Thiruvananthapuram: Malayalam filmmakers say stereotyping may be possible, but clarify that they do not depict any community in a bad light intentionally as alleged by T. Peter.
In a recent article in the fortnightly ‘Alakal’, T. Peter, national secretary of the Kerala Swathanthra Matsya Thozhilali Federation (KSMTF), expressed disappointment over Malayalam films and TV serials showing the fisherfolk in a bad light, especially their dressing style and depiction of Malayalam accent.
“This has been going on for long and this is unfair to a community, who is the most hardworking besides being the most vulnerable in the Kerala society,” wrote Peter.
Suresh Kumar, one of the leading film producers in the Malayalam film industry, denied allegation.
“Filmmaking is about spending money and it has become very expensive. So, will anyone waste money just to depict a particular community in a bad light,” asked Kumar, who has produced 31 films in his career spanning over three decades.
Incidentally, in the recent past his film ‘Mahasamuduram’, which starred superstar Mohanlal, tells the tale of a coastal community.
Kumar said that he "disagrees with Peter", who said that in the film ‘Chemmeen’ the usage of ‘Kadaappuram’ (sea) was the writer`s imagination.
"Will a famed writer like the Jnanpith award winner Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai, quite familiar with the coast, use the word that emanated from his imagination? I doubt that,” said Kumar, whose wife Maneka was a hugely popular South Indian actress.
Popular writer and director B. Unnikrishnan said that to a certain extend he agrees with Peter, but at the same time he feels setting guidelines for writers is practically impossible.
“Look, the film industry tends to follow the stereotype pattern and it is only natural that writers often keep going back to successful themes and character depiction. And mind you, it’s not just the fisherfolk community who has such feelings of being depicted in bad light. See, we just cannot set guidelines for writing and I doubt if we can make any intervention,” said Unnikrishnan, who was recently re-elected as the secretary of Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA).
He also added that the Muslim community can also have a grouse for often showing Muslim names as smugglers in our movies.
K. Babu, State Minister for Fisheries, said depiction of any community in poor light purposefully won`t be accepted.
“What I feel is that films often show the real life situation and it’s only but natural that those into filmmaking do a lot of research and study their characters in closely. Look, if there is one community, who has been depicted in a bad light is my own community - khadi clad politicians. But won`t accept if any community is purposely defamed in the name of ‘expression of freedom’,” said Babu.