M T Vasudevan Nair needs no introduction. He is a walking legend having straddled varied art forms with elan. Novelist, story and screenplay wrier for films, film maker, magazine editor – he has essayed various roles and have left his indelible footprint in every activity he associated with. For Keralites, his synonym ‘M T’ is synonymous with the Malayali culture as reflected in literature and films. Here are a few interesting aspects of his art and life he has shared at various forums:
Like most major writers, his art is informed by his experiences and mostly by his childhood experiences. M T is thankful to the Almighty that he was born in a village tucked away on the banks of the Bharathapuzha. The village life and Bharathapuzha has had a profound influence in shaping his thinking and approach to life. As a voracious reader even during school days, he was blessed by his association with the poet Akkitham Achuthan Nampoothiri from a young age. Akkitham’s house was near his school and so he could borrow books to read from his vast library at will. The disintegration of the feudal system and the matrilineal households formed the major running theme in MT’s earlier works. Most of these stories where either based on the stories he heard from his mother and aunts or based on his own personal experiences. M T believes that experience informs the imagination and strong literary characters evolve from such experiential-imaginative framework. Speaking about his craft, M T says that he first writes his stories in mind. In fact, he mulls over the story in mind for several days until the story is complete in the mind itself. Thereafter, copying it to paper and editing is an easier job. As a screenplay writer, M T believes that one has to make many compromises in the story to suit the commercial context of the screenplay. He also feels that translations of his Malayalam works to other languages prove to be good when attempted by Malayalees who understand his language well. In his role as a journalist and magazine editor, he limited himself to literary journalism as he was very passionate about it. He was keen to introduce new writers and translations of good literary pieces from other languages. Among his literary influences are writers like Anton Chekov and Guy de Maupassant. He also has great admiration for Latin American literature, MT concedes.