I had always thought regardless of the occasional digital invectives thrown at and cussed upon, Malayala Manorama, Kerala’s iconic legacy brand held a fairly straight course when it came to the fidelity and ethical integrity of the news it published, however commercial and cosmetic that might appear at times. It was presumed, by default, that this would extend to online version, as it pioneered the advent of digital news dissemination in Kerala. Not anymore.
So what exactly happened ?
The other day, I was amazed to find my tribute to Meena, (one of our legendary actors )which was posted on December21, 2011 , literally translated and published in the Nostalgia section of Manorama Online, dated 17 September 2012, with the title “മറയാതെ മീന “, supposedly with the സ്വന്തം ലേഖകന് byline. The screen shots from my post had been aggregated to a collage and was the lead image for the post.
Thank God, whoever was in the Graphics department had the presence of mind not to put their watermark on it, the reason for which I got to know after a while of searching on the topic.More on that as we go onward.
It started getting incredulously funny as I started to read through the post. The സ്വന്തം ലേഖകന് seemed to be in a tearing hurry in completing the piece, and coupled with his/her abject ignorance ( I would rather call it laziness, after all how long does it take to Google facts ? ) had mangled the content, and in the hurry had even literally translated English into its equivalent sound in Malayalam :).
To see a screenshot of the article, click here.
As we are discussing the repurposing of the content, check out a few examples.
Mine: Mary aka Meena was the 8th and the youngest daughter of Koyikkaleth Itty Cheriachen and Eliyamma, and took to local theater and drama projects like fish to water at a very young age.
സ്വന്തം ലേഖകന്: ആലപ്പുഴ ജില്ലയില് കോയിക്കാലത്ത് വീട്ടില് ഇട്ടി ചെറിയാന്റെ യും ഏലിയാമ്മ ഇട്ടിയുടെയും എട്ടാമത്തേ മകളായ മീന സിനിമയില് എത്തും മുമ്പ് നാടകങ്ങളില് അഭിനയിച്ചിരുന്നു.
Mine: She was associated with some of the very popular professional theater companies like Geetha Arts and Kalaalayam for 6 years before her debut into films.
സ്വന്തം ലേഖകന്:സിനിമയില് എത്തുന്നതിനു മുമ്പ് ആറു വര്ഷത്തോളം പ്രൊഫഷണല് നാടക രംഗത്ത് നിറ സാന്നിധ്യമായിരുന്നു മീന ഗീത ആര്ട്സ് ആന്ഡ് കലാലയത്തിലെ പ്രധാന അഭിനേത്രിയായിരുന്നു.
Mine: From what I could gather, her theater debut was called Nirdoshi.
സ്വന്തം ലേഖകന്:നിര്ദോഷി എന്ന നാടകത്തിലൂടെ ആണ് മീന അരങ്ങേറുന്നത്.
And my Favorite Part.
Mine: Compare two of her compelling performances from that big bad body of the ‘evil MIL ‘genre, Paru Amma from Achaaram Ammini, Osharam Omana (1977) and Sthreedhanam (1993) – the basic premise and the character realisation is the same, but both stay memorable for the uniqueness she brings in portraying them.
സ്വന്തം ലേഖകന്:അച്ചാരം അമ്മിണി എന്ന ചിത്രത്തിലെ പാറു അമ്മ, 1977 ഇല് പുറത്തിറങ്ങിയ ഓശാരം ഓമന എന്നിവ നടിയുടെ ആദ്യകാല കഥാപാത്രങ്ങളില് അവിസ്മരണീയമായ ചിലതാണ് !
Hmmm ! Malayalam Cinema history just got re-written.
So, what did I do ?
I went over to the article page at Manorama Online, and posted a commented mentioning the facts. An hour later I repeated the process. I also posted a message on the different intervals using the “Report Abuse” option on the article. I haven’t the faintest idea what happened to them. I also learned that quite a few of the regular patrons of this blog had also sent across their protest via the comment box but nothing happened. But, today morning, apparently, I witnessed a miracle.
Jay, one of the most familiar faces around here had also spoken his mind, dipped in his unique sarcasm, and in a gracious display of media benevolence, the comment was published !
But someone from the moderating team at Manorama Online must have quickly realised that they have shot themselves in their collective foot, and bingo ! Jay Mohan‘s comment underwent euthanasia. This is how the Published Comments section look now, at the time of posting this.
Who else in Manorama Online knows about this ?
Their Senior Content Coordinator who is reachable from Monday to Saturday, except public holidays between 0900 hrs to 1800 hrs IST at these two e-mail ids : firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com. I have in fact forwarded the same e-mail twice today, in between the stipulated working hours, informing them of the situation and asking him to take necessary action. And the response isn’t anything different from what you expected in the first place – Deafening Silence !
Has there been earlier instances like this with others ?
So, what now ?
I hope they get the article re-written, or to save face, pull it down. But, having painted themselves to a corner , I donot think either of two is going to happen. They will sheepishly grin and bear it is my guess. But then again, miracles do happen.