Thursday, 17 January 2008

Katha Parayumbol - Must Watch!


You: Why Should I Watch 'Katha Parayumbol'?

Me: If you're anything like me, you are curious about most things Keralite, but you don't always relate to Kerala's culture or understand the finer nuances of Malayalee conversation. (And you wont be even be surprised that you dont relate to these aspects.) Why? Because, like me, you:

  1. never grew up in Kerala...or India for that matter.

  2. What you know of the Malayalam language is what mom or grandma spoke, or what you saw in pirated Mallu videos of the 80s, in the country your family emigrated to.
So, a two hour political potrayal of socialist endeavours or "boy-meets-girl at college for the billionth time", will be completely lost on someone like me.

But the movie "Katha Parayumbol..." (translates loosely to "When Telling a Story...") engaged me for its complete duration...that's an experience I've not had with any Indian movie in a while!
Story-telling was at a new level, with entertainment and education rolled into one. Each cast member was picked with precission and the screenplay (by comedian Sreenivasan) was commendable in my view.

In a time when the Indian movie still gets snickered at for its focus on "LAU", "LAU SONGS" and as they say in Tamil, "KUTHU CHANDAI" ( "Impossible feats of fist fighting and kicking stunts that defy gravity), this movie has me thinking that it's time I take my "tounge-in-cheek", sarcy family and friends to this movie.

You:Where Should I Watch This?

Me: I'm priviledged to have watched "Katha Parayumbol..." on the big screen in Chennai and I am aware that my fellow members of the Keralite diaspora may not have this privilege if they're in Malaysia or Belgium or Fiji Islands or whatever. But to those of you planning to make a trip to Kerala, I recommend you don't miss this movie.

You: Ok, You've Won Me Over ...(Almost, so dont get too excited!) Tell me, who starred in it?

Me: Now the stars... Mamooty& Sreenivasan.

Every Mallu and his/her brother-in-law knows Mamooty.

I dont know how many of my Mallu family and friends will know the name Sreenivasan from the 80s/90s comedy flicks. But if you remember him as well as I do, I think you'll agree that he was one of those comedians you waited to watch on screen and whose talent in comedic-timing surpassed that of most of his peers of those decades.

Anyway, Sreenivasan wrote the screenplay of this movie and he's done a wonderful job! Loved this movie and recommend it to Mallus who aren't completely in sync with regular Mallu flicks.

You: Do I Have Access to This Movie? If I Don't, Why Whet My Apetite Telling Me About It?

Me: You may wonder how the rest of the Malayalee population, dispersed across continents, nationalities and generations, are going to get to view this gem of a Malayalam movie. For now, the only way is to either travel to satisfy your unique movie cravings, or to become an owner of a cinema and make it a point to screen Mallu movies. :-) How that would make money, I don't know....I ain't no business-person.

Any other legal ideas are welcome too. I always imagined that malayalee associations all over the world will one day convene to find a solution to this problem, especially in the day and age when every Malayalee parent is lamenting that their kids aren't as Mallu as themselves or aren't interested in Mallu culture. I'm surprised that these parents don't realise that they themselves picked up details of Kerala and its tradition through Malayalam cinema. Therefore, great films are the answer to their problems. Despite all the ingenuity that the Keralite boasts of across the seas, something as simple as propagation of culture through GOOD cinema has been left untapped.

I think Malayalam cinema, unlike many of it's sister-genres, can (for the most part) boast of being able to propagate culture without the patronising commerical additives that include [1] hip-hop dancers for a song set in Kanada raga (go figure!) or [2] a three-piece suit with tie-pin and cuff links, for a villian whose entire lifestyle is typical of a village head (and not of the mafia!)

Secretly, the next story I hope someone as talented as Sreenivasan tells us, relates to not only those IN Kerala but those OUT of it, aspiring to retain what is precious. He seems fertile with issues which are otherwise untouched by his own peers in Malayalam film-making, and I hope a movie like the one I've mentioned above, takes hime to greater heights.

Here's another secret wish...the reason I tell you, the potential-audience about this, is in the hope that some Mallu out there reading this, does something about accessibility of Malayalam movies to Keralites and their clueless descendents around the world!

So there!

Incidentally, I HAVE emailed Sreenivasan my comments. :-)

Source of photos -

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