Moving away from their
rural setting, Malayalam movies are increasingly becoming
urban in their theme.
Until recently, most Malayalam films had rural themes
portraying the essential goodness and unspoilt beauty of
However, this is changing as most of the around 90 movies
released last year were set in urban backgrounds.
Some movies that were received well in 2011 included
Traffic, Indian Rupee, Salt and Pepper, Seniors,
Beautiful and Chappa Kurish. They revolved around
situations that happen in cities like the state's
fast-developing commercial hub Kochi.
Though they did not turn out to be big box office hits,
films like Arjunan Sakshi, Christian Brothers, China
Town, City of God, The Train, Teja Bhai and Family,
Doctor Love and Arabiyum Ottakavum Pinne Madhavan Nayarum
also had an urban-orientation.
Industry sources say all successful movies released so
far this year are city-centric with films like 22 Female
Kottayam (22 FK), Diamond Necklace, Ee Adutha Kalath,
Mayamohini still running to packed houses.
Popular director Sathyan Anthikkad, known for
village-oriented family stories laced with subtle humour like
Sandesham, Sanmanasullavarkku Samdhanam and
Mazhavilkkavadi, says a new generation trend is reigning in
Mollywood these days and such stories are the immediate result
of that innovative change.
"Till some time back, the only focus in Mollywood was the
actor or hero. Films known by the actors, directors and
scriptwriters were largely ignored. But with the arrival of a
handful of young film makers, movies have begun to return to
the director's hands in Malayalam," Anthikkad said.
"Young talents experiment with many things in narration
and theme selection. City-centric movies and elite class
stories can be seen as part of their experimentations," he
Village-oriented films which reaped average success in
2011-12 were Sathyan Anthikkad-directed Snehaveedu, M
Mohanan's Manikya Kallu, Bobon Samuel's Janapriyan and T K
Rajeev Kumar's Rathinirvedam.
Perhaps the only exception among them is Sugeeth directed
Ordinary, depicting the life of a scenic upland hamlet Gavi.
The movie is still running to packed houses and has raked in
more than Rs 10 crore so far, according to industry sources.
Citing the resounding success of Ordinary, Anthikkad
said rural themes would always have takers in Malayalam if
they are narrated with freshness and novelty.
"As the new film makers are quite young,they prefer to
tell stories with which they are more familiar. It may be the
reason they select urban settings and themes", he said.
"Not just that, in Kerala's context the distance between
villages and cities is fast disappearing these days,"
Whether set in rural or urban backgrounds, films should
be the product of directors, he said, adding that the reason
for deterioration of values in cinema are movies which
concentrate only on the interest of heroes and audience.
Meanwhile, hitmaker Laljose feels changes in the
lifestyle and attitude have brought in changes in
themes and setting of movies.
"It is true that a parallel movie culture is gaining
popularity in Mollywood. But it does not mean Malayalam cinema
is becoming urban centric. Though my latest movie Diamond
Necklace is mainly set in the backdrop of Dubai, its main
story happens in a rural Kerala village," he said.
Laljose, who has blockbusters like Meeshamadhavan,
Classmates and Oru Maravathur Kanavu to his credit, said
the scenic villages were still ideal for narration of good
stories concerning common people.
Diamond Necklace which tells the story of a spendthrift
doctor in Dubai who leads a hi-fi life and the problems he had
to face due to the abuse of 'plastic money' (credit cards)
largely woos youngsters while 22 FK, dealing with the plight
of a Malayali nurse working in metro like Bangalore, has won
Meanwhile, Mayamohini, a hardcore commercial movie in
which Dileep plays a full-length woman character, has turned
out to be one of the biggest grossers this year.
The movie has collected more than Rs eight crore so far,
unconfirmed reports from the industry said.