t v chandran

One of the most prolific and well known filmmakers in Kerala, T V Chandran started as an actor in P A Backer's Kabani Nadi Chuvannappol. He also had worked with John Abraham and P A Backer as assistant. Most of his films have strong undercurrent of history, politics and feminism. His film Alicinte Anveshanangal was the official Indian entry at Locarno. Since then he has won several major national and state awards for most of his works and were also screened at major international festivals.

Selected Filmography:

Alicinte Anveshanam - 1989
(The Search of Alice)

Set in northern Kerala, the film narrates the journey of Alice in search of her vanished husband, a college lecturer. During her quest, she slowly discovers disturbing aspects of her husband, including his descent from his earlier radicalism into bourgeois degeneracy. In the end she gives up her search and decides to take the responsibility of her own life.

Direction & Screenplay: T V Chandran
Cast: Jalaja, Ravindranath, Nedumudi Venu, C V Sriraman
Cinematography: Sunny Joseph
Music: Ouseppachan

Ponthan Mada - 1993

T V Chandran's Ponthan Mada is based on two short stories, Ponthan Mada and Sheema Thampuran by C V Sreeraman.

Set in 1940s, the film is about the irrational bonding of the low-caste Ponthan Mada with his colonial landlord Sheema Thampuran, who was expelled to British India from England during his youth for supporting the Irish Republican Army. Crossing the class boundaries, the two communicate through Thampuran's window, with Mada hanging from a palm tree.

Mammooty won the national award for his role in Ponthan Mada.

Direction & Screenplay: T V Chandran
Cast: Mammootty, Naseeruddin Shah, Laboni Sarkar
Cinematography: Venu
Music: Johnson

Ormakalundayirikkanam - 1995
(Memories and Desires)

The film is set in rural Kerala during 1959, the year which the first democratically elected Communist ministry in India was dismissed by the Nehru government in the centre. The film is told through the eyes of a boy, Jayan who observes the happening around him. The major characters in the film are Bhasi, the larger than life Communist supporter, Jayan's father, a Congress party supporter and a lunatic scientist who predicts the end of the world. The dismissal of the Communist government coincides with the death of the scientist and Bhasi's arrest.

Direction & Screenplay: T V Chandran
Cast: Mammootty, Gopi, Nedumudi Venu, Srinivasan, Nitin
Cinematography: Venu
Music: Johnson

Mankamma - 1997

Mankamma is set in the murky socio-political milieu of 1960s and the Emergency.

Constantly harassed by the local MLA cum landlord, Mankamma is forced to leave her village on the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border, with her father. The landlord's son attempts to rape her younger sister and both die in a fire that destroys the hut. Coming to Palakkad in Kerala they find jobs in a wayside tea-shop. But her father, haunted by the gory past, succumbs to its traumas. The kind-hearted Nair who owns the tea stall marries Mankamma and the business prospers thanks to her culinary expertise. For Velayudhan, an orphan working as a helper, Mankamma is like a mother.

As life gets back to normal, the story shifts to the Emergency period. Velayudhan is a young rebel, wanted by the police. The police, in search of Velayudhan, harass Mankamma and her husband. He gets killed in police lockup. Once again for Mankamma life becomes a struggle.

Mankamma won T.V.Chandran the State award for best director.

Dirction & Screenplay: T V Chandran
Cast: Revathy, Nedumudi Venu, Vijayaraghavan
Cinematography: Sunny Joseph
Music: Johnson

Susannah - 2001

The story of Susannah unfolds as Susannah tells about her past life to Rameshan, who approaches her with hatred towards Susannah. His hatred gradually changes into sympathy and later respect towards Susannah.

Susannah's life enters a turbulent phase with her love towards planter Varkey's son. Varkey pressurises his son for an arranged marriage and even "helps" Susannah to abort the child, she had from his son. Varkey falls into a great grief with his son's accident death. He appears in Susannah's life in a different role after his son's death, that of a lover and a caretaker. Four more people, friends of Varkey, enter her life. These five men and Susannah engage in a strange relationship, easily misunderstood by the society around them.

Direction & Screenplay: T V Chandran
Cast: Vani Vishwanath, Gopi, Nedumudi Venu, Karamana Janardhanan Nair, Mukundan
Cinematography: K G Jayan
Music: Johnson

Danny - 2001

Danny, born in 1930, the day which Gandhi started the salt satyagraha, grew up as a mute witness to history, when history took its own course.

Danny loves a girl, but marries another. When his wife runs away he marries a woman who requires a 'father' for her baby from someone else, but never cares for him as an husband. Later his 'daughter-in-law' finds Danny intolerable and dumps him to a health care home. Danny takes his bitter life inertly.

