'You don't see emotion these days'
It was Priyadarshan along with his friend Mohanlal who brought a wave of change into Malayalam films in the Eighties.
Together, they showed Malayalam filmgoers what slapstick and real humour were all about.
Priyadarshan, like some senior filmmakers -- Hariharan, Balachandra Menon, Gopi and Adoor Gopalakrishnan -- also feels that the Malayalam film industry is going through its worst period. And that it suffers from a lack of indepth stories:
Soft porn films are present in all Indian languages. It's not just confined to Malayalam alone.
But there are just four or five people making such films.
This is a phenomenon that surfaces every three or four years, lasting only for a maximum of six months.
So there is nothing to be alarmed about. I think we can easily ignore these kinds of films. They are only a passing fad.
Earlier we had four kinds of films: Art films, parallel cinema, commercial films and soft porno films. Now, there is no parallel cinema.
In a way, that is good because commercial cinema has become the parallel cinema of today. In fact, parallel cinema disappeared because the quality of commercial cinema went up.
Earlier, you had good quality sound only in the arty movies. Now, the sound of a film like Narasimham is as good as that of any 'art' film.
That is why you see only sensible people like Adoor Gopalakrishnan making those kind of films.
What has happened to them now? All have deteriorated!
But in the last three years or so, I see a deterioration in the quality of commercial films also, both technically and content-wise.
With the advent of television, families have stopped going to the theatres. Only youngsters go now. So, they expect fastpaced, ultra modern, glossy commercial films. That is the reason why Hindi and Tamil films are collecting more than Malayalam films these days.
Of late, I have found that Malayalam films have become repetitive. Unless they show new ideas, Malayalam films will not run.
I am sure films like Chitram and Kilukkam will have the viewers' even today because those films have humour, colour, good visuals, drama and emotion.
You don't see emotion these days. But todayís youngsters don't want to see films with old nalukettu, poverty and pathos. They do not want slow paced films too.
If you look at the great films that are made in Malayalam, you will find that all of them are based on great literary works.
But today we suffer from lack of good writers. MT Vasudevan Nair is the best writer we've had till now.
We have not produced any other writer who can be compared to MT. We have not seen a good literary work in the last two decades, which can be made into a movie.
Since stories are written with cinema in mind, we are not creating any great literature. If Malayalam literature becomes better, Malayalam cinema will also become better.
I want to make quality films but I canít find a good story. I am basically a director, and not a writer.
I am partly responsible for bringing comedy into Malayalam cinema. Until I made a slapstick like Poochakkoru Mookutti, Malayalam cinema had not seen good comedy films.
But comedy is suffering today. That is mainly because every Tom, Dick and Harry wants to make comedy films.
Malayalam was the only language that produced quality comedy films in India.
But because of the mimicry artistes, the quality of comedy films has gone down. There is no humour in today's films; you see only buffoonery in them!
Out of the 80 or odd films made in a year, you see hardly five films made on the lines of Vaanaprastham, and those five films bag almost fifty percent of the national awards. But the majority of the films that are made in Kerala are substandard.
During the Eighties and early Nineties, we produced the best commercial films in India. But the quality of the commercial films that are produced in Kerala are very bad.
I am surprised to see so many young filmmakers entering the Tamil film world with new ideas. And, their first films are all big hits.
On the other hand, you donít see a single new filmmaker in Kerala. We have not seen a single sensational new director in the last ten years.
The last sensational team was Siddiq-Lal.
Have you seen anybody after that? No.
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'
'We have a long way to go'