[ This is a guest post by Prakash Rajan, from Bangalore India, now residing in New Jersey, USA. Prakash is an inveterate cinephile and an 80’s -era Malayalam films junkie.”I love Sathyan Anthikad, Satajit Ray and Stanley Kubrick“, says Prakash. Touch base with Prakashhere.]
‘Sarvakalshala’ is quintessential Venu Nagavalli. Why? This is because, like the man himself, the film is philosophical and brooding. There is a pervading sense of melancholy in the movie, just like our man who is known for his pensive image. However, there is more to Venu Nagavalli than what meets the eye.
It is interesting to note that of the 12 movies directed by Venu Nagavally, 9 of them had Mohanlal playing the lead roles that mostly spoke about friendships and the bonds of unrequitted love. There was always an impending sense of loss in Venu Nagavally’s movies, specially the ones from the early years.
Venu Nagavalli, in his avatar as an actor, played diverse characters in close to 30-odd films, but he was always bracketed (pigeon-holed/slotted) as this brooding, melancholic hero who was always doomed from the beginning, ploughing through the proceedings to his inevitable sad and painful ending . Curiously enough, it was a slew of movies, starting with his debut film, Ulkadal (1978), that reinforced this stereotype , with the same kind of characters following suit, at least for the next decade.
I have tried to collate the videos, available in the popular media streams, that would help understand more about this genial, creative and amiable media personality, his perspectives and his works.
His personality reflected in his movies too, so to speak. I guess it becomes an inherent trait with all the film makers’ works, transferring apart of their alter-ego to their creations onscreen. But his sheer range of creativity was enough to silence his harshest critics.
[The repost of a note in memoriam, published on the passing of Venu Nagavally, 9th September, 2010. It has been an year.]
It has almost become a sickening joke of this passing away of the ‘Old School’ of Malayalam Cinema, one after the other in quick succession, right before your eyes With each, goes a part of a definitive and creative force that molded the golden years (purportedly) years of Malayalam Cinema, the 80’s and the 90’s. It almost makes you cringe, as you cock an ear at the ‘BREAKING NEWS’ ticker of the foaming-in-the-mouth crop of God’s own TV Channels, and with a an air of helplessness, mutter “why, so soon?” Venu Nagavally was no stranger to the magic of Cinema, you could say he was born right into it, with an illustrious lineage, right from popular writer and commentator Nagavally RS Kurup, starting off his dabbling into films as a playback singer, on the lines of Jose Prakash, who also entered Malayalam films as a playback singer .
From being the cinematic ‘experience’ of the movement, captured from real life ( with a reasonable amount of commercial ingredients added), I guess the genre got itself a kick in the face (literally) when Adoor Gopalkrishnan‘s Mukhamukhom (Face to Face) released in 1984. Adoor, just pulled apart the rotting guts of the ‘movement’, and then laid it bare on the silver screen. Broadly, I feel, from this point on, the focus was more on the effect of the ideology on the individualities/personalities, rather that glorifying the ‘revolution’. The past 2 decades haven’t budged from this perspective – it was more about the “I, than the Ideology ” . I guess the ones that come to mind, across these 25-odd years, reasonably explains well, the enduring perspective of the dilemma of the human being who gets caught between the ideology, consumed by it, and is gradually disillusioned by it.