The Hindu Lit for Life 2018

Late Tamil writer Ashokamitran came back to life in Prasanna Ramaswamy’s documentary

With Ashokamitran's passing, the laughter has faded into silence.   | Photo Credit: R. Ragu

As late writer Ashokamitran spoke on screen about how he used to converse with his bicycle and used it to wage a war of words with himself, asking why its chain hadn’t been changed, the audience broke into laughter.

The amusement continued as Ashokamitran spoke about how, in his imagination, Natesa Mudaliar, one of the founding fathers of the Justice Party, would converse with him in the park in T. Nagar in Chennai where the author had penned many of his Tamil and English works.

But the laughter faded into silence as Ashokamitran said that he no longer wrote at the park. The Sahitya Akademi Award winning author, who had powerfully portrayed the lives and struggles of the urban middle class, passed away in March 2017.

The audience at The Hindu Showplace watched their favourite author come alive on screen in Prasanna Ramaswamy’s film, Writer Ashokamitran, a documentary produced by Films Division, which was screened on the second day of The Hindu Lit for Life. The 90-minute long documentary had interviews with Ashokamitran, discussions on his books in which he participated and responded to criticism, and other writers, actors, readers and admirers expressing their opinion about Ashokamitran’s works.

Ramaswamy said that she had been reading Ashokamitran from the 1980s and his works gave her clarity — about herself and life. The documentary, in which she has collaborated with cinematographer R.V. Ramani, is an attempt to understand and travel into the world of his writings. “Ramani’s highly individualistic style of negotiating the image in a context and continuum has often guided my process,” she added.

Last year, Ashokamitran had watched this documentary. His family members, including his wife Rajeswari Thyagarajan, attended the screening at Lit for Life. Thyagarajan said that the documentary has captured several facets of the author.


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Printable version | Aug 6, 2021 12:43:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/books/late-tamil-writer-ashokamitran-came-back-to-life-in-prasanna-ramaswamys-documentary/article22478742.ece

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