Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ividam Swargamanu

This movie gets 6 out of 10. In God’s Own Country, it is usually with wry amusement that one says “Ividam swargamanu (This is heaven).” Along with that, in this movie, there seems to be the message: if you have a heaven, guard it with your life and more importantly, do everything you can to keep it a heaven. This is told through the story of a small-to-medium-scale farmer trying to guard his land and family from the stranglehold of the “land mafia” who also manage to turn the gullible community against him.

Rosshan Andrrews has used the same formula (naïve and admirable protagonist nearly defeated by the system striking back with an ingenious plan) that he used in his first movie ‘Udayananu Thaaram’ but with less success. Mohanlal is under-utilized (surely, more is expected from the Gerard Depardieu of Malayalam cinema who gave us Kireedam, Bharatham, Varavelpu, Devasuram, etc.?). The same can be said about nearly everyone in the cast except Lalu Alex and he has performed extremely well. The three “leading” ladies make a fortuitous appearance.

This movie is worth watching for the theme and the setting. The theme resonates with the common man who complacently or helplessly watches his state/land/heaven being defiled by the land mafia (along with the sand mafia, the education mafia, the liquor mafia, the Party and the unions, quotation gangs, paedophiles, terrorist camps, etc.). When you see the setting (the farm-house), do you remember the acre of fertile agricultural land you sold for a 1000 sq.ft. flat in the outskirts of a city? Along with this movie, I have a prayer to make to you. It is definitely not easy to make profit from agriculture (especially, if you are a small-scale farmer) but as long as you have your basic needs, please do not sacrifice your farm for the sake of a quick buck, an easy life and careless development. Each time you go to your farm, even the most sincere amongst you might feel like quoting from “Digging” by Seamus Heaney (like I do):

By God, the old man could handle a spade,
Just like his old man.

But I've no spade to follow men like them.

Finally, unlike most Malayalam movies of the 80s and 90s, the hero in this movie is able to beat the system - through the judiciary. One can only hope justice prevails in reality, too.

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