Sunday, September 12, 2010

Some light on Adoor

Are only 200-odd pages enough to describe the life and work of one of India's most well-known auteur-directors? That's the first quibble with this “authorised” biography of Adoor Gopalakrishnan, but then it is also a fact that like his minimalist films, Adoor is a reluctant speaker. Many years ago, at screenings of two of his best films, Elippathayam (The Rat Trap) and Mukhamukham (Face to Face), at Jadavpur University in Kolkata, fellow director Mrinal Sen did all the talking, with Adoor preferring to let his films talk. So, in that, it's an achievement on critic Gautaman Bhaskaran's part to draw out Adoor for a discussion on his life and work. In a brief foreword, Adoor writes: “Even a detailed and painstakingly written book on an author or artist can fall short of being complete in every respect as there is always scope for further probe and understanding.” The director is happy that the book “will throw some light on my life and work. And I am happy it does as much.”

Adoor arrived, feet first, during the Quit India Movement, and developed very early in life a “strong attraction of Gandhian ideology and a fascination for khadi.” He is still seen wearing his trademark khadi kurta. When Gandhi was killed in 1948, Adoor, around seven, was inconsolable. This scene appears in one of Adoor's best known films, Kathapurushan. What Bhaskaran succeeds in doing is give us little bits and pieces from Adoor's life and tying it to his celluloid portraits.

Full report here Financial Express

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