New Wave cinema, particularly influenced by French New Wave film ideas, brought an impressive and innovative shift to the realm of filmmaking, redefining the traditional conventions of art in Malayalam films released since the 1970s. Among these, the most popular and well-acclaimed movie is Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s debut film titled “Swayamvaram,” which means “One’s Own Choice,” followed by MT Vasudevan Nair’s “Nirmalyam.”
“Swayamvaram,” the directorial debut of the legendary filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan, is considered a landmark film within the parallel cinema movement of India. Released in 1972, the film opened up a new platform in Malayalam Cinema. New Wave filmmakers, such as Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut, emphasized the director as the author of the film. They viewed filmmaking as a form of personal expression and artistic creation, much like a painter or writer. This emphasis on the director’s creative control was a departure from the studio system of the time. Adoor Gopalakrishnan adopted this idea of filmmaking.
New Wave films often rejected traditional narrative structures and cinematic techniques. They experimented with unconventional storytelling, including non-linear narratives, improvisation, and breaking the new generation of movie screen effects. These choices challenged the norms of mainstream cinema and reflected the idea of artistic freedom. New Wave filmmakers aimed for a sense of realism and naturalism in their work. They often shot on location, used non-professional actors, and incorporated documentary-style elements into their fiction films. This approach gave their movies a sense of genuineness and a departure from the polished studio productions. – WILLIAMSJI MAVELI