Truth be told, no one saw that coming. The announcement of the 61st National Film Awards for 2013 came as a big surprise for the Malayali. The comedian known for “one and only one type of role” in all the time he has been part of Malayalam cinema bagged the Award for the Best Actor.
[ Remitha on X’mas and its movies, from her Wonder Years.]
Thanks to fourteen years in a school run by nuns, Christmas inevitably brings to mind Charlton Heston angrily parting the Red Sea or trying to give water to Jesus struggling with the Cross. (As an aside, I simply loved how they never showed Jesus’ face throughout Ben-Hur, but just gave visual clues. It all seems pretty obvious now, but as a little kid, my puzzle-loving mind was thrilled to make the connection.)
I have been told to lay off the adjectives for this one. But when the subject is Vidyamma, it is a tough task for me. So forgive me if a couple do manage to creep in.
It is no wonder that Babu, the 1971 Tamil film failed to do well despite having the Titan of Tamil cinema Sivaji Ganesan in the lead role. The film was a remake of the 1965 Malayalam film Odayil Ninnu, based on the novel of the same name by Keshava Dev. With all due respect to Nadigar Thilagam (I do have a very sweet spot in my heart for him) and at the cost of sounding sacrilegious to my brethren from across the border, I have to say this: the lead role in Malayalam was assayed by the incomparable Sathyan.
[ Remitha brings up the lighter side of the Oh-So-Serious-70 MM Movie making and the grandeur of Padayottam (1982) ]
When The Count of Monte Christo, Alexander Dumas’ sweeping tale of love, betrayal, revenge and eventually forgiveness, was adapted for the Malayalam audience, the result was a melting pot of the international kind. From sartorial ‘elegance’ to home décor, what ended upon the screen was a potpourri of colour and pageantry with influences drawn from around the world.