pippala leaf

December 18, 2005

Cinema and society

Filed under: Uncategorized — MBN @ 6:14 pm

Sunil writes the disturbing trend in Tamil cinema – men beating their wives or daughters or even mothers on screen with dialogs saying its ok to do that. Cinema, I think, reflects the society as in the case of any artistic medium. I believe this is especially true in the case of Malayalam cinema.

The 1970’s and 80’s were considered as the golden age of Malayalam cinema. From 90’s onward it began to deteriorate. If one observe the social, cultural and political scenario of Kerala during this time period, one could very well see the paralells. By the beginning of 90’s most of the gifted writers and poets (Muhammad Bashir, G. Shankarakurup etc), political geniuses (like EMS, Achutha Menon etc ), film personalities (Padmarajan, Bharathan etc) were all gone from the stage. Creativity of the remaining gifted personalities were all seemed to be dried up. Quality of literature and films began to deteriorate. Instead the remaining prominent writers began to wash their dirty linen in public through the press and public podium. Film industry continued to churn out films that absolutely had no artistic value (there could be one or two exceptions here and there but apart from that the well seems to be pretty much dried-up). The political scenario became more corrupt. Organized gang crimes (which was unheard of before) and communal violence (Kerala was once immune to this epidemic) began to show up their ugly face. The society became more insecure and more polarized on the basis of religion.

In the economic scenario Kerala had missed the IT bus. The state government treasury became empty. (As per the 2005 Kerala state budget the state revenue is Rs. 16623 crores and expenditure is Rs. 20696 crores. 91% of the revenue income goes for paying salary and pension). Development initiatives remained in papers. Tourism industry and expatriate money were the only two dim bulbs left. And then, finally, Kerala was officially anointed as Gods own country…. when it became not.



  1. Interesting article, Mr. Nair. Do you think it would have been helpful if many intellectuals stayed in academia? As in Vijayan, G. etc. used to be in colleges atleast for some time ( G. was the principal of Maharajas college ). May be the paucity of great people in academia was behind there not being enough inspired students and hence enough inspired writers etc.? And for some reason malayalam writers of the post-modern generation seem to enjoy neither the popularity nor status of the corresponding modernists ( like O. V. Vijayan, M. Mukundan etc. ). Do you think that is because literature as such declined? Thanks.

    Comment by froginthewell — December 18, 2005 @ 8:25 pm

  2. Froginthewell: Thank you. I agree with you that “the post-modern generation seem to enjoy neither the popularity nor status of the corresponding modernists”. That was a time when Kerala had been undergoing a lot of political, social as well as cultural changes. Their works contributed much to the fulfillment of the social, political and cultural demands of that time-period. One example is the drama “Ningalenne Communistakki” that Thoppil Bhasi wrote and KPAC performed on various stages. That drama had lost it’s social significance along with the end of that era ( or time period). Only a few artistic or literary works sustain their relevance throughout the history of time. I do not think any of our post-modern generation have that kind of talent. And I am in no position to judge or form an opinion as to why it is so.

    Comment by Old Path — December 20, 2005 @ 12:58 am

  3. Could it be that all people with talent ( by this I mean practice, willingness to work hard etc. ) in the new generation, under pressure to get a job and later set up a family etc. take up only engineering/medicine? On a side note, most of my malayALi friends cannot make a serious discussion without resorting to tonnes of english.

    Another thing that comes to my mind is what N. S. Madhavan said in an interview about himself and fellow-writers : that they read english and malayALam literature in the ratio 2:1. I think this might stand in contrast to previous writers who wrote from their experience. Like baShIr.

    Yes, and your thesis that society reflects art – that the once vibrant and dynamic kEraLa society has not stagnated, providing little or no inspiration for literature – I guess I agree.

    Comment by froginthewell — December 20, 2005 @ 12:57 pm

  4. well. malayalam cinema deteriorating.. i guess, it has risen like a phoenix from the shakkeela age with the help of some great directors.. like, blessy, vinayan, priyanandanan, tv chandran all playing their part.. guess the golden age is yet to come! wot say?

    Comment by deepak — April 24, 2006 @ 2:24 am

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