R. MADHAVAN NAIR
P.V. Gangadharan's enviable record at the box office has made his banner one of the most popular ones in Malayalam cinema.
"A fine blend of art, craft, good music and a touching theme with a social message - that has been the almost infallible formula behind the success of our films," says P.V. Gangadharan. Having produced 22 films, most of them box office hits, under the banner of Grihalakshmi Productions, he has established himself as one of the most prolific producers in Malayalam cinema.His office in the head-office of Kerala Transport Company(KTC), his family concern, is packed with statuettes, trophies, photographs and citations - eloquent testimonials to his success as a filmmaker. His latest film `Notebook,' produced by `Grihalakshmi Productions' is no exception. Gangadharan emphasises that as a producer he is motivated by his intense love and commitment to film as a media than by business considerations.It was chance that brought him into the film world in 1973. Along with a few of his friends in Rotary Club, he launched `Sangamam' under the banner of Sahredaya Films. Hariharan was its director.
Debut as producerBut his own debut as a producer was through `Sujatha,' starring Prem Nazir and Jaya Bharathi. Since then, the release of his films has always been eagerly awaited by movie buffs and the film industry. "I am proud to say almost all actors in the past four decades in Malayalam cinema have acted in Grihalakshmi films," says Gangadharan. Dwelling on the changes in the Malayalam film industry, he adds, "Sincerity and a deep sense of dedication - those were the trade mark of the actors in my early films. They treated the films they worked in as their own projects. It was not a purely business approach." Gangadharan believes filmmaking has become easier now, thanks to the support of the Government and other sources. He was the Chairman of the Kerala Film Development Corporation (KFDC) when the Malayalam film industry was passing through a crisis."That crisis is behind us," he says, while pointing out that in spite of the wide reach of television and Malayalam channels telecasting Malayalam films almost every day, quite a few films have set the cash registers ringing in the box office. "Actually, television channels are expected to telecast a film only two years after its release. Good film-makers need not worry if video piracy is put down with an iron hand. New technology is making film viewing a much more exciting experience than it had ever been. Films will continue to enjoy popularity; films are forever," says the producer.Among the many films produced under his banner, his favourite is `Oru Vadakkan Veera Gadha,' scripted by M.T. Vasudevan Nair. `Santham,' which won the national award is also high on his list of favourites. "Almost all my films are dear to my heart," he adds on second thought and names `Kaattathe Kilikkudu,' directed by Bharathan and starring Sri Vidya and Bharat Gopi, as another favourite of his. He is all praise and admiration for the film-making skills of Sathyan Anthikkad, Hariharan and the late Bharathan and the late Padmarajan.
SpokespersonGangadharan has also emerged as a spokesperson of film producers. At present, he is vice-president of the Federation of International Film Producers' Association (FIAF), an international organisation of film-makers. The fact that he was vice-president of Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce in 1983 and later its president for 10 years speak volumes of his organisational and leadership skills. He had also held the office of the president of the South India Film Chamber of Commerce and was president of Film Federation of India for two terms.