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Screening Adoor's films

A retrospective of legendary Indian film director to be shown in the US.

india Updated: Mar 13, 2003 21:20 IST

A retrospective of legendary Indian director Adoor Gopalakrishnan's films will be shown here from Friday.

The award-winning films of Adoor, spanning three decades, will be showcased at the Freer Gallery of Art in the Smithsonian Institution here from March 7 through April 27.

The 62-year-old director is one of the leading lights of the new Indian cinema and is known for powerful, poetic works set in his native Kerala.

The retrospective will begin with the screening of "Kathapurushan", or "Man of the Story". A rich historical tapestry, it depicts the effects of India's tumultuous political upheavals on one family during the 20th century.

It tells the story of Kunjunni, whose parents have separated for reasons unknown to him. Under the influence of his dashing, politically active uncle Vasu, he embarks on a personal and political odyssey that will forever change his life and the life of his family, and will also eventually solve the mystery of his missing father.

According to film critic Derek Malcolm, "The film is brilliantly constructed as a parable about its time, and its formal grace and sure command betoken a world-class director."

"Kathapurushan" won him the National Award for Best Feature Film in all Indian languages. He has won the National Award for Best Director four times, and Best Scriptwriter thrice.

"My films are more about the relationship between the individual and the society than about love and family relationships. They are valid as social documents, I think.

"They should serve as faithful documents of the history of a particular period, the time in which it is set. Hence I always make sure of the authenticity of the facts and materials I use," Adoor said in an interview to Deep Focus.

Works like "Vidheyan", "Swayamvaram", "Kodiyettam", "Mukhamukham", "Anantaram", "Mathilukal", "Elippathayam" and "Nizhalkkuthu" will also be screen at the event here.

This retrospective has been made possible by the India embassy, the Kerala Association of Greater Washington, the National Film Archive of India, and the Directorate of Film Festivals, India.

His films have been shown in, Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Rotterdam, and Toronto, and every important festival round the world. Adoor's third feature, "Elippathayam" won him the coveted British Film Institute Award for the most original and imaginative film of 1982.

The International Film Critics Prize has gone to him five times successively.

He started acting on the amateur stage at the early age of eight, and wrote and directed over 20 plays in his student days.

After graduating in political science and economics, he joined the Film Institute in Pune in 1962. Equipped with formal training in scriptwriting and direction, he went on to scripting and directing nine feature films and more than two-dozen short films and documentaries.

His first film, "Swayamvaram" won the national awards for best film, best director, best cameraman, and best actress, setting a record of sorts.

First Published: Mar 06, 2003 14:20 IST