K P Kumaran In Conversation with Meera Sahib
At a time when there is a renewed interest in the New Indian Cinema of the 1970s, it is fitting that the 22nd IFFK organized a retrospective of the films of K.P.Kumaran, one of the pioneering and leading figures of the New Cinema Movement in Malayalam.
Kumaran comes from a ‘political family’ and was involved in trade union activism. He believes that his politics has shaped his films. Kumaran was making films during the times of emergency. For Kumaran, cinema was not the primary concern. He was more concerned about literature and politics. Becoming a film maker was not very easy for Kumaran. Soon after making his first film ‘Athithi’, he resigned from his job in LIC. For him, it was a time when he was in a conflict with the realities of life, and making films became a matter of survival for him. There used to be a sense of solidarity and collective spirit among the filmmakers during the 1970s. He feels that such collectives have disappeared now.
Though often known for his first film Athithi, Kumaran believes that his last film Akasha Gopuram is his most perfect work. Talking at the ‘In Conversation’, Kumaran did not hide his disappointment that his films did not receive the recognition they deserved. His last film was not considered for any awards. Making a new film may not be possible for him as he is unsure of whether there will be any support system now. It is not very easy to find a producer and stars for the kind of films he wants to make.
When Athithi was released there were discussions on whether the film was an adaptation of ‘Waiting for Godot’. Kumaran, however, asserts that Athithi was a truly Malayalam film.