Why Malayalam cinema, not Bollywood, is India’s rapid-response unit for Covid films

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From Mumbai noir to plantation Macbeth, Kerala’s more dynamic and independent-driven industry is responding urgently to the pandemic
The first occurrence of Covid-19 in India was officially recorded on 30 January last year in the city of Thrissur in the southern state of Kerala. Since then, Kerala’s capable handling of the pandemic has meant that it has been largely spared the brutal scenes and tragic images of the second wave of the pandemic elsewhere in India. Likewise, Kerala’s Malayalam-language film industry – right now the most dynamic of all India’s multiple regional producers – has seen a talented pool of young, new-wave film-makers deal superbly with the virus.
Where the Mumbai-based behemoth of Bollywood has barely chronicled this life-altering reality – the anthology Unpaused, released on Amazon Prime Video, is almost its only offering – Malayalam cinema is grappling with Covid with diverse film-making forms, styles and themes. Continue reading…