Thursday, March 30, 2017

Sairabanu: The story of a dead Bengali

Unlike the years gone by, movie artists have to sell their image and their work outside the medium more than inside. Manju Warrier is one such artist who understood the nuance and has been very conscious of the image she projects to the public. If you glance through her body of work, after the noisy comeback into the movies, you can see a pattern in the roles she played. Divorced, independent, wronged, fierce, single, mother and all these do reflect in the image she projects about her personal life through various social media platform. Well it wouldn’t be fair if I simply quote her name alone, but today most of the mainstream artistes have professional PR people to sell their work to the unassuming public.

This has been much very obvious in recent times when a rising star of Malayalam movie, suddenly changed track and went on to do a testosterone loaded role with a liberal dose of misogyny. The movie went on to do huge business and made a lot of money for the star.
In a very much result oriented world, professionalism is synonymous to profit a business generates. Hence the risks are to be avoided and maximizing the probability has to be focused upon. Manju has been very sure about her image, role and cinema she does. As a female actor, well past hey youthful days, she knows her opportunities are very limited in a male dominated arena. And it is not a fault to ensure the success of ones work. But in the long run screenplay and script are the two areas which have lost to this instant mix for success.

Malayalam Cinema had enjoyed a huge array of artistes, suited for playing varied roles and characters. This did lent a multi-dimensional hue into our scripts for years. There was  a possibility of many layers and complexity could be woven into a conflict. Today our scripts are very unidimensional. Within minutes of a film opening, we will be hit with a sense of multiple deja-vu and a fair good idea of what’s happening in the next 2 hours.

The real challenge for the script writer is to bolt the viewer to the seat with what is known as ‘twists’.  Now the effect of a twist in a shallow script is like masturbating to a poorly done porn movie. You will be left wondering ‘Why the hell’.

The characters themselves will be wearing a monochromatic hue, resembling a plastic toy, with even the appearances being very boring. They get off by being populist and catering to the perversions of the bourgeoisies . The characters mouth the dialogue an average viewer wants to hear and acts in the way he wants him to. The whole process creates a negative creativity and spins off chauvinism and misogyny. The relationships are defined in a very peripheral perspective and in the end the hero winds up the whole saga with a dose of morality.
Well this sums up the entire ‘Sairabanu’ in a nutshell. Nevertheless, it has been the story of many popular movies released recently. The Malayalam cinema has consolidated itself after a brief stint of anarchic period of what we call- period of new generation. The good part being, we inherited a team of brilliant technicians. The Sairabanu has some very brilliant sequences and the good part of the film ends there.The film caste two heavyweight female actors in the lead and bends down miserably from the sheer weight of projecting them in a feel-good light.

Most of the quality time is dominated by the two heavyweights and in an attempt to satiate the egos, the whole story falls shallow in the end. The hollow script becomes so evident from the beginning as many sequences looks forced. There has been no real groundwork on the characters and as for an example it’s been particularly traumatizing to see students from law college ask very childish questions to an imminent lawyer during a interactive session.
I wouldn’t want to elaborate further on the weaknesses of this particular film, as I’ve been trying to point out the malice evident in this mainstream art as a whole. This is an art form majority of the population relates to. And hence it turns gangeric when there’s an attempt to make it exclusive

Summing it up I felt like the unknown ‘Bengali’ who was conveniently left for the dead.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Encroaching Gods

Years ago many of us thought science, education and development would pose a serious threat to religion. We saw empty churches and priests begging for food, but it was not to be. The religion in turn has proved a serious threat to humanism and civilization.
Today we see an erosion of humanism and rationalism from our thought process. Instead various religious dogmas creep into every space of our lives. We have various religious speakers blaring through in our living rooms, palatial places of worship filled to the brim, huge religious festivals which ensures a few people are sent to heaven in stampede. The satire is not to be lost when we realize that the increased religious fervor has not made the world a better place at all.
An even disturbing trend is seen when the governance and state machinery is encroached by religion. Not so long ago the chief minister of a state made a huge donation to the tune of crores to one of the richest temples in the country. Now here, we didn't see much protests or intellectual discussions. How illogical it is to think of wasting tax payers' money for some non existent mythical beings? And to consider this happening in a part of the country where the marginalized are presented with noose of a rope rather than a few thousands of rupees to repay their debt.
Religion and castes are important agenda for the political parties today. Today we have children growing up in India with a  narrow mindset and view towards different faith and characters. If you don't believe me check the Facebook friends of your kids and make a rough calculation on number of friends who doesn't belong to his 'class'. Or 'belief'.
A few weeks ago, my friend insisted on witnessing a a religious procession. The belief is witnessing the procession grant your wishes. I agreed to witness the spectacle. People were lined up on the sides of the road. Police were deployed for the smooth flow. As the procession approached I was stunned to see throngs of small children accompanying ahead. They were very small and not used to walking long distances. I wondered if the parents would have allowed these children for a peaceful march concerning issues on society.
More recently I have been to a pilgrimage centre, happening to be a small church in Kerala. There a holy image is displayed once a year when throngs of people risk stampede to witness the spectacle. I saw people rummaging wastes to collect containers to carry back holy oil.
Nonetheless , very recently the capital city celebrated its annual festival of Pongala .Even basic amenities were closed as women lined up in the streets under hot sun to offer Pongala. In a city faced with draught, tonnes of litres of water was wasted. Small and tired children were happily dehydrated to earn the pleasure of the Goddess. The state machinery itself spent crores of rupees for the spectacle.
I happen to hear a Panditji speaking the glory of the Goddess. Strangely irrespective of religion the basic  idea of benevolent God is same today. Still, the Pongala Goddess is angered over only one thing- CRITICISM.
I am cutting this boring, stupid post short. I want the few of you, who read this to analyse how much of your thought process and decisions you make are based on religion.

Monday, March 6, 2017


I asked a good friend about an opinion on my last post, with a vain feeling of impressing her with my intellect. She dashed my hopes with a single word- “pointless”. But then why do we take pain to draw a clear picture out of random points. In other sense, in a pointless world drawing a conclusion out of every issue can cause loss of finer elements.

Issues on sex and  different aspects of sexuality has been a topic of discussion in the Malayali diaspora. We have had very crude form of sexual oppression, some matriarchial societies, rigid attitude to sex, liberal view on sex, better opportunities in various walks of life irrespective of sex and even sexual hypocrisies. The various conflicting views and opinions have earned our society a better self realization and in my opinion a good place for the women compared to other parts of the country.

I was in a argumentative mood when I posted a food for thought in my Facebook account. Although I didn't elaborate the issue in detail, the seed germinated from a documentary video, narrated by a girl on the sexual relationship with her father while she was in high school. Although the narrator stopped short of expressing any anger or extreme emotion about the incident, she  briefly enacts the trauma through student silence, lighting a cigarette and wiping off the tears.  Interestingly the protagonist goes on to use terms like 'getting wet', 'orgasmic' and doing it repeatedly until she entered into a new relationship.

Now in my post, I wondered aloud if it's right to brand the adult, if the girl in question had entered into a consensual act. The wider narrative is teens are mature enough to make their own. Most of the parents doesn't question their food, ideas, relationships or clothing. I knew a person who had a daughter watching porn in her early teens. The act was diplomatically termed as 'curiosity'.

I am not trying to justify any sort of perverted sexual act on children. But indeed, we stand at a crossroad where some unpleasant questions have to be answered. I did face some harsh reactions to my post. A good friend went on to issue a barrage of heated words and went ahead to block me. This reactive attitudes stem from insecure beliefs.

We are in eternal conflict with ourselves. We have to pacify our own beliefs against the raging perversities that has gained a social approval right from our arts, food, religion, clothing and relations. 

About Me

My photo
Shakespeare,Da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin and Lincoln never saw a movie,heard a radio or looked at TV. They had loneliness and knew what to do with it. Thay were not afraid of being lonely because they knew that was when the creative mood in them would work.