Mollywood or the Malayalam film industry might have borrowed its name from Hollywood, but the movies have undoubtedly been freshly original in their stories and characterizations. So much that even Bollywood had stopped looking overseas and began exploring cinema back home some time ago. And man, did they find a new world!
The Hindi speaking audience sadly does not even distinguish between Tamil, Telugu, Kannada or Malayalam movies – thanks to our ignorance. ZEE Cinema, UTV Action, Star Gold – all have left us with just one image of southern cinema – an angry young man performing unrealistic action sequences.
If you make fun of Malayalam movies, it is time to jump in chullu bhar paani. Even if you don’t, this list will drown you in embarrassment anyway.
1. Hera Pheri
And you thought you had appreciated the screenplay enough? Well, your Malayali counterparts had watched the movie probably 11 years before you had. Hera Pheri is a remake of Ramji Rao Speaking, written and directed by Siddique-Lal (Siddique was the director and Lal the screenwriter). Your one of the most memorable hits in Bollywood is already a cult classic in Mollywood. And that happened 11 years ago before Hera Pheri was even released. Don’t forget that.
2. Bhool Bhulaiyaa
No. No. And no. It was not Chandramukhi. Chandramukhi itself is a Tamil remake of a 1993 Malayalam psychological thriller, Manichitrathazhu. Clearly, the movie is considered as a classic and one of the best psychological thrillers ever made in India (which can be understood because of the dearth of psychological thrillers in the Hindi film industry which are just too bland and predictive). IBN Live conducted a poll celebrating 100 years of India’s cinematic history. Manichitrathazhu stood second as the greatest film ever made in the history of Indian cinema.
How can we ever forget the amazing story of Dor – a woman whose husband is waiting for conviction of a murder, befriends the wife of the murdered. Nagesh Kukunoor’s directorial skills were at their best in the movie. But, again Perumazhakkalam is where the story is borrowed from. It won the National Award for Best Film On Other Social Issues.
4. Golmaal: Fun Unlimited
I won’t say that the entire storyline has been borrowed. Rohit Shetty did tweak the basic plot of the movie, but it is no surprise that he borrowed the central plot from Kakkakuyil, a 2001 film written, directed and produced by Priyadarshan. In Kakkakuyil, the protagonists Govindan and Sivaraman impersonate as the grandson of a rich but elderly couple. The body of Govindan has the voice of Sivaraman for the visually challenged couple. Now, where have we seen that happening?
Dhol might not have been a box office success but it ultimately picked up and will be remembered as a laugh riot. In Harihar Nagar was released when the Malyalam movie industry had entered its apogee of comedy superhits. The movie has now attained a cult status. While many might have forgotten Dhol, forgetting In Harihar Nagar is a tad too difficult.
It is pretty evident that the regional film industries had been doing a lot of amazing movies than our beloved Bollywood which has only learned to remake by using a more sophisticated-sounding word – “adaptation”.
And before you start stereotyping Malayalam movies by viewing just one or two absolutely nonsensical movies on TV, take a look at how much of the movies Bollywood has borrowed from Mollywood.
Not just that. Look at how way ahead of its time the Malayalam film industry was.
Don’t forget the chullu bhar paani.
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