The Real Meaning Of The Word 'Small Fry' In Malayalam Tinsel Town.
Malayalam cinema has a mannerism and its quite intriguing.
"What is 'now' is not the real industry". The renaissance of Malayalam cinema happened way back in the late 60s. From that era, till this moment, something intriguing is happening. And what's that? No one can explain that phenomenon. It's quite a mannerism. A possible mannerism with some unbending diplomacy. This is where the word 'Small Fry' pushes in. It means, 'People or things that are not important'. Ringing any bells? This word has a pretty good relation with the industry; mostly divergent. Apart from the politics and political layouts, Malayalam tinsel town has seen everything. When it comes to the former, the place is a mess. A complete uncanny mess. For briefing this, I really need to start from the scratch of my conscience.
I have no direct connection with this tinsel town, but I have 'C'onnections. Capital C stands for relations. These Connections made a lot of transformations within me. It really made me into a serious observer and that's the problem. I started observing each frame, even if it's not possible. I fell in love with a certain genre that can't be called as Drama or Living Drama. But I would like to call it as Life Plays. Jeassy (Director 1936) was my chosen reel maker. His reels made my life 'Pure' and 'Transparent'. Then came the paraphernalia of emotions and vehemence through Bharathan, Pavithran, and Mohan. When Padmarajans' flicks withered romance and crimes, K.G Georges' pattern created that mesmerising halo effect. This kept on going till Sibi Malayil's 'Deevadoothan' (2000) and Raghunath Paleri's 'Vismayam' (1998). What's popular in these reels? Nothing thrilling, but it's My choice. These moviemakers were some of the most thrilling, accepted reel makers of that century.
Now coming to the Small fry category. This category is not at all based on their positions in the industry nor the category which I'm giving them. It's all a Formulation. This Formulation is the driving factor as well as the lucky charm for one to get accepted inside the industry.
Anyone heard of G.A Lal? Ajayan? Aparna Gopinath? P.R Nathan? Pazhavila Rameshan? I can count more but it will create a skinny sensation within you questioning my agenda. So, who are these people? Wikipedia can say a lot about these heads but that won't do any justice. G.A Lal was a Malayalam scriptwriter who wrote for Sibi Malayil, Viji Thampy and many other. He died in a train accident in July 2003. Ajayan was the director of 'Perumthachan'. He won national award for this reel. Still, no one has a clue about his life or death. Malayalam industry hasn't seen the fullest of these personalities. Something might have happened or might not have happened. Still, there is no full sense to these lives or to their professions.
Yesterday, I conversed with one of my close buddy who is working as a Cinematographer in this very same industry. Buddy in the sense, he is much elder than me but relations made us buddies. Suresh Padmanabhan, that's his name.
He has done many films under the title Associate Cameraman assisting legends like Anandakuttan, P.Sukumar, Ramachandra Babu, M.J Radhakrishnan... I see him as a guide. A guide for mingling with the industry. Our union started with one of his short film 'Ormakalil Niraye' starring Kalashala Babu. That union is now at its pinnacle where he is now waiting for that ultimate grace period to move on his directing/cinemato career by planning a full-fledged film. As for me, Sureshji has all the resources and knowledge to go forward with his dreams/visions. His experiences are many. He has the potential. But why such people are not heard by the industry? Sureshji has a perfect answer for this. That answer has everything. Therefore I'm not revealing it. Here, a single man/woman army can't change the objective perspective. And I'm afraid, this keeps on going till the end if there is an end. The stories of 'Small Fry' category will keep on coming until it reaches a point. A point where there will be no more people to locate. Every society will have more than one or two Suresh Padmanabhan who will be waiting for their day to express their passion. And one day, we will see those names on the big screen.
Meet the author
An Existential Nihilist who loves scribbling and editing. Doing Masters in English and Cultural Studies from Christ University. A Malayali Movie buff who hugs and squeeze screenplays and scripts.
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10 July 2019