I always look forward to Indiewire film critic David Ehrlich’s annual countdown of the best of world cinema. For me, it acts as a starter to the month-long celebrations leading up the New Year, which mainly involves best-of lists about almost everything.
I just completed skimming through Kottke’s 2018 gift guide (helped me for my Secret Santa activities this year including Redditgifts), the New York Times’ list of best films of 2018, and Goodreads’ list of best books.
I know there are many more to come, but for now, let’s get overwhelmed by this 13-minute video extravaganza. The film at #1 is a surprise for me, but then I have not always agreed with Ehrlich’s lists. For me, it’s about getting a rush of creativity by just watching it – the visuals, the music, the vivid shots all sewn together like a masterwork. I have tried to mimic this a few times in the past. (This one for The Review Monk in 2016.)
I’m glad to have caught at least couple of these films at MAMI 2018 (which I’m yet to summarize, by the way), especially Roma and Widows. I also watched Burning, Madeline’s Madeline, and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. And that’s just only five.
Enough of me talking, now go and spend 13 minutes of your life watching this brilliant encapsulation of world cinema of this past year. And maybe wait for my own rendition of the best of Malayalam cinema. Maybe.
Comedy is one of my favorite genres and that is why the 1987 hit Malayalam comedy film Nadodikattu is one of my favorite films ever. So when I watched a couple videos that poke fun at typical events in the lives of Malayali expatriates in a foreign country, no wonder I cracked up. The videos talk about both the monotony and speciality of life, with added flavor of comedy and slapstick.
Created by We Are A Sambavam, a small Singapore-based group of self-learned Malayalis with a passion for the cinematic arts and everything photographic, Singappooram is (as of now) a four-part partially related Malayalam web-series comically narrating the events taking place in the lives of a married couple and travelling Malayali families. SJ is a man who likes to enjoy his life by entertaining himself watching funny Malayalam classic films or by refusing to eat that tomato rice prepared for the millionth time by his wife. The four episodes essentially chronicle the events happening in their extended matrimonial life – from the wife’s TV show addiction to the husband’s ex-girlfriend, Mary, turning up in Singapore.
The humor is excellent, especially in episodes 3 and 4, aptly titled Theppu Petti and Thallu Jeevitham respectively, where the couple evince the stereotypical attitude of being a Malayali couple in a foreign country. They boast about the way they lead their luxurious life; while on the contrary, things are not as hunky-dory as they seem. Then there is Ikru Mon, the wife’s distance cousin, who helps SJ show off in front of Mary in return for a plate of Biriyani. The dialogues delivered by these characters during these scenes are terrific, and if you are a person well-versed with Malayalam slangs and Malayalam cinema, then Singappooram is going to be a treat. Of course, you may lapse into depression later because it gets over too soon. Overall, it is a well-acted, well-edited, and massively entertaining short series, which is arguably the first Malayalam comedy web series to adorn YouTube.
With an amazing soundtrack that samples popular and funny songs like ‘Oothappam Veno Penne Bonda Veno,’ the sequences are hilarious and totally relatable. However, it does go over the top in few instances which might turn you off if you are in a bad mood. But still, sticking to watching and completing the series (which will take hardly half an hour) may be a worthy experience because it is both funny and creative at the same time, giving us a taste of good old Malayalam comedy that today’s films fail to provide.
Experiencing the humor created by these artists is definitely better than watching Deepthi IPS dilly dally around with her stupid co-actors in the ridiculously overblown and enormously idiotic Television serial, Parasparam, or watching actor Mukesh laugh to Ramesh Pisharadi’s half-assed jokes in the reality show, Badai Bungalow.
Conceived by Sooraj and his lovely team of We Are A Sambavam, you can watch the online series on YouTube here (do select the episodes in their right order):
A video countdown of the top 20 Malayalam movies of 2015 released between December 2014 and November 2015. Best viewed in 1080p and using headphones. Enjoy! (For some reason the video does not play on mobile devices. Please use your desktop to avoid missing out.)
(Special thanks to Rolling Stone Staff Writer David Ehrlich for the inspiration.)
“The Double Theme” by Andrew Hewitt
“Arike Pozhiyum” by Govind Menon (100 DAYS OF LOVE)
“Shaji Pappan Intro Song” by Shaan Rahman (AADU)
“Looper Theme” by Rajesh Murugesan (PREMAM)
“Wild Tales Theme” by Gustavo Santaolalla (WILD TALES)
“Drumline Beats” by Jeff Russo & Ryan MacMillan (FARGO TV Series)
“High Speed Drifting” by Rajesh Murugesan (PREMAM)
“Unfinished Hope” by Rajesh Murugesan (PREMAM)
“Beginners Theme Suite” by Roger Neill, Dave Palmer, & Brian Rwitzell
“The Ecstasy of Gold” by Ennio Morricone (The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly)
Malayalam Hit Movies of 2015 List: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls076103957/
Malayalam Flop/Bad Movies of 2015 List: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls076593525/
Greatest Malayalam Films of All Time: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls072575464/
All lists: http://www.imdb.com/user/ur34967775/lists