HomeLifestyleAdoor Gopalakrishnan's Swayamvaram celebrates golden jubilee

Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s Swayamvaram celebrates golden jubilee

Madhu and Sharda in a scene from Swayamvaram

Madhu and Sharda in a still Swayamvaram
, Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Fifty years ago, on this day (November 24, 1972), a black and white film was released at the Sree Padmanabha Theater in Thiruvananthapuram. The first film of director Adoor Gopalakrishnan, SwayamvaramStarring Madhu (Viswam) and Sharada (Sita), two mainstream stars of the time, is now a classic in Indian cinema.

To mark the film’s golden jubilee, filmmaker and cinematographer Madhu Erawankar has created a documentary that traces the director’s journey, the film Swayamvaram and film production. The Journey – Swayamvaram at Fifty Ganesham will be screened in Thiruvananthapuram on November 25 in the presence of the director and Madhu.

Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Devdas recording on location during the shooting of Swayamvaram

Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Devdas recording on location during the shoot Swayamvaram
, Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Eravankara says, “It was meant to be a tribute to the film and its director. Initially, the film did not perform well in the theatres. Although it was ignored for state film awards, it won four National Film Awards in 1973, including the award for Best Film and Best Director for Adoor and Best Actress for Sharda. It was re-released and became the talk of the town for its realistic frame, narrative and acting.

Swayamvaram, Now considered a milestone in Indian and Malayalam cinema, it marked the beginning of a new wave of Malayalam films. One of the first Malayalam films to use sync sound and outdoor locations, the film saw Adoor begin a long association with cinematographer Ravi Mankada Varma. The film marked the debut of late Bharat Gopi. Adoor Bhavani, KPAC Lalitha and Thikkurishi Sukumaran Nair also feature in the cast of the film, which is written by Adoor and KP Kumaran.

Madhu Erawankar

Madhu Erawankar | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Erawankar says the documentary, which began shooting in July, features Adoor talking about the film, its structure and treatment. Set seven years after Adoor passed out from the Film and Television Institute of India, the film also features people from different walks of life who explain the importance of the film.

“Adoor explains that the film is a journey from a dream to reality. Viswam and Seetha are two middle-class people who want to live life on their own terms. Swayamvaram Explores the dream of the Indian middle class through the film,” believes Iravankara.

In his “video essay”, Adoor talks about his difficulties in finding a producer and his disappointment when the film did not do well initially, says the filmmaker.

Sharda and Madhu go down memory lane to remember their experience of working in the film. Talking about her experience of acting in the film, Sharda spoke about how Adoor had to repeatedly remind her to tone down the dramatics.

Adoor, the first Malayalam film produced by the Chitralekha Cooperative, spent ₹ 2.5 lakhs to film. “Since the film did not do well during its first release, Adoor had to think of a way to repay the ₹1.5 lakh loan from the Film Finance Corporation. However, after the awards, the film did well and the loan could be repaid,” says Iravankara.

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