Saturday, October 17, 2009

Kerala Varma Pazhassiraja

Medium : Malayalam
Starring : Mammootty, Sarath Kumar, Suman, Manoj K Jayan, Jagathi, Kaniha, Padmapriya
Direction : Hariharan
Script : MT Vasudevan Nair
Music : Ilayaraja

The most awaited malayalam film of the decade has released at last. It has got many specialties. After a gap of 20years, veteran writ
er MT Vasudevan Nair and director Hariharan creates an epic with Mammootty in the lead role; top musician in the country, Ilayaraja works with the director and the script writer for the first time; Oscar winner Rasool Pookkutty's first malayalam movie; tamil actor Sharath Kumar's debut in malayalam; the costliest film ever made in our state; the malayalam film that took a long period to complete the shooting schedules etc. were some of them. Gokulam Gopalan, a relatively new name in the field has produced it, in the middle of many hurdles and hazards. It all happened in the last 3 years for such a multicast mega budget project named 'Kerala Varma Pazhassiraja' which has been released in four languages now.

The film tells the story of the brave ruler Pazhassiraja, who fought against the East India
Company during the 17th century. His palace was attacked and his wealth were looted by the British. Now he started war against them from the covers. He has got many supporters. There were many loses on either sides. Here the main area discussed is the tough time that goes through the ruler's life till his end. How such a great freedom fighter is still remembered at this point of time is what the creators have tried to show through the film.

It is a request that don't ever compare 'Kerala Varma Pazhassiraja' with 'Oru Vadakkan Veera
gadha' which is created by the same team two decades before. May be it is one of the best movies happened in the malayalam film history. But here the circumstances is totally different. A history is totally different from a myth. What all happened in that period is what shown here (an exception is only there in the climax area). The previous movie was straight, silent and it gave more importance for the family sequences and the dramatic areas along with the dialogues. Can you spot a single war sequence in the previous movie. But 'Kerala Varma Pazhassiraja' is not clam, the deep dense forest and the office of the British forms the atmoshere in most areas. Moreover it is flourished with many small and big war scenes. "Less dialogues, more action" is the motto here. 'Oru Vadakkan Veeragadha' is known as the writer's movie, but 'Kerala Varma Pazhassiraja' will be remembered in the name of the director. Hariharan stands behind MT in 'Panchagni', 'Nakhakshathangal', 'Amritham Gamaya', 'Aaranyakam' and 'Oru Vadakkan Veeragadha'. As the situation, demanded the director has dominated for the first time. (i am not pulling down the efforts given by the great writer in creating such an unusual plot on papers...)

'Kerala Varma Pazhassiraja' is technically brilliant in all aspects. The cinem
atographer Ramanath Shetty (did tamil films like 'Allaudin', 'Mrigam' etc) has done a great job here likewise editor Sreekar Prasad. The film which has got many actors along with a bulk of extra artists and that too in the middle of war shots; needs the hands of such experienced technicians. Cameramen like Venu and Manoj Pillai also worked for few scenes.

Another main area to be noted is the music section. I heard many complaints here and there regarding the songs before the release of the film. "kunnathe konnakkum..." by Chitra; "aadiyusha sandhya..." by Yesudas, MG Sreekumar, Chandrasekhar, Vidhuprathap etc; "ambum kombum..." by Ilayaraja, Manjari etc; "aalamadankala..." by MG Sreekumar, Vidhu Prathap, Ashraf, Edavanna Gafoor etc; were among them. Anyway I kept silent for the criticism, I was sure that the songs will be suited well for the situations. Watching the film, my assumption was correct. The songs are blended well according to the situations, especially "aadiyusha sandhya...". It is sad to see that "ambum kombum..." song was not included. But we can't complaint, such compramises have to be done since the length of the film is already 210 minutes. Then, regarding the background score, done by the support of the Budapest Orchestra from Hungary, the musical genius have given one of this best works so far, which holds the backbone for the film. It stands on the top when compared to his works in the bg score side for 'Kalapani', 'Guru', 'Hey Ram', 'Virumaandi' etc.

Sound designing by Rasool Pookkutty is also excellent. The particular shot where the injured hero checks the usage of sword is the best example. I have not seen so far in an indian movie where the war sequences has been covered brilliantly with sounds; which may felt like we are in the war front. Mixing Engineer Anup Dev, who always works for bollywood films has given the best audio output. Art director Muthuraj, Costumers Sai, Vajramani etc might have witnessed sleepless nights during the schedules, but they can claim this as their best project so far. Ravi Dewan from bollywood along with Thyagarajan and Mafia Sasi have composed the best action scenes which involves the 'kalarippayattu', bow and arrow fights along with the sword fights in the film; but they should have avoided graphics shots involving ropes in it which felt un natural.

The performance of all the ar
tists are good. The role of the "roaring lion of kerala" is comfortable in the hands of Mammootty; his scenes towards the end is notable. Sarath Kumar as the lieutenent, Manoj K Jayan as the tribal leader, Jagathi as the mediator and Padmapriya as the tribal lady should be mentioned here.

The problem that can arise while discussing a historical subject may happen in the case of Pazhassi Raja also. Almost all such films are having a common formula. It will be X against Y or vice versa all the time. Since we areaware of the base story, there won't be any chance for a curiosity or a suspense during the journey. But you should keep in mind that in those days the only aim for any citizen was to achieve independence by all means. Hence there is no chance for any dramatic situations, family scenes or any such cliche things which is part of the ordinary masala movies. The producer, director and the script writer who took the boldness to create such a big project should be noted here.

Once out of the theater, a stranger asked whether i have watched the movie, when i said 'yes', he immediately enquired whether Mammootty dies in the end!!! This is where our sensibility lies, we don't know any thing related to history, also the attitude of the audience have changed a lot in the recent past; by asking such a foolish question it is clear that the particular man is a fan of star oriented films; he doesn't want to see the hero dies in the end. who is the culprit here, the creators or the viewers ?!

Movies like 'Kerala Varma Pazhassiraja' happens once in a while; Does it gives any happiness for you by running way from it...? Such bold attempts should be welcomed and appreciated.

Rating : 8.5 / 10

No comments: