Govindan Aravindan (Malayalam: ഗോവിന്ദന് അരവിന്ദന്; 21 January 1935 – 15 March 1991), popularly known as G. Aravindan, was a film director, screenwriter, musician, cartoonist and painter from Kerala, India. He was one of the pioneers of Parallel Cinema in Malayalam and is considered as one of the greatest filmmakers of India. He was known for his unorthodox way of filmmaking; he changed his cinematic forms consistently and experimented in storytelling without regular narrative styles. Before venturing into film field, he was an established cartoonist. He had also worked with documentaries and theatre. He also occasionally directed music for other filmmakers.
G. Aravindan was the son of famous comedy writer M. N. Govindan Nair. Aravindan started his professional life as a cartoonist for the journal Mathrubhumi. He established himself as a noted cartoonist in the early 1960s with his cartoon series Cheriya Manushyarum Valiya Lokavum which dealt with the adventures of the central characters Ramu and Guruji, mingled with political and social satire. The series was preceded by two more cartoon series, Ramuvinte Sahasika Yathrakal and Guruji, featuring the central characters of Cheriya Manushyarum Valiya Lokavum. He also worked for other journals as a cartoonist. At one point, Aravindan diverted his attention to theatre and music. He played a major role in establishing theatre and music clubs Navarangam and Sopanam. He became associated with eminent theatre figure Kavalam Narayana Panicker which accelerated his activities in the field of professional play. They created several plays like Kaali and Avanavan Kadamba. Aravindan was working as an officer in revenue board when he got associated with artist Devan, playwright Thikkodiyan and writer Pattathuvila Karunakaran.
The first film directed by Aravindan, Uttarayanam (1974), came out as a product from this group; the film was produced by Karunakaran and the story was written by Thikkodiyan. The early works of Aravindan were influenced by the group; for example, the spiritualism factor which can be seen in his early works can be attributed to satirist Sanjayan and mystic paintings of K. C. S. Paniker. Aravindan's second film Kanchanasita was released three years later in 1977. It was retake on the Ramayana. This film is credited with formation of a new stream called independent filmmaking. While Kanchana Sita dealt with mythology, Aravindan's next film Thampu (1978) dealt with realism and told the story of suffering in a circus troupe. His 1979 films Kummatty and Esthappan also ran through different streams. His next film Pokkuveyil (1981) starred poet Balachandran Chullikkad. From this to his next film there was a gap of four years.
The 1985 film Chidambaram was produced by Aravindan under the banner Suryakanthi. In 1986 Oridathu came which handled the problems faced by the people of a hamlet with no electricity, when electric supply finally reaches them. In this period Aravindan did a number of documentaries and short films. He composed music for films like Aaro Oral, Piravi and Ore Thooval Pakshikal. Aravindan's 1989 film Unni had a starcast mainly consisting of foreigners. Aravindan's final project Vasthuhara (1991) about refugees in Bengal was based on C. V. Sreereman's short story in the same name. The film had Mohanlal and Neena Gupta in major roles.
Aravindan died on 15 March 1991, before the release of Vasthuhara.