The Dying Indian Film Industry

Perhaps this post has a slight bias due to my personal investment in the Malayalam industry, but because of my bias; I can use it to my advantage. In no way am I a divulged expert on the industry(s) – Bollywood, Tollywood, Kollywood, Mollywood, etc. but in doing my thesis; I’ve discovered a few discrepancies which I shall divulge about in later posts.

Being a first generation Indian born in America to first generation immigrant parents; I grew up watching Malayalam cinemas. Mohanlal, Mammootty, Suresh Gopi, Dileep, Jayram, were my film idols before ever watching or hearing about names such Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Cruise.  Even though the films were/are 2 hours long (sometime longer), I personally never felt that it was too long because the stories were carried out beautifully and the actors/actresses did their part to move the plot forward.

Right now, present day… I can’t say the same. The video quality may have improved (as it should), but the same cannot be said for the storylines presented before us and the characters who attempt to portray them along with how the media decides to spin stories.

In being “behind the scenes” for a couple projects; I know teamwork is a must for a film to go forward – but also a plan that is meticulous to the finest details. I’ve noticed that most Malayalam short films attempt to carry this desire of being a full-fledged film but only come half way with their production quality; thus bringing the question whether conducting short-films are even worth it?

Well, the answer to that question in this present time is yes, for our attention span to watch a full 2 hour movie with a weak story line (or what we Malayalaees like to call “pynkili katha”/time-pass), and actors/actresses whose faces and names we hardly remember makes short-films appealing, yet if not properly done (which most are), then they too are killing the once gregarious industry of cinema. That being said however, short films are a way to get many aspiring creative talents together to produce a dream aspiration albeit through direction, acting, singing, etc. It’s the opportunity for individuals to dip their toes in charted (and uncharted) waters.

In recent observations via the various media outlets particular within the Malayalam industry; I’ve noticed the “ethics” of journalism and production of cinema has waned. I’ve been having far too many conversations with folks asking me what I feel of the present “scandals” that are flying about to which I will not divulge further because it’s not my place to – and neither is it yours.

The quality of journalism today is nothing of what it was during the last third of the 20th century. Yes, news organizations back then earned profits and the best of the networks poured enormous amounts of money into finding, developing and sending into the field thousands of qualified journalists to report the news but unfortunately that image and quality has made almost a 360-degree turn as of late and I don’t blame the journalists — but I do query as to why the butcher to quality and ethics….

Because I am active journalist; I believe in relaying the hard, factual truth no matter how gritty it may sound. I recall reading and listening to the news in India praising them for their boldness to report on those daunting stories that some readers/writers in America wouldn’t dare to touch yet now – it has become a mockery. They are reporting with a style similar to Hollywood’s TMZ where they are seeking for news that isn’t there… for months at end…

The South Indian film industry was relatively clean when it came to scandals (though of course they are aplenty) but rather, the news outlets would report and talk about the film, directors, the storyline, actors etc. If I look to the news outlets now; it seems to only shed a negative light on the industry with theatres closing down, the black money corruption and actor scandals and divorces. I understand that some of the news is necessary to convey such as theatres closing down and the corruption of the industry but to pursue actor(s) and actress(s) and procreating stories without fact and legitimate evidence is wrong.

Oh, and to return to the point about having less than memorable characters – quit casting people with half the talent and can make a name for themselves rather than relinquish their morals and pay their way into the industry. It’s as simple as that.

Change is needed for this industry to thrive again. I want to feel that excitement I once had when I film was about to release. I want to be able to appreciate the film, the songs, the director and the team – but until the industry repair’s its internal organs, the outer appearance will continue to disintegrate

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