The art of creating and worshiping political idols, the game of creating a genius out of a dud
In the course of history, humanity have always gone through troubled times. Great ideologies have always emerged at such times so that mankind could breathe fresh air of life. But the tragedy lies in the course of the evolution of such ideologies. These ideologies have always transcended to become faiths, just like any religions. The devotees of these newly found religions have always created their own idols and have found salvation in worshipping them. These idols turn out to be the source of superstition among these devotees and ultimately ends up in the very death of these ideologies.
Kerala, the cradle of Marxism-Communism in India too have created such idols and are still worshiping them, without understanding a single word these idols have tried to teach them. The result of this superficial idol worshiping is well evident in present day Kerala. When the so-called leftist intellectuals become such idol worshipers the social tragedy becomes complete.
E M Shankaran Namboodaripadu (EMS), the leader of the first ever democratically elected Communist Government is dead (His death was on the same day, which the BJP lead Government came to power in the centre. This coincidence strengthened the mystic cloud around the idol called EMS among his devotees). Appa Mestry (Murali), a veteran Communist, who lives in the nostalgia of 'those great days', is unable to believe that EMS has death. For him EMS is a divine idol, whose death is unthinkable. He goes back to those ages, where they worked for their party risking their own lives. He proudly remembers the day which he took his comrade on his shoulder across the river safely. He remembers contemptuously the day which the first EMS ministry was dismissed by the Central Government as a result of the unjust agitation by the religious lobbies of Kerala. He even had observed fast when AKG had gone on fast against a Government decision.
Appa Mestry's next generation, his son-in-law (Vijayaraghavan) and his friend Bahuleyan (Gopakumar), who have discarded their extremist leftist ideology, are illustrated as frauds. Here are some images that suggest they are fraudsters: Bahuleyan no more have his beard, which he had worn during his Communist days. He no longer uses bedis. According to Appa Mestry, his son-in-law has done the biggest crime by not closing his office even after hearing about the death of EMS. They drive their car to get alcohol, even when entire Kerala grieves the death of EMS by observing harthal. During the television relay of the funeral procession of EMS, they view a cricket match.
Appa Mestry dies broken hearted on the day of funeral of EMS.
Priyanandan's Neythukaran by no means can be classified as art. It is pseudo art. The director tries hard to satisfy his political masters and hence got recognised by the leftist intellectual lobbies of Kerala. His concept about a political party and the party members are so superficial that we don't have to break our heads thinking about the reasons for the failure of these great ideologies. A majority of them, including Appa Mestry and the director Priayanandan have become slaves to their political masters and are finding gratitude in creating idols and worshiping them. Priayanandan, basically a stage director, fails miserably to escape from clutches of the forms used for stage dramas. As Appa Mestry, Murali's spirited performance, barring certain scenes where he overacted, is superb, and is the only consoling factor of Neithukaran.
The lauding of Neythukaran by established critics in Kerala, as something great is not at all surprising. In Kerala, to become established as an artist or a writer is part of a game plan, just line behind the safe shadow of any of the political flags. If it is a red one, the leftist critics and 'intellectuals' would laud you as a genius and create a big figure out of you. If it is a saffron one, you can try your luck at the National level. But the real and meaningful cinema becomes the casuality of this dirty game plan.