Kozhikode

Adoor Gopalakrishnan: The Master at 75

Kochi, Kerala, 06-01-2013: Malayalam film maker Adoor Gopalakrishnan. Photo:Thulasi Kakkat   | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the United States, Malayalam has received a special place through the Adoor Gopalakrishnan Film Archive and Research Center. Not many Indian film directors have been honoured in such a way by any foreign university. The centre gives scholarship to study Adoor’s films.

Adoor Gopalakrishnan, who turns 75 on Sunday, has made only 11 films in a career spanning over four decades. But arguably, they are as relevant today as they were when first screened.

It was in 1972 that he stunned the Malayali viewer with his debut film, Swayamvaram .

It was perhaps the most significant debut in Indian cinema since that of Satyajit Ray in 1955, with his Pather Panchali .

The black-and-white film, about a newly-married couple (played superbly by Madhu and Sharada) starting their life together, revolutionised Malayalam cinema. He showed a new path for film-makers in Kerala; it was refreshingly different from the mainstream cinema, which was all about music, dance, drama and fantasy. Swayamvaram was recognised way beyond the boundaries of Malayalam; it won national awards for the best film, director, actress and cinematographer.

It must have been tough to follow that up with an encore for any director. But Adoor came up with Kodiyettam , which gave Bharat Gopi a national award and Malayalam cinema one of its finest actors. Next came Elippathayam , Adoor’s masterpiece. Critics consider that if Swayamvaram was brilliance, Elippathayam is pure genius.

Beautifully cinematographed by Mankada Ravi Varma, who was a perfect foil for Adoor, and with a cast that included Karamana Janardhanan Nair, Sharada and Jalaja, it is considered to be one Malayalam film which could rub shoulders with the best of world cinema.

Though Adoor’s films are celebrated world over, it is doubtful if a majority of Malayalis have seen them. This may also have to do with a misconception that his films are a bit too cerebral, or a tad leisurely paced.

His last film was in 2008, Oru Pennum Randaanum. He has, however, recently began shooting his new film, Pinneyum , featuring Dileep and Kavya Madhavan.



Adoor Gopalakrishnan, one of cinema’s greats, turns 75 today




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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 10:11:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/Adoor-Gopalakrishnan-The-Master-at-75/article14468953.ece

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