History Of Malayalam Cinema
The Wonder wood

A broad and beautiful medium like any other, with changes that are rather natural and important, changes in form, changes in aesthetics and also acceptance... Malayalam cinema like any other is prepossessing in its own way. As any type or language, Malayalam cinema is also part of this huge art form, Cinema. Cinema as one.
Malayalam cinema, an art form based in the southern part of India in the state of Kerala, started its journey through cinema like any other initiations. An idea, an idea I n a mind to express oneself, to tell stories, to share thoughts, to express, to captivate minds.

news papper boy The Birth –. C. Daniel, the father who started all of this what we are cherishing right now. Vigathakumaran (The Lost Child) a movie that made Malayalam cinema what it is right now. A path for the future artists to come sprouting forward. Back then, it was not what it was known today for. Theatres burning, riots started, lives destroyed. But it was a spark that started a fire, that's still burning now.

From then on films came in all forms. Adaptations of novels, plays, spiritual texts and so on... Movie like Marthandavrama (1935) are tremendous examples of this. The term cinema talkies came from talkies or movies where the characters talked. Balan (1938) the first ever movie with sound directed by S. Nottani. Slowly, Cinema took a pace in Malayalam. We were always behind the pioneers of cinema, Hollywood. We didn't have the backup back then, the infrastructure or even supporter who thought there was something in Malayalam cinema back then. We didn't have the knowledge about this too. But what we had was minds with ideas who could take the risk. Malayalam cinema if done were made by Tamil producers and also were given life in studios in Tamil Nadu. In 1947, Nirmala produce by P.J. Cherian changed it. In 1949, Vellinakshathram was the first Malayalam movie to produce in a studio in Kerala, Udaya Studios. These then led to the growth of the industry into the 50s, the revolutionary era.

G Aravindhan
G Aravindhan

Italian Neo-Realism And Change – The 50s was a time with vast changes in thoughts and style. The Italian Neo Realism came into movies in Malayalam with Newspaper boy (1955) directed by wannabe filmmakers, which made the thought into a lot of minds that this medium in way of liberal expression.

Music was an integral part, lyricist started writing exceptional words to impact the scene in turn starting a trend in Malayalam cinema. Music and dance paced songs were coming in huge.

Directors like Ramu Kariat P. Bhaskaran were notable directors who made big contributions in the 60s and 70s and were in depth with the medium that people celebrated cinema. The rise of the 70s by directors like Adoor Gopalakrishnan, G. Aravindan, K.R. Mohanan, K. G. George were some filmmakers that e still hold pride about. Adoor brought the International Film critics Prize to the state with movies like Anantharam (1987), Mathilukal (1989), Vidheyan (1993) etc..

The way Malayalam filmmaker shared ideas was exceptional. Fresh waves of cinema hit the audience as each filmmakers experimented with their style. Cartoonist Aravindan was a notable director who made movies so aesthetically beautiful like a children's book but discussed major themes in movies like Kanchana Sita (1977), Kummatty (1979).

Jhon Abraham
Jhon Abraham
The Institute - Aspiring filmmakers from Pune Film Institute made the medium even brighter in terms of its value. John Abraham, still known for his works globally, was one of the above who made a revolution in making such movies. AmmaAriyan was a movie of his greatest grandeur. He made the movie by public funding, by collecting money from random strangers and screening Charlie Chaplin's movie The kid(1921). This was like an alien way of filmmaking to most of the directors. Artists like him injected the truths about society and its madness and ideas into the public through powerful stories and characters.

Commersialization -We can say commercialization was in cinema from the start but hit off by the 80s giving birth to stars like Jayan, Prem Nazir, etc.. They focused mainly on romance and family issues, which were mostly adapted from novels and plays.

Then came the time, the time of the new school filmmaking by directors like Padmarajan and Bharathan. Critically acclaimed movies were made. Movies like Vaishali, Thakara, Chaamaram, Seasons etc made a revolution in the entire state mostly among young artists and citizens. With, Priyadarshan and Sathyan also made these huge movies integrating comedies with strong plots which took a hold on the family audience. Eve though from the 70s movies were a huge part of family outings these comedies made going to the cinema more of a festive aspect. Then came the international appreciations like the Cannes film Festival awards through directors like Shaji.N.Karun for Piravi(1989) and Malayalam cinema was known to the world that it's something more than just another industry.

90s till now
After the 90s, blockbusters were the trend, to see actors on screen, rather than the plot happened in theatres. We treated actors like superstars and they were the attracting point of movies. Fictional plots mostly with no intention of sharing something valuable were made. But as a coin has two sides movies based on emotions and thoughts were also made but were mostly categorized as art, which meant to most people as slow. The way cinema should work is in a parallel and balanced way. But all of it changed by the end of the first decade of the 21st century. New experiments in filmmaking were happening as new directors came forward. Director like Samir Tahir, Aashiq Abu, Lijo Jose Pelliserry experimented with new subjects and novel ways of making films. Even if the pandemic hit our industry by 2020, we still made movies which were shared through mediums that were available. Nowadays Cinema is in the blood of every citizen in Kerala. It's an integral part of their lives. Discussing socio-political subjects along with beautifully written characters and plots is what Malayalam Cinema is about. It's only due to the visions of the legends who paved this path which led to introducing new and inspired artists. There was a time in the industry were everything good about us was all downhill. But it's coming back up in a powerful way. Cinema was invented in the first place to express ideas freely. The irony of the first movie ever made in Malayalam is that its name is the lost child. We were lost but found our way back. No doubt that Malayalam cinema holds a place in the hearts of the world as great artists were there to pave the way. It is and always what the world calls it. The " Wonder wood" Industry.
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