New generation cinema is a much misused and misinterpreted word these days, so much so that when someone mentions the mere name, people start giving meaningful smiles and funny looks.
New generation cinema in Malayalam
The very people who use it left right and center does not know what it means. Generally people think new generation movies are the ones which are taken by some new directors, with extra amount of expletives, dare to bare heroines, and something based more on the cities rather than villages or small towns. There are some movies people readily add into these categories like Traffic, Beautiful, Salt and Pepper, Chappa kurishu etc.
People generally are wary of this term because it simply does not mean what it is meant to be. I would rather say new generation movie like anything in life, is the life of the current generation. It is not just the movie, it is the people who has moved on. When you say the movie is of new generation, do you think it is just an attempt to be different from the older generation, say a Padmarajan movie or an IV Sasi movie? Or Adoor Gopalakrishnan movie or Sibi Malayalil? At each point in time people narrated stories which theyknew.
Sathyan anthikadu showed the society he knew, the life he knew. TP Balagopalan MA Sanmanassullavarkku Samadanam and all those movies depicted that generation. As each generation passed, society changed, people changed, and accordingly movies too changed. Now when the youngsters come into the foray and show their life or their society in the movies why term it is as some postmodern movie, give a name as if to praise it and make the same term a butt of ridicule to some others and inturn pull the movies down?
If you look at Malayalam movies, every few years there will be a change. The makers of Neelakkuyil will certainly be astonished to watch an Irupatham Noottandu. That would have been really a new generation cinema for them. Now that technology is so advanced, everyone has a mobile phone with internet and camera on it, the world is so different. Most of the old movie stories are invalid now like for example, Vandanam movie ends with the hero and heroine going different ways without being able to get in touch with each other, because the girl could not pick up her land phone on time! Now it will never happen with the time of mobile phones. The entire world is changed and so is cinema. It has to change according to the time, the makers will be changed, the young generation comes into being and they show their world. Now before branding the movies as “new generation” first understand that the world is new too. The society is new too. And so is cinema.
Recently during the interviews of some of the film makers, while asked about the new generation movies, they have something against this term or something against the movies that came under these brands. Definitely the directors who made it did not make to brand it this way. People could relate to the movies, they wanted a fast narration, contemporary stories, without any frills, and when they saw it, they liked and lapped it up. Now if you say that you should like only the movies which are set in 1990s it is just not going to work out.
For example I watched the movie “Arabiyum ottakavum Madhavan Nair um” and I was disappointed to see that Mr. Priyadarshan is still living in 90s. I almost loudly said “sir, the world has moved on, did you not notice? The slow pace of narration and the old wine in the “seemingly” new bottle was really overfermented!
Never underestimate the audience, they are like a river, ever flowing, never stagnating. To flow along with it is to revive continuously, to set the stories according the current society, taking up contemporary themes and not just that, be contemporary. No one can do that better than the youngsters. New generation movie is not a new phenomenon, it has happened all the time, but we failed to notice, or it was not this stark contrast. With the world becoming a global village and with the emergence of mobile phone and internet, the it was a giant leap, but accept it, it is not the cinema that is changed to new generation, it is the generation itself that is new!