Adoor and the new generation.
By VK Cherian
Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s is a phenomenon in Indian films and that way in global arena of films. His latest admirers are in Latin America and the Latinos have started wondering whether the karnavar of “Elipathayam” is their grand uncle itself. The Cuban film maker Thomas Alea, on a visit saw the film and described it as a “classic” and now the film viewers of Latin America have caught on, going by the response to the film from the continent.. Being a complete film maker he enjoys the new interpretation of his films, but always confines to his pet line:” I know only Malayalam and Kerala culture” and would like to limit myself to the characters of this culture and area.
But his opinions about “new generation” films have been always misunderstood, as if he is an outdated karnavar of yesteryears. When he opened up at the 18th Bharat Rangamaholstav, 2016, in Delhi in the first week of February with National School of Drama students and art crowd of Delhi, he asserted that he not an outdated karnavar, but a head of the family with an ongoing contributions, of course with over 5 decades of assimilated experience behind him as the most important member of the Satyajit Ray school of film making.
Answering questions from students, he segregated new film making trends in Malayalam into two; “New Gen” and “new generation. “New Gen” is a group which he described as a group who does not know what they are doing with their films and New Generation as people who see as young bright sparks in film making. “The so called “New gen” appears to be people with no idea of the medium of films and they expect technology to deliver for them. There are new generation film makers in Malayalam who have shown their sparks of new creative trends through their films”, he pointed out. Adoor did not name any one in the New Gen category, but he was happy to name and encourage film makers like Vipin Vijay(Chitra sooktham), Sudevan ( Crime….) and Sanal Kumar Shashidharan(Oralpokkam). “I speak of these three film makers and their films whenever I get a chance”, he declared. As for the New Gen, he had interesting story from an actor. “The actor was told to walk in a film and he kept walking and there was no “cut” from the director. The actor stopped after some time and asked the director, when do I stop?. The director replied keep walking, we are expecting something to happen”.
This according to him this is just possible with digital technology, where one does not have to buy precious raw stock to shoot a film. And the story of the actor shows the attitude and approach of the “new gen” film makers who expect technology to deliver for their film, Adoor explained. Adoor the film maker who started with his first black and white feature film “Swayamvaram” is excited about the new technologies of film making whose possibilities are endless, but is not willing to submit his creativity to technology. And he has scant regard for those who are doing it too.
Adoor, who is about to start his latest film in this summer is already in the film making mode. “I want to forget the last film as well as all my previous film, when I am making a new film. That gives me a fresh perspective and new approach to my subject. And that explains why I have made fewer films and there is always a huge gap between my two films”, Adoor told the NSD students.
Remaining contemporary, (relevant) is a huge task for any creative person and Adoor has been able to achive that enviable position with his films and his interventions in film field. For a person who created his own space for his films in Kerala cultural milieu with his Chitralekha film co-operative and film society and promoting a new film culture across the State, remaining contemporary means remaining alive. With his new film the 74 year old film maker is just doing that.