In A Tortuous Realm

Updated: Dec 22 2002, 05:30am hrs
Dany, T V Chandrans latest film, has, in a strange way, shifted the directors earlier focus from women and matriarchy to a mans world, only to find it equally unsafe, dark and humiliating. Mr Chandran has used his artistic liberty to address the theme of freedom at the level of individual experience. And he has obviously succeeded, for Dany won a National Award this year as the best Malayalam film.

T V Chandran
Like Mr Chandrans earlier films such as Krishnankutty (1981), Alicinte Anweshanam (1989), Ponthan Mada (1993), winner of Golden Lotus, and Susanna (2000), the thematic revelation in and the social treatment of Dany are sensitively new. The story is the linear journey of a saxophone player, Dany, who remains an outsider all his life, and dies that way, as an unsung, faceless artiste. Dany is abandoned by his first wife, betrayed by his second wife and ditched by his own son, rich by proxy, and daughter. He is full of human warmth and compassion, but falls victim to various societal and domestic forces till he finally perishes in a cold night on a deserted highway in the company of a woman who, he finds, can finally share his inner thoughts with genuine compassion.

Says Mr Chandran: It is a simple tale told in a direct manner. It is my response to what I see around. He maintains that in films about the lives of great men like Mahatma Gandhi and Ambedkar, their historical background and unusual feats are projected so as to make them appear super human. Thus, he believes mega heroes are born in films. In contrast to the stereotype, says he says, I thought I would give the same treatment to an ordinary person. Thats why I made Mammootty make the statementI am Mammootty at the very beginning.

Mr Chandran continues, Dany calls into question many a notion about the patricentric institution of the family and the social roles of the father and the husband as inscribed in the narratives of masculinity.

Mr Chandran looks on his protagonist, as a simple minded human being out of step with the ways of the world. For that crime, he is made to pay, first by being treated as an outsider, and then by more discernible suffering.

Dany, already highly praised in the Indian Panorama section of the International Film Festival of India last October, clearly offers a new dimension to a director who has travelled so long in the world of women.

Given his profile and the kind of ideology he breathes, Mr Chandran feels he has not yet done justice to his medium. Recently, he came out with a statement, saying: To tell you the truth, I feel ashamed of my choice of themes so far. They are insignificant when compared to what is happening in the world.