehmunade says:

    This is so qool – we were at a BBQ last evening discussing the wonders of Lal-ettan :DI want to watch Manichitrathazhu now.

  2. Divya Das says:

    Div, Oh yes.. Manichitratazhu rocks! And lal-ettan rocks!! :)VK, I ve nothing against Talaivar, as long as he doesnt turn our legendary movies into indigestible commercial drama!! All else.. he is the most colorful film star ever!

  3. NIRMAL says:

    I hv no idea what VK is but i second his thoughts. thalaivara pathi thappa paesitala… irruku unnaku ….Comon Rajini has the charisma , even his flop movie baba grossed in collections much more than GILLI..lets accept the fact he may not be a great dancer nor some one with 100 getups like kamal hasan..but crwd doesnt want it.You must watch his yester year hits like mannan,thillu mullu then u would know what kinda humour he possess.Btw i too heard mozhi is hilarious,havent watched yet hopefuly should watch this weekend

  4. Divya Das says:

    Nirmal, Rajni is, as I said, the most intriguing and colorful film star. No one can pull any crowd to the theaters like he does! Hats off!But what really hurt a whole lot of mallus and hard-core mohanlal fans like me, is the remake of manichitratazhu… Chandramukhi made the epic of a movie into some commercial extravagant episode. If at all I have any complaints against rajni its this… All else, I love watching his movies!! btw, I am a big fan of tillu-mullu too…

  5. Vikram says:

    i agree with your assertion that Chandramookhi should never be mentioned in the same line as the original. But don’t you think Lal-etan has lost all traces of artistic creativity when he sold out and starred in a million commercial duds after manichitratazhu…. Its ok when you see rajni play to the gallery, given the modicum of talent he possesses, I mean this in a purely artistic sense. But its downright deplorable to see the talent of Mohanlal go to waste in those disaster flicks. I hope he learns his lesson quick….Did you get to watch Classmates??

  6. Divya Das says:

    Vikram,Yes quiet true. When lal-ettan had done a whole lot of ‘aaran-tamburan’ lines of movies.. they lost charm after a while. However, one cant forget some of the heart-felt movies he has given to us.. vandanam, pavitram, bharatam, tanmathra, advyaidam and a whole lot more…Coming back to ur statement of lal-etta’s talent getting wasted; I guess thats a patch in every talented actor’s life.. even mammu-ka seems to be going through it. Yes, I hope lal-ettan can strike back with more movies like ‘tanmathra’I have not seen classmates yet. Heard its good..

  7. Vikram says:

    I’m surprised you mentioned Vandanam, cos not many I know have seen it. It’s a classic in every sense of the word.Hmmm..Tanmathra was good, but the whole getting ugly/depraved/disabled to win over the audience doesn’t interest me anymore. I think it was Hitchcock who said, It’s easy to make a man scared or even cry, but to make him laugh is the real challenge. And for me, The golden days of Malayalam comedy are hard to match and Vandanam is a prime example!

  8. Lehmunade says:

    >> vandanam, pavitram, bharatam, tanmathra, advyaidamAdding to the list: Naadodikaatu, Pattana Pravesham, Akkare Akkare Akkare, Chitram, Killukkam, DasharathamAnd I did not really mind Aaran Thamburaan, he could have done with some weight loss, but the man’s still pretty charismatic

  9. Agnel says:

    Ayiyo, i can’t understand most of those malayali films. Anyways, A remake in itself is difficult. Anything you make for the first time, something unique, you don’t have anything to compare it with and so you accept it to be good , perfect and what ever. Now when you remake something, you have a “quintessence” [hope i used this word right] against which you compare. Obviously it would be difficult to accept the remake. Some accept it. Now focusing on the success of that so called “practical joke”, after a failure in baba, I feel that success can truly substantiate itself. Yes parts of the movie were indeed comical and i fall off my seat laughing thinking of one scene where Rajini flies about 20 metres trying to stp Prabhu from sipping coffee.Yet to see mozhi, but i am glad i know and was able to talk with such ppl a few days ago. That bliss which i experienced i would share it someday.Good post DD. :o-)

  10. Divya Das says:

    Agnel, Remakes are difficult. You often face the problem of being compared and criticized. I have watched both ranji and lal-ettan on screen. And I know for a fact that roles that suit lal cant be done by rajni n vice-versa. Lal-ettan is loved more for the lay-man roles, artistic charisma, unlike rajni who is as such a down-to-earth man and a crowd puller. When such vast differences exist, one shouldnt remake roles to which you can’t do justice ever.. may be if rajni in the capacity as an actor did lal-ettan’s role verbatim, chandramukhi wud ve been a flop.. without the tornado, flying scene etc!!It simply leaves the debate open and in the light of enjoying cinema that suit ur moods… to cry, laugh, feel good… we can grand both lal-ettan and rajni a A++ in their own ways!. 🙂

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