Adoor Gopalakrishnan, a name synonymous with revolutionising not just Malayalam cinema, but Indian cinema, was born in Kerala’s Travancore on July 3, 1941. Gopalakrishnan is a Padma Shri, Padma Vibhushan awardee, a Dadasaheb Phalke recipient, 16 times winner of the National Award, 17 times winner of the Kerala State Film Awards, a recipient of Legion of Honour by the French government, and many more.
Here are five more things to learn about the contributions made by this pioneer of New Wave to cinema:
Adoor Gopalakrishnan is an alumnus of the Pune Film Institute (now known as the Film and Television Institute of India). He applied for the ‘screenplay writing and direction’ course in the year 1962.
The filmmaker’s growing passion for cinema urged him to start a film society. In the year 1966, the fifth ‘All India Writers’ Conference’ held in Kerala’s Alwaye gave him the perfect opportunity to establish a film society.
Koodiyattam is the oldest living theatre in the world (2000 years old). Gopalakrishnan fought hard to gain access to the inner sanctums of the koothambalam or the premises of Koodiyattam’s performance to ultimately make a three-hour long documentary on this art form.
Adoor Gopalakrishnan has experimented with sound and silence in his films in ways that were unthinkable. Gopalakrishnan writes a separate script for sound, he would record natural sounds from different sources, like the train tracks, chatter of young college goers, the pouring rain to be used in his films.
Adoor Gopalakrishnan is known to include animals and birds as characters in his films. Our friends from the wild are not the ones to be directed and this, Gopalakrishnan treats, as a creative challenge. In his film Elippathayam, rats play an important and parallel role to the protagonist and his family.
Fascinated by the facts? Read more about the legend of cinema in Gautaman Bhaskaran’s Adoor Gopalakrishnan: A Life in Cinema.