What did I like about Aami?

Throughout his career, director Kamal has been known to pick up challenging topics in his films. Be it Perumazhakkalam or Karutha Pakshikal, his films dare to speak about things that often filmmakers won’t address. Even when it came to biopics, he brought in the same passion to tell important stories, such as that of J.C Daniel in “Celluloid” and now it is ‘Kamala Das’ in “Aami”.

Having recently seen Aami on ZEE5, I thought it would be a good time to discuss elements of the film that really caught my eye.

Before that, one needs to know about the person it is based on – Kamala Das/Kamala Surraiya.

Image Courtesy : Facebook

Madhavikutty / Kamala Suraiya

Kamala Suraiya, born as Kamala Das was a  well known literary personality from Kerala, often bit controversial though in her writings and actions. She was born into a well-known family of literary personalities. Her mom Balamaniamma was also a well-known poet.  Madhavikutty’s writing was always bold and honest. Few times her works’ and outlook attracted criticism from various quarters. Madhavikutty ran into controversy when she decided to accept Muslim faith, changing her name to Kamala Suraiya, at the age of 65.

Things that caught my eye in Aami

Image Courtesy : Wikipedia

In Aami, Kamal went for the slightly slower narrative, a departure from his usual style. Considering how controversial Madhavikutty’s life was, the movie had a liberal dose of drama too. But what set it apart was the semi-fictional approach it went for. Just like Madhavikutty did in her autobiography Ente Kathe/My Story, director Kamal uses elements of fiction and fantasy to thoroughly explore ideas and themes that Madhavikutty stood for in her life.  

The other main highlight of the film is Manju Warrier, for obvious reasons. She is a great performer and you could witness glimpses of that in so many occasions during the film. Manju has done full justice to the protagonist role of Kamala Das, breathing life to a layered character with finesse. Other actors that shine in this movie are Murali Gopy, who plays Kamala’s husband, Madhava Das and Tovino Thomas who plays Lord Krishna.

Also, the director was successful in recreating the bygone era. As the story travels to different places like Mumbai, Kolkata and rural Kerala in different eras, the world Kamala built felt very real in the movie. Major credit for that goes to the makeup and costumes which fit the period’s actual style.

The film, to a certain extent, justifies the life of Madhavikutty. Her conflicts, struggles and quest for true love. An interesting take on the film is the role of Tovino Thomas as Lord Krishna. As someone who is looked upto to fill the lonely void in her life, Madhavikutty always loved Lord Krishna. It is how Kamal captures this sense of loneliness within Madhavikutty is what stands out. Scenes between Kamala and the Krishna effectively showcase the inner struggles she goes through. Even, the songs have been well placed and add up the pace to the movie. Also, though the movie has a non-linear narration, the way Kamal narrates it makes it interesting.   

In short, if you enjoy Kamal’s films and are curious to know about Madhavikutty’s life, watch Aami. This movie features one of Manju Warrier’s good performances in recent times.  

Gautham Vasudev Menon’s Cameo Role In The Malayalam Movie NAAM

So the news is that Gautham vasudev menon is debuting in Malayalam cinema, hold on, not as a director but as an actor!  You read it right,  GVM, as he is fondly called,  was in kochi recently for the official audio launch of forthcoming Malayalam movie “Naam” where he is doing a cameo as “GVM” himself.

Association with NAAM

Naam is produced and directed by Joshy Thomas Pallickal under the banner of JTP films. And GVM had lot of good things to say about the director. “Joshy contacted me and narrated the theme of the movie and I liked it’ says GVM.  The movie narrates the story of 10 friends in their college days. Naam is a musical entertainer, probably a movie with lot of songs after the super hit “Premam”. There are 9 songs in the film and 8 of them are penned by the Premam fame Shabareesh Varma. The music is by debutant duo ” Ashwin shivadas and sandeep mohan “. ” I liked the musical approach of the film”, says GVM  and when Joshy requested me that I should do a role, I was apprehensive in the beginning but then he gave me confidence and I thought I must be part of this good movie.”

