Malyalam movie actor Alancier Lay Lopez’s one man act at the bus stand premises of Kasaragod is being equated with the Meryl Streep moments at the golden globe award venue- where the much reputed charismatic actress takes a dig at the United State’s president elect Donald Trump for his disrespectful imitation of a journalist at the time of his presidential campaign- gives a new lease of revival for the art lovers in Kerala to “shrug off and laugh at”against the growth of nascent intolerance emanates in a state best known for its literate, art loving, politically conscious, and rising middle class population.
The Mollywood actor who is widely recognised for his iconic performance of a sober but humorous character as “Artist Baby“in the blockbuster movie of “Maheshinte Prathikaram” ( Revenge From Mahesh) has got many eye balls on and off the floor, where large numbers of artlovers took into the social networking sites to troll on the super stars of industries for their usual “studied silence” in the wake of repeated incidents of statements from the few political party leaders in the state against the writers and directors. Especially in the last case of target was against the renowned Malayalam movie director and Chalachitra Academy chairman Kamal.
“#Artist Baby is not that Cheap”
Alancier, clad in a purple lungi holding a toy cornet whistle, running constantly from a bus to another in the Kasaragod new bus stand bay enquiring the bus drivers and the conductors whether they could take him to Pakistan or America. surprised by this act people out of curiosity on the note of recognising the actor surrounded him in large numbers , there came his speech against the angst rising from a few limited sources in Kerala from the fringe elements targeting the well-known director for his statement on the National Anthem. For the actor it was not the first time he responds to these kind of situations, he also recollects his frantic marathon sprints made at the secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram at the time of Babari Masjid demolition, other than these he used to respond to the similar incidents by his own unique way. But thanks to the popularity he gained from the “Artist Baby” role in the movie where this act went viral in the virtual space when many took to the social sites by correcting the statement made about him in the movie by his employee with the hasthtag #ArtistBabyMuthanu,- which means Artist Baby is true gem.
Frightening Silence from the Fraternity
This was after a time when M T Vausudevan Nair one of the most respected figures among Jnanpeeth awardees and an eminent script writer for many of the super star starrer movies in Malayalam spoke against the Demonistation move in the country, who faced the ire from the BJP leaders in the state questioning his allegiance and patriotism. After this came the finding the “muslimness” in the name of Kamal the director as “Kamaluddheen” and adding a massive prejudice of anti-national tag to him followed with the demand to go to Pakistan , the cliché statements paraphrased from the north indian BJP mentors and other hate mongering groups against the people who speak out their minds and give opinions.
The most talked about is what the reigning silence from many of bigwigs and others alike from the movie industry and writers guild against the continuous irresponsible statements from these sections unleashing attacks into the secular fabric and peace loving nature of an average Malayali. Where very few came in defence to the wirter and director and whereas others chose to remain silent only for being trolled vehemently in the social media platforms, where many likened the spirit of Alancier to that of Meril Streep with her seething attack against Donald Trump without naming him. Here Alansier asks “ who has designated you to tell us and order to leave my country and embrace other for merely opening up our minds , who you happen to be judging us by the name of Kamalauddheen and ask him to go to Pakistan , which also means they find my name and order me to go to Portugal or America”
This symbolic gesture from an actor raises the consciousness of an average thinking man in the state to be vigil and never take the things for granted. This Is the time when the nuances of intolerance creep into the much literate state of Kerala which has set its example of peaceful coexistence since its formation. Recent incidents have been the attesting testimonies for it, including that of Kamal C Chavara who announced recently in his facebook page that he quits writing. Time is ripe as aptly and rightly the film director Laljose mentioned very recently “that this tendency of being much of silent and unresponsive will only help the matters to get worst and wake up at the final hours when we recollect ourselves to the pitiful screams of our neighbour”
Hassan Shihab is Doctoral Research Fellow, Department of Social Work, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi