Happy Birthday Priyadarshan! A Dozen Reasons I Love You!

I don’t do directors often with these birthday posts, but Priyadarshan is distinctive enough, and also crosses multiple language industries that all are addressed by this blog, that I feel like he deserves a post.  If only a small one.

1.1. I love you because your father was a librarian!  A wonderfully different sort of background for a film director.

2. I love you because one of your good friends in college was Mohanlal, your entry into film inspired by following him to the big city, not through any crazy dreams of fame.

3. I love you because you started as a screenwriter before moving to direction, taking the time to learn your craft before taking the leap.

4. I love you because this movie is the first one of yours I saw and it is ridiculous and I love it.

 

5.  I love you because you adapted a young Malayalam love story for a Hindi audience with a Rahman score, perhaps the only thing that could make it better.

 

6. I love you for specializing in bringing out great performances from unexpected actors, like Pawesh Rawal and Suniel Shetty and Akshay Kumar as a comedy trio in Heri Pheri, or Kareena and Akshaye forming a great romantic pair in Hulchul.

 

7.  I love you because you broke through in Hindi almost two decades after your break through in Malayalam and you didn’t mind starting from scratch.

8. I love you because you formed a bridge between language groups, remaking Malayalam and Tamil plots for Hindi audiences.

9.  I love you for always grounding your comedy in realism, the petty strains and worries of the common man are what sets everything in play, there is a beating heart at the center of it all.

10.  I love you for giving me my all time favorite item number, also in Hulchul (love that movie!)

 

11. I love you for taking a risk on Kalapani, a historic epic that was very different from the comedies you were becoming known for in all the Indian languages from Malayalam to Hindi.  And then doing something similar a few years later with Kanchivaram, about poor weavers.

 

12.  And finally, I love you for this beautiful film about stardom.  Not from the perspective of the star, but the every day man who is counting on him (I know it is a remake, but to me Priyadarshan changed it just enough to make it his own)

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13 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Priyadarshan! A Dozen Reasons I Love You!

  1. Hi Margaret,
    Have you watched “Virasat”? Or the Tamil original “Thevar Magan”?
    Maybe you can add this to your Tuesday Tamil list. It’s really good, and I think you’ll enjoy it. Revathi got a national award for her performance in it.

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  2. Priyadarshan is a frustrating film-maker.His earlier movies-though inspired heavily from English films-bore his signature comic touch and were immensely entertaining.His movies were such an influence on the collective comic sense of Malayalis in 80s & 90s.I have such a strong attachment to Thalavattam(inspired by One Who Flew Over the Cuckoos nest).It was my favorite movie for a very long time.Priyadarshan-the film maker is seen at his best in some of his lesser known movies-Advaitham(political thriller),Cheppu(campus politics),Midhunam(rom-com with a difference),Aryan(action).And then he went on to the Hind-remake spree.
    I will never forgive him for remaking Manichitrathazhu,In Harihar Nagar & Godfather(malayalam). Some movies should be just left alone.Making a mockery of the National Film Awards in 2017 is another blip on Priyadarshan.Such a talented filmmaker,but now he repulses me.
    He is also credited with the debacle of Miss World Contest(he was in charge of the event management) in 1996-resulting in the eventual bankruptcy of Amitabh Bachan’s ABCL that organized the event in India.

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    • Putting it another way, if Priyadarshan had ruined Miss World, then Amitabh never would have come to film and we would have missed his second innings as an actor. So, in the long term, it was a wonderful gift to the Hindi film industry.

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  3. Omg so totally love Priyadarshan!! Hera Pheri and Hulchul were on at our house on two tv sets in different rooms whenever they were playing!! Hah!! I love the lightness they have. I’ve never quite figured out why the same OTT facial expressions and voice dubbing by the actors from his best hindi hits feel annoying and heavy in their regular films. But in priyadarshan, they feel light and unheavy!! Why is that? Is it the editing? Or the pace of the story? Or the way the scenes are setup and shot? I don’t recall such smooth transition of closeups back to back in scenes in regular hindi films that don’t feel choppy and abrupt.

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    • One thing I have noticed about Priyadarshan, which I feel like he brought in from Malayalam cinema, is an amazing depth of field. You don’t just see our hero and heroine, you see the big crowd of people behind them, or the fields and trees, or the furniture. It’s all in focus, literally. Which makes the acting, as you say, feel so much less over the top.

      He also has that same concept metaphorically, again which feels like it came from Malayalam cinema. The hero’s friends, the heroine’s family, they aren’t just background figures, they are real complicated people surrounding our central couple.

      On Tue, Jan 30, 2018 at 9:41 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

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      • I don’t know if you’ve quite noticed the sound from his films. I feel like the sense of quiet may be literally a fact. Even when funny background music or dramatic music is present, it’s never shrill. I suppose that’s part of the overall aesthetic of Malayalam industry. It might be because their spoken language has a shrill tonal profile and an accelerated pace in comparison to Bombay hindi which sounds almost sing song-ish at times. If they paired malayalam movies with loud and shrill background music, it would be an unbearable combination. I guess when the same aesthetic is applied to hindi films with hindi/marathi dialogues, it feels quiet and calming!!

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