Thursday, October 13, 2011

Are We Over 'The Good Old Days' Yet?

You can hardly go on a Malayalam cinema blog or website these days without reading a lament about how much better everything was in the 'good old days' of the '80s.

This article from the Deccan Chronicle is another one of those:  Can Death of Creativity Maul Malayalam cinema? The writer is essentially asking if the death of so many talented technicians and actors will spell doom for Malayalam cinema.

Industry insiders like director Siddique and actor Jagadeesh answer that question by saying that while talents like Murali and N.F. Varghese can never be replaced, many youngsters with a lot of talent are coming up.

People everywhere have always wished for the 'good old days' -- some point in the past when everything was better. This is essentially a myth. Every age has its plusses and minusses. When we get nostalgic and wish for the 'good old days' we neglect the fact that the 'good old days' really weren't all that much better.

Take the 'golden age' of Malayalam cinema, for example. While the acting and screenplay were top notch, the technical aspects left much to be desired. The pace was often slow, the camera work shoddy, and the editing...

And copying from foreign movies was rampant, even more than today. We just didn't know it back then because we didn't have easy access to foreign movies. 

I'm sure everyone would agree that the last two decades have produced movies of very low quality by almost all standards. It wasn't anybody's fault necessarily. Society was changing faster than anyone could keep pace with. It was obvious that Malayalam cinema needed a drastic change, but in what direction and how? Nobody knew for sure. The kind of change that was necessary is slow and painful. But with time and patience change will happen.

I believe that time has arrived. The last couple of years we've seen hints that Malayalam cinema may be getting ready for a new golden age. Lots of interesting movies in all genres with young actors and directors have been released. And many have become hits. I believe, and hope and pray, that this is just the beginning.

Is it time to let go of the past and embrace the future? I think so.

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