Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ritu

I watched the Malayalam movie “Ritu” at a friend’s home last week. The movie is ostensibly a new genre of Malayalam movie. What I saw left me disappointed and annoyed. Disappointed, because the story is a contemporary retelling of an old tale i.e. the Malayalee returning to the homeland to start a business venture etc. Annoyed, because the story is written by someone who has no knowledge of the subject in the modern/IT context and panders to the misconceptions that people in Kerala have (specially the older generation) about IT professionals and their lifestyle in Bangalore. The story is written to touch the raw areas and sweet spots of its audience. Nothing sells like misconception that people hold dear because it gives them a sense of security of knowledge.

If this is the new cinema of Kerala then I am deeply disturbed. The movie doesn’t understand its characters or even tries to understand. It is written on wrong surmises and hearsay. The story is so clichéd that one wonders if it is written by a person who has never stepped outside Kerala or ever met an IT professional. Most of the understanding of the young people working in IT companies are derived from reading blogs and the movie has lots of bloopers, like Sunny ( a Kerala Malayalee as opposed to an NRK) who keeps saying “I hate these bloody mallus!” for no apparent reason. It seems to be like a trendy slang the scriptwriter latched onto for the hip effect.

Another blooper is Sharath’s colleague who discovers that Sunny is selling sensitive information by breaking the news to Sharath with this line “That Sunny is gay!!!”

Derogatory usage of the word “mallu’ is restricted to people who have had bad experiences with Kerala Malayalees and to a large extent by NRK's (Malayalee born and brought up outside Kerala to parents who hail from Kerala). The reasons for this will be explained in another blog post. Let me talk about the movie here.

The story is very similar to Varavelpu, where Sharath the protagonist, returns to Kerala after a stint in the US (apparently forced by brother in law) to start a project in Kerala. He is banking on the support of his old friends, Varsha and Sunny. The three were thick friends before Sharath left for the US.

Soon Sharath finds out that his friends have changed. Varsha keeps getting calls from guys in Bangalore and Sunny even hints at a promiscuous life she got into in Bangalore. At times you get the feeling that the movie is slyly trying to portray Bangalore as the Sin City of India. The connection is cleverly pushed, as Bangalore is the IT capital with most IT professionals working here. A naïve viewer would think that all that a girl needs to get laid is go to Bangalore, which is peopled by strapping young male IT professionals who speak only English and party all the time and live a very happening life. And what’s more they keep calling Varsha throughout the day telling her they “miss her”. Err… boys in the fast lanes missing their one night stands? Something doesn’t add up here.

Varsha's dialogues are restricted to "I want to go to Bangalore!" which she says over and over again to convey that she is addicted to Bangalore and its 'charms'. And parties as suggested in the movie happen only on Page Three of Bangalore Times where potbellied Uncles and Aunties and rich kids smile at cameras and pose like they are having a good time.

Guy friends who watched the movie with us were laughing at the portrayal of Bangalore and wondered if the filmmakers knew that the standard Bangalore social life constituted of going to the nearest booze shop every weekend to pick up booze to drink with friends and roomies ( all male) in two bedroom apartment shared by four guys.

The movie progresses with more clichés, like the successful lady entrepreneur who has reached the pinnacle of success not through hard work but by refusing to have kids to concentrate on her career. Or Varsha cleaning up her act by discarding western clothes and wearing salwars and pottu like a "good girl".

I won’t spoil the movie for you, but if it is trying to reiterate misconceptions and preying on people, especially parents fears, then it has done a good job. In the long run, movies like these only makes life difficult for Malayalees working in the IT industry with frantic parents and taunting relations having the justification to diss Bangalore as a trap waiting to swallow their unsuspecting young IT professionals.

21 comments:

scorpiogenius said...

Interesting. Haven't seen the movie and I can't remember what I heard about it.

May be the society outside Bangalore still cannot come in terms with the pace and style of the young professionals in Bangalore. There are a good few stereotypes, but like ALL stereotypes, they are ALL WRONG. Quite frustrating that main stream movie makers still hang on to such misrepresentations. :(

JFx said...

being a fan of the movie, I thought it revolved around the strained friendship of those three people in changing times (seasons) in their life. I felt the 'new-gen youth in IT field' is just a backdrop to take the story forward. How that part (the IT scenario) is portrayed is a very subjective issue. It might be or might not be close to reality.

JFx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anand said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Abraham said...

