Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi this evening organized a talk on “Popularizing Literature through Cinema” by award-winning film-maker, Biju Viswanath who hails from Kerala but has his base in New York.
Biju has a literature background. He did his masters in English literature, has a PhD from the University of Kerala, and is passionate about films as an art form. It is this passion that made him give up a teaching career and take up the camera. Combining his love for literature with his passion for cinema, he has been making documentaries and feature films for almost the last two decades. His range is impressive: he has dabbled across conventional genres with horror films, romance, mystery and drama. Nor is language any barrier for him for he has made films in Malayalam, Tamil, Irish, Japanese, and of course, English.
His directorial debut, A Voyage, was based on the life of the well-known writer and Jnanpith awardee, MT Vasudevan Nair. The film brought Biju accolades and was the beginning of several honours that came his way. Among other honours, Biju is also the recipient of the Golden Palm Award for his film Viola and Best Cinematography and Best Screenplay for Marathon.
In his talk today he highlighted the various issues involved in adaptation, focusing on the roles of the director , the script writer and the original author of a text. Ultimately, he is convinced that the aim of a film is to reach out to the masses. Unless this is achieved the film cannot be called a success. Marketing a film is a major concern in today’s world and a film must keep in mind what will sell.
This evening’s talk was very thought-provoking and the session turned out to be a very interactive one with a lot of questions directed at the speaker. The Chairperson of the Akademi, who had earlier introduced the speaker, brought the discussion to an end, summing up th general opinion that it had been a scintillating evening.