Thursday, July 31, 2008

Into the heart of darkness

Into the heart of darkness

Acclaimed director TV Chandran’s forthcoming film VILAAPANGALKKAPPURAM focuses on the Gujarat riots, writes KK Moidu

Very few directors dare to touch the sensitive issues. A few of them gather courage to make a film out of this. In today’s era, where films are made to entertain the audience, TV Chandran — a veteran director — is making a film on the Godhra riots. Chandran is returning to the industry after a hiatus of three years. The film Vilaapangalkkappuram focuses on the plight and helplesness of a Muslim girl who manages to survive the communal riots of Gujarat. Chandran once again prefers a feminine story with a heavy dose of satire.
Vilaapangalkkappuram is picturised on the notorious Godhra incident and the film delves deep into the life of minorities of post riots Godhra area of Gujarat. Vilaapangalkkappuram is the story of a Muslim teenager, Sahira, who tries to recuperate from her terrible past. Her father, from Kerala had a small shop in Gujarat. The rioters plundered the shop and killed him, and gang raped his wife and daughter. Sahira manages to escape Gujarat soon after the massacre and reaches Kozhikode, Kerala, in an extremely pathetic and vulnerable condition.
Upon reaching Kerala, she meets with Dr Gopinath and Dr Mary Varghese, who help her to overcome her troubled past. Sahira’s arrival in Kozhikode as a victim of communal riots from Gujarat attracts the State media’s attention. She becomes hot topic for newsmakers. Others, like social activists, politicians and religious leaders shows great concern for her for their own benefit and try to exploit her tragic situation. None of them tries to understand the real problems of Sahira, except for Dr Gopinath and Dr Mary Varghese.
After some time resilient Sahira goes back to Gujarat and fight for the rights of the women victims of the riots.
Sahira’s role is played by Veyyil fame Priyanka Nair. Biju Menon does the role of Dr Gopinath and former heroine Suhasini returns to Malayalam screen after an interval as Dr Mary. Other prominent roles are played by Thilakan, Sreeraman, MR Gopakumar, Indrans, Praveena, Zeenath, Santha Devi and Nilambur Aysha. MJ Radhakrishnan is the cinematographer and the film is edited by Bina Paul.
Aryadan Shoukath produces the film under the banner of Clear Image. Shaukath is the son of Aryadan Mohammed — a senior Congress leader and former state minister. Shoukath has earlier written and produced Paadam Onnu Oru Vilapam, which was directed by none other than TV Chandran. The film won the National Award for Social Welfare. Meera Jasmine — who played the role of Shahina, also bagged the National Award for the best actress for the film.
TV Chandran is a seasoned director in making quality films on meaningful subjects. He is one of the few directors who don’t waste talent by making commercial potboilers with run-of-the-mill subjects. TV Chandran’s films often revolve around socially relevant subjects and have references to history, with an undertone of politics. He is a veteran at creating art house cinemas, he succeeds in making each of his films in a different way and always gives a clear message to people through his works.
He is an expert in making films on poignant issues faced by the weaker section of society. His earlier films won the hearts of cinegoers by picturising a village woman’s anger against a landlord in Mankamma. He depicted a rebellious young lady in Susanna.
His earlier movies like Ponthan Mada, Danny, Susanna, Paadam Onnu Oru Vilapam etc, have won prestigious awards for himself as well as for the artistes.
TV Chandran started his career as an actor in PA Backer’s Kabani Nadi Chuvannappol and later joined as an assistant to Backer and John Abraham. His work has fetched him many awards and his movies are a regular feature at major film festivals in India and abroad.
In his three decades of film career, he has directed only a dozen of films. But his brilliance in narration has fetched him huge fan following.
His first attempt came in 1979 when he directed Krishnan Kutty. His Alicinte Anveshanangal released in 1989 won second Best Film State Award . The film narrates the story of Alice who spends most of life in travel to search for her missing husband. The film won a competition entry at Locarno International Film Festival and was shown in Indian Panorama at the International Film Festival of India.
It was Ponthan Mada, based on two short stories Ponthan Mada and Sheema Thampuran by CV Sreeraman, that earned the director national and international recognition.
Ponthan Mada not only fetched him National Award for the best director but the lead actor of the film, Mammootty, also bagged the National Award for Best Actor. The film also received the Best Music Director and Best Cameraman Awards and participated at Pessaro Film Festival and Indian Panorama at the International Film Festival of India, Bombay.
His last directorial venture was a Tamil film, Aadum Koothu which reveals the life of an ordinary college girl, Manimekhala. She all of a sudden started to see what others can’t and that complicated her life. The Cheran-Navya Nair starrer was a disaster at the box-office but won National Award for th Best film in Tamil in 2005. Ace director TV Chandran earlier won the National Award for the Best Malayalam film for Ormakal Undayirikkanam, Mankamma and Danny in 1995, 1997 and 2001, respectively.
The latest Vilaapangalkkapuram will add another feather to the cap of Chandran for making another brave film. Needless to say, only few producers like Aryadan Shoukath and directors like TV Chandran nowadays show the courage to make films like Vilaapangalkkappuram. The reason is that these art labelled films are not favourite for the audience and would not be even profitable for the produers as well. But the director like Chandran and the producer like Shoukath are hardly bothered about the outcome of the film. Box-office had to do nothing with their creativity. They just let the creativity flow in the proper direction.

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