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Sreesanth and Neelakantan

by John

For any Malayali male under 30 today, Devasuram is the definition of masculinity. The movie is about the transformation in the life of a "feudal themmadi", Mangalassery Neelkandan, a womanising alcohol-loving terror who squanders away his ancestral property without a care. His transformation (from asuran to devan, hence the title of the movie) is driven in equal measures by failure, flashback and female.

Doubtless, Sreesanth has seen this movie, and like every Mallu young man, his conceptions of masculinity have been shaped by Mohanlal's portrayal of the hero. Sree was ten when the movie released and when the time came for his testicles to descend, the memories of the asura Mohanlal (the pre-interval Neelakantan) would have inspired in him (as it did a generation and more of similar young men) a degree of showy thuggishness.

Along the way, after he discovers that he is a bastard and not really entitled to all the wealth that he has squandered, Neelakantan is attacked and left for dead by his enemies who somehow do not manage to kill him. With his own star on the wane he finds himself deserted by friends and having lost the faith of loved ones. In one of the most moving scenes of the movie, Neelakantan asks his only friend, "Why do you think I became like this?". This moment of self-reflection is a turning point.

If Sreesanth has reflected honestly, he can emerge as the post-interval Neelakantan - the devan who has control over himself, conquers his enemies and yes, gains the love and respect of the girl.

Neelakantan inspired a series of movies starring Mohanlal in a larger-than-life role. There was even a sequel, Ravanaprabhu, more than ten years later. What can Sree inspire?


K said...

Amazing stuff John. This is definitely one of the most entertaining posts I've ever read on BCC! I've always been fascinated by Mohanlal & Mamootty and how most Malyalam cine stars manage to stay away from politics.

Gaurav Sethi said...

You can say that again K, I'm speechless.


Homer said...

Hats off John.. Brilliant!


K said...

John i've put up your post on my facebook.

Sujan Rao said...

Nice stuff John Atta !!

Hope Sree turns from a "Patti" to "Karu". This will be his last chance.

Let him not embarass ppl Calicut again.

Krish said...

Good comparison, John

straight point said...

in over few days we will know which half of the movie sree liked most...

classic vintage stuff john... :)

John said...

Thanks everyone.

Mahek said...

Sreesanth is unlikely to get a game unless either Zaheer or Ishant get injured.

sraghuna said...

Stellar stuff this ... the simile is profound and applicable to precocious talent from all regions in equal part ... Yuvi, Sree et al ... sadly in most cases the prolific talent is undermined by lumpenness ... the Asura pips the Deva to the post ... 'thaggarpan' post!

Govind Raj said...

A really relevant simile. Born a Non-Malayalee, I have looked at 'Devasuram' with awe and envy.

Awe because it was just immaculate. Envy because we never had such movies made in Kannada or any other language.

Sreesantn for me is a talent as precious as Mohanlal. Too many curbs on his natural instincts can ruin him. Check him, fine ! But don't castigate him for every act of aggression.

We have seen bowlers like McGrath and Donald being abusive and over-aggressive and have envied and admired them. But Sree gets very little support in his own state. That is sad because, he is easily our best bowler after Khan.

I don't think 'Deva' version of Sree will be a successful bowler. Devasuram was about striking a balance between Deva and Asura.

Neelan chops off the hand of his adversary in the end because he wants to 'Live and Live peacefully'.

Sree-Neelan needs to keep his fire and rage burning and use it the way he used on Kallis at Durban !

That is the perfect Devasuram for me !

Thanks John for a wonderful post and also starting off a debate on my favorite 'Brat' !

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