Nov 22, 2009

Sathyan Anthikkad

The message of any Sathyan Anthikkad movie is simple – “Love your life”. And, all of his movies convey this message through down to earth characters. His movies don’t have larger than life heroes. They all lead normal lives. They worry about small things in life. They feel happy for small things in life. They dream about big and small things in life. They cry, they laugh, and they fight – all for small things in life.

Nobody else would have explored relations the way Sathyan Anthikkad did in his movies. He builds the characters, and the relation between them through mundane things. They don’t need something spectacular to connect with each other. They don’t need a cruel villain to discover the depth of their relationships. He uses normal incidents like an old lady bringing idiyappam (which she had prepared the previous night, sitting awake whole night) to her friend to establish the relations. He builds on the same incident, and brings in the hygiene conscious daughter-in-law who throws away the idiyappam. This makes the simple old lady look silly in front of the sophisticated members of high-society. She leaves the place, weeping bitterly. If this doesn’t make you cry, probably you have had high doses of Bollywood movies, and maybe nothing makes you cry anymore.

His male protagonists are not all-knowing. They have their own complexes. More often than not they are silly and dumb. And they are practical and worldly. More importantly, they love their lives. The brilliance of Satyan Anthikkad is in establishing the relationship between the characters. In “Veendum chila veettu karyangal”, the male protagonist is a son of a rich father. He is mad about acting. On the other hand, the female protagonist is the only bread-earner of her family. She acts in one of the dramas in which our male protagonist plays the hero. He starts admiring her and eventually falls in love with her. If not for the background of our hero, who has always had his father’s support, it would be unnatural and filmy for a rich guy falling in love with a poor girl. This is where Sathyan’s brilliance shows; he gives us all the details which tell us that the hero has always lived under his father’s protection, and had never faced the real world.

Sathyan’s formula for a successful movie is as simple as his films are. First, make sure that there is something catchy about the movie promos that bring people to the theatres. Second, make sure that the movie has a strong story. If the story is strong enough, more people will come in. This, he said in an interview. In the same interview, he talked a lot about the festivals, food, and other simple things in life. So that is where the characters have got their simplicity from!

One problem I have noticed in Sathyan’s films is that he messes things up in the climax. He tries to make the story more convincing, failing to maintain the balance. One such example is “Yathrakkarude shraddhekku”. Sathyan is a keen observer of people. This shows in the way his characters behave, the way they talk and in the way they interact with other characters.

He makes sure that you never miss the irony or the humour in a situation. The dialogues are catchy and to the point. However, when it comes to wrapping things up by saying, “So the moral of the story is…” Satyan seems to be in confusion. He fumbles a bit. However, such is the charm of a Sathyan movie that you forget this; only the good things about the movie stay in your memory.

Watch a Sathyan movie. Say cheers to small things in life.