Adoor Gopalakrishnan: Yes, I am scared of piracy now hence avoid film festivals. Someone somewhere will get hold of a copy and upload it online

Acclaimed Malayalam filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan is scared of piracy, hence chooses to keep his films away from film festivals now. This concern, he raised in a conversation with daily newspaper The Hindu recently.

Adding to growing concerns over films getting leaked online before their release dates, Adoor Gopalakrishnan went on to say ‘someone somewhere will get hold of a copy and upload it online.’

This statement coming from a noted film maker whose films have been regular visitors to film festivals and won accolades too, is definitely a matter of grave concern. As the digital copies keep making way to torrent sites, more and more film makers may opt for a proper national or international release of the film, rather than taking the film festivals route.

It is time for film festival authorities to take note of this, and put some corrective measures in place to avoid these incidents.Some more excerpts from the interview:

You have avoided the usual round of film festivals for this film, releasing it straight to the theatre.

Yes, I am scared of piracy now. Someone somewhere will get hold of a copy and upload it online. This is also the first time I am going to release my film nationally.

You focus more on how people react, like in those violent scenes in Vidheyan.

Yes. That has more impact. Otherwise it’s off-putting to show dismembering and blood being splattered around. I can’t sit through such scenes. This is also my most meticulously choreographed film. Ninety percent of it is set inside an old house, as in Elipathayam.

You have always situated your films amid major ruptures in society, be it the slow decay of feudalism or the disillusionment with communism. This is the first time you are setting your film in the post-liberalisation period.

I have made films only on the periods through which I have lived. I have said only the things that I have knowledge about. The issues that have been bothering me in the past eight years, after I made my last film, and the life I lived during that period, led to this film.

You made your last film eight years ago. What happens between two Adoor films, other than the numerous documentaries?

After doing one film, the next two years will have fallouts of that film, including festivals. After that, I forget about filmmaking for a long time. One advantage of this gap is that the influence of the previous work does not come into the new work. The mind has to remain fallow for some time for a new subject to develop.

Tell us a bit about the significance of the sequences of eating, almost a ritualistic performance, in your films.

Eating is an important time, when the family comes together, more than at any other time. It is an important scene for sharing. I use the eating process to signify various other things. In Naalu Pennungal, Nandu’s character is not interested in women but in eating. Thakazhi has written one line to describe that character: “He never says ‘enough’ when rice is served.” I developed that line. In Elipathayam, the scene is used to show his displeasure and also his powerlessness to react, despite being the family’s figurehead.

You were part of the committee that set up the National Film Development Corporation. Has it fulfilled the objectives for which it was set up?

The NFDC is in a pathetic condition. No objectives have been met. In the earlier days, it had a role in the Indian new cinema movement. But it petered out.

Have you ever thought of mass popularity?

For my second film Kodiyettam, I made 13 prints. But most theatres refused, saying nobody would enter the theatre to see Gopi’s face. Only two theatres released (the film) — one in Haripad and Asha theatre in Kottayam. But word of mouth led to housefull shows. The news spread across the state and other theatres too released it. It ran for 145 days in Asha theatre. Popularity is independent of us. It all depends on people’s moods. However much you talk of technological advancement, when you look at great films, they are basically about human emotions. Films that appeal to emotions will be loved by the people, however sophisticated the way you convey it. My hope is that this film (Pinneyum) will be the most popular of all my films till date.

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