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SUBVERSION IN CINEMA: A FILM AHEAD OF ITS TIME

7/10
Author: U. JAYACHANDRAN from SOUTH AFRICA
3 May 2003

"Aadipapam" literally means "First Sin". This has biblical overtone, certainly. The film however, deals with the one and only act of indiscretion committed by a bored housewife when her old flame (of childhood) comes-a-visiting. While they are locked in a passionate display of the animal lust which lay buried under her mind during all the years of monotonous routine, the husband returns from work. A weak man, he collapses in a chair, and as the wife and her lover comes out they see the shocking sight of the dead husband slumped on a chair.

The wife recovers gradually and marries her lover. Unfortunately, the image of the dead man, slumped on the chair comes back to haunt her each time she has sex with her new husband. Finally, both the lives collapse. They are caught in a no man's land where they both are unable to separate good from bad. They are forever doomed and haunted by that one act of sin.

The film is done with the same intensity K.P Kumaran shows in his earlier films, 'Atithi' (1974) and 'Rock' (1973). The surrealist images of the mother and her little daughter going round in circles in slow motion and the repeated shots of the dead man's images projected in the negative are more than testimonies to K.P Kumaran's insatiable urge to annoy the ordinary viewer and the ordinary film maker. He strives for a rough-edged finish to all his films, and unfortunately for him and Malayalam film industry, it has been grossly misunderstood as poor craftsmanship. The film I understand was a colossal mishap in the box office. But it once again underlines the importance of K.P as a film maker who genuinely attempted to subvert a decadent establishment; both in the cinema and the society. "Aadipaapam" will remain as a film way ahead of its time in Malayalam film history.

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