Syam Pushkaran would have very well known what was coming his way when he voiced his honest opinions about a couple of Malayalam films that have gained cult status in the state over the years in an interview. The Malayalam scriptwriter, who is presently riding a high following the success of his recently released film Kumbalangi Nights, said that he is not in support of the message that was shared in the movie, Sandesham, the popular 1991 Sreenivasan-Jayaram political satire. The film was directed by Sathyan Anthikad.
It didn’t end there. In the same interview, the scriptwriter went on on to say that he simply didn’t like yet another film by the Sathyan-Sreenivasan combination, Varavelpu, which also starred actor Mohanlal. As expected, several self-confessed fans of these actors and films, started outraging against Syam, referring to him as “blind commie”, “anti-Mohanlal”, “communist” and so on.
Sandesham, directed by Sathyan Anthikad and written by Sreenivasan, takes subtle digs at Left politics in Kerala and also on the political condition in the state as a whole. The film is known for the famous, “do not utter a single word about Poland” dialogue which is still a popular catchphrase among the people of the state .
In an interview to Radio Mango, the RJ had asked Syam to give one line reviews about the movies she mentions. When asked about Sandesham, Syam Pushkaran said, “I don’t know what sandesham (message) is Sandesham trying to give out.”
The Mayaanadhi scriptwriter went on to say that he is someone who supports student politics. “But Sandesham ends with a message that says that there should not be any student politics, which I find problematic. Whatever politics it is, I feel that students should have some politics,” he said.
Following this, the RJ asked him what he thinks of the Mohanlal-starrer Varavelpu, to which Syam responded by saying, "it's a movie which I don’t like.” He went on to justify his view by saying that he feels sad every time he watches that movie. On being asked about yet another Mohanlal-starrer, Narasimham, which was a box-office hit in the state, the scriptwriter said that it's a “one time watch”.
These statements by Syam turned out to be the perfect recipe for the "pongala" to start boiling in the YouTube comments section where the interview was uploaded.
Predictably, many of the comments were along the lines of, “Just because a couple of his films have become successful, he thinks he can criticise anyone.”
Responding to Syam’s statement about Sandesham not having any message, a user commented saying, “Even after 25 years, people still remember and talk about Sandesham. Let's see if your movies are remembered after so many years.”
The users also resorted to calling him terms such as, “commie”, “Leftist”, “Left sympathiser” and so on. Recently, Tamil actor Vijay Sethupathi was given such labels on social media, after he said in an interview that he was a fan of Kerala Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan.
“I am a big fan of your writings but 10 years from now, people won’t be watching realistic movies like yours. But people will still watch Sandesham and Varavelpu. You have only read about the Left, whereas Sreenivasan has experienced it,” commented another user.
Many of the users also claimed that Syam has "personal hatred" towards Sreenivasan and Mohanlal. One user added that Syam’s dislike towards Mohanlal was evident in Maheshinte Prathikaram (referring to a comic dialogue by a character stating that Mohanlal plays only upper caste roles in his movies, whereas Mammootty does all kinds of roles).
Syam Pushkaran, along with his circle of friends, who are popularly said to have come from the “Aashiq Abu school of filmmaking” have been churning out a number of hits for the Malayalam film industry in recent times. He has previously written for various critically acclaimed movies like Maheshinte Prathikaram, Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum, Mayaanadhi, 22 Female Kottayam, and Da Thadiya.