Malayalam cinema has seen some very radical changes in the past few years, It has become more progressive, more bold when it came to its premises and treatment, and the appeal has become more pan-Indian. Films like Kumbalangi Nights, Virus, Angamaly Diaries, Jallikattu, et al have managed to gain the nation's attention. What's more, it's not just the narrative that have grown bolder - even the depiction of the love scenes have come out of the idea of two flowers touching each other. From Fahadh Faasil’s Kumbalangi Nights to Mammootty’s Unda, 7 Malayalam Movies of 2019 to Watch If You Want a Break From Bollywood Masala!
Unlike Hindi, Telugu or Tamil cinema, Mainstream Malayalam of the yore has been very shy when it comes to kissing scenes. Most of the content has been targeting the family audiences, which could be a reason why actors and filmmakers shied away from having scenes with liplocks. What's funny is that quite a few movies in the '70s and '80s used to have steamy scenes, but the filmmakers used to draw a line when it comes to showing a lip-lock. But there have been rare occasions where visionary filmmakers like the late Padmarajan and Bharathan have broken the barriers when it came to onscreen kissing.
Circa 2020, the perception has changed for Malayalam Cinema, or it has been deliberately been changed by the new-age actors and directors. The newer generation, barring a few stars, are not averse to kissing scenes, and nearly every second film has had one. So how have we brought this evolution?
In this special feature, we look at the 10 game-changing liplocks in Malayalam Cinema that helped in changing viewer derision when it comes to kissing scenes.
One of the most controversial films made in Malayalam Cinema was Ina, which was directed by the late IV Sasi, that came out in 1982. Loosely inspired by the Hollywood classic The Blue Lagoon, Ina was a forbidden love story between two teenagers, who run away from their homes, fall in love and get married too. Portrayed by Master Raghu and Devi, the movie featured a few bold kissing scenes between these two artistes, that created quite an outrage in that era, for very obvious reasons.
Ina was later remade two decades by Mahesh Karanthoor, though the film was never released.
This 1988 classic, made by the late Bharathan, is based on the Mahabharatha tale of how the virginal sage Rishyasringan was seduced by a devadasi girl Vaishali into coming to Chambapuri and perform a yagna. Suparna Anand and Sanjay Mitra played the roles of Vaishali and Rishyasringan respectively. The film features quite a few sensuous scenes between the pair, including a couple of kissing scenes.
Interestingly, the lead couple took their romance offscreen and got married in real life, but they got separated later. Vaishali is a brilliant film, bold for its time and features an evergreen soundtrack by the late Bombay Ravi.
Suparna Anand makes a second appearance in this list through another classic, again involving mythological themes. The late Padmarajan's swansong Njan Gandharvan, unlike Vaishali, is set in contemporary times and is about a doomed love story between a young girl and a banished Gandharva. While Suparna plays the female lead, Mahabharata fame Nitish Bharadwaj plays the Gandharva. The film features a few kissing scenes between the two, including scene when the Gandharva comes into the girl's life by transforming to his real self from a doll. In today's context, that sure sounds creepy!
Even more notable in the climax of the film featuring a long lovemaking scene between the characters. Njan Gandharvan didn't work at the box office, but it is now considered a masterpiece, with Johnson master's songs still being loved by music lovers.
AK Sajan's Lanka, a thriller that came out in 2006, is an awful film that received bad reviews and was poorly received at the box office. The latter being surprising because before release, Lanka was in the news for Suresh Gopi and Mamta Mohandas' hot scenes. The film also featured a long kissing scene between the two in the climax, though looking at the context, it is far from sensuous!
What makes the kissing scene in Lanka notable is that Suresh Gopi was a popular superstar, so him doing a lip-lock left fans shaking their heads in disbelief. Interestingly this wasn't Suresh Gopi's first liplock scene, as he had a kissing scene with Gauthami in the 1995 film Sakshyam, which, strangely, didn't create as much ripples then. Suresh Gopi Birthday Special: From Innale to Varane Avashyamundu, 10 Awesome Performances by the Superstar That Are Shorn of Crowd-Pleasing Machismo.
Fahadh is often seen as the actor responsible for Mollywood loosening up its attitude towards kissing scenes. In his second innings, Fahadh Faasil took some very unconventional, bold moves as he evolved as an actor. One such decision was being part of Chaappa Kurishu, where he had a long kissing scene with actress Ramya Nambeesan. What's interesting here is that Ramya herself has a girl-next-door image, and this film was a way for her to change that perception.
The kissing scene in Chaappa Kurishu, a remake of the Korean film Handfone, is not for tilltation purposes but plays a crucial part in this thriller, also starring Vineeth Sreenivasan. Fahadh also locked lips with his co-stars in films like Annayum Rasoolum, Amen, Iyobinte Pusthakam etc
After the late Bharathan, his son, actor-director Sidharth Bharathan, also finds a place in this list for his bold directorial debut. Remaking his father's Nidra with the same name, Sidharth played the male lead in this tragic love story, playing a mentally ill man with Rima Kallingal playing his suffering wife. The final scene has the couple die by suicide, by jumping into the river, kissing each other while doing so. The original film didn't have any kissing scene as such.
The tragic context of the scene notwithstanding, the underwater kissing scene is beautifully shot by cinematographer Sameer Thahir, who interestingly is the director of Chaappa Kurishu.
This comic thriller, which marks the directorial debut of Lal Jr, made enough waves for its many drinking scenes, Kochi slang, irreverent comedy and its thrilling narrative. The film also became a talking point during its release, for the kissing scene between actors Asif Ali and Bhavana.
Although the kiss in itself was very mild compared to others in the list, it still created a storm, more because Bhavana's docile image in the mind of conservative viewers.
Prithviraj Sukumaran avoided kissing scenes early in his career, but changed the stance with this 2015 romantic drama, directed by the late Sachy. A crucial scene in the film involved a liplock between Prithviraj and Priyal Gor.
What's controversial about this scene is that while Prithviraj's character was a Navy officer, Priyal Gor's character was underage in the film (something the former didn't know then). Prithviraj also had kissing scenes in films like My Story and Koode. Prithviraj Sukumaran Birthday: From Nandanam to Lucifer, 15 Movies That Defined This Malayalam Superstar's Interesting Career.
Ashiq Abu's brilliant romantic drama is a heartbreaking story of love and loss, with the fantastic performances from its two leads, Tovino Thomas and Aishwarya Lekshmi. On its release, though, the movie made news for three kissing scenes between the two leads. Watching Virus in the Times of COVID-19: 7 Lessons the Entire Nation Can Learn From Aashiq Abu’s Malayalam Medical Thriller.
The kissing scenes, while bold for Malayalam cinema were also praised for how beautifully they were picturised, especially the lovemaking sequence in the title track.
Earlier, the tag of 'Emraan Hashmi of Mollywood' used to be owned by Fahadh Faasil. But now, that title is taken over by Tovino Thomas, who has no qualms in doing lip lock scenes in his films. While he could own a list of his own, we chose Mayanadhi (for reason mentioned in the previous entry) and his below scene with Samyuktha Menon in Theevandi for specific reasons.
The above sequence is game-changing for it is how the film ends, bringing the conclusion to the erratic romance between the chain-smoking protagonist and his fiancee. When the hero's voiceover in the sequence says, "Eriyunna Aayiram Cigarettukalekaḷ Madhurataramaan Azhakulla Penninte Aadya Chumbanam'. (Translation: The first kiss of a beautiful girl is sweeter than a thousand burning cigarettes), I am sure many men in the theatres would have clapped hard!
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Sep 24, 2020 09:40 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).