T. V. Chandran

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T. V. Chandran
ടി.വി. ചന്ദ്രൻ
T.V. Chandran.jpg
Born (1950-11-23) 23 November 1950 (age 64)
Thalassery, Kerala, India
Occupation Film director, screenwriter, actor
Years active 1975-present
Spouse(s) Revathi
Children Yadavan Chandran
Website
tvchandran.com

T. V. Chandran (Malayalam: ടി.വി. ചന്ദ്രൻ; born 23 November 1950) is an Indian film director, screenwriter, and actor, predominantly working in Malayalam cinema. Born in a Malayali Hindu family in Thalassery, Chandran worked as a Reserve Bank of India employee before entering into the film industry. He started his film career as an assistant director to P. A. Backer and John Abraham. He also acted the lead role in Backer's highly acclaimed political drama Kabani Nadi Chuvannappol (1975). He made his directorial debut with the unreleased feature Krishnan Kutty (1981), and followed this with the Tamil film Hemavin Kadhalargal (1985). Chandran came into prominence after Alicinte Anveshanam (1989), which was nominated for the Golden Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival. This was followed with Ponthan Mada (1993), his most famous film to-date. Chandran is most known for his art-house films which have references to history and undertones of politics and feminism. He is also known for his trilogy on 2002 Gujarat riots, consisting of Kathavasheshan (2004), Vilapangalkappuram (2008) and Bhoomiyude Avakashikal (2012). Other highly acclaimed films include Mangamma (1997), Danny (2001) and Paadam Onnu: Oru Vilapam (2003).

Chandran is widely regarded as one of the finest directors in Indian cinema and is widely credited with having revolutionised parallel cinema with his complex-structured art-house films. Chandran has won several film awards including six National Film Awards and ten Kerala State Film Awards. In addition to these, he is a recipient of a number of awards at various International film festivals.

Early life and background[edit]

T. V. Chandran was born in Thalassery, Malabar District, Madras Presidency, the present day Kannur District, Kerala, to Narayanan Nambiar and Karthyayini Amma.[1] After graduating with a degree from Christ College, Irinjalakuda,[2] and a post graduation from Farook College, University of Calicut,[3] he embarked on a career as a Reserve Bank of India employee before starting his film career.[4] In his college days, Chandran was sympathetic to naxalite ideology and was closely associated with the Communist Party.

Chandran's son Yadavan Chandran and brother Soman are also fimmakers. Yadavan has directed docu-films and has assisted Chandran in many of his films. Soman is working an assistant with Chandran right from his first film.[5][6] Chandran's attachment with his other brother, who died in Nigeria in the 1980s, later inspired the film Sankaranum Mohananum.[7]

Career[edit]

Early years: 1975–1981[edit]

T. V. Chandran and Shalini in the film Kabani Nadi Chuvannappol (1975)

T. V. Chandran has had no formal training in film-making.[4] He began his film career as an actor in P. A. Backer's Kabani Nadi Chuvannappol (1975). This leftist political cinema that came out during the Emergency period was adjudged Second Best Film in the Kerala State Film Awards. P. A. Backer was awarded Best Director that year for his directorial debut. The cast includes T. V. Chandran, Raveendran, J. Siddiqui and Shalini.[8][9]

Chandran then worked as an assistant to P. A. Backer and the avant-garde filmmaker John Abraham. According to Chandran, it was his association with director V. K. Pavithran (who also produced Kabani Nadi Chuvannappol),[10] that caused his transformation into the "condemned status" of a filmmaker. He says: "Our association had begun when I was just over 14, and since then we used to clandestinely share our interest in the film medium. Filmmaking was an event of celebration in the case of Pavithran and every phase of his productions had an exciting participation of the masses."[11]

Breakthrough: 1981–89[edit]

Chandran debuted as a director with Krishnan Kutty (1981).[4][5] A critical and commercial failure, this experimental film did not even had a wide public release. The film represents a continuation of P. A. Backer's style of independent film.[12] Chandran's next venture was the Tamil feature film Hemavin Kadhalargal (1985). This film had Delhi Ganesh and Anuradha in the lead roles.[13] The film marked the debut of the latter, who dominated the Tamil cinema for quite a long time. Though Hemavin Kadhalargal was a commercial success and garnered favourable reviews, Chandran got his much needed break only with his third venture Alicinte Anveshanam (1989). A mystery film by genre, it narrated the journey of a lady in search of her missing husband. It was the official entry from India for the Locarno International Film Festival, and got a nomination for the Golden Leopard.[4]

International acclaim: 1993–2001[edit]

