Malayalam cinema, dating back to the 50s, has always had literary adaptations. TNM explores how literature has influenced Malayalam cinema over the years.
Two weeks ago, on a December night, M Mukundan looked small at the end of the big stage in front of a crowd of hundreds spread across Nishagandhi, Thiruvananthapuram. The beloved Malayalam writer has delighted to present his masterpiece novel. maya zipzayude terangalil It will be made into a movie. This isn’t the first time his literary work has been made into a film. Many adaptations of such literature can be found in the history of Malayalam cinema. Back in the black-and-white era, there have been many literary adaptations, with writers becoming screenwriters in the process. rice field.
“There should be at least 25 to 30 films made from the writings of Muttathu Varkey in the 1950s-70s. Some of them became screenwriters,” says film critic and author GP Ramachandran. One of the most famous movies of the 50’s, Neelakulabout an oppressed caste woman falling in love with a dominant caste man, was based on the story of writer Uroob.
The tendency to display large amounts of literature on large screens continued vigorously until the 70s. KS Sethumadhavan, a prolific filmmaker who frequently paired with his actor Sathyan, was known for this. The late filmmaker had this to say about his one of his most famous works: Odair Ninnu – An adaptation of Kesabadev’s book of the same name – It worked in his favor that others who had tried to adapt it before him dropped it because they didn’t think the film about the rickshaw puller would be successful He often faced similar doubts expressed by others when adapting the book. Yakushi So was the case when producers “fed for failure”, Sethmadhavan once said.But Yakushianother film headed by Sathyan, about a partially burned professor who begins to wonder if the woman who walked into his life on a rainy night really exists, is a commercialized film. Successful.
Read: Remembering Malayalam director Seth Madhavan and his ‘not exaggerated’ films
Watch: Songs From Neelakul
When adaptation slows down
In the 70s, however, there was a slight shift in both the number of films based on books and the way literature was written. “It was a time of many socio-political changes. Land reforms were implemented, migration to the Gulf countries occurred, a new middle class was formed. It was also a time of modernization of Malayalam literature. Instead of looking at society as the early literary works did, writers began looking at individuals, inner truths, etc. Writers like Mukundan and Zacharia began mass-producing Modernist works. Literature like that wasn’t very descriptive, so it was difficult to bring it into the film,” says GP.
He also found another notable deviation in films from this period. How elements of fascism and right-wing politics were incorporated into film in the 1980s, and how literature was immune to such influences. GP said he “tampuran movie, tampuran It is a reference to a feudal lord character played by a male lead actor.
But once in a while, nice literary works like Adha Gopalakrishnan were made into movies in the 90s. matilcal From Bashir’s novel of the same name, Lenin Rajendran’s Divasinte Vikirtical When marza Mukundan and Madhavikutty book, from Murali Nair book Alimpara From the story of OV Vijayan and Shyamaprasad Agnisaksi From Lalithambika Antharajanam.chandran on tv ponsamada From the story of CV Sriraman and the story of KP Kumaran lug mini (1989) Madavikutty’s novella also appeared during this period.
“Some of my novels have been made into films in the past, but I was not fully involved in their production. The movie disappointed me. Divasinte VicleticalThe exception was The State Award for Best Film. Raghuvaran’s outstanding performance as Alphonsachan made the film memorable,” Mukundan told his TNM.
Watch: Songs From Divasinte Vicletical
He recently started writing his first screenplay, adapting one of his short stories into an Ann Augustine-Suraj Benjaramudhu film. auto rickshaw carante barriaIt was difficult, but he enjoyed writing it, he says.
The question of staying true to the source
One of the issues that writers and filmmakers who adapt literature always face is whether the film is faithful to the original. Shama Prasad, a director who has adapted several literary works into his films, thinks the question is utterly pointless. “It’s always a question of whether you’re fair to the original work. But the point is, you have to stay true to yourself and to the medium. Story is the single element in filmmaking. You take it into another medium, so you observe it and transform it.In the novel, everything is said in words.In the film, you have the sensory medium, visual, audio, time, Communicate with space.Obviously, the two will be different.You have to be loyal to the film as a medium, to the viewer and to yourself.If you can be honest about it, you can do literature in your own way. It also allows me to be fair with my work,” he says.
