Rain of images

A still from 'Piravi'

A still from 'Piravi'   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement


It’s not only about singin’ and dancin’ in the rain. Whether it’s to portray romance, tragedy, pathos, drama or pure fun on screen, the rain is a constant force in Malayalam cinema. The rain and the monsoon are so much a part of life in Kerala that few are the films that do not have a scene where the skies open up. Many are the films that have mazha or its many synonyms in the title. Some of Mollywood’s prized filmmakers, who are known to use the rain as a cinematic device, recall their favourite rain-soaked scenes from Malayalam cinema.

Sanal Kumar Sasidharan

Rather than just one scene, I think Shaji N. Karun’s Piravi in its entirety has captured the magic of the monsoon best, be it the sound, the mood, the setting…and the actual rainfall on film itself. The most striking thing about the film is, perhaps, how the director and cinematographer, Sunny Joseph, have shot with mazhavelicham [the diffused, soft light that filters down through overcast skies]. It’s truly inspirational, especially because I’m a filmmaker – and a person – who finds joy and inspiration in the sight, sounds, the nip in the air and the energy of the rain. Not just the rain, anything to do with water, actually. I just love the fluidity, flow and strength of water, which often works its way into my frames.

Dileesh Pothen

It has to be the murder scene in Yavanika, where the tabla player – played by the indomitable Bharat Gopy – meets his maker, drenched not only in the rain but also his vileness. It’s almost as if the rain, somehow, prompted the murder. If there was no rain, I feel, it would have definitely changed the mood of the scene. As a filmmaker, who loves working with the rain, the sharpness, the warmth, the vibrancy that the rain gives the frames, for me, that scene in Yavanika is hugely inspiring because director K.G. George ingeniously utilised it for the story. I’ve tried to do the same in Maheshinte Prathikaram. The first half of my film is shot in the rain or just immediately after it when the clouds are grey and the environs shine with life. We had tents erected to protect the cameras and raincoats on hand to rush out and shoot whenever it rained. I feel its best used in scene where the protagonist Mahesh (Fahadh Faasil) bawls his heart out in the midst of a heavy downpour, after attending his girlfriend, Soumya’s wedding. It’s the only time we used a rain unit. The rain thus becomes a metaphor to wash away the dreams had Mahesh built, essentially, giving him a new lease of life.

Abrid Shine

The grand finale in Vaishali. Rain is a constant in the movie. A kingdom has been waiting 12 years for rain. When Rishyasringan performs the yagna and the skies open up, people rejoice with song and dance. Rain lashes the land. Vaishali, the illegitimate daughter of the king, who lured Risyasringa to the land, and her mother, Malini, are forgotten. They fall down and get trampled by the boisterous crowd. Everything happens in the rain. Director (Bharathan) has brought out various dimensions of rain in the scene – the happiness of the people, the grief and angst of Vaishali and fury of nature. The dynamics are brilliant. As a filmmaker, I always love to visualise nature. Rain, mist and sunshine have different moods and it is always enjoyable to bring them on screen. If you ask which is the best rain scene in Indian cinema, my vote goes to Pather Panchali. There is a scene where a dog jumps on to a porch and shakes off the rain drops falls from its body. Rain is not shown, but you understand that it has been raining.

V.K. Prakash

Cameraman Ravi Varman has captured the different moods of the rain beautifully in Jayaraj’s Shantham. In fact, Ravi won an international award for the film’s cinematography. The rain plays an important role in the story; it sets the tone for the film. Usually one associates the rain with romance. However, here, the rain gives a sense of foreboding, gloominess, loneliness... it reflects the inner turmoil the characters in the film go through, be it the remorse felt by the protagonist for killing his best friend due to a difference in ideology or that of the mother, who is trying to hold herself together as she arranges for her son’s funeral. More than the rain, it’s is the ‘fresh after the rain’ look that I admire the most. The wet courtyard, the wet grass, the wet foliage… one can almost smell the wet earth. To me, it reflects the calm after a storm.

Sreebala K. Menon

The one scene that is bound to be everyone’s favourite would be the one in Padmarajan’s Thoovanathumbikal, that scene when Jayakrishnan (Mohanlal) reads a letter from Clara (Sumalatha), sitting beside a window. As rain lashes outside, raindrops falls on the letter and the ink runs, erasing the words even as Jayakrishnan learns that Clara is putting an end to their relationship. That famous scene is a favourite.

Another one that I enjoy is the song ‘Pranayamanithooval’ sung evocatively by Sujata in Kamal’s Azhakiya Ravanan. The rain sequence was creatively amalgamated in the scene that shows Anuradha (Bhanupriya) cavorting in the rain. The lyrics, song and situation were apt. There is a flick being shot in the film and the rain blended well in the mise en scene of the movie. It was fluidly captured by cinematographer P. Sukumar.

Jude Anthany Joseph

Rain has been used with a lot of imagination in many Malayalam movies. My favourite would be the song ‘Neelakuyile Chollu…,’ in Priyadarsan’s Advaitham, which is filmed on Mohanlal and Chitra. While it is pouring heavily, the two romance in the downpour. Scored by M.G. Radhakrishnan and sung by M.G. Sreekumar and Sujata, the song has been picturised imaginatively by S. Kumar. Another scene that I like is the one in Lal Jose’s Chandupottu. When the skies darken and it starts raining, Dileep and Gopika are forced to take shelter under a roof. That is when Dileep’s character realises his feelings for Gopika’s character in the film. I have used the same idea in my film Ohm Shanthi Oshaana as well.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 1:04:43 AM |

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