wiki:John Abraham

Version 1 (modified by Lawrence Liang, 9 years ago) (diff)

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John Abraham (1937-87)

Malayalam director born in Changanacherry, Kuttanad Dist., Kerala; studied economics at a college near Kottayam. Educated by grandfather who gave him his first camera. Worked as insurance salesman in Bellary; went to the FTII and studied under Ghatak. Assisted Mani Kaul on Uski Roti (1969) and worked on unreleased Hindi feature shot in Kerala, Trisandhya (1972). First films: Vidyarthikale Ithile Ithile, made in Madras as group co- operative effort, and his internationally acclaimed Agraharathil Kazhuthai in Tamil. Lived a nomadic existence in the 70s, depending on support from friends and colleagues in Kerala, later the basis of the Odessa Collective (Est: 1984 in Calicut) launched with street play Nayakali staged in Fort Cochin (1984). Odessa funded Amma Ariyan through screening 16mm prints of e.g. Chaplin’s The Kid (1921) and Anand Patwardhan’s Hamara Shaher (1985) in towns and villages throughout Kerala in return for small donations. After his accidental death, he is often portrayed as an example of the romantic artist who by-passed the tyranny of the market-place through a direct relationship with his people, raising money by travelling from village to village beating a drum and asking for contributions to a genuine ‘people’s cinema’. Others point to the probably Christian theme of infantile innocence in his work and place his marginal lifestyle in the cultural context of Kerala and the contentious history of authorial identity he inherited and lived out, exploring its alternatives. Suffered from alcoholism. Also wrote his own films.

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