Akkare (1984)“ Across the Seas” – (Lit. Translation)
KN Sasidharan’s two feature films, Akkare (1984) and Kaanathaaya Penkutty (1985), had Bharat Gopy in leading roles. Akkare dealt with the socio-economic changes that permeated into the Kerala-middle class mindscape owing to the Middle East exodus from Kerala. Brilliantly capturing the angst, jealousy and the unreasonable aspirations of families that wanted to be on equal financial “status” as those with working members in the Middle East, Bharat Gopy’s Tehsildar Gopi is relevant even today, as it was three decades ago.
|Master Prasad Babu|
|Original Story||PK Nandana Varma|
|Background Music||MB Sreenivasan|
|Art Direction||CN Karunakaran|
Gopi is the local Tehsildar, who along with his ambitious wife and two children lives out the classical stifled, mouse-on-the-wheel middle-class existence, worried about his immediate social circle and its power-centres (read the new-found riches from the Middle East). His aspiration to break out of their social rabbit-hole, egged on by his ambitious wife, makes him think of seeking his fortune with a job in the Persian Gulf and ends up seeking out quick-fix schemes to augument his scarce skill sets to make him eligible for the preferred job visas.
More as a metaphor, Akkare is also an incisive look at the culture of greed and sexual frustration that forms an elemental part of the complicated matrix that shapes the psyche of the average middle-class Malayali.
A Video Clipping from Akkare (1984)
Courtesy : Biscoot Malayalam
Sandeep Verma's tribute to Akkare (1984)
The movie very aptly portrays a typical middle class mentality, of not being satisfied with what you have and always craving for more, without realising whether you deserve it or not. We can still see the same characters, brilliantly played by Bharat Gopi, who played the lead role of a Thahasildar, who is not very happy about his job and life style and always compares himself with many Non Resident Keralites (NRK), Mohan Lal, Mammooty and Nedumdi Venu in our neighbourhood.
Interview with KN Sasidharan - Director
Relevance of a film to society, is an important aspect of making movies for Sasidharan. If in the 80s it was Akkare, with its satirical take on the obsession, especially of the middle class and relevant even today, for that job in the ‘Gulf’ (West Asia) this time round, with Nayana, it is female foeticide and the importance of the girl child. Nayana – Kadha Thudarunu.
Bharat Gopy as Tehsildar Gopi: An Overview.
Tehsildar Gopi at best is a metaphor, just like the profound title of the movie – Akkare. Bound and stifled in the colorless middle-class existence that comes complete with a “government job”, and a “functional” domestic life, he harbors this manic desire to break out, aspiring wealth and the social standing that comes with it. The easiest way to do this would be to follow the hordes that have proved it from his land – strike it good in the Middle East.
He feels himself inadequate on so many levels, starting with his skill-sets and it is an amusing and sympathetic journey that the viewer takes with him, as he pursues to garner handyman skills to get an advantage as a prospective migrant to the Middle East. Tehsildar Gopi’s sexual inadequacies (or an excess of it?) also becomes another layer in this masterly yet restrained performance onscreen by Bharat Gopy, in Akkare (1984).