ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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New-generation Malayalam Cinema

A Decade of Promise

“New-generation Malayalam cinema,” a coinage used to identify fi lms made after 2010 in Kerala, introduced innovative changes in the Malayalam cinema ecosystem through experiments in fi lm language, form, and storytelling. The new-generation fi lms are inclusive in their efforts to create conversations around caste, gender, and other marginalised communities that lacked representation in the mainstream cinema of the preceding decades. This article will attempt to scrutinise these changes and identify major interventions through a close reading of a selection of new-generation Malayalam fi lms that have been hailed by critics, scholars, practitioners, and audiences.

The authors are grateful to the anonymous referee for providing invaluable suggestions and comments on a previous version of this article.

New-generation Malayalam cinema, by which we are referring to films made especially after 2010, heralded a breath of fresh air to an otherwise turgid film-making ecosystem in Kerala. These films attempted to showcase a wide variety of stories cutting across caste and class barriers and highlight linguistic and cultural diversity, which is also one of the strengths of Kerala’s social fabric. Besides, these films are noteworthy for their casting choices that go beyond the mainstream superstar-driven films of Malayalam cinema, which was largely the norm all through the 1990s. Film commentator C S Venk­i­teswaran (2013) rightly points out that “They bore a new look and feel that was different from the jaded patterns that the superstar narratives followed.”

The new-generation films are responsible for introducing a spectrum of younger actors and technicians who broke away from the clichéd look, feel, and treatment of Malayalam films. These experiments largely buoyed up the industry and also gave the audiences something to look forward to. Venkiteswaran (2013) further says that “These ‘post-superstar’ narratives made by the post-globalisation generation of film-makers portray the conflicts and ruptures in contemporary Malayali society.” While other film industries in the country may have also had a new generation of film-makers trying to experiment with narratives and forms of cinema, perhaps the magnitude and frequency of such attempts and their critical as well as commercial success are far higher in Malayalam cinema. Also, the issues that are shown in these new-generation Malayalam films are more varied, wide-ranging, and inclusive as opposed to new films emerging out of other film industries.

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Updated On : 29th Nov, 2022
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