‘The documentary is an account of how I, as an admirer, see him,' says G. Prabha.
The documentary on poet Akkitham Achuthan Nampoothiri, scripted and directed by G. Prabha, professor of Sanskrit at Loyola College, Chennai, was screened at a function organised by the Cochin Film Society and Orthic Creative Centre here on Thursday.
Speaking on the occasion, veteran artist M.V. Devan — illustrator of Akkitham's ‘Irupatham Noottandinte Ithihasam' (The Epic of the 20 Century) when it was first published in Mathrubhumi weekly in 1952, said that Akkitham's poetry depicted the fruits of his spiritual journey and therefore invariably touched the ‘readers' soul'.
Recalling his long association with the poet, Devan said Akkitham had been a compassionate presence in the lives of Keralites.
Critic Thomas Mathew said that Akkitham uttered words with meditative asceticism and ritualistic purity. “He took us to the depths of Indian ethos and philosophy with considerable ease. A deep sense of Indian cultural identity formed the underpinning of his poetry,” he said. The biopic on the poet — which traces his personal, social and political self, besides his trysts with various political ideologies and struggles in his evolution as a compassionate human being — was well-received by the audience.
Bouquets and brickbats
The documentary attempts to honestly portray the poet's quest to reform himself and society at large.
As a Vedic scholar, when he shunned the sacred thread, the gesture was received with much fanfare.
However, brickbats were in store for him when, several years later, he gave a call to universalise Sanskrit education and Veda learning.
As the polemical dogma of violence distanced him from the communist movement — he still considers Karl Marx a great humanist — it dawned upon him that a spiritual life rooted in the Bhagavad Gita and the Vedas would make everyone a Brahmin.
The poet, as Thomas Mathew said, refused to cocoon into himself, but was eager to radiate his vision — the quintessential Indian vision of universal brotherhood and compassion — over the horizon.
According to Mr. Prabha, the documentary was not a comprehensive biopic on Akkitham, the man and the poet.
“I just wanted it to be as natural as possible. It is probably an account of how I, as an admirer, see him.”
Keywords: Akkitham Achuthan Nampoothiri