Auteur KG George: When the journey ends

The 1989 telefilm 'Yathrayude Anthyam', which never made it to theatres, is where George the master craftsman crafted an intelligent and engaging take on the effervescent, yet transient life.
FILE PHOTO | K G George (1946-2023) (Express)
FILE PHOTO | K G George (1946-2023) (Express)

TRIVANDRUM: Death, as in life, need not be always melodramatic, nor does it end up on a mere mundane note. It could well be a subdued, yet poignant expression of what lies within. Perhaps there's none among Malayalam filmmakers who knew this better than K G George, the master storyteller who bade adieu on Sunday.

Undoubtedly the greatest of Malayalam filmmakers ever, K G George had a way of telling stories - less contrived and in your face - that made him stand out among his peers.

Holding a mirror to the obscure and gloomy lives around him, he captured true imageries, that includes naive, confused, violent, scattered, imperfect, twisted, yearning for love, jealous and envious and often even complex emotional baggage.

No wonder, his take on politics, feminism, theatre and life in general, turned out to be the kind of classics they turned out to be. Be it the evergreen political satire 'Panchavadippalam', one of the best thrillers in Malayalam 'Yavanika', or ‘Kolangal’ that captured the Malayali psyche to a great extent, or 'Irakal', one of the first dark movies in Malayalam and arguably one of his best works that explores the complex rationale behind the violence.

Nevertheless, a relatively smaller scale move from the master craftsman showcased his true brilliance as a deeply philosophical filmmaker. The 1989 telefilm 'Yathrayude Anthyam' (The Journey Ends), which never made it to theatres, is where George the master craftsman crafted an intelligent and engaging take on the effervescent, yet transient life and an equally transitional death thereafter. Based on the short story 'Kottayam Mananthvady' by Parappurath, the film can be slotted even as a road movie. The movie has a writer as the protagonist played by Murali, on a long bus trip to meet his friend, an intellectual played by MG Soman. There is a wedding party travelling along with him during the overnight journey. Towards the end of the movie, the passenger sitting next to the writer - the bride's father - passes away. The filmmaker has brilliantly brought in the captivating saga of a delightful journey suddenly transforming into a saddening tale. Later the writer reaches his friend's place only to see his dead body. The intellectual had apparently told his daughter that his death would have been visualized by the writer, during the journey itself.

Unlike his other movies, here George takes a seemingly simple yet philosophical take on life and death. Soman's character sums it up aptly: Life is a repetition of itself, only the people who play those characters change. 

What however made George stand out from most of his contemporaries was his determination and ability to never repeat himself till the end!

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