'We have a long way to go'
Mankada Ravi Varma became famous as the cinematographer of Adoor Gopalakrishnan's films.
He won two National Awards for cinematography, one for Adoor Gopalakrishnan's Swayamvaram in 1972. In 2000, he won it for his documentary, Kalamandalam Gopi.
Ravi Varma also has won a special jury award for his own film, Nokkukuthi, based on a poem by noted Malayalam poet, M Govindan in 1984.
Varma's association with Malayalam films started over three decades ago. But he has always been associated with serious cinema.
Varma... but seriously:
Cinema is a truthful reflection of the society at large. And Malayalam cinema is no exception.
At all levels and phases of 'expression' of the intellect, contradictions do exist.
Deterioration has set not only in films but in other fields, too -- education, media, politics. This obviously affects and influences everyday life.
The basic script of a film evolves from an idea that appears in the mind of the filmmaker. The idea itself may be inspired by the work of another author but you can create a screenplay based on the idea. Even if the idea was from another author, the screenplay can be an original work.
Today, there are very few good films. The effect of those is offset by the worthless majority of films. I am sorry to say that even the best filmmakers fall prey to the temptation of money!
I have not yet seen Vaanaprastham.
But I understand that both Chemmeen and Vaanaprastham are expensively made films. This trend is not very encouraging for the newcomers.
I believe that the endeavors of the filmmakers from the new generation will be less creative and less imaginative.
If you go by awards, there have been gold medal winners in almost all Indian languages.
The real test is in comparing Malayalam films with the worlds greatest films. Save for one or two intelligent and sincere directors, the others have not been able to make a mark outside India.
On the other hand, small countries like Poland, Hungary, Italy, Sweden, Greece, Spain and, of course, France and Japan, have made better films than us.
We have a long way to go.
This feeling of self-satisfaction will not do any good to Malayalam cinema. If at all Malayalam films are dominating the Indian scene as made out by the media, it has not been able to take a place alongside world's great filmmakers.
Yes, there is talent among young filmmakers but they have to move earth and heaven to raise a few lakhs of rupees to make a film of their own, the way they want.
Finance, ultimately, emanates from the theatre owner via the distributor and producer-financier. By the time it reaches the filmmaker, it acquires several tags and conditions.
Until this curse on filmmaking is done away with, our filmmakers will not be able to create something world class. Of course, we also need the media to help highlight these as the world's greats.
All good films cannot be totally artistic. So we have the compromise cinema is a slide down from good cinema. It has only caused the early demise of some promising young directors.
God's own films!
'Malayalam cinema is definitely growing'
'Pain drives all great creations'
'It's the filmmaker's duty to entertain people'
'The films I consider bad win awards!'
'I love the films of the '60s and the '70s'
'Today we have only copycats'
'Cinema is both art and industry'
'You don't see emotion these days'