Eroticism, a flashback...

Dated: January 07, 2015

Biennale re-presents the erotic impulses of Malayalam cinema

Kochi, Jan 7: It was once part and parcel of Malayalam cinema — the classic ‘kuli scene’ or ‘shower scene’. And the success of many a commercial films depended on the number of such scenes or ‘bits’ as it was called in popular slang.

Now, these ‘shower’ scenes with yesteryear ‘sexy’ beauties have been resurrected at Kochi Muziris Biennale 2014 through a captivating video installation by graphic designer Priyaranjan Lal.

The first segment of installation titled “Kuliyum Mattu Scenukalum” was showcased on Wednesday evening at the main Aspinwall House. The continuation will be staged on Thursday 6.30 pm at the same venue at the Umbrella Pavilion.

Though these shower scenes have been replaced by more daring and baring acts with advances in technology, those images are still gentle and rather quaint reminders of the archetypal erotic past of Malayalam cinema.

The installation was a novel intervention in the 100-day Artists’ Cinema Festival.

The installation has an intimate relationship with “Kanyaka Talkies”, directed by K. R. Manoj and screened on the sixth day of the film festival. The movie was earlier showcased in 19 film festivals both at home and abroad.

“These scenes were once a way to cut into titillating shots in the movies of the past era,” said Priyaranjan Lal. “This installation was born out of the primary-level discussions happened between me and the film’s director,” he added.

Although the climax of “Kanyaka Talkies” showcases some elements of the installation, the show at Aspinwall House was like a continuation of the whole movie. This includes shots not included in the original movie.

“The big opportunity that the Biennale has given us in the contemporary art field was the chance to display our video installation,” said Manoj. “Other film festivals do not offer such an opportunity to showcase an installation along with the movie,” he added.

“The KMB 2014 has become a launch pad for the promotional programmes of Kanyaka Talkies ahead of its official release,” Manoj said. 

Meanwhile, referring to the audience response to the cinema festival, noted Malayalam film critic C. S. Venkiteswaran, who is also curating the festival, said, “The enthusiastic response to the films that have not been marketed through the conventional distribution methods, shows that art does not have to be slotted into a particular form.”

“The Malayali viewer is usually accustomed to being at a film festival,” said the National award-winning film critic and documentary filmmaker. “Watching a screening against the backdrop of a biennale creates a different perspective. Here, film is viewed as art, rather than as a commercial product and it was well-received as such.” 

CB

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