Monday, October 31, 2016

Spotlight: Dulquer Salman

I watched this YouTube video a few days ago, and wanted to share it here. It's a well-made video. A tribute to Dulquer Salman by a fan.

I will be the first to admit that I'm prejudiced against Dulquer Salman. In my mind, currently there are two superstars among the younger generation of Malayalam actors --  Nivin Pauly and Dulquer Salman. During the Mammootty vs. Mohanlal era, I was squarely in the Mohanlal camp. And now I'm pretty much in the Nivin camp.

My bias against Dulquer stems from how he entered the industry -- he clearly took advantage of his father's celebrity and connections. There are so many people who struggle for years and never make it. But he just waltzes in and becomes a star overnight. I've always been the type who roots for the underdog, so that makes it difficult for me to root for Dulquer Salman.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Agraharathil Kazhuthai: A Must Watch Classic

Director: John Abraham
Cast: M.B. Sreenivasan
Year: 1977
Language: Tamil

I grew up hearing the name "John Abraham" practically on a daily basis. My brother was a big fan of his work and was enamored with his nomadic lifestyle. He was simply referred to as "John" in our house. Meeting him in person was one of the highlights of my brother's life.

I had heard so much about his movies during my childhood, but never got a chance to watch any of them. When I first saw a copy of "Agraharathil Kazhuthai" on a website a couple years ago, I was so excited. I wasted no time watching it, and I was blown away. I had expected it to be somewhat draggy, like some of the art movies of the 70s. I had watched some of Adoor Gopalakrishnan's and Aravindan's movies, and I expected that "Agraharathil Kazhuthai" would be in a similar vein. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was not.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Lessons From The Malayalam Film Industry -- From Fully Filmy

I found an interesting article on Fully Filmy talking about the virtues of Malayalam Cinema, and it is a real ego boost for all Malayalees who love Malayalam cinema.

I had often tried to get my Tamil and Telugu friends and coworkers to watch Malayalam films, with little success. The ones who actually watched the whole movie, really liked it. But most of the time, they simply didn't have the patience to sit past the first 10 mins. I gave a Telugu guy a VCD of "Namukku Parkkan Muthiri Thoppukal". He returned it the next day, saying that he only watched about 20 mins or so. He said that it was too slow. I didn't push it, but I kept thinking to myself that he lost out on a great experience. If only he had been patient enough to watch the whole movie!

It's nice to see that Malayalam cinema is finally cultivating a significant fan base outside of Kerala. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Actresses Still Going Strong Past 30

This YouTube video talks about four superstar South Indian actresses: Nayanthara, Trisha, Anushka, and Kajal Aggarwal who are all over 30 and are still the reigning top female stars in South Indian films.

I was really excited to see this, because it is such a positive development. It means that beauty concepts in South India are starting to shift. Actresses past 30 are no longer automatically rejected as being too old to be a heroine. They are not second rate actresses either. They are the leads in some of the biggest movies being made, and acting with the biggest stars.

This is good news for women in India, because it causes an important shift in people's psyche. Women of the previous generation really believed that once they got married (in their early twenties), their life was on the decline. A close female relative once said to me, "Once a woman hits 40, her life is almost over; beauty is gone... health starts to fail... Look at me, I'm fifty and I'm good for nothing." I reminded her that Hillary Clinton, who was in her first Presidential race at the time, was in her 60s. She nodded, but it was almost as if she considered white women to be on a different planet. What works for them will not work for us.

This change in Indian society's attitude toward actresses is definitely positive. I hope that it will translate to a more optimistic outlook on life for the current and future generations of Indian women.