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G. Aravindan: Profile and Filmography

Life sketch and Filmography

Govindan Aravindan (January 21, 1935 – March 15, 1991), popularly known as G. Aravindan, was a film director, screenwriter, musician, cartoonist, and painter from Kerala, India. The Government of India awarded him with the fourth-highest civilian award of the country, the Padma Shri, in 1990.

 

Aravindan was born to M.N. Govindan Nair and P.G. Thankamma in 1935. His father was a lawyer and a writer of satirical pieces. Aravindan completed his education at Nair Samajam High School and CMS College (in Kottayam), and he graduated from University College, Thiruvananthapuram, in 1954. He joined the Rubber Board of the Government of India as an Inspector in 1956, and he was later promoted to the position of a deputy development officer. Between 1981 to 1984, when he took voluntary retirement, he was honoured by the board and was given the position film officer, which Aravindan reciprocated by making a film for them. He married his wife Kaumudi in 1965; she had initially been a colleague at the Rubber Board. They have a son named Ramu Aravindan, who is a graduate from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. He currently works as a designer and photographer.

 

Aravindan had a keen interest in drawing even as a child. In his early years, he illustrated a few journals, including Keralabhushanam. Later, his illustrated strips would be published in the illustrious weekly, Mathrubhumi, before he embarked on his most popular 13-year stint with the cartoon series, Small Men and Big World, which made him a cult figure in Kerala.

 

He was also deeply interested in music and learnt Hindustani classical music from Pandit Sharatchandra Marathe in Calicut. Aravindan was even involved in amateur theatre from the 1960s onwards. He was active with the theatre group Navaranga and later, with Thiruvarangu. Among the films he directed, the most notable were C.N. Sreekantan Nair’s Kali, and Kavalam Narayana Panicker’s Avanavan Kadamba, which were considered watershed productions in Malayalam theatre.

 

He started his career in films in 1975. In total, he directed 11 feature films and several documentaries. He also composed the music for four films. For a considerable period of time, he was a member of the board of directors of the National Film Development Corporation.

 

Filmography:

 

1. Uttarayanam (Throne of Capricorn). Malayalam. 1974. B&W, 118 minutes

Credits:

Direction: G Aravindan

Producer: Pattathuvila Karunakaran

Written by: Thikodiyan, G Aravindan

Starring: Dr Mohan Das, Kunju, Balan K Nair, Adoor Bhasi, Sukumaran, Kunjandi

Music: K Raghavan, MB Sreenivasan

Cinematography: Mankada Ravi Verma

Editing: A Rameshan

Production Company: Ganesh Movie Makers

Award(s):

National: Special National Jury Award on 25th anniversary of Indian Independence and Best Malayalam Film

State: Best Film, Best Director, Best Dialogue

 

2. Kanchana Sita (Golden Sita). Malayalam. 1978. Colour, 87 minutes

Credits:

Direction, Screenplay: G Aravindan (Based on CN Sreekantan Nair’s play)

Producer: K Ravindran Nair

Starring: Ramdas, Venkateswaralu, Chinna Pullaih, Pottiah, Rangiah, Siva, Kesava Panicker, Krishnan, Shoba Kiran, Annapurna

Music: Rajeev Tharanath

Cinematography: Shaji N Karun

Editing: Rameshan

Production: General Pictures

Award(s): Best Director, National Film Festival

 

3. Thampu (Circus Tent). Malayalam. 1978. B&W, 130 minutes

Credits:

Directed and written: G. Aravindan

Producer: K Ravindran Nair

Starring: Bharat Gopi, Nedumudi Venu, VK Sreeman, Jalaja, Artists from the Great Chitra Circus

Music: MG Radhakrishan

Camera: Shaji N Karun

Sound: Devadas

Production: General Pictures

Award(s):

National: National Film Award for Best Direction

State: Second Place in Best Film and Best Director

 

4. Kummaty (Bogeyman). Malayalam. 1979. Colour, 90 minutes

Credits:

Directed: G Aravindan

Screenplay: Aravindan, Kavalam Narayana Panikkar

Producer: K Ravindran Nair

Starring:  Ambalappuzha Ramunni, Master Ashokan, Vilasini Reema

Music: MG Radhakrishna, Kavalam, Aravindan

Camera: Shaji N Karun

Production: General Pictures

 

5. Esthappan (Stephen). Malayalam. 1980. Colour. 94 minutes

Credits:

Direction: G Aravindan

Screenplay: Aravindan, Isaac Thomas Kottukapally

Producer: K Ravindran Nair

Starring: Rajan Kakkanadan, Krishnapuram Leela, Sudharma, Shobana

Music: Aravindan, Isaac Thomas Kottukapally, Janardan

Camera: Shaji N Karun

Editing: A Rameshan

Production: General Pictures

Award(s): State Best Film Award and State Best Director

 

6. Pokkuveyil (Twilight). Malayalam. 1981. Colour, 106 minutes

Credits:

Direction: G Aravindan

Producer: K Ravindran Nair

Written: G Aravindan, Dr SP Ramesh

Starring: Balachandran Chullikad, Satish Kumar, Kalpana, Kalabhavan Ansar, Chavara VP Nair

Music:  Flute by Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia and Sarod by Rajeev Taranath

