wiki:G. Aravindan

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Govindan Aravindan (1935-91)

Malayalam director, painter and cartoonist with an idiosyncratic style. Born in Kottayam, Kerala; son of the literary humorist, Govindan Nair. Worked as caricaturist for the Mathrubhoomi journal (1961-79), drawing the cartoon series Small Man and Big World, chronicling the adventures of Ramu, its corruptible proletarian hero, and Guruji; later did an occasional cartoon strip for the Kala Kaumudi journal, called A Bird’s Eye View. His published cartoon collection (1978) highlights a change in drawing style in the early 70s, emphasising large blank spaces and characters almost disappearing below the frame. His films are known for their distinctive look, sparse naturalism, silences and long shots with darker shades of grey in b&w films. Film society activist in Kottayam and Calicut. Early work was the only consistent cinematic manifestation of late 60s Calicut-based modernism represented particularly by artist Devan, the playwright and satirist Thikkodiyan and the writer Pattathiruvila Karunakaran (who produced Uttarayanam). A major influence on this group was the spiritualism of satirist and political activist Sanjayan. Later, like the visual artists associated with the Kerala Kalapeetam in Ernakulam, Aravindan combined this influence with the new, more mystical direction taken by K.C.S. Panicker’s (1911-77) paintings (cf. Kanchana Seeta). His faithful producer and distributor, Ravindran of General Pics, ran a family business in cashew nuts. Worked at the Kerala Rubber Board throughout most of his film career. Also stage director, working in association with the playwright Srikantan Nair, after which he helped start the Navarangan (in Kottayam) and Sopanam theatre groups, staging e.g. Kali (1964) and Avanavan Kadamba (1976) using musical forms derived from the work of Kavalam Narayana Panicker, who later collaborated on the scripts of Kummatty and Estheppan. Noted actors associated with this group were Gopi and Nedumudi Venu. Also trained in the Kirana-style Khayal. Occasionally music director for other film-makers: Yaro Oral (1978), Piravi and Ore Thooval Pakshikal (both 1988).

FILMOGRAPHY: 1974: Uttarayanam; 1977: Kanchana Seeta; 1978: Thampu; 1979: Kummatty; Estheppan; 1981: Pokkuveyil; 1985: Chidambaram; Viti (Doc); The Brown Landscape (Sh); 1986: Oridathu; The Seer Who Walks Alone (Doc); 1987: Contours of a Linear Rhythm (Doc); 1988: Anandi Dhara (Doc); Marattam (TV); Sahaja (Sh); 1989: Unni; 1990: Vasthuhara.

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