At the health care home Danny meets a retired teacher through him he feels the presence of love in his life for the first time.

Direction & Screenplay: T V Chandran
Cast: Mammootty, Mallika Sarabhai, Vani Vishwanath, Siddique, Vijayaraghavan
Cinematography: K G Jayan
Music: Johnson

Also read: A review of Danny

Padam Onnu: Oru Vilapam - 2003
(Lesson One: A Wail)

In north Kerala, particularly in the Muslim community, girls are married off very early to prevent them from going 'astray'. The marital status or age of the groom is immaterial. Women have no say even in their own lives.

This film is the story of 15 year-old Shahina. She is very keen on continuing her studies, but is pushed into a marriage. For Razak, her husband, it is a marriage of convenience, another wife to slave for him and please him, and enough money to make it to the Gulf. Shahina breaks free, but the system eventually catches up with her.

The film is a wail, a wail for humanity and freedom.

Direction & Screenplay: T V Chandran
Cast: Meera Jasmin, Irshad, Mamu Koya, M R Gopakumar
Cinematography: K G Jayan
Editing: Venugopal
Music: Johnson

Kathavasheshan - 2004
(The Deceased)

Some go on living out of sheer habit, some need reason to live and die for, some need ideals and objectives, some need causes, but for some humanity itself is life. 'Kathavaseshan' is an epilogue to a life lived, that of Gopinathan Menon. It flashes back, piercing together the life of a very 'normal' human being someone like us, ends his life one fine rainy morning in his apartment. The fragments of his life emerge through the musings and memories of those whose lives crossed his. It is a journey through time and spaces of remembered moments from his youth, love, deeds, profession and friendship, a journey through contemporary life in India, where various kinds of hatred and intolerance make any human being ashamed of being alive.

Direction & Screenplay: T V Chandran
Cast: Dileep, Jyothirmayi
Cinematography: K G Jayan
Music: Issac Thomas Kottukapally, M Jayachandran

Aadum Koothu - 2004 -Tamil
(The Dance of Life)

The latest film from T V Chandran is in Tamil.

Aadum Koothu works at different levels and times. The film unfolds from the 'ordinary' lefe of a college student Manimekhala, a sensitive village girl who suddenly begins to see what others don't. Things gets further complicated when she begins seeing a film from the bangle her cousin and bridegroom-to-be presents her a bangle made out of Black & White film waste. The film that unrolls is about a Dalit woman, a nomadic performer, who was hunted, humiliated and tonsured for not succumbing to the desires of the local landlord decades ago. This vision takes her on a journey into the narratives of this Dalit woman and many others whose lives are entangled with it.

These narratives marking three different periods in history entwine to tell the story of oppression and defiance, of love and the search for it, of expression and its rebellions. It is also art, sacrifice and its indomitable spirit of rebellion.

Direction & Screenplay: T V Chandran
Cast: Navya Nair, Cheran, Prakash Raj, Manorama, Jagathy Sreekumar
Cinematography: Madhu Ambat
Editing: Venugopal
Music: Issac Thomas Kottukapally

Vilaapangalkkappuram - 2008
(Beyond Lamentations)

T V Chandrans’s latest venture is based on the aftermath of the Gujarat riots of 2002.

The story revolves around Sahira, a Muslim woman who flees Gujarat soon after the riots and arrives in Kozhikode. There, two doctors, Mary Varghese and Gopinath, bring her back to normalcy even while she is haunted by the problems related to the aftermath of the riots.

Direction & Screenplay: T V Chandran
Story: Aryadan Shoukat
Cast: Priyanka, Suhasini, Biju Menon
Cinematography: M J Radhakrishnan
Music: M Jayachandran

Bhoomimalayalam - 2008
(The Mother Earth)

The film weaves together the experience of seven different young women from different walks, times and parts of Kerala, all of them sharing the same nightmares. Janaki was haunted by the nightmare of the death of her husband in a police firing in 1948. Meenakshi, Janaki’s daughter is traumatized by witnessing the murder of her son in a political clash. Meenaksh’s nightmare now gets shared by her daugher Nirmala and then by Fausia, a T V journalist interviewing Nirmala. Nightmares continue to stifle more women from around. The lives of these women are bounded by the all pervasive sense of fear, with each one of them trying to tackle it on their own terms. Some of them surrender, others falter but some carry on the fight.

Direction & Screenplay: T V Chandran
Cast: Suresh Gopi, Nedumudi Venu, Samvritha Sunil, Padmapriya, Priyanka Nair, Lakshmi Sharma, Kripa, Nanda, Jasna
Cinematography: K G Jayan
Editing: Venugopal

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