“Matinee is a dark parable that splendidly traces the ever-changing contours of human lives.”
Released in 2012, the Malayalam-language drama film Matinee was directed by Aneesh Upasana, and stars Maqbool Salmaan and Mythili as the two leads.
Upon its release, Matinee received largely positive critical reception, and has been praised for the way it tackles dark subject matter, and for the lead actors’ performances. The film also features a number of original songs, including Ayalathe Veetile, the performance of which is viewed as a standout moment from the film, attracting 450,000 YouTube viewers in just two weeks.
Matinee follows the lives of Najeeb and Savithri, who come from completely different backgrounds but are united in their goals to make it in the film industry. In what appears to be a great opportunity, the pair are matched together and hired to play the leads in a film that appears to be an ordinary love story.
What ensues is much darker than what the pair could have predicted. Under the guise of a standard romance, the film Najeeb and Savithri actually make turns out to be an adult film when it’s released, which leads to the ostracising of the couple from society. In turn, the two get together, and decide to take to the city in an attempt to find out who is responsible for the problem they now find themselves facing.
As the journey continues and the plot unfolds, Savithri manages to find a role in the film industry, albeit one she isn’t happy with, but Najeeb has no such luck, leading to a spiral of depression. As the two realise that the rose-tinted perception of the cinema industry so often constructed is actually a lie, the film climaxes with a horrible accident that leaves Najeeb paralysed, and Savithri there to care for him, whilst pregnant with his child.
Matinee has been widely praised for the conviction in which it tells its story, and how it tackles the issue of disillusionment in the film and cinema industry. Its realistic approach and representation of the way we, as humans, experience hope, fear, distress, and anger have also been described as stand-out parts of the film.
There were over 100 Malayalam-language films released in 2012, including Matinee. Malayalam cinema is a part of the Indian film industry which is based in the southern state of Kerala, and is known for its production of films with story-driven realistic plots.
The Malayalam film industry begun to flourish in the 1940s, and continues to be successful today. As of 2018, films made in Malayalam have collectively received over 40 awards at the National Film Awards, India.
Around 34 million people in India speak Malayalam as a first language, and its classed as a classical language of the country. It is an official language of a number of Indian states, and is spoken by just over 3% of the Indian population.