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Polandine Patti Episode 9

In Episode 9 we continue our series of episodes on star kids. We’re looking at nepotism, power structures, and connections (family or otherwise) in the Malayalam film industry, this time with three actors who are from Malayalam film families, but who are more plugged into other industries: Keerthy Suresh, Kalidas Jayaram, and Kalyani Priyadarshan.

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Episode Nine Highlights:

Spoiler Alert! We try to remember to alert listeners to spoilers, but just in case, know that we talk about the films in-depth, so be sure to watch them first if you’re concerned about spoilers!

[00:00:18] Harsha and Katherine had tech problems.

[00:00:55] We are discussing people who are from Malayalam film families but are not as tied to the industry: Kalyani Priyadarshan, Keerthy Suresh, Kalidas Jayaram.

[00:01:43] Katherine was not very familiar with these stars before this episode, except Kalyani.

[00:02:03] Katherine had no idea Keerthy was Malayali. Her father is the producer G. Suresh Kumar.

[00:03:15] Harsha has warm feelings towards Keerthy because she looks like her mother Menaka Suresh.

[00:04:41] She has played Dil**p’s daughter as a child actor and his love interest as an adult.

[00:06:35] Her initial filmography, including Geethanjali, in Malayalam and Tamil is terrible but she has flashes of good performance.

[00:08:17] Mahanati was a huge turn in her career and benefits from her girl-next-door charm.

[00:09:46] Actresses aren’t forced into film careers any longer to support their families.

[00:10:20] Keerthy has a classic face.

[00:11:04] Savitri’s daughter approved of Keerthy Suresh’s performance.

[00:11:44] Dulquer helps Gemini Ganesan seem charismatic to a modern audience.

[00:13:30] Harsha values having female characters who have agency.

[00:14:08] Katherine wants to revisit Savitri’s films because of Mahanati.

[00:14:00] Streaming offers stars like Keerthy a platform without needing to sell out theaters.

[00:15:48] The complicated girl power plot of Miss India.

[00:17:48] Katherine saw WOMB: Women Of My Billion through the London Indian Film Festival.

[00:18:45] Miss India’s plot reminds Harsha of Telugu director Sekhar Kammula’s early film Godavari.

[00:19:50] Reflecting on the non-native heroines of Tamil and Telugu industries.

[00:20:46] Keerthy Suresh has cute dogs.

[00:21:53] Kalidasan Jayaram launched in Tamil first and Katherine could not access them.

[00:22:26] The buzz around Poomaram petered out because of how long it took for the film release.

[00:22:43] Kalidas is the son of Jayaram and 80s and 90s actress Parvathy who is related to Shobana

[00:24:08] Jayaram has a mimicry background and Kalidas is introduced to the South industry with some Kamal Haasan mimicry

[00:24:37] Star sons have a heavier burden of legacy than star daughters

[00:25:03] Kamal did a cameo in Kalidasan’s Tamil debut Meen Kuzhambum Mann Paanaiyum as a favour to Jayaram.

[00:27:07] We both appreciate that Kalidas seems like he really tries to earn his audience.

[00:27:38] Jayaram has not worked with a lot of New Gen directors; seems more focused on his son’s career.

[00:29:20] Kalidas’ adult Malayalam debut is Poomaram was about the Kerala youth festival system.

[00:31:17] The song “Njaanum Njaanum” was a hit because it tapped into Maharajas College nostalgia.

[00:32:10] Neeta Pillai, who was also in Abrid Shine’s Kung Fu Master, was a highlight of Poomaram.

[00:32:33] Abrid Shine’s inconsistent filmography.

[00:34:01] Katherine enjoyed Poomaram but has a quibble with its ending.

[00:36:12] Kalidas’ child debut was in Kochu Kochu Santhoshangal where his character’s father uses him to manipulate his mother.

[00:37:30] It’s fun to see stars in their child roles and compare them as adults.

[00:38:26] In general, we are against nepotism, but a lot of the Malayalam star kids are actually good.

[00:39:35] We both enjoyed him in the short film Ilamai Idho Idho, from the Tamil anthology Putham Pudhu Kaalai.

[00:40:50] Harsha is skeptical about Kalidas’s chances as a solo lead in Malayalam but thinks he could click in Tamil.

[00:42:19] Kalidas is inevitably going to be in a Mani Ratnam film.

[00:42:41] Kalyani Priyadarshan is the one we are most excited about in this episode.

[00:43:25] Her parents are the pan-Indian director Priyadarshan and the 80s actress Lissy.

[00:44:15] Her performances have been strong from the start even in mediocre films; great screen presence and chemistry.

[00:45:41] She has a good voice and strong command of languages.

[00:46:00] There must be an additional comfort level when you are acting opposite people you grew up with.

[00:47:04] Kalyani was really good at channeling Urvashi.

[00:47:57] We hypothesize: star sons build on family legacies, star daughters build on industry legacies?

[00:49:25] Katherine is excited to see the development of a female star.

[00:50:00] Building on an industry’s legacy offers more freedom than a family’s legacy.

[00:50:50] We are willing to make some exceptions for nepo kids if they aren’t just checking boxes like the Bollywood kids.

[00:51:48] Nepotism looks different in Malayalam cinema than Bollywood or the Telugu film industry.

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