Padmarajan: Malayalam cinema’s eternal loss

For me, it has been a week of Padmarajan movies. I have pushed aside all my preoccupations to escape into the magical sensory experience of his movies- Thoovanathumbikal (butterflies of the rain), Deshadanakkili karayarilla (the migratory bird does not cry), Moonam pakkam (the third day), Innale (Yesterday) and Njan gandharvan (Me- the celestial lover).

Padmarajan, to me, is the mentor I have never met. My mentor with respect to life as well as art. My dedication to him is an obsession.

To watch his movies is to truly liberate oneself from all entrapments in the real world. It is a trance- you unknowingly bare yourself of the burden of the conscious, entering effortlessly into the domain of the subconscious. And then you feel within you a cascade of emotions in their purest form- devoid of the corruption by the conscious…devoid of the burden of the conscious. Love, desire, affection, bonding, passion, angst- they all come alive within you in their most vivid forms. ‘You’ have ceased to exist- ‘you’ are now the character unfolding in the movie. When the movie ends, it is a spell that breaks. Your mind still holds on to it…it longs to linger to ask questions and to seek answers…it refuses to come back to ‘you’. You come out richer for the journey of the character in the movie has become a part of your own journey of life. That was the power of his movies.

His movies provided me with the courage I needed in order to liberate my sensitive self from the emotional entrapments of the real world and create a world of my own in the domains of my mind- a world that was free of barriers and convention. A world that is entirely the property of the subconscious…a world erected on emotions and instincts…a world ungoverned by social norms and stereotyped systems…a world with tremendous potential for beauty. It was the journey from vulnerability to strength…from the dependence I most dreaded in me to the fierce independence I see in me today. The existence of this world in my mind nullifies my dependency on people. Much as I continue to love people and bond with them, it is possible for me to detach at any point in the relationship…for there is a world that waits for me…a world to come back home to. And thus, I became incapable of being hurt in the real world. It is this freedom I cherish the most- the freedom within my mind and the freedom of being inaccessible to hurt. Sorrow can no longer generate hurt in me; it can only contribute to the beauty of the world within my mind.

To watch his movies was to see my own emotions coming alive in visible form. He defined for me themes such as love, family, relationships, woman, beauty and so on. My commitment is to my emotions- it is far more important for me to be able to experience my emotions in totality than to commit to real world relationships that corrupt the sanctity of these emotions. In that sense, these themes are more alive in my mind than in the world around me. In the real world, I experience bits and pieces of these emotions from different quarters- but it is in my mind that I put them together to reconstitute the whole emotion.

His movies taught me the art of inconspicuously entering the delicate and fragile minds of sensitive and ordinary people and gently making them aware of the beauty of their own minds. His movies taught me to fall in love with the ‘peripheral elements’ of society- the ones who are born from the negativity of their circumstances…the ones who have truly experienced the currents of life. His movies provided me with a deep understanding of the inner flights of the mind, often unknown to our conscious. His character sketches provided me with the range and depth I needed in order to understand human behaviour and its inner drives. His movies increased my understanding of the internal journey of my own mind and paved the way for my future. I have my career interests in psychology and I would say that his movies form the bible of my understanding of psychology- much more than all the texts I have read. To watch his movies was to watch life.

I am indebted to Padmarajan in more than one ways for having shaped the journey of my life…for having transformed it into a persistent and beautiful sensory experience…for having multiplied the passion for life. Padmarajan’s death is a personal loss that I mourn. Ironically, even his death seemed to carry the aura of his movies. His movies leave me overwhelmed- overwhelmed at the power of his creation…and then I burst into tears. My obsession to Padmarajan and his movies is a madness I cherish. Oh, the power of creation!

One thought on “Padmarajan: Malayalam cinema’s eternal loss

  1. Beautiful tribute to one of the greatest directors and writer of "life " . Though they are movies and honestly very very intense they ooze humanness with all its honesty , innocence , passion,love …. For me if one deeply loves padmarajans movies it tells that that person is as much in touch with his/her humanness as was padmarajan himself . Beautiful blog .keep writing

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