Serious about his passion
He prefers to make tele-films rather than mega serials. In a chat with N.J. Nair
Documentary filmmakers lack a permanent platform, says Venu Nair, director. PHOTO: S. GOPAKUMAR
"Serious filmmakers are reluctant to make mega serials since they have to compromise on quality," says Venu Nair, director. Venu, who bagged the State Tourism Award for the best director for his documentary on folk arts, `Nattaranginte Nerkazchakal,' started directing television programmes in the late Eighties.
A native of Kurumulloor in Kottayam, he was fascinated by theatre and started directing plays at a young age. Later, he did his post-graduation in filmmaking at Leeds University in England.
Venu's `Nattaranginte Nerkazchakal' has three parts and has included Muthiyum Chozhiyum, one of the prominent art forms in Desamangalam, in the documentary.
Venu chanced to read a poem on the art form by noted poet O.N.V. Kurup while making a documentary on ONV. It inspired Venu to include the art form in his documentary.
"Not many are aware of the message in this traditional art form that has become extinct. Muthi is the symbol of undaunting courage that braves death and yearns to survive," he says.
Venu prefers to make tele-films rather than mega serials. If one episode of a serial was shot in three days earlier, now three episodes are being canned in a day and quality is a casualty, he says.
Neither the directors nor the viewers are concerned about the quality of the programmes. Mega serials are packed with dull and lengthy shots. The focus is on narrating a story. "Serials have become a visual translation of the soft-pulp stories being serialised in Malayalam weeklies," he says.
Venu's first serial, `Jataka Kathakal,' in which he acted, had won critical acclaim. Later, while adapting the stories of Sethu and M.T. Vasudevan Nair for television, Venu chose to be different. The serial based on the works of MT has only five episodes. "Each episode has at least 120 shots and it is a time consuming work. It takes more than three days to shoot an episode," he adds.
Venu's latest tele-film, `Aazhangalil Amrutham' based on C. Radhakrishnan's story, also has been given a serious treatment. He is aware of the compulsions of the market on the directors who make television programmes. "Kerala has a very small advertisement market. So, they are compelled to cut down on the cost and compromise on quality," he explains.
He has completed a six-part documentary on disaster management for the Institute of Land Management covering tsunami, flood, landslide, drought, lightning and earthquakes. At present, he is working on a documentary on coastal erosion for the Centre for Earth Science Studies.
Though all of Venu's documentaries have been telecast, he feels that documentary filmmakers lack a permanent platform. "The Government should address the problem," he says.
Send this article to Friends by