What is the so-called new generation cinema in Malayalam all about? A young breed of film-makers who entered Malayalam filmdom introducing new narrative techniques,shunning superstars and fetching new faces in seemingly untold stories have created a buzz in the industry in the last three years.
However,the general feeling among film buffs is the group of filmmakers who identify themselves with the new brand have failed to create an impact on movie-goers with anything substantial to offer.
With recently released Anchu Sundarikal,an anthology of five films by young directors Ashiq Abu,Shyju Khalid,Sameer Thahir,Amal Neerad and Anwar Rasheed getting a cold response,critics say the audience expect more than mere experiments.
“There is a fetish for visuals and form in these films than content,” is how director B Unnikrishnan,who makes films with superstars and popular actors,puts it. Scriptwriter John Paul says films of K G George,Bharathan and Padmarajan are miles ahead compared to the new generation films in terms of their shock value triggered by reality,levels of engagement,thematic novelty and stunning narration.
Noted film-maker Lenin Rajendran,who since the 1980s had been part of the new wave ushered in by directors George,Bharathan,Padmarajan and Mohan,says the new films had set a positive trend in the sense they sought to negate dominance of superstars and brought in new actors and technicians.
Lenin’s early films Venal and Chillu were a breath of fresh air for the audience. “But if you study the new films now being branded as new generation,you will see how meaningless and hollow they are content-wise,” Lenin told PTI.
While Malayalam cinema won accolades across the world with works of G Aravindan and Adoor Gopalakrishnan,their audience was limited to a chosen few. It was Bharathan,Padmarajan and Lenin who chose to tread the middle path with successful films which attracted the audience besides fetching honours.
Can the new generation cinema be described as having created such a wave is the question confusing the minds of critics. The first negative answer is that most of the films being churned out in numbers are just adaptations and some of them trash. “Many of the films only turn out to be the copies of foreign films,” Lenin says.