About The Book
All the three screenplays in this volume were developed out of M.T. Vasudevan Nair’s own short stories. Nirmalyam which won the President’s Gold Medal in 1973 grew out of a short story Pallivalum Kalchilambum (Sacred Swords and anklets) which details the trials and tribulations of a temple velichappadu (oracle) when times begin to change.
Oppel (Elder Sister) which is based on a short story of the same name sensitively portrays the worlds of a child as he attempts to come to terms with certain harsh realities that were hidden from him. Ennu Swantham Janakikutty based on the short story Cheriya Cheriya Bhukambangal (Little Little Earthquakes) is a peek into the world of the supernatural even as it depicts the inner workings of a joints family that is forced to take in an unwelcome guest.
While the stories and screenplays are engaging in themselves, the volume also enables one to appreciate the similarities and differences between the written word and the cinematic medium. The writer,s mastery of both mediums, ably translated by well-known translator, Gita Krishnankutty is clearly on display throughout, making this book an invaluable resource for both lovers of literature and cinema.
About The Author
Prolific and versatile, M.T. Vasudevan Nair, one of Kerals’s most beloved writers, is one of Kerala’s most beloved writers, is one of the giants of post-independence Indian literature. His vast literary output includes short stories, novels, articles and screenplays. He was awarded the highest literary award in India, the Jnanpith, in 1995 for his overall contribution to Malayalam literature and the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award, in 2005.
M.T. has written more than fifty-five screenplays, some of which are adapted from his own short stories. He was awarded the President’s Gold Medal for Nirmalyam (1973), and National Awards for the Best Screenpaly for Oru Vadakkan Veeragadha (1989), Sadayam (1990) and Parinayam (1994). He won National Award for the Best Films for Kadavu (1991) and Oru Cheru Punchiri (2000).
Although M.T. Vasudevan Nair may be best-known and appreciated for his fiction, more and more of his readers as well as innumerable viewers of Malayalam cinema have grown increasingly aware if his skill as screenplay writer.
MT started writing scrrenplays in the sixties and has been closely involved with the films made from them. In his short introduction to the collection of fifty-odd screenplays that were recently published by DC Books in six volumes, he describes how, in the early days, before video cassettes and DVD’s were heard of, the original scripts of several screenplays that he had scribbled on bits of paper were difficult to trace once the film had been made.
MT enjoys writing screenplays that evolve from his own stories as much as those that do not. The Suggestion that a certain short story can be made into a screenplay usually comes, he says, from a director or a producer. He then considers its visual and emotional possibilities and, if he is satisfied with them, he attempts to shape a film based on the story. He then runs this film in his mind. Not until he runs through the film entirely and is sure that it works does he start to write the screenplay. This is for him the most important condition to be fulfilled while writing a screenplay. Once he begins to write, he no longer depends wholly on the written story, since it always happens that the screenplay has to be enhanced by the addiction of new incidents and sometimes even new Characters.
White translating the screenplays, I found that although they move beyond the content of the original story, MT meticulously incorporates small details from the story into them, finding a relevant context for each. He says that is partly deliberate and often helps the film-makers. However, the new movements and new spaces he adds are not always incorporated by the film-maker, since film is a totally different medium and cannot retain the literary purity of the story. And competent actors, of course, add dimension of their own, something of their creative selves, to the film.
The Three screenplays in this volume took shape from MT’s own short stories. In all three, the original story has been considerably extended. In the first one, Nirmalyam, he felt that he had to develop the central character in order to depict the several agonies he endures, apart from abject poverty and family problems, and create new incidents to accommodate the multiple facets of his suffering. In Ennu Swantham Janakikutty, he explains that he wanted to bring the extra-terrestrial elements in the story into greater prominence in the film. We find that the young girl in the film, Janu, crosses the fine dividing line between imagination and reality with a grace and ease that captivates the reader/viewer. In Oppol, MT extends the time frame well beyond that of the short story. The Little boy in the story comes home from school, discovers that his mother is no longer in the house and concludes that she is, as he always thought, ‘mad’, to have gone away without telling him. The boy in the film searches for her,finds her and follows her into her new life, to which he finds it painful to adjust.
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Item Code: NAP109 Author: M. T. Vasudevan Nair Cover: Hardcover Edition: 2017 Publisher: Tranquebar Press ISBN: 9789386224750 Language: English Size: 9.5 inch X 6.5 inch Pages: 305 Other Details: Weight of the Book: 530 gms