Camera: Shaji N Karun

Editing: A Rameshan

Production: General Pictures

Award(s): State Best Director Award

 

7. Chidambaram. Malayalam. 1985. Colour, 100 minutes

Credits:

Directed, produced and written: G Aravindan

Story: CV Sreeraman

Starring: Gopi, Smita Patil, Sreenivasan, Mohan Das

Music: G Devarajan

Camera: Shaji N Karun

Editing: A Rameshan

Production: Sooryakanthi Film Makers

Award(s): State Best Film Award, and State Best Director

Best Malayalam Film — National Film Festival

 

8. Oridathu (Once Upon a Time). Malayalam. 1986. Colour, 112 minutes

Credits:

Directed, produced, and written: G Aravindan

Starring:  Nedumudi Venu, Sreenivasan, Thilakan, Vineeth, Krishnakutty Nair, Chandran Nair, Soorya

Music:  Kavalam, Aravindan

Sound: P Devadas

Camera: Shaji N Karun

Editing: KR Bose

Production: Sooryakanthi Film Makers

Award(s): State Best Film Award, and State Best Director

National: National Film Awards for Best Director

 

9. Marattam (Masquerade). Malayalam. 1988. Colour, 90 minutes

Credits:

Direction: G Aravindan

Production: Doordarshan

Written: Kavalam Narayan Panicker

Starring: Sadanandan Krishnamurthy, Kalamandalam Keshavan, Urmila Unni, Krishnakutty Nair, RK Nair

Art: Namboodiri

Music: Kavalam

Camera: Shaji N Karun

Editing: KR Bose

Sound: Krishna Kumar, Hari Kumar, Hussain, P Devadas

 

10. Unni. Malayalam (1988). Colour

Credits:

Direction: G Aravindan

Production: NFDC & Malabar Productions, USA

Script: Bill Rothman, Kitty Morgan

Starring: Tara Johannessen, Gijie Abraham, Sethu, Chris Bonnell, Vivian Colodro, Jordan Freid, Chandan Nair, S Gopalakrishnan

Camera: Shaji N Karun, Sunny Joseph, Ajayakumar

Art: Padmakumar

Editing: KR Bose, Beena Venugopal

Sound: Krishna Kumar, Hari Kumar, Hussain, P Devadas

 

11. Vaastuhara (The Dispossessed). Malayalam. 1991. Colour, 103 minutes

Credits:

Direction: G Aravindan     

Production: T Ravindranath

Written: CV Sreeraman, G Aravindan, N Mohanan

Starring: Mohan Lal, Neena Gupta, Neelanjana Mitra, Shobhana

Music: Salil Choudhary

Sound: Krishnan Unny

Camera: Sunny Joseph

Editing: KR Bose

Production: Sooryakanthi Film Makers

Award(s):

State: State Best Film and State Best Director

National: Best Film, National film festival

 

SHORT FILMS:

 

1. VT (Colour/35 mm/2 reels/Malayalam/1982)

Direction: G Aravindan

Camera: Shaji N Karun

A biographical film on legendary social reformer and writer VT Bhattathiripad

 

2. Breast-Feeding (7 minutes/1983)

Direction: G Aravindan

Camera: Shaji N Karun

Production: CARE

 

3.Diarrhoea in Children (7 minutes/1983)

Direction: G Aravindan

Camera: Shaji N Karun

Production: CARE

 

4. Perumkaliattam (Colour/35 mm/1984)

Direction: G Aravindan

Camera: Shaji N Karun

 

5.The Seer Who Walks Alone (Colour/35 mm/50 minutes/English/1985)

Direction: G Aravindan

Camera: Shaji N Karun

Production: Films Division of India

 

6. The Brown Landscape (Colour/35 mm/7 minutes/English/1985)

Direction: G Aravindan

Camera: Shaji N Karun

Production: N Madhavan Pillai

 

7.The Catch (Colour/35 mm/15 minutes/English/1986)

Direction: G Aravindan

Camera: Shaji N Karun

Producer: N Madhavan Pillai

 

8. A Home Away from Home (Colour/35 mm/18 minutes/English/1987)

Direction: G Aravindan

Camera: Shaji N Karun

Producer: N Madhavan Pillai

 

9. Contours of Linear Rhythm: Portrait of Artist Namboodiri (Colour/35 mm/17 minutes/English/1987)

Direction: G Aravindan

Camera: Shaji N Karun

Producer: Chalachitra

 

10. Sahaja (Colour/35mm/33minutes/English/1988)

Direction: G Aravindan

Screenplay: Chandralekha

Camera: Shaji N Karun/Sunny Joseph, Rajesh Joshi, SC Padi, Ajit Padi

Producer: SuryaKanthi Film Makers

 

11. Anadi Dhara (Colour/35mm/40 minutes/1988)

Direction: G Aravindan

Camera: Shaji N Karun, Sunny Joseph, Rajesh Joshi, Shankar, SC Padi, Ajit Padi

Sound: Aravindan, Chandran; Mixing: Devadas

Editing: KR Bose

Production: Films Division

 

12. Bharatanatyam (7 episode/22 minutes each/TV serial/1990)

Direction: G Aravindan

Camera: Sunny Joseph and Jayan

Production and Co-ordination: Prasanna Ramaswamy

 

(Thanks to Ramu Aravindan for authenticating the facts and people given in this section.)