Filmmaker Pavithran dead

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K. Santosh

Thrissur: Film director Pavithran died of liver cirrhosis at a private hospital here on Sunday. He was admitted to the hospital on February 13. The end came at 11.20 a.m.

He is survived by his wife, classical dancer and choreographer Kalamandalam Kshemavathy and two daughters, actress Eva Pavithran and Lakshmi.

The body will be kept at the Kerala Sahitya Akademi hall here on Monday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. for the public to pay homage and cremated at 12.30 p.m.

A maverick genius

He was in every sense a child of the politico-cultural movements of the Sixties and Seventies.

Pavithran's single-minded pursuit of anarchy and blank negation of established and cliched aesthetic practices buttressed the maverick status he shared with John Abraham in Kerala's cultural world.

Along with the likes of Adoor Gopalakrishnan, G. Aravindan, P.A. Backer, T.V. Chandran and K.R. Mohanan, Pavithran strove to promote the aesthetics of parallel cinema in Malayalam.

There was a subversive anarchy about the films Pavithran was involved in be it Kabani Nadi Chuvannappol, which he produced, or Yaro Oraal or Kuttappan Sakshi he directed.

Kabani Nadi Chuvannappol', which depicted the Naxalite resistance in north Kerala, was one of the most-talked about films of the 1970s.

"Till then, one had not seen a film like that. Here was a style that was anarchic and different from the controlled realism of Ray, Adoor or Aravindan," said V.K. Sreeraman, actor and long-time friend of Pavithran.

Yaro Oraal, Pavithran's maiden directorial venture in 1978, too was in the mould of the slow-moving, abstruse alternative films of the day.

The style may now look dated, but the films are relevant for their potent themes and anger.

In the Eighties, there was a marked shift in Pavithran's style. "I think he was fairly disillusioned with art and life then," said C.P. Padmakumar, film director.

Filmmaking was not merely a political act and artistic commitment. It was, after all, Pavithran's profession too. To survive, he had to do films such as Uppu and Uttaram that incorporated mainstream elements.

I was with Pavithran during the first test screening of Uppu, in 1986. He cried, saying he was helpless," Mr. Padmakumar recalled.

Uppu won the National Award for the Best Malayalam Feature Film.

Pavithran returned to his favourite theme loss of human values, and conflict between the present and past in his 2000 film, Kuttappan Sakshi.

The strength of his earlier work was missing in the latter mainly because of the pressures of life and health problems," said Mr. Padmakumar.

In the past eight months, Pavithran was planning a film, `Purambokkinte Pookkal', that tells the tale of a child who loses its parents in a communal battle.

If success is measured by the higher number of films made, awards secured and foreign film melas attended, Pavithran was not as fortunate as many of his contemporaries.

He cared little for such achievements. He practised what he preached," said P.T. Kunjumohammed, who played the lead in Uppu.




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