K G George: Auteur who explored struggles of women

George was a filmmaker who successfully portrayed the psychological and emotional struggles of women. His movies exposed audiences to the struggles of women of various classes.
Filmmaker K G George (Express)
Filmmaker K G George (Express)

KOCHI:  In coming to terms with their strengths and vulnerabilities, the female characters in K G George’s films took on a life of their own; the shades of grey often exposing audiences to unexplored vistas of the human soul. From Adaminte Vaariyellu, considered the first and greatest feminist movie in Malayalam, to the character played by Sreevidya in Irakal, George delved into the women’s psyche like none before him.

His movies exposed audiences to the struggles of women of various classes, says C S Chandrika, feminist writer and activist. “Malayalam films had limited their portrayal to the middle-class. However, George dealt with issues unique to women of various social classes and successfully showcased them in Adaminte Vaariyellu,” she said.

According to C S Venkitaswaran, film critic and writer, Adaminte Vaariyellu explored the various layers and dimensions of the life of women in Kerala society presenting three individuals from various social classes. “Alice, Vasanti and Ammini, who hail from various socio-economic backgrounds, experience a sequence of events that the film weaves together to illustrate the tragic destiny that awaits all women,” he said. All three represent women who face oppression and crave to be loved and respected.

George was a filmmaker who successfully portrayed the psychological and emotional struggles of women. “Both Kathakku Pinnil and Ee Kanni Koodi follow the lives of women as they navigate their relationships with men and their impact on their families and communities. Here, women are drawn into the whirlwind of male power and greed, mistreated, exploited, and eventually fall prey to it and are forced into places they can never leave,” says Venkitaswaran.

George challenged institutions and the inequity they represent at a time when other directors sought to present the family as the most beautiful and essential component of society. “Malayalam films used to glorify the family and portrayed women as the sacrificial lamb. George, however, portrayed the violence and exploitation within a family and the emotional reaction of women to it. His movies helped awaken women,” noted Chandrika.

He wasn’t ready to concede that the family is merely an enduring symbol of tyranny. For instance, in Mattoral, Susheela, Kaimal’s wife, stands as a symbol of the female victims of patriarchy while Veni represents powerful, independent women. “George proved that a film has the power to mobilise people, even more so than protests and slogans,” she added. 

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