Encounter with Adoor
Encounter With Adoor, Indian Film icon Adoor Gopalakrishnan, North-East Films. After he just landed from Kerala, I ushered him in for the opening of the North-East films opening and soon realised his reluctance for film openings. “I come a day later to avoid the long, long functions.
There are so many things going on, some good, others not so good but one of the best things so far was running into Indian film icon Adoor Gopalakrishnan whom I have known since 1979 when we met in Thiruvanantapuram. In the early years, I have seen his early films ‘Swayamvaran’, ‘Elipathayam’ and others but of late, he is not making movies. Says he’s on ‘Saanz’ (break) having spent a month in Mumbai with his daughter.
After he just landed from Kerala, I ushered him in for the opening of the North-East films opening and soon realised his reluctance for film openings. “I come a day later to avoid the long, long functions,” which naturally detract from his first love - films.
The opening function here was no different with Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, the chief guest, speaking for over 15 minutes, repeating one thought that the North-East must come more in the Indian mainstream and its talents should be channeled. After this, the four-piece band Purple Fusion, played some delightful music but the programme stretched on unduly and one had to miss the film ‘Khawnghung Run’.
“I am tired of people asking me what I am doing,” he says. It irks him endlessly though he admits that he is working on his new script but cannot proceed, probably on a writer’s block, which is understandable after decades of filmmaking. Among those who met him at the North-East opening was ‘Bandit Queen’ Seema Biswas who was on the dais. But Adoor said making ‘Bandit Queen ‘without showing the script to Phoolan Devi was wrong as she was a historical character and Shekhar Kapoor should have known better. I told him the national language at IFFI was Malayalam and he seemed pleased and thought its film awareness is probably the highest. In 1997, I attended IFFI in Thiruvanantapuram and am in total agreement. It was the year French filmmaker Claude Lelouch of ‘A Man and a Woman’ fame was one of the celebs.
Of the audience reaction in the cinemas, I told him it wasn’t as good as at the Mumbai Film Festival where a light mobile ring would raise shouts from neighbours. To this, Adoor said the Mumbai director Shrinivas Narayan had more liberty than Shankar Mohan which could be part of the reason.
There is a film on him being screened at IFFI today at the Marquinez Palace and is sure to draw a crowd as fans keep interrupting him every now and then. ‘Kaumudi’ journalist Sasikumar, older and greyer was one of them, the years of toil having taken its toll.
Speaking of grey hair, Adoor said he began to grey in his 40s but felt that in India, folks respected age but his mind is ever sharp recalling our previous meetings and the differences we ran into but agreeing that the right of dissent was fundamental. “Enjoyed our little battles” he recalled.
We then spoke a good deal of his ‘Elipthayam’ (Rat-trap) which I thought was his best effort and naturally referred to the scene in which the landlord on his way to a function returns halfway because the road is blocked by a huge puddle of water. For me it’s one of the most telling sequences in cinema.