Seeing the other side through Marupakkam documentary films

A documenaty film is close to reality but a feature film has a lot of drama in it that documentaries can avoid and stick to the plain | Image - Eunice Dhivya | All photos - Special Arrangement

An old Hitachi video cassette recorder (VCR) and some mould-infected cassettes lying unused inside the storage room of documentary filmmaker Amudhan RP would easily make the case for the trash can. The young film-maker, however, doesn’t want to throw them away, as the VCR and cassettes were all once the only media through which some films—documentary films—could see the light of the day, and so holds significant memories and value today.

It was in 1996 that Amudhan launched “Marupakkam” (the other side), a collective of documentary lovers, in Madurai.

There are many film clubs, but what makes “Marupakkam” different is that it is exclusively meant for documentaries. Why only documentaries? “In feature films the director is god; in documentary films god is the director,” says Amudhan, quoting veteran filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock.

Marupakkam has created a space for independent filmmaking, focusing on issues of the marginalised and downtrodden in society.

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