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!
Moutatthu Gopalakrishnan Unnithan (born 3 July 1941), commonly known as Adoor Gopalakrishnan, is an Indian film director, script writer, and producer. Adoor Gopalakrishnan had a major role in revolutionizing Malayalam cinema during the 1970s and is regarded as one of the finest filmmakers of India. Adoor’s first film Swayamvaram (1972) pioneered the new wave cinema movement in Kerala. Most of his films go to festivals around the world, and are released in Kerala. All the eleven films he directed, from Swayamvaram to Oru Pennum Randaanum (2008), were screened at several international film festivals and won him several national and international awards. He won National Film Awards 16 times, Kerala State Film Awards 17 times and also won several international film awards. He won the prestigious British Film Institute award for Elippathayam (1981). Adoor received the Padma Shri in 1984 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2006. The Nation honoured Adoor for his valuable contributions to Indian cinema by awarding him the highest cinema award of India, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for the year 2004.
The documentaries being screened are Images/Reflections (2015) by Girish Kasaravalli, Bhoomiyude Chuvadurach by Vipin Vijay, Lights on Adoor by Prasanna Ramaswamy.
(Christo Tomy is a two time national award winning independent filmmaker from Kerala. After his PG Diploma at the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Kolkata, Tomy assisted Adoor Gopalakrishnan on his latest film ‘Pinneyum’)
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