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Poetic venture

P.K. AJITH KUMAR

P. Balachandran turns director with a film on the life and times of poet P. Kunhiraman Nair.



Capturing the soul of the poet:‘Ivan Megharoopan.'

When P. Balachandran decided, at the age of 55, to make his debut as a director, he remembered a story he had discussed with V.K. Prakash. “After writing ‘Punradhivasam' (which won the National award for the best film in Malayalam in 2000) for him, I had suggested that he make a film based on the life of poet P. Kunhiraman Nair. He too was keen and asked me to write the script, but somehow it didn't take off,” says Balachandran.

Is that why did he decide to turn to direction?

“It was direction that I learnt at the School of Drama in Thrissur, so I am not surprised that I have become a director. I have sometimes felt that I could have contributed a lot more to Malayalam cinema. Not that I am complaining; if I didn't do more it was because I didn't try hard,” he says.

Two years ago, Balachandran decided to make the film on the poet, himself. “When I spoke to Prakash of my plans, he encouraged me to direct the film,” says Balachandran. And that is how ‘Ivan Megharoopan' was born. The film is not a biography of Kunhiraman Nair, Balachandran hastens to add. “It is based on the life and the soul of the great poet,” he says.

The protagonist of ‘Ivan Megharoopan' is K.P. Madhavan Nair, played by Prakash Bare, who is also the producer. “Madhavan Nair is a bard who is in love with Nature and women; a man who led a not-so- conventional life, a wanderer,” explains Balachandran.

Non-conformist life

He adds he was fascinated by the life of Kunhiraman Nair long before he wanted to make a film on it. “I admired his poetry and the way he lived his life. We all have such a non-conformist streak in us, but we do not dare to upset society and live our lives the way we want to,” he says.

‘Kaviyude Kalpadukal,' the celebrated autobiography of Kunhiraman Nair, is one of the foundations for the film, the director says. “But the film is not based only on that book. ‘Ivan Megharoopan' is a fictionalised version of the life of the poet,” he clarifies.


The film, the shooting of which got underway at Ottappalam last week, boasts a talented crew that includes cinematographer Rajeev Ravi, and production designer Prakash Murthy, an animation guru of international repute.

“This film is happening because of them; I have had many discussions with Rajeev and Prakash and they have contributed tremendously to ‘Ivan Megharoopan.' I am sure their expertise will add to the quality of the film. Since the story of the film begins in the 1940's, it was imperative that I should have people who could give that kind of a look to the film,” says Balachandran.

O.N.V. Kurup and Kavalam have written the lyrics, which have been tuned by Sharreth. “No, I won't be using any of the poems of Kunhiraman Nair, but music will be important for the film,” says Balachandran.

Padmapriya plays one of the leading ladies. “A few new faces are doing the other important female roles. Jagathy Sreekumar and Chembil Ashokan are playing interesting characters,” he says.

‘Ivan Megharoopan' may not be a typical commercial film, but it is not going to pretentious, according to the director. “It will be a good, enjoyable film, and I don't want to term it as commercial or art. It won't be a small-budget film; its canvas is too wide.”

It is a boost for Malayalam cinema that a man who pened sensitive scripts such as ‘Ulladakkam,' `Punaradhivasam' and ‘Pavithram' is wooing the medium again.

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