Films are something that is deep-rooted in the lives of Malayalis. It has grown to become an integral part of our lives, so much so that if anyone speaks ill about Malayalam films, we get offended. I would personally say that Malayalis are the ultimate cinema fans.
Don’t believe me? Here are 5 reasons to support my claim that Malayalis are the ultimate cinema fans.
Malayalis support content and quality over stardom
Mollywood has been blessed with several talented actors, who have an immense fan base. It is quite natural that you might run into either a Mammootty fan or a Mohanlal fan when you visit Kerala because these two actors are the biggest stars in the industry. That said, no matter how loyal a fan they are, they criticise their worst films too.
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It is impossible for any actor to star in great films only. Their choices go wrong, but their fans do not support their choices every time. They call out and bash the bad films and support ones that are rich in content and give a wholesome experience. The most recent example would be that of a small film like Jan-E-Man that had close to 50 days of theatrical run, while an extremely hyped, big-budget film like Marakkar had an OTT release just after 10-15 days of theatrical run. It goes to show that the Malayali audience values the content in the film more than the stars attached to it.
There are no language barriers for Malayali film buffs
Film viewers in Kerala cannot be taken lightly. They are individuals who do not hesitate in exploring content belonging to different languages and countries. Be it films from neighbouring states or from across the globe, Malayali film fans would find a way to watch these films and explore content from different countries. This is the reason why we see several Tamil, Telugu, Hindi and English films gross crores at the box office from Kerala alone.
The extreme love for several films from Tamil and Telugu industries has increased the pressure on makers to release dubbed versions in Kerala, thereby, giving rise to the concept of the pan India movie business.
Malayalis are also one of the only film viewing groups who can watch other language content using subtitles because they require the authentic feel to have a wholesome watching experience. Recently, we saw the amount of success the Allu Arjun starrer Pushpa received in Kerala, with crores being collected in the initial 3-4 days. The same is the case with films in Hindi and English as well. The latest Spiderman movie generated a huge percentage of profit from Kerala alone. Language was and is never a barrier for Malayalis to view cinematic content because they are hungry for good content.
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Actors from other industries have a huge following in Kerala
Since Kerala has a large audience who watch movies from other industries, the popularity of the actors associated with these films is immense. Just like Rajinikanth is a huge star across India, with several fan clubs hosting promotional events, Kerala has such fan clubs for actors from other industries.
The fan following for actors like Vijay, Ajith, Suriya, Vikram, Kamal Haasan, Allu Arjun, Mahesh Babu, Prabhas, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and several others outside the Malayalam film industry is equal to, or sometimes more than the fan following for Mollywood actors.
This is just beautiful to watch, as it not only promotes the growth of the artists in different states but helps in making their content reach out to a large number of people. We accept actors from other industries and that’s one of the reasons why we are the ultimate cinema fans.
Malayali film viewers are way smarter than you think
With global cinema at their fingertips and Malayalis being one of the biggest consumers of such content, they know what is technically brilliant and what constitutes great storytelling. They also know of all the tropes of storytelling.
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If at all you try to sell some outdated story with excellent technical work, I am sorry, the film won’t be accepted by Malayali viewers. You cannot expect Malayalis to support the glorification of morally incorrect ideologies. If there is a film that depicts such outdated tropes, we see the film getting its share of bashing through the Kerala social media space.
However, if you portray a progressive thought, like what is shown in The Great Indian Kitchen, not just the Malayali viewers, but the whole of India and the world would acknowledge the same. Because of the close scrutiny of the Malayali film buffs, we see a diverse range of content and ideas being produced in Mollywood.
The harshest critics who pave the way for change
There was a phase when Mollywood came out with back to back mass entertainers, but when the viewers had enough, these “mass entertainers” started tanking in theatres. This made creators think out of the box and come up with content from other genres.
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The Malayali audience will focus and applaud the good aspects of a movie while completely bashing the negative traits of the film. They have a fair idea of what good cinema is and how can enjoyable yet realistic cinema can be created. This was proved with the recent example of Marakkar. The film was a technical masterpiece and viewers applauded it for the same. But it wasn’t a financial success because of the poor screenplay, which the audience criticised heavily. The constant criticism has forced creators in the industry to experiment with different ideas, genres and stories and make thought-provoking content which are of high quality.
These are a few reasons why Malayalis can be referred to as the ultimate cinema fans. There could be multiple other factors and reasons, which make Malayalis such big fans of the movies. The constant improvement in knowledge about the craft and good cinema, with access to great examples from across the globe, has always pushed the industry to create outstanding content. This excessive interest in films is another reason why Mollywood has the largest number of new faces coming up each year. With yet another exciting year in store, let’s see how these factors lead to the creation of great cinematic content.