In an oeuvre spanning over four decades and counting—from Swayamvaram (1972) to Pinneyum (released last month)—one of the central themes of Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s films has been the ethical conflicts of men caught inexorably in the vortex of history and power. At the very basic level, it is a question of survival for them, but this struggle to live with freedom and dignity pushes them into confrontations with power structures along various axes—familial, social, communal and political. In the process, Adoor’s films map the highs and lows, the agonies and upsurges that Kerala witnessed in these decades. Turbulences that connect with and encapsulate the universal.
Excavating the Present