Imagine watching 10 short films back to back and out of the 10 only three are worthy of being called nice. That was my situation while I watched the new Malayalam movie Crossroad which is a compilation of 10 films by 10 directors focusing on femininity. Except for the three relatively good ones, for all the other mediocre melodramatic ones in this anthology I found myself thinking “who talks like this?”
Oru Rathriyude Kooli: The first and the best in the whole film. This film has the least verbal approach in representing irony. The film talks about an unprecedented event happening in the life of a sex worker. It was the kind of film I enjoyed as it showed the presence of a director who adds something more to the script. Padmapriya’s portrayal of the character was pretty elegant and Madhupal proves yet again why he is a quality film maker.
Kaaval: Probably the tackiest in the list. Patriotism and feminism in this film are really on the surface level. It talks about the family of a Jawan. His wife is constantly motivating their son about patriotic things and it has moments that will remind you of some of the 70’s and 80’s movie clichés. Audience were laughing towards the climax of this film by Nemom Pushparaj for the shoddy dramatization.
Pakshikalude Manam: When you watch off beat films, you can easily identify the pseudo ones and the honest ones just by concentrating on the conversations in them. This film directed by Nayana Suryan had some of the bizarre conversations which make you feel that they are trying too desperately to sound sophisticated. Performance of Mythili in this film was also really bad.
Mounam: The conversation issue is there in this one too. This film by Babu Thiruvalla is focusing on an issue that needs to be addressed. Certain religious belief that restricts the woman from having a proper life is the concern here. But the stage drama kind of feel in every frame makes it a competitor against daily soaps.
Badar: Asok R Nath’s film comes with the claim that it is based on a true story. But the problem is with the level of dramatization. Characters in this movie are talking in the most artificial way one can imagine. Even professional drama artists deliver a convincing depiction of loud performances. Mamta Mohandas saying all those dialogues with that diction makes it even more unreal.
Mudra: This movie was the first one to play after the interval and I have to say that even though it wasn’t anything great, the normalcy it had gave a big relief. The story of this movie is something very similar to the block buster Kadha Parayumbol and what Albert and team have done is tweaking the backdrop and replacing it with two women. Anjali Nair and Isha Talwar play the two important characters in this film.
Lake House: This film from Shashi Paravoor starring Rahul Madhav and Richa Panai is another old school outdated formula that tests your patience. The sort of superficial melodrama this movie has is something that Malayalam cinema had bid adieu a long time back.
Kodeshyan: This movie is directed by Pradeep Nair and written by Jayaraj. What it explores is the loneliness of elderly people these days and how their children don’t understand them. We have seen similar themes in mainstream movies. The drama is there in the treatment and the impact is more on a preachy level rather than being a heartening one. Veteran actress Kanchana has played the central character very effectively.
Cherivu: This movie is probably the only light hearted one in the lot. It has a very close resemblance with the Anjali Menon film Happy Journey in Kerala Café. Because of the light heartedness it feels like an enjoyable short film even after being predictable. This Avira Rebecca film starring Srinda and Manoj K Jayan has certain sarcastic undertones too.
Pinpe Nadappaval: This bonsai version of 22 Female Kottayam is undeniably better than the last Lenin Rajendran film I saw (Edavappathy). This preachy social drama’s only major positive is the performance of leading lady Anjana Chandran, if her voice was not dubbed by anyone else.
Except for the three relatively good ones, for all the other mediocre melodramatic ones in this anthology I found myself thinking “who talks like this?
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended