Dont Reduce Chaayam Poosiya Veedu to a Mere ‘Nude Film’- a Viewers Request

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വിദേശത്തടക്കമുള്ള  ഓണ്‍മലയാളത്തിന്റെ  വായനക്കാരുടെ നിരന്തരമായ നിര്‍ദേശം  മാനിച്ചുകൊണ്ട്  ‘ചായം പൂശിയ  വീട്   ഒരു വായനക്കാരന്റെ  പ്രതികരണം’  എന്ന പേരില്‍ പ്രസിദ്ധീകരിച്ച ലേഖനത്തിന്റെ  ഇംഗ്ലീഷ് പരിഭാഷകൂടി ഓണ്‍മലയാളം പ്രിയ  വായനക്കാര്‍ക്കായി  സമര്‍പ്പിക്കുന്നു …

I write this as a common man who loves Malayalam cinema. Of late ‘nude films’ ‘lip-locks’ etc are terms being used by some new media sites to grab visitors to their pages. I am writing this because such sites have begun to include some good movies too under these umbrella terms. In the last few days I have been seeing that Malayalam’s first ‘nude film’ is about to be released. What is the truth behind this turn of phrase?

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The International Film Festival of Kerala is an annual event which is much loved by film lovers in Kerala. Film buffs from other parts of the country too gather here for this ten-day event. It was here that I realised that Malayalam films maintain the high standards of international cinema. But sadly, many Malayalis are not aware of this fact. I watched Chaayam Poosiya Veedu (The Painted House) last year at the IFFK. It was quite by chance that I happened to see this movie, whose name was hiding inconspicuously in a corner of the screening schedule. Santosh Babusenan and Satish Babusenan, the directors of the film, were challenging the Censor Board by exhibiting their film. They had refused to cut even a single scene from their film. I could overhear people next to me murmuring that it was a bit of a ‘masala’ movie. But if that had made me expect a few ‘bursting laddoos’ in my mind, what I was in for was a literal explosion! The movie begins with a lonely writer. He wakes up to news on TV reporting the ‘Kiss of Love’ event and, as the story progresses, has a sudden heart attack and collapses to the floor. But then, as if nothing has happened, the story starts again, from him. It is likely that viewers who are not familiar with such psychological devices may lose the plot here.

But this device is used to hold together a significant aspect of the story. Then a young woman enters the old writer’s life unexpectedly. She exlores all the hidden compartments of his life and with that, all his carefully preserved masks which had been gifted to him by his social values, begin to fall apart. A demolishing and rebuilding of society’s self proclaimed heroes and intellectuals is what ensues. Somewhere along the way, nude images which are integral to the narrative are presented. The nudes have been picturised very beautifully and will definitely create a state of ecstatic response in the viewer. Even there, what is addressed by this film is our concept about nudity as created by our society. This film also destroys the idea that lust is the only emotion which nudity can arouse in our minds. Such works of art create the possibility for our imagination to explore new skies. When our old, well-entrenched prejudices make us reject them, we end up losing good art.

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K. Kaladharan, Neha Mahajan and Akram Mohammed are the three actors in this film. The filmmakers struggled hard to make this film a reality. So far limited to mere festival audiences, a valuable piece of art is being stopped in its track by a section of our society which is trolling this film. Chaayam Poosiya Veedu concerns itself with the false morality of our people which has been handled by ‘Ozhivu Divasathe Kali’ (An Off-Day Game) but in a slightly more imaginative manner. The movie begins with the Kiss Of Love movement which questioned the Malayalis’ sense of false morality. This film brings to the open the dichotomy between our private and public morals. It also has the guts to tell the Malayali to his face that his morality is all false. Does this explain why some people are trying to present Chaayam Poosiay Veedu as just a ‘nude film’?

A question hangs there. Perhaps this too is a part of our false morality. It is my request that we should not end up ignoring this movie which can stand up with the best in world cinema.

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