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February 23, 2011

The fall of Fazil- II

Fazil’s fall from grace has been insidious. His last five movies itself testify this. They ranged from bad to worse. The progressive deterioration in the quality of his films and their inevitable commercial failures have been due to varied reasons.

Bad writing-One of the factors that can be attributed to hisrecent failures is the reluctance to part with his pen!  Almost all his movies post Aniyathipravu have one thing in common- a lame and often an insane (read ‘Moss and Cat’) script! While his contemporaries like Joshiy, kept themselves updated with the changing trends by collaborating with a Renji Panicker or even an Uday Krishna- Sibi k Thomas, Fazil continued writing mushy romances and half baked dramas which might have worked in the nineties .

The Manichitrathazhu Effect- Fazil has not really been able to come out of the brilliant success of his cult classic ‘Manichitrathazhu’. Just like Bhadran(Spadikam-Udayon) , Fazil is desperately trying to repeat the success of his most famous film. Movies with weird/ paranormal themes work only if you bring some kind of believability into them. But his recent trysts with the paranormal (Vismayathumbathu,the yakshi episode in ‘Living Together’) defied all kinds of logic and left the audience high and dry with their sheer absurdity. The ‘Vismayathumbathu’ climactic sequence for instance, where the spirit/soul tries hard to get back into the body of the comatose (Nayantara) turned out to be unintentionally funny.

An overdose of tele-serials- most of his successful films have dealt with an imbalance in the family and they revolved around the efforts of the protagonist to overcome the situation and the ultimate restoration of the normal equilibrium of the house, thereby emphasizing the Freudian theory of family and relationships. This worked perfectly in the doordarshan era (which used to go into a week long mourning every time some  politician left bhoomidevi’) when private television channels remained a distant dream. An average malayalee who sees atleast half a dozen similar stories everday(thanks to the Baiju Devarajs and the K.K.Rajeevs)in his television set, finds no charm in spending fifty rupees to watch the same thing again on big screen.

Bad Marketing- His last few movies have been plagued with bad marketing. Fazil  no longer has a Navodaya or a Swargachithra with him which in turn is getting badly reflected in the marketing of his recent movies. By the time the songs of ‘Moss and Cat’ got aired in the television channels,the movie had left the main centers!

Dated presentation and old fashioned story telling-Today’s youth who are fed on a staple diet of latin American/telugu/hindi/Gautham Menon films are no longer able to connect with the old fashioned story telling of fazil. His songs still have a heroine dancing all the way to glory in the company of half a dozen precocious children or the hero and the heroine singing over their cell phones!

-nikhimenon

The first part of the post can be read here.A shorter version of this post can be read at varnachitram.com,a popular blog on malayalam cinema.

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