Acclaimed film maker P.T. Kunju Muhammed has opined that Malayalam cinema was yet to free itself from its colonial behaviour.

Participating in a panel discussion on Malayalam cinema at Mahatma Gandhi University on Thursday, Mr. Kunju Muhammed said that the people were still yet to free themselves from the clutches of slavery in our outlook. “Unfortunately, our educational system has only strengthened this control in our thinking process that has been imposed upon us by the colonial powers. The boundaries that we have created in our perception have been deep-rooted in our cultural perception and the process of film making. The film institutes in our country have been established in order to impart training in film techniques. However, in reality, these establishments have created a sense of inferiority complex that puts into doubt whether our standards are on par with those of the Western countries.”

He also said that the Malayalam films that were made in the 1970s are still being considered as the benchmarks while ascertaining the quality of films being made at present. None can dictate the terms to which film making should adhere to. I do not believe that there are good and bad films. Every film makers has carved a unique niche of his own, he said.

Film maker Blessy said that cinema has transformed itself into a media that influenced the lives of the audience. He added that the industry is going through a phase in which films that are successful at the box office and reap great profits for its producers are those that come under the category of high quality cinema. At times, film makers are also being forced to shape their films in such a way that they play to the gallery. In this way, globalisation and consumerism has affected the film industry.

Moderating the discussion, film maker and writer P. Balachandran said that the time is ripe to debate the factors that have being influencing the Malayalam cinema. None, as of yet, has been able to pinpoint as what had played the vital role. It could be either the movements of the film societies, the stardom, the new crop of directors and technicians, the several film festivals being conducted across the country, or any other aspect, he said.

He added that it should also be ascertained whether the industry has, in reality, witnessed progress of its degradation as it had incorporated the changes brought about by time.

University Pro Vice-Chancellor Rajan Varughese, and University Syndicate member K. Sherafudeen also participated in the programme.