She is no more. But, her words have touched our hearts. Indeed, writer Kamala Surayya’s works have delved into our hearts with romanticism. The spirit of her words is still in our minds. This much she did for us in her lifetime. Then, what can we do for her in return?
Malayalam film industry is set to make a movie on the life of Kamala Surayya. Interestingly, the biopic is directed by national award-winning Malayalam director Kamal. He says that the bilingual movie will not be a conventional, realistic biopic but a mixture of real-life and fictional situations. The shooting is expected to begin in October. Can this film do justice to the legendary writer?
In 2013, Kamal had made ‘Celluloid’, a biopic based on the life of J.C Daniel, the father of Malayalam cinema. Though ‘Celluloid’ could quite manage to maintain sincerity to the life of the legendary man, the movie too had to face several criticisms that it had fabricated history. However, Kamal had reacted to the criticisms that his intention was to re-read the life of J.C Daniel, not documenting history. Citing examples of movie ‘Lincoln’ and yesteryear classic ‘Gandhi’, he termed it as the creator’s freedom. He said: “If ‘Gandhi’ was the portrayal of the father of the nation’s life from the view point of Richard Attenborough, historical drama ‘Lincoln’ dealt with the life of U S president told through Steven Spielberg’s perspective.” A director’s freedom of creativity is one side while doing justice to the life of icons onscreen on the other side. Thus, a good biopic is born from a director’s skill in making a balance between the two sides.
The biopics are rare in the Malayalam film industry. We have only a few numbers of movies that are made on the life of legendary figures. The Mollywood is yet to recognise the significance of the biopics. That is why actor Prithviraj’s heroism was cited as a reason behind the success of ‘Celluloid’. ‘Yugapurushan’ was a film based on the life of Sree Narayana Guru. But, that movie had not received the much attention that had deserved for. Only a few people know that the film Makara Manju is on the life Raja Ravi Varma. What all these indicate is that the Malayalees are yet to imbibe the spirit of biopics. Actress Vidya Balan may bring popularity to the movie on Kamala Surayya, but the question of justice to the writer still remains.
A good biopic is a love for history. It can never be compared with the commercial movies. The facts in the history can never be distorted to make them commercially viable. Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja, which portrayed the life of Pazhassi Raja, was dubbed as a popular film. Several things were made to make the movie popular, but had not done justice to history in many aspects. The film portrayed that Pazhassi Raja was shot dead by British troops. But, historians rejected this claim saying that he courted death by swallowing a diamond ring to avoid the ignominy of surrender. Here, the spirit of biopic was faded away, thus giving way for popularity.
Kamala Surayya has left us, but her spirit is in us. There are many who took her words in their hearts. They are eagerly waiting for a soon to be made biopic on writer Kamala Surayya. Can director Kamal’s movie do justice to her life and writings? This is an agony of being in love with her writings.