Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bhoomi Malayalam

T. V. Chandran's latest movie Bhoomi Malayalam is a mixture of stories, told from the viewpoints of seven women. The stories span sixty years of Kerala history, and show the difficulties that women undergo because of society and its restrictions. The seven women are from all strata of society: the sportswoman who has to shelve her dreams because of marriage; the factory worker whose brother gets killed in a political clash; the Muslim journalist whose husband doesn't like her profession; the girl whose brother gets stoned to death by the police; the housewife whose husband's first love is Communism; the rich kid whose mind is turned by books; the poor woman who is raped and killed by a rich landlord. The threads of their stories are woven together in this movie.

An excellent concept, yes. Probably a sign of hope in these times when the standards of the Malayalam film industry are said to be dipping. However, having watched the movie, I have to admit that the idea has not been translated to the screen particularly well.

The first problem with the movie is terrible acting. Except for a couple of the actors (I liked the woman who plays the Muslim journalist) most them over-act and ham and generally make the viewer wince. Nedumudi Venu and Indrans, accomplished actors both of them, were on screen for about two minutes each. Secondly, while the women are all linked to each other somehow or the other, the Director decided that he needed another, more obvious link. So he put each of the women in a red stone quarry and made them scream their hearts out, poor things. The pure contrivedness of the gimmick reminded me of a street play I did when I was fifteen. Thirdly, there isn't enough meat to any of the stories. I guess it's tough to give any characterization given that there are seven stories and only ninety minutes, but who asked him to bring in seven stories anyway?

The stories I liked were the sportswoman's and the journalist's - perhaps because of the relatively better acting. I also liked the story set in 1948. Suresh Gopi plays a man who comes to Kannur ostensibly to teach at the local primary school. In reality, he is a 'Commoonist' who has come to give red ideas to the farmers. He soon marries a local woman, and starts leading processions against the local landlord. The story is about the sacrifices that brave and idealistic people made back then in order to bring about social change. Somehow, the story struck a cord within me - perhaps because of the obvious comparison with the sad state of Communism in Kerala today.

I hope that good concepts like these come up more often. And that they are better implemented from now on. Considering the amount of talent we have, it's a shame that the Malayalam film industry has not made its mark anywhere outside.
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Nikhil Narayanan said...

Thank me, for the torture.:D


Jade said...

Nah... I would have gone and seen it anyway, even if you hadn't brought the movie to my notice. I'm a pseud, after all. ;)