Mumbai: It was one of those afternoons when Mumbai’s rains seemed to have given way for some much needed sunshine. With a glistening lock of white hair spread carefree over his shoulders, more like a reflection of his personality, sat Adoor Gopalakrishnan, acclaimed Director at Press Club Mumbai on Tuesday. He graced the occasion of a celebration of his completion of 50 years in cinema at Gateway Litfest’s Maestro@50, with the release of his twelfth Malayalam movie Pinneyum (Once Again), an indirect way of telling the audience that he is back. Also accompanying him was the star cast of the movie, Kavya Madhavan, popular Malayalam film female actor and Subodh Bhave, Marathi film actor, flanked by producers Baby Mathew and Kukku Parameswaran. Actor Dileep was conspicuous with by his absence as he took ill.
“50 years and just twelve films. Why?” asked one of the members assembled. “That’s mostly because I am a lazy person. Secondly, it’s very difficult for me to convince myself about an idea and it takes longer to decide upon a subject. In most of the 50 years, I was not making cinema. I am neither an outsider nor an insider in the film industry. I have always remained on the periphery which led to me getting an honorary membership.”
With Pinneyum, the director has gone digital. Till then he took pride in his films being ‘hand-crafted.’ He had apprehensions. After all, hard disks could misbehave and the entire hard work could be lost in a jiffy! However, he appreciated the convenience and the elimination of unnecessary processes that entails the film making process. While it earlier took around four months’ time to edit films, Adoor completed Pinneyum’s editing in less than ten days this time. He hailed technology, but also voiced his concern about what could happen if technology backfired.
With his choice of Subodh, Adoor said that he hoped that more actors would get to be a part of such cultural exchanges in future. Adoor pressed on how it is wrong to call non-Hindi Indian films as regional cinema. “Every film is a national film. Nobody called Satyajit Ray a Bengali filmmaker. Globally, Bollywood films have been identified as Indian films, which is wrong. It is sad that so many good regional films don’t get the recognition and adulation they deserve as they get overwhelmed by Bollywood films.”
Kavya gave a glimpse into Pinneyum’s storyline which delves into a man’s craving for material gains and how basic human values get compromised in the process. This is her second movie with Adoor after ‘Naalu Pennungal.’ Both Subodh and Kavya called it their luck to have got the chance to work with the Maestro who revolutionised Malayalam cinema in the 1970s and is known as one of the finest filmmakers in India.
Adoor, on asked about his views on sponcensorship, lambasted it saying, “There should not be censorship in any democracy. It should be scrapped. Ramesh Sippy once told me how it gives us a blanket of security in the form of the censor certificate. But the troubles do not end there. Certifications are misused. I do not need censorship. Only under dictatorship, censorships of any kind are needed.” On piracy, he said that it is handled loosely. It is a crime and the punishment for it must be severe.
He also spoke about the failure of film festivals in India as they are run by bureaucrats who select films rather than genuine artists. Lack of government support has also led to its failure, as per him. “Indian films are neither erotic nor exotic,” and hence they do not feature largely in international film festivals.
With Pinneyum releasing on August 18, this is Adoor’s first film to get such a wide release with it opening in ten cinemas in Mumbai and also in Pune, Goa and Gujarat apart from Kerala.