Makaramanju

Mist of Capricorn Director’s Statement Ravivarma was the first to usher in a humanistic revolution in Indian visual sensibility. His gods, modelled on men and women from the society around him, became the icons in the prayer rooms of millions of Indian lower caste people. This multitude was for centuries denied entry into the hindu temples, which were exclusive centres of classical the classical art tradition too, for centuries. This aspect of his work, has always fascinated me. Another aspect of Ravivarma's art that attracted me was the way in which he portrayed the women of Indian legends. He always chose to depict dramatic moments, foregrounding the agony and solitude of these women, who suffer as mere pawns in the power play of a male dominated world. The paintings depicting Draupadi, Sita, Urvashi, Menaka, Sakuntala, Damayanti etc. are examples. These paintings were done at least half a century before Indian writers started experimenting with such subaltern readings. The path breaking efforts of Ravivarma had encountered serious resistance from the conservative society. His personal life, and his relations with his models were also quite turbulent. To go deeper into the mind of such a creative artist, I have chosen to interweave moments from his life with the story of Pururavas and Urvashi, which is the subject of one of his paintings. This structure evolved from my effort to find a way to express the turmoils of a creative mind, where the interplay of reality and fantasy, contemporaneity and tradition gave rise to creations of exquisite beauty and feeling.

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