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In memory of a master filmmaker

‘Pavithran; Kaalavum Kaazhchayum’ by Puthumadam Jayaraj probes into the life and philosophy of the avant-garde director. G. S. Paul



Anecdotal: ‘Pavithran; Kaalavum Kaazhchayum’ throws light on Pavithran’s (right) approach to life and cinema.

‘Pavithran; Kaalavum Kaazhchayum’ is a tribute by Puthumadam Jayaraj to mark the first death anniversary of the late filmmaker Pavithran. A 48-minute documentary, it probes the life and philosophy of the avant-garde director who was the pioneer of ‘personal films’ in Malayalam. Numerous stills, with which the documentary opens, serves as an outline on Pavithran’s life. It reveals his singular approach not only to life, but also to cinema. It also throws light on his relationships with many celebrities.

Bohemian lifestyle

Shot at various locales, the documentary give viewers a glimpse into the Bohemian lifestyle of the renowned filmmaker.

A highlight of the documentary is excerpts of an interview with Pavithran. In the interview, he speaks of his passion for cinema even as a child when he used to frequent a movie hall in Guruvayur despite reprimands from his parents and how he would watch the same movie several times. “But my mind would keep asking why couldn’t they have made this movie better, although I didn’t know how I could have done so myself,” he says in the interview.

Speaking about his craze for films, Pavithran points out that he ventured into filmmaking on his own and was not compelled by anyone.

A host of filmmakers appear in the documentary vouching for Pavithran’s insatiable urge for cinema. Their descriptions are anecdotal. T.V. Chandran reminisces about their exploits during their student days in Christ College, Irinjalakuda.

Chandran recalls: “While ‘Chemeen’ and ‘Iruttinte Aathmavu’ were being screened concurrently in the two theatres in Irinjalakuda, we saw the latter 12 times and entered into long discussions on it.” Chandran also confesses that Pavithran was responsible for his advent into the world of cinema.

Having failed to get admission to Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, Pavithran took up law. “A man of inimitable grit, Pavithran was also a maverick,” explains Chandran while narrating the circumstances that led to the shooting of ‘Kabani Nadi Chuvannappol.’

“The day they were to start the shoot of the film in Bangalore, Emergency was declared. Strict warnings by the Government against any act that supported extremist activity left P. A. Backer, the director, in two minds for the film had a Naxalite as its hero. Both Backer and Chandran sought Pavithran’s opinion who had said, ‘Let’s go ahead.’ It turned into an award-winning film that won the producer (Pavithran), rather than the others, accolades.”

However, cineastes and filmmakers like K. Sreeraman, P.T. Kunjumohammed, Girish Kasarvally, K.M.A. Rahim and Sasikumar, who appear in the documentary to talk about the late filmmaker, aver that of all his works, ‘Yaaro Oral’ was a reflection of Pavithran’s genius. His works such as ‘Uppu,’ ‘Utharam,’ ‘Beli’ and ‘Kuttappan Saakshi’ are also mentioned in the documentary.

Commentaries by Pavithran’s wife, Kalamandalam Kshemavathy, and daughters Eva and Lakshmi add another dimension to the film. The documentary, scripted by Ravindran, has been narrated by Balachandran Chullikkadu. Jayaraj has presented the life of the late film maker without any unnecessary embellishments. It has been edited by Venu and has been produced by Sajeev Anthikad.

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