What is drawing youngsters to cinema these days?

Young directors, younger actors, seemingly bold themes, crisp, flowing sequences. Malayalam cinema, caught in a blind alley a few years ago, seem to have now hit a purple patch with a row of hits. But has the campus given the thumbs up to the new experiments. Or has it hit the mute button, engrossed in studies with no time for things worldly?

The Hindu-EducationPlus visited the campus of St. Teresa’s College in Kochi to set the doubts at rest, meeting a few passionate film buffs to debate a wide variety of issues on the emerging trends in cinema.

While critics may differ on the “newness” of the so-called new-generation movies, the students here, however, seem to vouch that there is definitely something in it for them.

Reshma Mary, final year student of BA Economics, who believes that cinema is all about drama and extravaganza, said that today too little was too much.

“Subtlety is the motto. The audience wants to see realism on screen, and the directors and actors are obliged to do so. The days of over-expression and drama seem to be over in a way. Mainstream cinema used to be about big budget films, with superstars in lead roles. The trend somehow seems to have changed making even the small budget movies part of it,” she said.

Brave cast

Reshma pointed out that film-makers were no more reluctant to cast new faces. The audiences demanded “content” rather than “stars.”

“Anybody with talent can come into the field with confidence, changing the face of cinema and presenting it to the common people,” she said.

Explaining that she finds more of realism than masala in today’s cinema, Bhavana Sarah John, student of final year BA Economics, said that it was not about being bold or making films that no one would dare to make.

“It is how you portray the theme. Today’s cinema is no more based on star value. The storyline and acting talent matter. People want to see more different and bold themes than those in the typical Bollywood movies. They have started enjoying unconventional movies than the usual run-of-the-mill stuff,” she said. Young actors in Mollywood have won the hearts of the movie buffs.

Annie Isabel Jaison, final year student of BA English, said that Malayalam cinema had risen from the ashes, with the entry of an array of talented young artistes.

“One of my current favourites is Fahad Fazil, who has been creating ripples in the industry ever since his comeback in Kerala Cafe. Fahad is, in fact, very wise and far-sighted. He takes up unique, unpredictable roles that grip the audience and leave them guessing until the very end. Added to this is his charming smile and those twinkling eyes that have conquered hearts all around,” she said.

Annie said the actor Dulqar Salman was equally promising. “Dulqar has a certain charisma about him that makes him ‘instantly likeable.’ His uber cool personality and subtle expressions are exactly what the Malayalam film industry was lacking for long. Apart from being an excellent actor, Anoop Menon is an outstanding scriptwriter and lyricist. Among actresses, Rima Kallingal, bold and beautiful, is my favourite,” she said.

Describing that the taste of the audience is changing rapidly, Shalini Jose, final year student of BA English, said the recently released hit movies were based on either a good storyline or an interesting theme.

“The sizzling hot item numbers, which were once a fad that hooked the audience onto the screen, have lost all its glamour. They prefer more realistic and bold movies with gritty dialogues. Bollywood, known for its masala movies, has also welcomed new directors and films like Vicky donor, Shaitan, Dirty Picture, Kahaani, Ishaqzaade, Shanghai, Gangs of Wasseypur and Paan Singh Tomar,” she said.

Shalini said that movies such as Salt ’n’ Pepper, 22 Female Kottayam, Ee Adutha Kaalathu, Nidra, Ordinary, Manjadikuru, Ustad Hotel, Diamond Necklace, Thattathin Marayathu and several other works had brought about a wind of change in Malayalam.

“They kick-started a new trend of contemporary cinema with low budget and brilliantly crafted techniques. New directors are exploring and experimenting with variety of themes. This trend has brought the audience back to the theatres and eventually filling the coffers of producers for taking the risk,” she said.

Despite the changes in Malayalam cinema, Bollywood and its actors continue to remain top in the favourite list of the youth. Silpa Vipen, final year student of BA Economics, said that she loved to watch the actors Shahrukh Khan and Kajol on screen.

“SRK is my all-time favourite actor. He has been consistently doing realistic roles. His on-screen charm, dialogue delivery and his passion for acting and cinema just makes him stand apart from the rest of the B-town crowd. His roles in Kal Ho Na Ho, Baazigar, Devdas, Veer Zara and Rab ne Bana De Jodi were simply outstanding,” she said.

Silpa said that Kajol had a huge fan-following thanks to her spontaneity and charming attitude.

“Her acting skills are so realistic that you actually feel that she is living the role of the character. Priyanka Chopra is another favourite. She has proven that both looks and acting skill can go hand-in-hand,” she said.