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Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s Swayamvaram and Aravindan’s Thampu in IFFI New Wave Cinema Retrospective

Three Malayalam feature films are are among the 12 Indian movies that will be screened in a special section dedicated to Indian New Wave Cinema at IFFI (International Film Festival Of India). The eight-day event opens at Panaji, Goa, on 20 November. Malayalam filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s Swayamvaram (1972), and G Aravindan’s Thampu (1978) and Utharayanam (1975) will be screened in this section. Filmmaker John Abraham’s Tamil language film Agraharathil Kazhuthai (Donkey in a Brahmin Village) is also part of this section.


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Swayamvaram, the feature film debut of Adoor, is known as the film that launched a new wave in Malayalam cinema. The film is centred on a newly married couple, played by Sharada and Madhu, who begin their life together without the support of their respective families.


The film fetched Sharada her first national award for the best actress. The film won three more national awards that year – Adoor, for direction, Mankada Ravi Varma for cinematography, and the film was named as the best feature film.

Thampu, which stars Nedumudi Venu, Jalaja and Bharath Gopi in major roles, is centred on a circus tent and its inmates. Aravindan won the national award for best direction, and Shaji N Karun the award for best cinematography for Thampu. 

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This year, IFFI is celebrating its Golden Jubilee. The New Wave retrospective opens with the films Ajantrik and Meghe Dhaka Tara by Ritwik Ghatak. Other films featured in the section are Bhuvan Shome by Mrinal Sen, Uski Roti (A Day’s Bread) and Duvidha (In Two Minds) by Mani Kaul, Tarang(Waves) by Kumar Sahani, and Ankur(The Seedling) and Bhumika(The Role) by Shyam Benegal.

The retrospective first played at the Pingyao International Film Festival in China, in October 2019, curated by Marco Mueller, the festival’s artistic director. The programme was co-hosted by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the National Film Archives of India and the National Film Development Corporation.