G Aravindan‘s critically acclaimed, internationally feted production with Bharat Gopy, Smita Patil and Srinivasan in the lead roles was also a veritable visual feast with Shaji N Karun’s cinematography. This was also Bharat Gopy’s second feature with G Aravindan after Thampu in 1978, and would also be the only instance of him sharing screen space with Smita Patil in leading roles. Chidambaram won the National Award for the Best Feature Film, the Kerala State Awards for the Best Film and the Best Director and also won Bharat Gopy his 4th State Award for the Best Actor, for the year 1985.
|Singers||P Madhuri, Seerkazhi Shivachidambaram|
|Cinematography||Shaji N Karun|
Shankaran, a petty officer in a government cattle farm in the high ranges of Kerala finds himself attracted to Sivakami, the newly married wife of Muniyandi, a worker on the farm. Shankaran’s compassion and concern for Sivakami, in the alien settings, gradually draws the woman to him. During a forced night shift, Muniyandi who is suspicious of his Field Supervisor’s intentions, comes home and bangs on the door. He sees a figure slip out swiftly through the back exit. It is not the Field Supervisor but Shankaran, whom Muniyandi had trusted. Next morning, Shankaran faces the gruesome reality – the suicide of Muniyandi after an attempt to murder his wife. Shankaran goes away from the farm to escape the guilt that has engulfed him. In the course of his wanderings, he reaches Chidambaram. The lady who looks after the footwear of the devotees looks at him and he meets Sivakami – old and worn out. It’s the journey’s end for him.
Bikram Singh's Review of Chidambaram
Chidambaram is without doubt Aravindan’s best film. The richness of visuals here surpasses even those in Pokkuveyil, the suggestion of the inscrutable mystery at the heart of human affairs is conveyed unambiguously than in Estheppan. If it were to be narrated in a few words, the story of Chidambaram would sound banal. It takes a genius to turn it into an occasion for solemn reflection upon love, life, nature and death.
Bharat Gopy as Shankaran: An Overview
The richness of visuals in Chidambaram even surpasses those in Pokkuveyil, the suggestion of the inscrutable mystery at the heart of human affairs is conveyed unambiguously than in Estheppan. If it were to be narrated in a few words, the story of Chidambaram would sound banal. It takes a genius to turn it into an occasion for solemn reflection upon love, life, nature and death. Aravindan is that genius, and his razor-edge sensibility invests every scene of the film with tantalizing layers of meaning. There are unspoken allusions to the Purush and Prakruti of Hindu mythology; there is an invitation to see all that flowering nature as mrugathrishna, and the muted tones of the moral lapses and crises would even suggest the destiny factor – Prarabdh. Aravindan has a special way of looking at themes, a sort of cool overview.
And Bharat Gopy, as Shankaran, was in the center of this universe.