Thursday, September 1, 2011

Payyans















Director: Leo Thaddeus
Cast: Jayasurya, Rohini, Lal, Anjali
Year: 2011
Language: Malayalam
Trailer

If I had a way of screening out movies I know that I won't like, I would have used that on this movie. This one would definitely not make it to my "watch" list for any reason. Not as a "must watch", or an "okay to watch", or even as a "watch if there's nothing else". 

Blonde-haired white women have become a trend in recent malayalam films. The creators of this movie must've decided to jump on that bandwagon. For the first 20-30 mins, we are shown a parade of white women.  These women are portrayed as idiots and easy targets for groping. As a malayali, the drooling (olippikkal) over white skin made me cringe. And as a woman, the illicit touching of these women made my blood boil. Men are shown taking advantage of the liberality of the western culture to abuse white women. Showing such behavior on screen is equivalent to condoning or even encouraging it in real life. How would we like to see our women groped in foreign movies?


But my real problem with this movie was that it was rehashing the whole "Parents are Saints, Children are Selfish" bullshit.  Malayalam cinema periodically puts out such "family" movies which are intended to attract parents with young kids to the theater. After the movie everyone can go home saying, "That movie had a good message."

Unfortunately we've seen this message a thousand times, and hear it in our own homes everyday. Children are not selfish and parents are not saints. When a parent disowns their kid for marrying outside of their caste, is that selfless behavior? When a parent decides on a career for their kid, is that selfless? How many kids set aside their own dreams to please their parents? Depending on stereotypes to create a story is not just wrong -- it's boring.

After watching the movie, you can almost picture a grandmother wagging her finger and saying, "and the moral of the story is..."  It makes our culture seem so outdated. Don't these people know that storytelling has moved beyond "muthasshi kadhas"?

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