Prof Ayyappa Paniker’s review of Yamanam (1992)

Prof-Ayyappa-Paniker-profileKesavapaniker Ayyappa Paniker, poet, professor and critic, has been a pioneer of modernism in Kerala. His influence has been profound and far-reaching in the entire cultural and intellectual life of the Malayali. His influence on modern Malayalam theatre and on new playwrights has been of equal importance. G Sankara Pillai, Kavalam Narayana Paniker and Narendra Prasad have all come under his sphere of thinking at one time or the other.

Similar has been the case with film and film-makers like G Aravindan, John Abraham and actors like Bharat Gopy and Nedumudi Venu. Among the visual artists, Paniker’s influence is evidenced by his long-standing association with MV Devan, Paris Viswanathan and others. A widely travelled scholar and poet of international renown, he is a unique instance of creative and intellectual genius.

Know more about Prof Ayyappa Paniker here.

The plight of the physically handicapped is not an unfamiliar theme in literature, or on the stage or on screen.But what makes Yamanam, although based on George Onakkoor’s novelette Kamana, a full-scale manifestation of Bharat Gopy’s dedication both to art and to life is the intense concern with which he has tried to explore the psychology of the handicapped heroine in the film. The poetics of this film, expressed mainly through the highly personalised semiotics of the director, confirms not only Gopy’s understanding of the self-awareness of the handicapped but also his severe self-control and discipline in using every frame, every foot of the film. The display of sentiment and sympathy is resented by those who have to live under the constant awareness of being handicapped.

Yamanam is not just a dramatization of the plight of the handicapped, its a revelation or epiphany of post-modernist film poetics.

Prof Ayyappa Paniker.


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The in-house master of ceremonies, online janitor and chronicler of the life and times of Bharat Gopy - playwright, author, director, producer and actor extraordinaire of Indian Cinema.

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