After an eight-year hiatus, India’s legendary auteur, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, has completed the shoot of his 12th movie, interestingly titled, Pinneyum or Once Again. Though Adoor is known to make films after longish gaps, these have never been more than four or five years. His last movie, Oru Pennum Randaanum (A Clime for Crime) hit the screens in 2008, just year after his Nandita Das-starrer Naalu Pennungal (Four Women) opened.
Pinneyum will have two of Kerala’s popular stars, Dileep and Kavya Madhavan (was was seen in Naalu Pennungal). In a telephonic chat with this writer from Thiruvananthapuram, Adoor said he had completed the shoot of Pinneyum in a record number of 23 days largely because “I had planned everything to the last, most minute detail... I cannot afford to waste time, because film production is very expensive these days. It cost me Rs 2 lakhs for each day of the shoot. There is nothing called a small-budget movie anymore...”
Apart from the two lead actors, Pinneyum will have some of Adoor regulars like KPAC Lalitha, Indrans, Nedumudi Venu and Vijayaraghavan.
Gopalakrishnan has introduced a new face in his latest work, 20-year-old Meera Nellor -- who plays Madhavan’s screen daughter. The helmer sounded quite excited about her, and said she had “great potential”.
Pinneyum is a love story, but “not the kind where a man and a woman would sing and run around trees. It is a story about love for life. The moment a person stops loving life, it is the end of his or her life. Love is a very powerful emotion, and it is not confined to sexual love or attraction between a man and a woman. Love is like a stream that runs under the surface of the earth,” Adoor averred.
Pinneyum is certainly not his first in the romance genre. His debut feature, Swayamvaram in black and white, that opened in 1972, was a very beautiful love story It had two of Kerala’s top stars, Madhu and Sarada, and the movie was considered way ahead of its time with the two characters in a live-in relationship. Such a union was seen as scandalous and even immoral in the Kerala of the 1970s. But Adoor being a rebel of sorts could not care about such things, and, what is more, the film was the first in southern India (probably in the entire country) to have used sync-sound.
“But I have had to give up this technique,” Gopalakrishnan said. “It is very difficult to control the crowds these days, especially when you have stars on the set. There was a time when people would listen to you if they were asked to keep quiet. But today...”
Gopalakrishnan shot a major part of Pinneyum in a huge bungalow in Thevalkkara, a 40-minute drive from Kollam or Quilon. “Kerala is full of these houses today. Nobody wants to live in flats in the state, which is so urbanised that there are no longer any villages. Thevalkkara is not the village that it once was. Today, it even has star hotels. The small corner shops have all grown into big stores,” the 70-plus auteur sounded nostalgic.
An autumn release is being planned for Pinneyum, whose post-production is now on.