Adoor Gopalakrishnan, a master of the medium, turned 75 on July 3, having been born in a small village called Pallickal in Kerala. And the state is now celebrating the auteur’s birthday by screening in Thiruvananthapuram some of his 11 feature films and 30 shorts and documentaries.
The occasion will also mark 50 years of the director’s cinema. His first work, A Great Day, made during his last weeks at the Pune Film and Television Institute of India in 1965 was a comedy, a takeoff on himself. His protagonist is a lazy man, who loves to sleep late into the day. When the milkman would place the bottle outside the door, the hero had a rope attached to the door to open it.
When he falls in love with a woman, she wants him to meet her father. She asks her lover to tidy his room before her father comes by. The man just cannot tidy up the mess, and the father arrives, says hello to him, gives him a look and goes away. The young man is sure that the whole thing must have been a disaster, when his girlfriend comes running in to tell him that her father liked him! And do you know why, she asks him. Because he loved your teeth. The father was a dentist!
The movies that are being shown during the celebrations are Nizhalkkuthu (2002), Vidheyan (1993), Mathilukal (1990), Elippathayam (1981), Anantharam (1987) and Swayamvaram (1972).
The documentaries being screened are Images/Reflections (2015) by Girish Kasaravalli, Bhoomiyude Chuvadurach by Vipin Vijay, Lights on Adoor by Prasanna Ramaswamy.
A felicitation ceremony in Thiruvananthapuram’s Ganesham Auditorium on August 17 -- which will mark the culmination of the celebrations -- will see the stars of Adoor’s debut film, Swayamvaram, Sharada and Madhu, in attendance. A caricature show linking his movies will be a highlight of the August 17 felicitation.
More importantly, Adoor’s 12th feature, Pinneyum, will hit the cinemas on August 18/19, and a simultaneous Chennai release is being seen as a novelty. For, it has been many years since an Adoor film opened in Tamil Nadu.
Pinneyum with Dileep and Kavya Madhavan in the lead, 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 told this writer some days ago.