In 1993, Chandran's much acclaimed Ponthan Mada, was released. He cast two of India's greatest method actors, Mammootty and Nasiruddin Shah, in the film that focused the spotlight on the feudal era. It was based on C. V. Sreeraman's two short stories: "Ponthan Mada" and "Sheema Thampuran". The film earned the national and state awards to Mammootty.[4]

Chandran's next venture Ormakal Undayirikkanam (1995) starred Bharath Gopi, Mammootty, Master Nitin, Nedumudi Venu and Sreenivasan. It portrayed the rise of the Communists to power in 1957 and the infamous Vimochana Samaram (Liberation Struggle) of 1959. The film earned a national and a state award to Chandran.[4] With critical success coming back to back, Chandran wrote and directed Mangamma, which told the story of a bold woman who stands up to all the trials and survives. Produced by the National Film Development Corporation of India (NFDC), it was screened at the Zanzibar International Film Festival. The film won many major awards, including national and state awards.[14][15]

The references to feminism can be best observed in Susanna (2000), an emotional drama about Susanna, who appears to be a prostitute living with five different people at the same time. The film is another testimony for the fact that feminine psyche is another of Chandran’s abiding concerns. Vani Viswanath played the title role, widely appreciated to be the best in her career.[16] Chandran originally cast noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai in this role, but she opted out citing her busy schedules. As a compensation, Mallika Sarabhai was given a major role by Chandran in his next venture Danny (2001), a comedy-drama with Mammootty in the title role.[5] It was Chandran's third collaboration with Mammootty. As expected, the film garnered universal acclaim with most of the critics hailing the performance of Mammootty. Chandran himself has rated this as the finest performance by any lead actor. The protagonist of this film is a mute witness to many of the historical happenings taking place around in the world. The film traces the life of this character and comments upon many things that may have social and political relevance. It won numerous awards including a National Film Award and three State Film Awards.[5][17][18][19]

Paadam Onnu: Oru Vilapam and onwards: 2003-present[edit]

Chandrans following project, Paadam Onnu: Oru Vilapam (2003), dealt with child marriage and polygamy prevailing in traditional Muslim communities of Kerala. Meera Jasmine played the lead role, who won the National and State Film Award for Best Actress for her performance in the film as a teen age Muslim girl. The premiere of the film saw protests from a group of Islamic periodicals of Kerala. The date of release was postponed more than once for this reason. The film won the National Film Award for Best Film on Family Welfare. T. V. Chandran narrowly missed his second national award as the best director for this film. As there was a tie, the casting vote of the Chairman of jury went to Bengali director Goutam Ghosh.[20][21][22] With Paadam Onnu: Oru Vilapam, Chandran ended his association with music director Johnson, bringing in background music specialist Issac Thomas Kottukapally to score his social thriller Kathavasheshan (2004). Co-produced by and starring Dileep, the film follows a murder mystery. The film tells the story of a civil engineer who commits suicide as a protest against the 2002 Gujarat riots. The film stands odd in the filmography of Chandran for the narrative style it had.[23] The film emerged the biggest winner at the Kerala State Film Awards with four wins.[24] Chandran then worked in a Tamil psychological drama - Aadum Koothu (2005). The film unfolds from the life of a college student who can see what others don't. The film – starring Navya Nair, Cheran and Prakash Raj – was screened at various film festivals in 2005-06, but was not released in theatres. It won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil in 2005. Vilapangalkkappuram - based on the aftermath of the Gujarat riots of 2002 - was released in 2005. Priyanka, Biju Menon, Sudheesh and Suhasini played the pivotal roles, and Priyanka won a state award for her performance in the film as a Muslim woman gang raped by a group of communalists.

In 2008, Chandran returned as an actor after his debut in Kabani Nadi Chuvannappol, in M. G. Sasi's Atayalangal. He played the supporting role of Bhaskara Kurup in the film that won five state film awards.[25][26] With Boomi Malayalam (2009), another film focusing on themes of feminism, he associated with Suresh Gopi for the first time. The film was structurally different from Chandran's earlier attempts at mapping female life as the film depicted the plight of seven different women who represent different periods of time with all of them sharing a common feeling—–fear.

Most of Chandran's films were average performers at the box office even though they received strong positive reviews from critics and garnered awards at state, national and international levels. All of his films were screened at major national and international film festivals. He forayed into mainstream cinema with his next venture - Sankaranum Mohananum (2011) - a comedy fantasy starring Jayasurya, Meera Nandan and Rima Kallingal. The film had Jayasurya appearing in 20 different getups. It wasn't a commercial success and was panned by critics; a noted critic commented: "The crossover of the director to commercial cinema, if at all it has been attempted, is a total disaster. As much as it remains a fantasy, there is absolutely nothing in the film that would confront your intellect, and there is plenty that would question your intelligence."[27] The film was screened at the "Malayalam Cinema Today" Section of the International Film Festival of Kerala.[28]

Chandran's upcoming venture is Bhoomiyude Avakashikal, a drama featuring Sreenivasan in the lead role. The film started production in June 2012.[29][30] It is the third film of T. V. Chandran to be based on the aftermath of the Gujarat riots and the title has been adapted from the famous short story "Bhoomiyude Avakashikal" by Vaikom Muhammad Basheer.

