Skip to Content

Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2613

Sunday Celebrity: Gunavathy Maindhan, the film-maker poised to bring industry to Pondy

By Gopal Ethiraj

[caption id="attachment_3402" align="alignright" width="460" caption="Gunavathy Maindhan (R.Ravi)"] Gunavathy Maindhan (R.Ravi)[/caption]

Puducherry, 02 August, ( In the southern states of India—Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala—the film industry rooted by and large, Bollyhood and Kollyhood being century old.

But there is one state (Union Territory) that has not jumped into the creative work so far, at lease in its territory. That is is Puducherry (earlier Pondicherry). Movie, TV, short film, documentaries and video production companies operating outside the union territory do bring the state glitz and global exposure, but it is not thriving right down here. This is the worry of Gunavathy Maindhan, a short and documentary film-maker based in Puducherry.

“All the southern states over the years have been quick in creating all necessary facilities and attractive incentive programs and packages to retain the creative world to stick on in their states. However Mumbai needs no support as it is mother of film industry,” Gunavathy Manithan says.

His recent short film, released last month was, “Kavichakaravarthy Kamban,” in Tamil. Running to one hour duration, it is on the life history of the renowned poet Kambar who wrote “Kamba Ramayana” during 8th century Chola period. There are Kamban Kazhagams in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, but they discourse and debate the beauty of the poet’s creation. A regular attender of these Kambar deliberations, Gunavathy Maindhan’s mind was turned to the life of the great poet, who went through trials and tribulations. He resolved to bring out that life part in the form a short film, he is adept at.

Kambar grows in the lavish care and comfort and support of a rich land lord Sadaiappar of Thiruvennainallur, a philanthrophist, who wields a great power with the three kings of his time—Chera, Chozha and Pandiya. Kamban undertakes to translate the Sanskrit Valmiki Ramayana into Tamil, knowing the taste of the King. He relays only on his talent and hard work and fails to catch up with the politics of the day. The minister and Rajguru creates a divide between him and the king, and there is the Kamban’s son Amaravathy loving King’s daughter Ambigapathy; the former being beheaded by the king himself , instigated by the minister and the latter falling dead over her lover’s body; fed up Kamban dies ignominiously after roaming here and there for some time.

Gunavathy Maindhan’s previous short film was on Nationalist poet Bharathy titled Puducherryil Bharathy. He filmed the life of the poet in Puducherry for ten years (1908-18), hiding from Britishers, and he continued his journal “India” from here. During his life here only, the major works of the poet was created. This short film was screened in Paris and Switzerland, and the maker was honored by the Tamil sangams and universities.

His short film on “Veeranam” chronicled the history of Veenanam lake, which is feeding water to the Chennai city today. The lake was artificially created in the later Chola period by Kulothunga Cholan to take care of the irrigation needs of the region. Another of his short film Kudumba Vikalu based on the work of Poet Bharathidasan, is on how Tamil culture needs a family woman to be. This film has won several awards, including the state award.

Gunavathy Maindhan’s documentgaries include The Fourth Estate depicting the one-day work of a journalist; Green & Clean City on environment; Kazhai Kuthadigal, on the life of street circus artistes; Irulas, on the life of the tribals, the snake-charmers; the life history of Annamalai Chettiar, the founder of Annamalai University; the life history of Vallalar; Kalli, on infanticide in Tamil Nadu, etc

Presently Gunavathy Maindhan is at producing a feature film on Mahan Aravindhar, the saint who made Puducherry a multilingual society with his presence almost the time of Bharathy. In fact both Arabindo and Bharathy sought refuge in Puducherry fighting for the freedom of the country from the British.

In all Gunavathy Maindhan prides himself as the maker of 18 short film and documentaries. His ventures have been financially assisted by Dr. M.Amsaveni, who has also contributed in the improvement of the contents, being a Professor of Tamil.

Gunavathy Manidhan started his career as a reported and emancipated as a film-maker. All his short films and documentaries are scripted by him. The 42-year old Gunavathy Maindhan (R.Ravi) is an M.A., M.Phil and is awaiting for his doctorate to be conferred.

He is planning an International short film and documentary festival at Puducherry and published invitations from around the globe. He is also author of a few books. His script book on Kavichakaravarthy Kamban has been translated by this correspondent last month.

- Asian Tribune -

Share this