“She asked the driver to park under the gulmohar tree and waited at the portico. Silence and jasmine petals fallen off young girls’ hairdos, lay embraced on the steps that lead to the verandah. The evening sun and the shadows gave finishing touches to her face” *
Divine. The writer may be a sheer romantic here, but I have no other words to describe Padmarajan‘s work. I have not read anything as poetic a prose as above, including works of Sylvia Plath. If Plath and Eliot (primarly poets, which Padmarajan is not) were highly imaginative in expression, they were not as simple. It is like classical music vs light music. Mass appeal, but still pure.
There was a lot of ‘pop’ in Padmarajan’s creations which was ideal for films. And was eventually used by filmmakers. He wrote 36 scripts in 15 years (and directed 18 of them). Almost as fast as Fassbinder. But not all classics, nor did they have innovative cinematic techniques. But they all had a compelling feature – simple poetic story telling. In my opinion, truly, art for the masses.
I have tried narrating some of his films to people who weren’t really aware of the social/regional contexts. But the fact that they absorbed it completely is a sign of ‘universality’ of his themes.
As I said earlier, I haven’t read anything like that before or after Padmarajan (He died at 45 in 1991 during the screening of his 18th film). It would be nearly impossible to write like Padmarajan. The casualness and lightness of his writing is the most moving and the most difficult to achieve. As they say, “It is easy to be difficult. But difficult to be easy”
* Nakshathrangale Kaaval, 1971.