A Malayali filmmaker has adapted celebrated Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen's The Master Builder as a tribute to the pioneer of realistic drama whose death centenary is being observed this year the world over.
KP Kumaran, a well-known film director, is making Akashagopuram (Castle in the Air) by adapting Ibsen's The Master Builder.
He feels this is the greatest tribute to the playwright whose dramas have inspired him.
Kumaran says through Akashagopuram, in which leading actor Mohan Lal plays the protagonist, he has succeeded in expressing the lust, romance and philosophy of Ibsen's characters in the play.
The film is set in the contemporary milieu against the backdrop of suburban London and draws its cast from among the immigrant community of Malayalis long settled in England. He has completed shooting in London and its suburbs.
"It is a sheer coincidence that I made the film now when the Ibsen societies across the world along with the Norwegians are observing his death centenary," Kumaran told IANS.
He is in the national capital on an invitation by the Norwegian embassy to take part in programmes to commemorate Ibsen's death centenary.
According to Kumaran, Malayalam literature and Malayalis have a special relation with Ibsen.
"The pioneers of Malayalam prose drama such as N. Krishna Pillai, who revolutionised the stage with his plays Bhagna Bhavanam and Kanyaka (young girl) were inspired by Ibsen," he said.
"In 1936, A. Balakrishna pillai (Malayalam writer) translated Ibsen's Ghosts into the language," he said.
Kumaran, who had been toying with the idea of staging an Ibsen play in Malayalam, had written the script for Akashagopuram in 1995.
He says he is "happy" with his film. "I tried to relate it to the contemporary lives of the Malayali Christians in England by retaining the rich and resonant poetic images and diction of the play."
"What attracted me in the play The Master Builder is the intriguing psychological insights into human nature as well as the experiences of the characters in situations of conflict. That lifts the play from the level of the mundane."
Kumaran's film also stars Mumbai model Shweta Menon and a new actress Nitya, apart from Malayalam actors Nedumudi Venu, national award winner Bharat Gopi, Manoj K. Jayan, Sreenivasan and Geethu Mohan Das.
The film is to be released early next year.