Documenting Greatnesshttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/documenting-greatness-2/

Documenting Greatness

In 1984,when Malayalam writer MT Vasudevan Nair wrote his masterpeice Randamoozha ,it reaffirmed his position as one of the most prolific authors in the country

In 1984,when Malayalam writer MT Vasudevan Nair wrote his masterpeice Randamoozha ,it reaffirmed his position as one of the most prolific authors in the country. The novel,which retells the story of the Mahabharata from the point of view Bheem (the second Pandava),was translated in English as Second Turn in 1992. The writer’s life and times have now been captured in a 72-minute documentary titled,M T Vasudevan Nair : A Momentous Life in Creativity by filmmaker KP Kumaran,which was completed in December 2012. The documentary,which was shot in Thrissur captures Nair’s life and achievements and includes archival footage from his life. The project was sanctioned by Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) and the documentary is now available for sale at IGNCA for Rs 200.

“The Visual Arts department of IGNCA has an ongoing series titled ‘Great Masters’,which is a video documentation of various contemporary Indian artists,their thoughts and works such as Fariddudin Dagar,Bhisham Sahni and BC Sanyal,among others,” says Professor R Nandakumar,Head of the Department of Visual Arts,IGNCA. The Great Masters series is conceptualised by Nandakumar,which he emphasises is not a filmmaking exercise by IGNCA. “We are documenting all the material in the form of films so that it becomes more accessible to the public. Filmmaking has never been a priority for this institution,which places a premium on the academic and research-related content of its activities. All this material will eventually be archived by IGNCA,” he says.

The reason for choosing Nair as the subject of a documentary was an entirely personal one for Nandakumar. He grew up in Kerala and Nair’s writing influenced his childhood. “It was the culture I was part of and that’s why the choice was obvious,” he says. After finalising Nair as the topic of the next documentary,Nandakumar approached Kumaran to film it,since he too was familiar with the plethora of the writer’s work. All the text in the documentary has been written by Nandakumar and the DVDs on sale include a few rare photographs of Nair,along with an essay on his works.