|Directed by||G. Aravindan|
|Produced by||K. Ravindran Nair|
|Written by||G. Aravindan|
V. K. Sriraman
Artistes of the Great Chitra Circus
|Music by||M. G. Radhakrishnan|
|Cinematography||Shaji N. Karun|
|Running time||130 minutes|
Thampu (English: The Circus Tent, 1978) is a highly acclaimed Malayalam film written and directed by G. Aravindan. Bharath Gopi, Nedumudi Venu, V. K. Sriraman, Jalaja the artistes of the Great Chitra Circus form the cast. The film deals with the roving street circus of Kerala. It is shot in black and white in a direct documentary mode.
Besides a long glittering river some men raise a pole. A tent balloons up. Where there was wide sand and the sound of water lapping, there is now a truck, chairs, hoops, stools, ropes, goats, a lioness, a pair of fat girls, some bicycles, and an old man with a philosopher's dignity, putting on white paste.
Across a dirt road, the circus truck comes to a village. The tent goes up. Schoolboys run to the ten. Village women come and watch an acrobat roll a hoop across a tightrope. A lion leaps from the edge of one stool - across darkness - on to another stool. A gap-toothed old woman gazes at a goat on a tight rope; her eyes are wide with curiosity.
For three days the cicrus makes small ripples in the life of this village. Municipal permits are required. At a toddy shop, a soldier befriends the circus strongman; a pump attendant sits on a rock each day watching a village girl bathe and dry her hair. The dwarf brings back to the circus a watermelon larger than his head.
In the film's three days, we, the viewers, learn the geography of the village: the banyan treewith leaves like transparent film, the shining water, the light on the sand at sunset. When the circus leaves the village, it leaves us. The narrative says: The circus comes and leaves; life goes on.
- National Film Award for Best Direction
- National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Malayalam
- Kerala State Film Award for Best Direction
- Kerala State Film Award for Second Best Film
- C. S. Venkiteswaran (June 19, 2009). "The alchemist of cinema". The Hindu. Retrieved April 11, 2011.
- "Aravindan's profile". India Film database. Retrieved April 11, 2011.
- Sashi Kumar (January 2–15, 2010). "Aravindan’s art". Frontline. Retrieved April 11, 2011.