140 Plus debutants!

The film has close to 140 debutants and the lead roles are played by Shabareesh Varma, Rahul Madhav, Gayathri Suresh, Aditi Ravi, Tony Luke, Mareena Michael and Saiju Kurup.

Joshy Thomas Pallickal, Gautham Vasudev Menon and Vineeth Srinivasan

The title song Naam is already a hit on the YouTube and the rest of the songs are expected soon. The film is expected to hit the theatres in Jan 2018.

CROSSROAD- Another experiment in Malayalam Cinema

Malayalam cinema has seen so many experiments , bold themes and pathbreaking creations. The very presence of wonderful talent pool makes the industry ever growing in terms of quality and innovation.

First Anthology

In 2009 the industry got its first anthology, Kerala Cafe  produced by Director Ranjith and directed by a team of ten directors. For the first time in Malayalam cinema, one film was conceived by a team of 10 directors. 10 cinematographers, musicians, editors and art directors. The film was well received.

Crossroad, another first!

The soon to be released ‘Crossroad’ is also another first in Malayalam film industry. This will be the first Anthology centered purely on women and their issues in the modern day. The movie is presented by The Forum of Better Films, a creative body of skilled filmmakers from Malayalam, of national and international repute.

The Film Project consists of Ten Short Fiction Films, each directed by a reputed filmmaker and starring a prominent actress from the Malayalam industry as the protagonist.

The film has ,

42 Artists
10 Directors
10 Producers 
9 Cinematographers
9 Music Directors
8 Editors

And innumerable technicians behind the scene

The film will hit the theatres on August 11.

The Film Song Book!

How many of you used to collect the book containing the lyrics of Malayalam film songs? I used to. So recently when i had to visit a book store in my hometown, i happened to see these books. I got curious to know whether the book had my brother’s (Shabareesh Varma) songs. Went through the index and found ‘Premam’. Got excited and bought the book.

 

 

First saw the ‘Malare’ song then ‘Pathivayi’ and ‘Kaalam Kettupoy’ songs. So far so good. But the excitement turned to shock when i saw the ‘Aluvapuzhayude Theerathu’ song. The name of the singer(S)! One of the interesting facts of songs of the movie ‘Premam’ was that there is no female voice in any of the 9 songs, forget about a duet. But look at the names of the singers! They made the song a duet! P. Jayachandran and Rajalakshmi! But in reality the song was a solo sung by Vineeth Srinivasan.

Now I thought of gifting the book  to my brother! I have second thoughts now, whether to gift it or not! This would be the expression of his seeing the singers’ name of “Aluvapuzhayude”. The book is now hidden in the Garage!

 

 

 

#MalayalamFilmSongs #Premam

33 years of ‘Akkare’!

Akkare ‘was my dad’s short story, first published in Mathrubhumi in 1983, the year when Kapil’s Devils brought home our first Cricket World cup.

In 1984 Akkare hit the screens, directed by K N Sasidharan, starring Bharat Gopi, Mohan Lal, Mammooty and Nedumudi Venu. Akkare was selected at the Indian Panorama.

When I go through the story now, I feel the thread is still relevant.

Digifaktory: 360 Degree Film Marketing; Movie market mantra

Digi Faktory featured in today’s “The Hindu”, Kochi edition.

Thanks to Riya Datson for the article. Thanks to Dhanoop Vd for the click

Here is the link to the article and read the article,

The DigiFaktory team that marketed ‘Premam’ talks of unorthodox and out- of-the-box ideas to market a film.