Agree with you wholeheartedly. The movie fails to establishes the depth of the friendship shared by the three main characters. The story is stereotyped and unimpressive and is generalized based on misconceptions of the IT sector. This is not the way people in the IT sector behave and the Anglicized Malayalam gets on your nerves. Overall a movie made by people who are not familiar with the subject they are dealing with. I live in Bangalore and this is not the lifestyle of any of my colleagues. The movie is downright insulting to people working in the IT sector! Well written! First time at your blog. Loving it.

Ivan said...

This movie is not worth writing about. The mindsets, thinking and passions of today's youngsters could have been handled more sensitively. Instead young people in the IT sector are shown as immoral and easy prey to vices. Disappointing fare from Shyamaprasad.

Static Variable said...

I agree whole heartedly with the author. I have been in IT field in bangalore for 4 years now and never saw that kind of party life shown in the movie.On the other hand,most of us were working overtime and weekends at work, so when a weekend does come by, all we wanted was to sleep the day off.

Also, the charachter Sarath was living in the states for some years, but he seems to be less westernized than his friends, normally its just the opposite. When we watched the movie, non of us could relate to the artificial life portrayed.

silverine said...

Scorpiogenius: The movie makers took the viewer for granted. didn't realize that people will spot the anomalies what with so many people from Kerala in the IT industry.

JFx: The strained relationships could have been due to a number of plausible reasons like changing circumstances, maturing, a lack of appetite to take risks etc. Why use known misconceptions like Varsha wanting to sleep around in Blr and Sunny wanting to steal data and get rich? The theme "Ritu" seems to be taken just for the lark because there is no evidence of change, just people developing 'bad habits'.

Anand: First of all do not comment with a premeditated intention of trashing someones views and expect me to consider your comment seriously. Please don't waste my time again if you have nothing worthwhile to say.

Abraham: Hope the film makers learned their lessons, that the IT sector is not peopled with dim wits. ;)

Ivan: You are right, I think it is a shoddily made film. Though I liked the usage of new actors.

Static variable: That thing about sleeping during weekends is so true. :) No one I know, who has seen the movie felt any connect with it.

Mallady: Get used to my blog sweety and make peace with it. Or it will be a rough ride ;) And I suggest taking a laxative while we are at it. You sounded a lil uptight :p

Anand said...

You cared to reply, thanks for that. I fail to see where I trashed any of your views. I just gave mine!! Just leave it if you don't like it, why getting all fired up?

For that matter, why should I take pain and type up stuff to trash your views? I don't even know you and I've no issues with you.

You needn't publish the comment, this was just meant for you to read. I don't like people having issue with me for no reason. I'll just delete my previous comment since you didn't seem to take it in a good spirit.

Thanks,
Anand

silverine said...

Anand: Here is your comment, which you conveniently removed to act the injured party.

I found your (really late) review to be too harsh.

Like the above person said, the movie was so NOT about IT or Bangalore. IT just served as a backdrop.So you missed the whole beauty of the film by being overtly critical. I'm not here to say that the film was a masterpiece, but it certainly was good.

I'm an IT professional who's been in bangalore for 2 years now. I could relate to many of the 'clichéd' references to bangalore in the movie. This city is so much about it's pubs n discos n parties; atleast for me, it is. Yes I know you will rush to the defense of your dear city. I'd say - chill maadi!! That was just my opinion based on the (possibly very little) of bangalore I've seen.

too sleepy to type anymore... anyways next time you give a review , watch the film without a premeditated intention of trashing it.


Your call the post 'rather late' (so what?) 'harsh' and "premeditated intention of trashing it" and you say you were just giving your views about the movie? These are your views about the review dude. Just a word of advice. Think before you stick your neck out next time.

Anand said...

WOW!! AMAZING!! apaaram!! I just cannot stop praising you.

'Here is your comment, which you conveniently removed to act the injured party.' - Great observation!!

But poor me didn't know that the great lady had the power to pull deleted comments out of the hat.

Could you please explain why I should act as the injured party? What do I stand to gain from that?

Yeah, I do understand that it's a bit difficult 'for you' to understand the explanation I gave for that. That is cos you expect everyone to be like you - conceited and pretentious.

Now I get your way of seeing things -
Whatever others do or has to say are not worthy and has to be trashed by this great lady. People deserve to live only if they meekly agree to her fatuous comments.

Since I have understood you better now, I have no hard feelings for you, just pity.

Enjoy Life, Oh Great One!!

Anand

silverine said...

Anand: You are right. Poor old conceited me doesn't understand your sustained defense of a movie that portrays Malayalee techie gals as gals of easy virtue who jump into bed with men the moment they reach Bangalore. And then become sex addicts and suffer withdrawal symptoms and keep hankering to go back to Blr and the men as shown in the movie. What to do. I am so pretentious no! Oh btw did you just call me great? Thank you!!!! ;)

Annemarie said...

