Friday, April 07, 2006
In search of a Malayalee’s Identity.
Yesterday, as a part of Vishu celebrations in IIT,the movie Raappakal was screened in OAT. The storyline is the same old wine in the new bottle, albeit there are some serious questions raised about the present generation of malayalees. The movie portrays the life of a Thamburatti (equivalent to the queen in the olden times), who lives alone in a big Kovilakam (Palace). Her children are working at various places in
The jocundity is overshadowed by anxiety and confusion when people realize the ulterior motive behind the get together, which is to divide the vast property among the younger generation. Once this is clear, there are a lot of scenes portraying the woes of the hapless mother, who is being silenced by her powerful and money minded sons and brother in laws. The property is split and the big palace is demolished and sold. Thamburatti is forced to move out to her son’s place, where, as usual, you could see a stereotypical daughter in law, the one that is seen quite often in the movies and serials. In the end, she runs away from them and decides to stay with the caretaker.
The topic seems to be exploited innumerous times. Despite this fact, its still selling! Surprising indeed. The movie is very ordinary, meant to capitalize on the nostalgic feelings of non resident keralites. One gets a feeling that the only reason behind the success of the movie is the dream run Mammooty is relishing these days. But if one look at the movie in a different perspective, one could observe a shocking reality, that the younger generation is no more interested in staying in Kerala! One could see most of them shifting to places such as
In the new age of global village, one could always argue that the telecommunication explosion has kept us updated about the God’s Own Country. Frankly speaking, these are just a superficial feeling, as most of us heavily bank on the TV Channels for this. The present day channels such as Asianet, Surya, Kiran, Asianet Plus and the other umpteen channels are more interested in serials and such masala stuff, which concentrates more on stories where one could see a woman being harasses day in day out. All these have a similar story line, where the heroine would have had a son before her marriage and this will be kept under cover, and then it will lead to a lot of complications in her married life, and there will be a villain who is trying to hoodwink her husband’s business properties. If you decide to see the comedy programmes for a change, you will be welcomed by a lanky imitating the mannerisms of an inebriated soul. To take over from there, there will be leader and his kids shouting at our CM and one Left Party leader who is a better mono act artist. One can see the untimely navarasas coming on to his face every now and then. Occasionally, during onam or vishu, one get to see good looking girls clad in pattu saree, and chatting (flirting?) in a cooked up accent of polished malayalam. This is not the Kerala that I know. Seriously! The Kerala I know contains straight forward people. Why should one try to cover up his/her mallu accent? And if you want to listen to hindi or english, there are better channels available. Asianet has cut down on its good programmes like Ente Keralam for the shows like Sthree Hrudayam or something like that. Its shocking! So where will a non resident busy keralite bank on for his Kerala? Dreams? It will work for the ones who were born and brought up in Kerala. How about the generations succeeding them? Aren’t their identities getting oblivious? Or am I getting paranoid here?
Talking about identity, in my case, I have never seen my Illam (another name for Tharavaadu). The only ways of visualizing my Illam is through the books and movies of M T and the occasional movies like Raappakal. Amongst my 14 paternal cousins, only 6 of them including me can read Malayalam! I have stayed all along in Kerala, before I moved to Chennai for undergraduation. Now it is highly unlikely that I will also settle in Kerala. So I might be the last person in my tree to know Malayalam! This is a startling fact.
Now about my school friends, almost all of them are moving to
Similar feelings..used to think about this and on same lines during engg days in REC Warangal...
One thing I know for sure,I will never let my mallu identity go...
Now I don't think about these things, became more "self centric"..or lost hope...
hail the mallu spirit:-)
Unless the Malayalees elect a sensible govt that encourages investments in the state and curb the Union's teeth, no investor will set foot in Kerala. Once jobs are created I think Malayalees would have an opportunity to live and work in the state.
And the present day Malayalam channels are nothing but Ekta Kapoor clones.I am yet to see a serial that is essentially malayalee in content and theme. I do like DD Kerala's programes though. Some are really good. Good post.
@jithu: yeah very true. But the kind of stories that we hear about the entrepreneurs in kerala is startling. Reminds me of a movie named Varavelppu by lalettan. Though people argue that those times are gone past, I still doubt it.
@silverine: Thank you for the compliment. But then, neither the UDF or LDF seems to be thinking in that line so far. That is disheartening. For the mere materialistic gains they tend to oppose the good policies. And with the kind of politicans in both sides,the educated class finds that the easiest thing to do is to be apathetic towards politics, and if possible, get out of the place. this has to change.
What is happening to Kerala is a replica of what is happening to the entire world. In this era of globalization, most people migrate to other countries (in this case cities) for a better living.
Let’s take S’pore as an example; it is a cosmopolitan city/country where the native population consists of Chinese and Indians. The national language is English, which is also the global language, though some might disagree with me. Turley a multi-cultural/global country!
On culture, I guess it cannot be lost; it’s rather an adaptation of culture. Moreover, culture, morals, values, core beliefs, norms et al. depend on individual following as opposed to their location.
Please excuse me but this is not for you. Why is it that Indians, in general, complain so much about the government and choose to do nothing about it or their situation?
To sum it all up: Change is a rule of life.
Once a person leaves his home...he begins to miss it and value it even more....till what I have seen now....every Indian is like this...
good post. losing Kerala identity would be akin to having no identity at all for me. we are proud Keralites and we should give something back to our state even if that requires us doing our studies outside etc.
on the movie, u ppl at IITM are lucky to have malayalam movies there :( liked Rappakal myself though it was a cliched theme. one thing that worries me is the selling off/demolition of our traditional tharavadus and manas which are so wonderful and marvellous.
serials and most programmes being aried these days on malayalam channels are helpless and worse. they not only distort our culture and above all, corrupt the sensibilities of people and spoil our children. all they show is ridiculous marriage break-ups, extramarital affairs and women being exploited etc all of them sending wrong messages and going against our ethos and norms.
it's high time the people in Kerala wake up to the beauty and values of our language, artforms, culture etc. but one very encouraging trend I see is that a lot of foreigners esp Europeans are really falling in love with our land and doing a lot to popularize Kathakali, Koodiyattam etc. everything Kerala is now gaining a huge attention in the world at large. that is an opportunity we must capitalize on.
Moreover, the new culture, many a times turn out to be a cheap plagiarism of the culture of the super powers.
@raghu: I totally agree with you. But the question is what needs to be done?
@random thoughts: nice to hear abt mallus in canada :P true that the nrks miss kerala more, but I am worried abt the generation nxt, not the immigrant ones. The new offsprings will know almost nothing abt Kerala :(
@Arjun: Nice idea. But who has time to do all these. The govt is more interested in short term accomplishments. They are now interested in setting up massaging centers and other stuff. By the time they realize the market for Kerala Art forms, there will be hardly any pure artists left :(
Moreover malayalees seeem to have lost interest in thes art forms, which is disheartening.
I feel that it is a movie of numerous hidden messages. I personally saw the movie with my friends.I felt bad when my friends expressed bad abt the movie.
The movie is still resting in my heart as a pain.I felt guilty of my consciousness but i couldn't find why?
The movie also depicts the typical kerala scenario where relationships are getting much thinner among friends as well as family members which diverts the mind in to other extreme thoughts.
I believe it is amovie that every teenager and every youth of kerala should watch to enlighten one 's consciousness about the hidden animal inside the all innocent malayalee.
hats off to all who thought of makin such a movie.....
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