No Malayali who is a film lover would have missed ‘Premam’ that rocked the boxoffice even after 100 days. The fact that the film had three heroines was a suspense to the audience, who expected to see only Anupama Parameswaran, the lead actress featured in the songs and posters released initially. It was a delight for the audience to watch Nivin Pauly in three different ‘avatars’ and romancing three different heroines. What was even more amazing was that ‘Malar’, who never appeared in any of the initial promotional posters, eventually stole the show. The planned marketing strategy pulled off the suspense factor and added to the whole experience of watching the movie, which of course went on to create history. Although it was a team effort, ‘Premam’ was Digifaktory’s maiden venture in movie marketing. Digifaktory, the brainchild of Krishnabhaskar Mangalasseri, Sandeep Varma and Gokul Nath is a 360 degree film marketing company that offers both online and offline marketing for a movie. “From the very beginning, the director, Alphonse Putharen and his entire team were clear that there was a need for an element of suspense. So the promotions were planned in such a way that it was projected as a single heroine movie. The tactic worked!” says Sandeep, strategy head.

Gokul Nath, business head at Digifaktory, has over a dozen films to his credit. He was one of the masterminds behind successfully marketing films like ‘Neram’, ‘Om Shanthi Oshana’, ‘Oru Vadakkan Selfie’ and ‘1983’. The popular number ‘Pistah’ sung by Shabareesh Varma from the film ‘Neram’ was an experimental online marketing project for the Digi team. The song has since then crossed 98 lakh likes and has also won the ‘Most Viral Video’ award in the Social Media Day awards, 2014. The concept of marketing a movie online or offline is relatively new to the Malayalam film industry. Until recently film promotions stopped with printing banners, posters and flex boards. Companies offering online promotions took it to the next level by including the social media. Creating websites, facebook pages of upcoming releases, tweeting, releasing clips or trailers on you tube has now become a fad. “There is a need to combine the old and the new, to reach out to audience across all age groups through social media, WhatsApp, media houses and radio stations. Online promotion is just a fragment of marketing, controlling online content, crisis management, integrating various platforms, managing social initiatives like creating awareness about piracy or negative reviews are also part of our profile,” explains Krishnabhaskar, creative head. Although the concept of movie marketing is dominant in Bollywood and Kollywood, Digifaktory is one of the pioneers in Mollywood to offer a complete marketing package starting from day one with the Pooja up to the 100th day celebrations. “It is important to believe in the product that you are marketing. Quality of the product builds the brand and a brand name that promises quality entertainment is our core focus,” says Gokul.

‘Answer this question correctly and you could be the lucky winners to earn tickets for the first day first show!’ is a statement we often hear on the radio these days. But little do we know about an entire team of people who work on the game concept, execute it and coordinate the logistics behind the scene. The ‘first day first show’ is crucial for any movie and so it is vital to plan an effective strategy to attract a sizeable audience for the event. “When it comes to marketing a product that is worth a couple of crores, there has to be a collective effort from various quarters. This is a highly unorganised sector and there is a need for setting up proper channels of communication in terms of PR and marketing. Having tie ups with multiple platforms like TV, radio, online promotional companies and event management groups is very important,” echoes the trio. The ‘Monsoon Mangoes Micro film Mela’ is one such online game that the team has planned as a part of the marketing strategy for Fahad Fazil’s upcoming release, ‘Monsoon Mangoes’. DigiFaktory is also working on a lot of interesting ideas for Nivin Pauly’s new release, which is an action packed entertainer.

The ‘DigiFaktory brand’ is slowly making its presence felt in the Malayalam film industry. They have been invited to present their success story at various management summits like the TIE in Chennai, TKM Institute of Management and the TRIMA, trivandrum. When asked about future plans, the trio said that they hoped to step outside Mollywood, to set DigiFaktory as the thought leader in the movie space and in the long run, add a production wing to the company.

 

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Digifaktory: All About Film Marketing

We have arrived !!

We already did this a couple of years back, with Neram, 1983, Ohm Shanthi Oshaana, Vikramadithyan, Oru Vadakkan Selfie, Premam and many more, but team DigiFaktory- the first 360 degree marketing venture for movies has its website officially launched now.

Seen here is Nivin Pauly, The new Star of Malayalam cinema launching the website of DigiFaktory, www.digifaktory.com

Along with him are the founders of this venture, Gokul Nath G, Krishnabhaskar Mangalasserri and Sandeep Varma.

We are ever great full to our dear Nivin for showing his support to our venture.