Everywhere, there is a trend of going back to the roots. Can cinema be far behind? Mollywood is witnessing a revival of earthy stories with local flavour and these have been finding great acceptance. The kind of response Kammattipadam and the recent Angamaly Diaries have got proves audiences’ love for realistic stories. What are the reasons behind this fondness for ‘katta local’ tales?
According to Chemban Vinod Jose, writer of Angamaly Diaries, cinema is a reflection of society. “There is a ‘nadan’ trend everywhere. Go to a restaurant, there is a great demand for local flavours. Take marriages, you may now see that people prefer chatta and mundu over those highly fashionable attires. The same transition may be reflecting in movies. But, this cannot be called a trend because cinema will keep changing,” he says.
Hailed as a ‘natural actor’, Chemban says that he wanted the story of Angamaly Diaries to be different and unpredictable. “We wanted to try something different and hence chose the realistic genre. When we narrate a story from a small town, it can be told only in a local tone. We were careful to keep the story entertaining and unpredictable till the end. People come to the theatre for entertainment. At least, I approach cinema like that. Be it acting or writing, I try to keep the entertainment factor upper most,” explains Chemban who believes that it is not the genre but the quality of the movie that ultimately matters.
“It is the same people who made Pulimurugan, Bangalore Days, Maheshinte Prathikaram and Premam a success, who supported Angamaly Diaries. That means there is an audience for all sorts of movies.” As the local flavour becomes a winning ingredient, Thrissur, the cultural capital of Kerala, is emerging as the favourite location for Malayalam movies. If Fort Kochi has been filmmakers’ paradise for a while, it is now the turn of Thrissur. The place first gained popularity when Punyalan Agrabathis came out. Now, there are three movies —Gerogettan’s Pooram, Thrissivaperoor Kliptham, and The Great Father — shot in Thrissur that are getting ready for release. Sathyan Anthikad’s Dulquer Salmaan starrer Jomonte Suviseshangal was also filmed in Thrissur.
“The place has a vintage feeling,” says Swaroop Philip, cinematographer of Thrissivaperoor Kliptham, a movie set in Thrissur. It is a big budget movie shot on a wide canvas. “The old buildings, streets and markets in Thrissur would really excite us. The architecture is beautiful. Thrissivaperoor Kliptham is a local movie and so the frames were set like that. When you shoot in a place, you need to mould the available elements of that place in tune with the story of the movie. That part was quite easy in that movie as the story takes place in Thrissur. I think there is lot to explore still in Thrissur,” he adds.
For Vinod Illampally, cinematographer of Georgettan’s Pooram, Thrissur has been a dream location for a long time. Whenever he passes by Thrissur, he would think of capturing the place in his camera. “I cannot imagine Thrissur without the Thekkinkadu Maidan and the Vadakkunnathan temple. I used to go to Thrissur for Ayurvedic treatment and those days during the evening I would go to the Vadakkunnathan temple. And, I really wished to shoot a movie in that ambience,” says Vinod. “When I did Georgettan’s Pooram, a few portions were shot in the Vadakkunnathan premises. So, I had the frames already set in mind and I tried to include those elements, like people playing cards, in the movie,” he adds. For Vinod, the temple itself is a visual treat. “It is situated right in the heart of the town and its location is beautiful. The space is vast. You just have to go there with the camera and the frames will come to you.”