Tuesday, February 03rd, 2009 | Author:

Director Rosshan Andrrews represents Kerala’s new generation of film directors who have vision, passion and commitment but not necessarily a good understanding for story or screenplay excellence.

Four decades ago, the Malayalam film industry had been the envy of nearly every Indian film maker. It boasted of veteran directors who ruled cinema because of their excellent screenplay techniques and the ability to tell stories that were different yet rooted to reality. Those who believe that directors such as Priyadarshan represent Malayalam cinema on a broader platform in Bollywood are ignorant because his movies are not a patch on the superlative quality of films that veteran film makers of Malayalam are truly famed for.

Today’s Malayali directors are young and aspire for quick fame. Their techniques are more focused on infusing their movie with young dialogues, peppy music and great cinematography. The technique of story telling has been affected badly in the process.

Even then, the screenplay rights of most Malayalam movies are bought at staggering sky-high prices by the Tamil industry and now, Bollywood. Some of Bollywood’s poor adaptations of Malayalam movies include Gardish, Baghban, Hera Pheri, Hungama, Hulchal, Garam Masala, Bhool Bhulaiya, Dhamaal, Chandni Chowk to China, and Billu Barber. I use the term ‘poor’ because the movies had senseless screenplays when translated to Hindi while in Malayalam the context, the dialogues and even the themes were justifiable and justly portrayed by veteran film makers.

A Malayalam movie that I recently watched is “Notebook” which was directed by Rosshan Andrrews. Thankfully, the rights of this movie haven’t been grabbed up. With excellent music, cinematography, editing and fine camera techniques, this movie is interesting though it doesn’t do much on an emotional scale due to its excessive modernity.

The movie depicts a beautiful journey into the intimate friendship between three high school girls who stay in hostel and become as closer than siblings. One of the girls ends up pregnant and the two girls cover up for her to the extent that they force her to abort and finally, the girl dies.

When she dies, the two friends hide her death till the police grill them and one of the girls (played by actress Roma) breaks and conveys the truth.

The second friend denies having any involvement in the abortion. The boy who was involved with the deceased girl doesn’t even hear about her death till much later. When he does, he is filled with pangs of guilt and longs to do something to make amends though he knows it is too late.

The betrayal of friendship and the subsequent estrangement between the girls throws them into separate lives and separate ways of dealing with the loss of their friend. Everything is questioned in the screenplay and tosses out some truly important questions for parents, teachers and all of us to ponder about:

  • What is friendship really? Is it a whim, commitment or responsibility?
  • What forces young girls into making choices like abortion? Is it broken homes, wealthy lifestyle, lack of morals or a desperate choice fearing the hypocrisy of Indian society?
  • Who has a right to pass judgment over choices that young people make – those who give birth to them yet have no time or inclination to be with them, those who call themselves ‘teachers’ and can’t see beyond the syllabus or curriculum or those who are their best friends?
  • What role do parents or teachers really exercise when it comes to the ‘morality’ of their children/wards? Can they make a positive difference?

Ultimately, it is broken homes, rich families and lots of money which bring these children together to live in a top residential Convent school, where money power, management power and vested interests are more important than a student’s talents or aspirations.

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Category: Reviews, Story
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2 Responses

  1. 1

    hmmm…nice one…Was Baghban also an adaptation?
    I heard it was BR Chopra’s work

  2. 2

    commenting usually isnt my thing, but ive spent an hour on the site, so thanks for the info

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