Santhosh Pandit – Vile, Wicked, or Virtuoso?Writing about a person like Santhosh Pandit had never occurred to my mind as a serious thought. Seeing him the first time in those viral videos, which were released simultaneously with the wave created by Rebecca Black in YouTube, I too joined the laugh riot ignited by whoever saw them. Frankly, I am of a different opinion regarding Rebecca Black and her infamous Friday lyrics. Perhaps being not native English, I couldn't find any problem with her singing or with the lyrics of her music video that earned her huge notoriety overnight. Instead, I kept on playing the video admiring the young artiste’s beauty time and again, and had even tended to hum her song and to learn the lyrics by heart.
But, the case of Santhosh Pandit was different. Rebecca is a little girl, so her age can be considered as a relaxation factor. On the contrary, Santhosh Pandit is an adult, and every such disgusting performance from a matured guy would bring mockery from the audience. And exactly that was what happened. Pandit is being abused verbally in the internet, but with no change in the attitude of this sensational film maker.
|Santhosh Pandit. Courtesy: http://www.indianmoviecorner.com/|
To get a complete picture of Santhosh Pandit, you need to know the long history of Malayalam film industry. It is better if you have some information about the influence that the Malayalam cinema from 1995 to 2010 made upon the minds of an average Kerala film-goer. But time and space are very limited, so, here is a short intro for the person about whom we are talking about. Santhosh Pandit is a Kerala based Indian film person, who considers himself as a virtuoso, despite of the bad reputation he earned as an actor, director and singer. His life fell into a different track of defame when a video in which he and a school going girl dancing to a song composed, penned and sung by him, was posted in the internet. The video was strongly criticized for its lack of professionalism, and profoundness of immaturity. Comments with derogatory terms posted in thousands, and everyone thought he would be quiet within moments, despite of the initial popularity his video gained.
But that was where Pandit started. He announced that the song in the internet was just a song sequence from a film that he was currently making. The public shocked hearing the new announcement. Is something more awful coming on the way? Yes, Pandit retreated; his film titled Krishnanum Radhayum (Krishna and Radha) was under production, in which he was handling all the major departments except camera. He was the lead actor, director, script writer, producer, singer, lyricist, composer, costumer, choreographer, and was handling upto 18 departments. Within days, Santhosh Pandit became a celebrity (is there any other term to call people who become famous through negative publicity?)
As promised, Pandit’s film was released in a few of the low class theaters in Kerala. But in some centers, Krishnanum Radhyaum was screened in Government theaters. Almost all of the shows ran with houseful boards. The young wild audience abused him and his way of singing with scornful words whenever his face appeared in the screen. (I watched this film only very recently, via online. It was a difficult task to concentrate on the film for two and a half hours owing to its amateurish way of making and acting, though the story has something thought provoking to offer).
|Rebecca Black in her Friday music video|
As per Google Trends, at a point of time, Pandit was the second most searched name in Google, preceded only by Facebook. He was interviewed by media several times, around 150 times, within a time span that does not exceed 12 months. An achievement that not any super stars in our vicinity can claim. The interviews and chat shows in TV channels with Santhosh Pandit invited huge mass attention. Everywhere he appeared in his deviated kind of dressing style.
In talk shows he was criticized strongly. But his confidence was greater than anyone had estimated. Till now, no one could beat him in interviews. To every question raised by journalists, film critics, film students and college students, housewives, lecturers, and common man, he reacted in the same way, in a style that is found only in a maverick like him, an idiotic, funny, and enraged Pandit style. He furiously asked everyone to watch his film first. Some so called intelligentsia admitted in talk shows that they were not able to understand him. They said, either he is a genius, who knows how to sell himself, how to generate money through the negative publicity, or he is a dumb man, a fool who does not know the basics of film making.
Santhosh Pandit’s way reminds me of Don Quixote of La Mancha, the fictitious Spaniard created by Miguel de Cervantes. Don Quixote, an impoverished gentleman, who inspired from the heroes and adventures portrayed in the Romantic fiction of his time, set out on a journey in the wrong assumption that he was devoted to make changes in the world. With an accomplice, and an aged horse that he considers as a war horse, he traveled so many places, and met with failure in all his attempts. The event of Quixote’s fight with windmills that he believed to be ferocious giants is a sparkling chapter in world classics. Likewise, Santhosh Pandit is inspired from contemporary Malayalam cinema. He took inspiration from the super hero kind of characters being played by Malayalam Superstars Mammootty, Mohanlal and Suresh Gopi, and copies that inspiration to his real life. He pretends to be one like them, and even calls himself a superstar. But there are critics who term himself as an inevitable factor in Malayalam cinema industry, who appeared when the cinema here was in a demolishing state.
|Don Quixote battling with Windmills as seen in http://www.mainlesson.com|
Santhosh Pandit is now being treated as a foreseeable shock to the bad tendencies in Malayalam cinema. Many people who followed the track of Santhosh Pandit met with failure, that itself speaks about his inevitability. Spiritual organizations like Art of Living Foundation tells people to think and behave like Santhosh Pandit, since only people with a free state of mind can be like him. That is true! All the time the public abuses him and criticizes him, he is enjoying his celebrity status. There are instances when people asked him to not act or sing, instead he could do direction or music composition (By the way, I like the music Santhosh Pandit has given to certain songs). I have one word to them. You can criticize any artiste or his works. But you have no right to ask that person to not act or not sing. Because it is his moral right. You don’t need to appreciate him or permit him to perform in your work. You don’t need to give attention to him. But, you have no right to ask him to keep quiet. Because everyone has the right to live on this earth and do whatever they wish. The beauty of life lies in such small small factors, I believe.