Koodal is a Tamil word which means “a meeting point, the union, an assembly of images” – Tyeb Mehta (introductory slide, Film Division 1970)
This black and white documentary by award winning painter and filmmaker Tyeb Mehta gives rare glimpses of urban life in a bygone era:
A film on the synthesis of images. The symbolic image of Mahatma Gandhi, the metamorphosis of life as in bull’s image, the love of Gods in Madurai and the losing of identity in an active situation has been executed textually and environmentally in terms of cinema with the principal intention of alienating both the image and the action to make a protest against violence.
There are no spoken dialogues and none of the scenes have any synchronised sound; instead the devotional mood culminating in a temple visit is evoked by two legendary musicians of the late 20th century:
Vocalist KV Narayanaswamy and Mridanga Vidvan Palghat Raghu
(“music directed by Narayana Menon”)
After impressions of daily life, a street performance and (presumably) witnessing Mahatma Gandhi’s funeral procession, we are invited to join a musical visit one of India’s great temples (13:05):
The pronunciation of “Madurai” in Muttusvami Dikshitar’s lyrics marks the beginning of Minaksimemudam, his famous kriti set to raga Purvikalyani which concludes this journey into a world where the perception of “time” or “change” becomes irrelevant.
Artist-in-Residence at Santiniketan (1984–1985)
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