National award-winning director’s film will be screened at International Film Festival of India
BENGALURU: He’s been acquainted with the world of films for as long as he can recall. Veteran director Ashoke Viswanathan, son of yesteryear actor N Viswanathan, grew up surrounded by talk on movies. So when he joined the industry, he knew much of what he needed to. But he added his own touch to his fiction and non-fiction films.
With the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) taking place next week in Goa, Viswanathan’s work has once again been selected to be showcased. “It’s the sixth time that my film will be showcased at IFFI. My film Badal Sircar & the Alternative Theatre will be shown on November 24,” says the dean of Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI) Kolkata.
Interestingly, he’s also worked on a film for SRFTI called The Poet and the Universe which deals with Rabindranath Tagore’s engagement with science. “It’s a little known fact that Tagore dwelled on this topic, and in fact, he wrote a book on science called Visva Parichay. He deals with complex concepts of those days and wrote it in the late ’70s,” says Viswanathan, who has delved deep into these complex ideas.
“During my research, I found that his interest in science was because of his father who himself was apt with astronomy. He introduced it to Tagore,” the director adds. Viswanathan found this piece of information interesting and decided to work on a documentary called The Poet and the Universe. “Many in Kolkata are fond of Tagore but don’t really know much about his personal life. In fact, the last 10 years of his life was when he started painting in a big way.
He did abstract paintings which we now call modern art. But he was mainly a classical writer and poet who broke all the norms and went in other directions, including stretching science to philosophy,” he says.
While he returned to Kolkata after some official work, he’s looking forward to heading to Goa next week to present his movie. “After a break since the pandemic, it’ll be great to see the film festivals come alive again,” says Viswanathan.
His first film Shunya Theke Shuru (1993) won the Indira Gandhi Award for the Best Debut Film as Director, and his other film, Kichhhu Sanlap Kichhu Pralap won the National Film Award — Special Jury Award in 1998.