Chandran has also directed a few tele-films and tele-serials. Notable among them are the tele-film Varum Varaykakal, which won the State TV Award for Second Best Tele-film,[31] and the tele-serial, Sadasivante Kumbasaram.[32]

Awards[edit]

National Film Awards

Kerala State Film Awards

Filmography[edit]

Year Film Director Producer Screenplay Story Notes
1981 Krishnan Kutty Yes Yes Yes Unreleased film
1985 Hemavin Kadhalargal
(Hema's Lovers)
Yes Yes Yes Tamil film
1989 Alicinte Anveshanam
(The Search of Alice)
Yes Yes Yes Yes Kerala State Film Award for Second Best Film
Nominated for the Golden Leopard at Locarno International Film Festival
Indian Panorama selection at the International Film Festival of India
1993 Ponthan Mada
(Pumpkin Mada)
Yes Yes National Film Award for Best Director
Kerala State Film Award for Second Best Film
Participation at Pessaro Film Festival
Indian Panorama selection at the International Film Festival of India
1995 Ormakal Undayirikkanam
(Memories and Desires)
Yes Yes Yes National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Malayalam
Kerala State Film Award (Special Jury Award)
Participation at Phnom Penh International Film Festival
Indian Panorama selection at the International Film Festival of India
1997 Mangamma Yes Yes Yes National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Malayalam
Kerala State Film Award for Best Director
Audience Prize for Best Film at the International Film Festival of Kerala
Participation at Zanzibar International Film Festival
Participation at SAARC Film Festival
Indian Panorama selection at the International Film Festival of India
2000 Susanna Yes Yes Yes Yes Kerala State Film Award (Special Jury Award)
Kerala Film Critics Award for Best Film
Kerala Film Critics Award for Best Director
Padmarajan Award for Best Director
Padmarajan Award for Best Screenplay
Bharathan Award for Best Director
Asianet Film Award for Best Screenplay
Mathrubhumi Award for Best Director
2001 Danny Yes Yes Yes Yes National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Malayalam
Kerala State Film Award for Best Director
Audience Prize for Best Film at the International Film Festival of Kerala
Asianet Film Award for Best Film (Special Jury Prize)
Mathrubhumi Film Award for Best Film (Special Jury Prize)
John Abraham Award for Best Feature Film
Participation at the Cinemaya International Film Festival
Indian Panorama selection at the International Film Festival of India
2003 Paadam Onnu: Oru Vilapam
(Lesson One: A Wail)
Yes Yes Yes National Film Award for Best Film on Family Welfare
Kerala State Film Award for Second Best Film
Don Quixote Award for Best Film
Mobyl Award at the Dhaka International Film Festival
Kerala Film Critics Award for Best Film[33]
Kerala Film Critics Award for Best Director[34]
Mathrubhumi Award for Best Film
Padmarajan Award for Best Film[35]
Ramu Kariat Award[36]
Participation at Palm Springs International Film Festival
Participation at Bangkok International Film Festival 2004[37]
Participation at Cairo International Film Festival 2004
Indian Panorama selection at the International Film Festival of India[38]
2004 Kathavasheshan
(The Deceased)
Yes Yes Yes Kerala State Film Award for Second Best Film
Kerala State Film Award for Best Screenplay
Participation at The Cinemaya International Film Festival
Indian Panorama selection at the International Film Festival of India[39]
2005 Aadum Koothu Yes Yes Yes Yes Tamil film
National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil
Competition entry at International Film Festival of Kerala[40]
Indian Panorama selection at the International Film Festival of India[41]
2008 Vilapangalkkappuram
(Beyond the Wail)
Yes Yes Yes Entry at International Film Festival of Kerala[42]
Indian Panorama selection at the International Film Festival of India[43]
2008 Boomi Malayalam
(The Mother Earth)
Yes Yes Yes Kerala State Film Award for Second Best Film
John Abraham Award for Best Film[44]
2011 Sankaranum Mohananum
(Sankaran and Mohanan)
Yes Yes Yes Entry at International Film Festival of Kerala[45]
2012 Bhoomiyude Avakashikal
(The Inheritors of the Earth)
Yes Yes Yes Competition entry at International Film Festival of Kerala[46]
Indian Panorama selection at the International Film Festival of India[47]
Indian Panorama selection at the Chennai International Film Festival[48]
As actor

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External links[edit]