Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Malayalam's New Generation Rocks

After the birth of my daughter a year ago, I regret to say that this blog has become a low priority for me. That's kind of bad timing, because Malayalam cinema is undeniably experiencing a resurgence. The pickings are good for fans of Malayalam cinema. You can watch almost any movie these days and not be disappointed. You may not like the movie, but at least you won't leave feeling cheated.

Here are some of the movies I've watched recently:

Second Show -- Better known as Dulquar Salman's (better known as Mammootty's son) debut movie. Obviously made for the college-aged male audience. Not a particularly intelligent film, but I found it to be mildly entertaining. Dulquar Salman is probably not going to become one of Malayalam's great actors, but at least he chooses his scripts well.

Ustadh Hotel -- Another movie with Dulquar Salman in the lead. My interest going in was the fact that Anjali Menon is the scriptwriter. I really enjoyed her short -- "Journey" -- in Kerala Cafe. Ustadh Hotel did not disappoint, but I would've liked it better if it hadn't ended up as a "message" movie. I hate movies that have an obvious message. It makes me feel like I just went to church. My favorite scene in the movie is when Nithya Menon and Dulquar Salman hitch a ride in the middle of the night. How refreshing to see two people falling in love without the help of a song and dance routine.

Diamond Necklace -- Yes, this is a message movie, too. But I didn't mind because it was done well, with no preachiness. The hero and villain are one and the same -- an antihero. Fahad Fazil is the protagonist of the story who we initially hate, then empathize with, and finally grow to love. It is the tale of transformation of a cocky young man who claims to have no worries about the past and no anxieties for the future. He lives only for the present. This approach to life eventually catches up with him. I really enjoyed this movie.

Ayalum Njanum Thammil -- This movie is my favorite in this list. I'm so glad that Prathap Pothen has returned to Malayalam cinema. He was perfect as the mentor who has a profound impact on the young med school graduate played by Prithviraj.

Amen -- I didn't really enjoy this movie, but I wish I had. I am so glad that young Malayali filmmakers are throwing the old formula in the trash and experimenting with new narrative techniques. I think the reason I didn't enjoy it is because it didn't feel authentic. I kept feeling that they were trying to emulate the style of European period movies -- down to the background score. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Amen is definitely one of the best movies to come out in Malayalam in recent times.

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