This is an area in which writers and filmmakers feel strongly. Comparing movies and books, both are two different mediums offering two different expressions and enjoyments. “Unfortunately, this is not possible. There are multiple lives, such as audiobooks,” he says.
Created by Shalini Ushadevi Akamu As an adaptation of Malayattoor in 2011 Yakushi Most recently, he wrote a script for a Tamil film. Sorarai Pottle, says the adaptation itself is a work of art. “When you adapt, you put a lot of yourself into it, unless you’re so faithful to the original material. Yakushi is a great novel. But I’ve come across other books that are probably not great literary works, but whose premises might translate into great films,” she says.
still image from Akamu
Identification and correspondence of source documents
Shalini was 30 at the time Akamu Made, her adaptation was a modernization of Malayattoor’s 1967 novel. She was reacting to something in the book, she says — in this case, the changing dynamics in the relationship between the protagonist, the professor, and his mysterious lover. Or what is meaningful to you as a reader may not be meaningful to you as a viewer.Those are two different conventions of filmmaking and writing. “It’s about thinking about whether it resonates with you,” she says.
Shyamaprasad and Shalini both speak in similar terms when they say they need to react to or identify with something in a literary source.
AgnisakshiShyamaprasad’s first work as a director won many awards. “That’s the important part, and you identify with it. That is, you make the story your own, rather than just filming it or telling it.” Also, it’s always more satisfying to base your work as a director on something really substantial, or something that captivated you while you were reading the book. But sometimes it’s a different case. I’ve done both — adapting from existing works and creating entirely new stories. I’m disappointed,” he adds.
Watch: Songs From Agnisakshi
Did the movie get better when there were more adaptations?
Shyamaprasad doesn’t want to make sweeping statements that movies have gotten better during the time many movies were adapted from books. But when Malayalam cinema went through a difficult period in the late 90s and early 2000s, we find less dramatization of literary works as well. Writers Mukundan and Harish agree that the latter has made moderate gains in bringing literature into the film.both mentioned cheminA landmark film in the history of Malayalam cinema, based on Takaji’s iconic novel of the same name, tells the love story of a Hindu woman and a Muslim trader from a fishing community. Mukundan said:chemin It was as good as the novel it was based on. A good novel should only be made into a movie if a talented director steps forward. ”
Then, in the 2010s, new ideas began to drop in Malayalam cinema, including a revival of literature-based cinema.in Shalini Akamulike Shyamaprasad’s new movie artist (based on Prussian blue’s dream Lijo Jose Pellissery created a famous experimental film based on the work of PF Mathews or S Hareesh. All of this happened in his 2010s, a time when Malayalam cinema is considered to have returned to the heights from which it had fallen.
Harish, the Maoist Became the source of Lijo’s jarikatsualso ridicules the notion of drawing parallels between movies and the books they are based on. , you’re doing it bit by bit the way you want to do it, but when you’re writing the script, keep in mind the director’s interest in what he sees in the story. If it gets worse or worse, it’s all up to the director,” says Harish.
read: “Jalikattu”: How Lijo bridges the gap between man and beast
Shalini, who has also written films for other directors, shares a similar view. When she writes her scripts for her own films, she knows what appeals to her and how it plays out on screen. But when she writes for another person, she needs to understand what works for that person.
Together, though, the combination of writer and director seems to work some wonders, merging the beauty of two expressive mediums into one. Over the decades shown, many notable works have been discussed, evaluated and critiqued at all times. We are in such a period now. Lijo was heavily debated chururi It was an adaptation of a short story by Vinoy Thomas. GR Indugopan also arrived Ammini Pilla Vettu case appear in the film as orteccantal case.
More book-based movies await — Blessy’s Adjivitam Starring Prithviraj from Benjamin’s hugely popular book on the real-life struggles of Gulf Malayali, Aashik Abu brings Bashir’s horror novel Neela Velicham On screen, Mahesh Narayanan collaborates with Fahad Fasil to adapt MT’s short story sherlockSounds like good times.