John Abraham: The Iconoclast Filmmaker of Kerala

in Module
Published on: 31 May 2018

V.K. Cherian

V.K. Cherian is the author of 'India’s Film Society Movement: The Journey and its Impact' published by Sage in 2017. He is a senior media professional and film society activist.

John Abraham (1937–1987) is still remembered as a cult figure of New Indian Cinema. Though he only made a few films, his commitment and dedication to the new genre of filmmaking is imprinted in the mind of every cinephile. He was among the early graduates of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), having enrolled there in 1965. His first film in 1969 was shot in collaboration with his FTII colleagues. From the second film onwards, his films started to carry heavy political overtones. Through the Odessa Collective and the Film Society of Kozhikode, he attempted at making people’s films through local funding and people's participation. He made four feature films that remain landmarks, though with the technical imperfections that were his trademark. Abraham stood for good cinema and its appreciation, and for making the film movement of Kerala a people’s movement. He was planning a film called Nanmayil Gopalan before his death.