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The fifth in our 'Remembering Kavalam' series

Filmmaker Kumar Shahani remembers Kavalam Narayana Panikkar




Kumar Shahani


It is really wonderful that Bombay is continuing its truly cosmopolitan traditions by its homage to Kavalam who carried forward all that we have by way of theatrical performance in the world through his lively practice. That practice embraced both the angika and the vachika of the folk and the classical, present in the varied forms in Kerala, where perhaps the richest fusion exists of the East and the West, of the North and the South and all that the oceans unite.

It was M.R.Rajan who had introduced me to him when we were researching the music for a film based on the short story of M. Govindan's called ‘Sarpam’. The snake groves of Kerala have extraordinary rituals, which are accompanied by extremely evocative music. After the first meeting, we built a friendship which naturally overlapped upon our divergent disciplines; Udayan Vajpeyi wrote for him as well as my films. He has been a source of inspiration to Aravindan and to Mohan Lal and I am sure , to many others across the world who look to Kerala and India as the crucible of all the languages and civilisations that are present together here in our everyday exchange of word and gesture.

*Kumar Shahani is a noted filmmaker, known for his parallel cinema in India. His note on Kavalam was read by film scholar, historian and curator Amrit Gangar, at the memorial function, which had been organised for Kavalam, by the Kerala Kendra Sangathana on 5th August 2016 at the Mysore Association in Mumbai.

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