Movie Review

Writer Ashokamitran (2018)

Writer Ashokamitran

Today marks the first death anniversary of legendary writer Mr Ashokamitran, in his memory, there was the screening of a documentary about him – titled “Writer Ashokamitran” it was directed by Prasanna Ramaswamy.

Walking out after the screening, I felt this film was a true tribute to the man. During one of his speeches, the writer says “See the truth of the tale and not the teller” and the documentary lives to that wish by not being a biography – it is a collection of his readers recalling how the works affected them individually. The 90 minutes film is interspersed with a Vaishnava (Alwar) pasuram, Quran’s rendering and a cricket practice – transporting us to the places and people captured in his writings.

What attracted me was what Ashokamitran answered for few of the questions by his critics and friends on why he wrote the way he did, “what can I do now? (it is done)“, he was not defending himself or giving explanations, but just stating a fact. He was as economical with words he spoke as he was with his writings. He says he wrote hundreds and hundreds of pages while sitting in T.Nagar Natesan park – “Natesan Mudaliar after whom the park is named who was long dead before I was born, would be talking to me and even asking me why I didn’t come for few days. As you write, soon the pen and paper too will be speaking with you“. He continues “my cycle speaks to me, some days it even starts with asking me why the chain wasn’t replaced, the roads are bad” and so on.

Last year, I read Fourteen Years with Boss by Ashokamitran – this is what I ended my post about the book:

The characters we see in the book, unlike Gemini Studios films are no villains or heroes, they are ordinary people who come alive and play their role assigned to them by Ashokamitran and fade away.


Also published on Medium.

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