IFFI hails K. Balachander

Panaji, Dec 1 (Calcutta Tube / IBNS) Some of the most memorable and greatest works of K. Balachander, the octogenarian film maker from South India are being showcased in the 42nd edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in the Retrospective section.

His films at IFFI include ‘Achamillai Achamillai’, ‘Aval Oru Thodarkathai’, ‘Iru Kodugal’, ‘Maro Charitra’, ‘Sindhu Bhairavi’ and ‘Thanneer Thanneer’.

Padmashri Kailasam Balachander, reverently referred to as ‘Eyakkunar Sigaram’( The Banyan Tree) is a renowned film maker with 75 films to his credit.

He was honoured with the Dada Saheb Phalke Award for 2010 for his outstanding contribution to the artistic development of the film industry in India.

In a career spanning more than five decades, he has directed and produced over one hundred films. He is also credited with introducing stars like Kamal Hassan and Rajnikanth. He seamlessly integrated the subject and performance elements with near perfection.

‘Achamillai Achamillai’ is a political drama that focuses on the conditions of life in Independent India.

The female protagonist marries a corrupt and pragmatic politician whose misdoings provoke communal riots and corruption. The film repeatedly evokes, in its political references, the old tradition of political propaganda in Tamil film with numerous symbols and clear distinctions between good and evil.

‘Aval Oru Thodarkathai’ is yet another hallmark by this film maker which captures the life of Kavitha, the central character who sacrifices her emotions, her love and her future for the sake of her family. This film created a new genre in storytelling as it paved the way for many more portrayals of sacrificial women on the silver screen as well as small screen.

‘Iru Kodugal’ was a venture which proved that K Balachander thought ahead of the times as he took the risk of picking up a sensitive issue like extra-marital affair as early as 1969. The complexities of a married man’s trials and tribulations when he gets married to another woman without the knowledge of the first wife are brought out in a compelling fashion in the film.

On the other hand, the film ‘Maro Charitra’ has stood the test of time and is considered a film relevant eternally. The film created a record of sorts as it continuously ran for over two years in Chennai.

The film ‘Sindhu Bhairavi’ is also about the relationship of a married classical singer with a folk music teacher. It interestingly showcases the emotional turmoil of the singer and him finding refuge in alcoholism. The film won three National Awards in 1986.

K Balachander’s acumen as versatile director comes to the fore in the film ‘Thanneer Thanneer’ where he effortlessly handles a politically sensitive subject. It is a film about greed, power and powerlessness.

It is the story of a village which faces acute shortage of water but the entire system of politicians, bureaucrats and press are apathetic to it. A convict wanted for the murder of a local landlord, however, seizes the opportunity and leads the villagers in finding a solution to the problem even if it means fighting against the entire system.

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