This year's retrospective is a return to unvarnished, passionate filmmaking of G.Aravindan who has been honoured with so many superlatives and hyperboles in books and retrospectives. Of the richest and most interesting collections of the Library of Congress are two films 'Kanchan Sita' (‘Golden Sita') and 'Thampu' (`The Circus Tent'). The directness, clarity and accuracy of his films enable the viewer to both reflect on the universality of the subject matter and relate this to his or her own human attitudes. Aravindan kept changing his cinematic forms consistently during his film career spanning almost fifteen years from hi first film 'Uttarayanam' (1974) to his last film 'Vasthuhara' (1990).He successfully went beyond the limits and styles of filmmaking created by the new wave filmmakers of that time. This journey towards new facets of narrative included current incidents, history, myths and traditional stories. He also occasionally directed music for other filmmakers while actively participating in theatre movements in Kerala.Aravindan was a singular Indian filmmaker in how he was almost alone in working entirely in the poetic mode. The best of Aravindan’s cinema is free from the theatrical tradition of performance and general surroundings of an event and the literary tradition of narrative and character psychology.These films rightly reinforce the  idea of film as a medium of surfaces byemphasising the physical and material aspects of the world we see rather than its ethereal and idealist dimensions. Aravindan’s career as a cartoonist had a deep influence in his visual sensibility, with his flat  and balanced compositions,

Remembering The Master Film Maker

 regularly set against the horizon.He was well known to the readers of Kerala through his cartoon serial 'Cheriya Manushyarum Valya Lokavum' (`Small Men and the Big World'), which appeared in the 'Mathrubhoomi' journal during the early 1960s,even before he started with films. These activities fed his interest in films and in the   process   he  surrounded   himself  with  a  valuable group of young, talented graduates of Film  Institutes. From his very first film Aravindan's main concern has been basic human values. He believed in planning everything before starting the film and also,that the subject should dictate the style of a film. a film.Chidambaram (1985),the story develops mainly around three  characters,Muniyandi

  (Sreenivasan),his wife Shivakami (Smita Patil) and the office superintendent of a farm, Shankaran (Gopi). Muniyandi, a labourer in the farm, believes and respects Shankaran.Muniyandi brings Shivakami to the farm, from the temple town of Chidambaram after marrying her.She soon befriends Shankaran, an amateur photographer with a shaddy past. Their friendship transgresses the hypocritical but deeply felt behavioral codes the local men inherited from  previous social formations: i.e.that woman is  to be denied what men are allowed to enjoy. But one day   Muniyandi catches Shankaran red 

handed with his wife Shivakami. Broken hearted, Muniyandi commits suicide. The extreme feeling of guilt forces Shankaran to leave the place. He tries alcohol while she is now employed to look after the footwear of devotees and tourists. The film ends with a rising crane shot as the camera can only avert its gaze and escape, tilting up along a temple wall towards an open sky.

Kanchana Seetha (1977) film, was an adoption of C N Sreekhantan Nair's play of the same name. Even after selecting this play as the theme of his film, Aravindan made a long journey in search of Lord Ram. His search ended in an interior tribal area of Andhra Pradesh, where he met the illiterate tribal people. He found that their physical appearance resembled some murals connected to the Ramayana. Thus, Aravindan's Ram resembles a tribal leader rather than the calendar figures, which were set in the minds of the mass. Kanchana Seethainterprets the story from the epic Ramayana, where Lord Ram sends his wife Seetha to the jungle to satisfy his subjects. Here, the golden Seetha substitutes the biological one.


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