Made in Kerala

Good films are good tidings in unsure places.

A harthal of the red flags welcomed me to Kerala earlier this week. Violent political battles between Communists, Muslim League and RSS have regularly added bloodbath stories to Malabar’s hoary folklore of conquests and sacrifices. The latest public strike protested the arrest of a provincial Left leader in connection with the death of a Muslim League activist.

Kerala has been an unsure place of disturbed social intellect in recent years. Education fuelled mundane well-being propelled orthodox religiosity, egoistic minds and a lacklustre public life. This conservative place quietly embraced several internal upheavals in the past fifty years because of its nurtured minds — lying unattended now.

That’s why a polemic film yesterday inspired me about the Made in Kerala life. Thattathin Marayathu isn’t a classic but a well narrated love story set in north Kerala’s Thalassery. Thecstory of one next door Muslim girl and a Hindu boy amidst the realities and oddities of a literate society. The movie, like another recent screen release Usthad Hotel, weaves Muslim lives into a redeeming mainstream and modern aesthetics.

Malayalam films and literature have done this with ease in the past when Kerala’s social fabric was less complicated and intact. Bad politics, declining leftist rigour (Communists being reduced to just oppressive heat of party machinery) and tame intellect impaired the broader society. I watched with unbridled intensity Kerala’s Muslim sensibilities dropping off the mainstream,  just as the pulling apart of Christian and Hindu sentiments.

Made in Kerala life in more about its perceiving mind space than it’s well marketed landscape of green canopy, meandering backwaters and sandy beaches. It’s been about a moving social intellect which made feudal depravations and purist religious moorings a part of the mainstream lives.

I am desperately hopeful it survives even as Vinod and Ayesha lip locked on the screen yesterday night.

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2 Responses

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