Coimbatore History Books, Film Masters and Film Essays Released at Coimbatore Book Festival

A roundup of books on Coimbatore history, film masters and a compilation of film essays released at the just-concluded Coimbatore Book Festival

A roundup of books on Coimbatore history, film masters and a compilation of film essays released at the just-concluded Coimbatore Book Festival

“A tribute to a great master”

S Anand

Film enthusiast, founder of the Konangal Film Society and author of six books on film masters, including Masaki Kobayashi, Werner Herzog, Akira Kurosawa, Vittorio De Sica and the latest on Andrei Tarkovsky

“This book is all about Tarkovsky’s vision of cinema, how he conceives this art form and creates his cinema, and aesthetics,” Anand says of his new book on Andrei Tarkovsky (1932-1986 ) published by Tamzhini. Tarkovsky, one of the greatest masters, has made seven films. The first five were made in Russia. His first movie Ivan’s childhood (1962) was a big hit and won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. It was about a young boy Ivan, whose family was killed in World War II. He is part of the Soviet army and eventually dies at the hands of the Germans. It’s a strong anti-war film made without showing the war but leaving people devastated.

“His techniques and aesthetics are topics of discussion at film gatherings even today,” adds Anand. Swedish master Ingmar Bergman, one of his contemporaries, is said to have seen Tarkovsky’s second film Andrei Rublev (about a legendary 14th century icon painter who lived in Russia) more than 10 times. “Cinema masters including Robert Bresson, Antonionni and Kurosawa respected his work,” Anand says and points out that Tarkovsky often defied existing norms in cinema to make films as he intended.

S Anand

S Anand | Photo credit: special arrangement

The book features some of the Tamil translations of Tarvosky’s interviews from his book Sculpt in time. Anand talks about his fourth film Mirror, his most complicated and beautiful work, almost resembles a memoir of his own life. Listed as one of the greatest movies of all time, it’s like a collage painting and the cinematography slips between color, black and white and sepia.

“In Russia, his films were revered and ridiculed as films made for intellectuals. But his films are well received by the working class, as evidenced by the success of Mirror. When we see his seven films in chronological order, we understand how he moved towards minimalism. Visually, each frame is a work of art. He only made seven films and died 36 years ago. But, here in a corner of the world, in Coimbatore, his films are remembered and discussed. This book is a tribute to the great master.

You can visit mosfilm channel on YouTube to watch Tarkovsky movies for free

“Every street has a story”

CR Elangovan

Historian and author of 12 books on the history of Coimbatore

The bustling Krishnasamy Mudaliar Road or Brooke Bond Road, formerly known as Palm Grove Road, bears witness to a glorious past where labor movements flourished. “With the establishment of Coimbatore Spinning and Weaving Mills (CSWM) in 1888, one of the region’s first textile mills, and later Somasundara Mills and Kaleeswara Mills, this road cemented the birth of the revolutionary movement when the region experienced a boom in textile mills and quickly became the Manchester of South India,” says CR Elangovan, author of Veedhigal Koorum Varalaarugal (Srikanth Publications) which features 87 streets in Coimbatore and the story behind their names. “Every street in the city has a story to tell. The book is an attempt to document them. The Brooke Bond Road was also home to the Srinvasa Theater which screened English films. “I remember watching Five Man Army the. Now the theater has given way to an apartment complex,” says Elangovan.

Book cover

Book cover | Photo credit: special arrangement

The book is about Siviyar Veethi, a narrow lane off the busy Nawab Hakkim Road, a settlement of fishing community ‘Siviyars’ since they migrated from Mysore in the 18th century, and Oppanakkaara Street whose origins date back to the time of the rulers of Mysore when Oppanavaaru meant tax collectors. “Nawab Hakkim was a philanthropist and the road was named in honor of his contributions to the city. Young people should learn the history of the land. While we enjoy our fresh water supply from Siruvani, we should also know about the 40 year struggle led by the visionary CS Rathina Sabapathy Mudaliar who took charge as a member of the Municipal Corporation as Councilor and then became president. The RS Puram Road is a testament to his contributions.

“I share my cinema lessons with readers”

V Jeevananthan

Author of a national award-winning book Thirai Seelai, on cinema, and founder of the Chitrakala Academy which trains young artists. His second book is Oru Beedi Defeat Sakhavey

A compilation of essays and articles on film – that’s how author Jeevananthan describes his second book Oru Beedi Cancel Sakhavey. Jeevananthan regularly contributes to magazines like Aavanazhibased in Canada Thai Veedubased in Sri Lanka Vyuham next to the others. “I am a cinephile. I watch a movie every day. I share my experiences, and my cinema lessons with readers. These are personal essays on cinema, on actors, artistic directors, political films, to name but a few. I’m talking about Clint Eastwood as well as Lijo Pellissery, and also actors like Fahad Fasil, Soubin and Yogi Babu,” says Jeeva.

Book cover

Book cover | Photo credit: special arrangement

The title, he says, is inspired by the famous code exchanged between communists — beediyundosakhave oru theepetti edukkaan. “Many Malayalam films revolved around the rise of communism in Kerala. The first chapter of the book initiates a discussion on the subject,” says Jeeva and lists the films from Lal-Salaam, Sandesham, Arbikkatha and Adoor Gopalakrishnan Mukhamukhamwhich speaks to the moral crisis of society and is an introspective look at oneself and how communism affects whether one is pro-communist, anti-communist or neutral.

Some of the chapters highlight films dealing with the legal system quoting scenes from one of the earliest Tamil language films Parasakti, written by Dr. K Kalaignar Karunanidhi, and known for the iconic courtroom scene featuring actor Sivaji Ganesan and his fiery dialogues. “I also mentioned the award-winning Marathi film To research and the most recent like Jai Bheem and The Chicago Trial 7. My film essays refer to films in all languages. I hope the book inspires young people to look for good movies to watch.

V Jeevananthan

V Jeevananthan | Photo credit: special arrangement

While the “Mone Dinesha” chapter is all about Mohanlal’s filmography, there are other articles that talk about Shiny Jacob Benjamin’s docu-fiction, In return: just a bookinspired by Perumbadavam Sreedharan’s bestseller Oru Sankeerthanam Pole. The Malayali author had written the book while living in a village in Kerala, but his characters were the protagonists of a famous novel set in Russia.

Some essays draw comparative studies with French films. For example, one of the first films Duo by K Balachander is inspired by the 1990 French film Cyrano de Bergerac.

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