Good one. Check out another compelling review of the movie.

www.jocalling.com/2009/08/ritu-movie-review

The Holy Lama said...

Really, I thought you had more sense than that to actually watch a movie like Ritu. The poster spelt disaster, didn't you read it? Poor girl. My condolences.:D

silverine said...

Annemarie: Thanks!

The Holy Lama: I had heard from "some" sources (who will get a thrashing) that the movie was good. :)

bvn said...

Over a year back, yours truly was walking back from this famous corner rental library in Trivandrum, and right in front of me is Mr.Prasad with his pack of - now I guess StephenieMeyer books.And we talk about us, the film festival, and if I remember correctly Aki Kaurismaki. Then I pop the question "what sir art thou working on".Shyamaprasad spreads his arms and with that all knowing smile of his says "I am making YOUR story". I said "very naice saar". Now if I knew this is what he was making I could have said "No sir, I am not the oversexed God you think who came down from Bangalore. I'm not even getting as much as my doctor says I should".

This 1960s generation disconnect is funny. I remember Kamal making a movie about the IT crowd with posters screaming “Maanikunjum Rosemaryum Kalakki” and the matinee crowd coming out saying “Maanikunjum Rosemaryum Ulathi”

anishthomas said...

I have seen this movie last year and liked it.I felt it was a good movie about the beauty of relationships like other shamaprasad movies...
the movies concept was something like...do we change like seasons.

@ cliché....its just a movie.So people will see and ignore it.And also Boo at those uncles and aunts...Who cares about them and there weird perceptions...

Kariyachan said...

I haven't seen the movie. But I would like to comment on the following .. from my experience from being in blore during the mid 90's..

Point I
-------
"A naïve viewer would think that all that a girl needs to get laid is go to Bangalore, which is peopled by strapping young male IT professionals who speak only English and party all the time and live a very happening life."

The (speak only english or any language) - party all day, living a happening life equation simply equals getting laid ;)

.. which pretty much happens in the every nook and corner in Kerala with out much bells and whistles like the above scenario..

And if someone is having a bit pf that 'partying and happening' lifestyle, so be it..its one's choice and liberty to do what they please..
..

The standards would differ from person to person in this respect.

Point II
--------
"Guy friends who watched the movie with us were laughing at the portrayal of Bangalore and wondered if the filmmakers knew that the standard Bangalore social life constituted of going to the nearest booze shop every weekend to pick up booze to drink with friends and roomies ( all male) in two bedroom apartment shared by four guys."

I have to admit it is part and parcel of an avg malayali bachelor who work for his piece of bread (not the ones who got the whole loaf from their dad) - i mean guys predominantly coming from a rural or farming background, rather than the COK (City Of Kochi) or Bangalore or anything urban.

Mallu guys are so punctual when it comes to 'jalasechanam'
(irrigation), predominantly due to the monopoly boorshwaa farming background - where constant and careful irrigation of their farms and plantations was always a priority.

Here also the percieved standards tend to differ accordingly.

We roomies were all male and that didnt mean we didnt have fun; and booze was all about it (though it was a priority); couple of guys 'upgraded' their standards by opting to stay with girls which is rather supposed to be plautonic and normal and more interesting? - but they were open enough to admit they were in a relationship or that getting laid part was 'happening' or that they considered those 'happenings' quite normal and part and parcel of their lives.

Here again the standards can vary ..according to what one is conditioned to..

Also those NRK's and NRI's need not fall into the segment;
they are probably unaware of this facet of life which the film possibly portrays to the layman in Kerala who is not probably aware and considers them grave sins ..believe me if u would..our Kerala was a land of Sambandhams not too distant in the past..


The pseudo self righteousness of we Indians and especially Keralites has to change.

We should'nt generalise life only thorough our own lenses - perhaps the movies does that?

There are different facades of Bangalore life which cannot be described in a 100 movies with another 100 unique and compelling story lines;)

Happy Kitten said...

Derogatory usage of the word “mallu’ is restricted to people who have had bad experiences with Kerala Malayalees and to a large extent by NRK's (Malayalee born and brought up outside Kerala to parents who hail from Kerala).

Looking forward to read your post on the NRK's.... could use your insights to save 2 in my own house...

Meera's World said...

I am glad after a couple of minutes at the begining i decided not to watch the movie:).

Anonymous said...

Hey ,
I agree with ur views about Ritu. They have portraited "IT women" as selfish and without any values.