Monday, February 14, 2011

VIPIN DAS - A man of contrasts in B&W

Vipin Das always remained a mysterious figure - Cinematographer, Director, Violinst, Sanyasi etc all rolled in one. His coming and going will be always dramatic and unexpected. For some time you will find him working in films and suddenly you will be missing him as he will wandering in the remote corners of the country in search of exotic spirituality. Like his Black and White photography he was a man full of contrasts, likable and unpredictable. The final curtain came down on his colourful career on 12, February 2011 at Vythiri at Wayanad in Northen Kerala, after a cardiac attack.

Vipin Das

(Photo - R. Gopalakrishnan)

In the seventies I met him in the company of our mutual friend P.A.Backer who at that time was a Film Producer. I was staying at Chennai along with K.G.George and Prabhakaran ( FTII - Acting) in a flat rented by P.A.Backer which was fondly called POONA HOME, because of us , the residents all hailing from the Poona Film Institute. When Backer started directing films Vipin Das was the natural choice and he extended his full support for his films. I still remember his excellent B&W work in MANIMUZHAKKAM which he had photographed using ordinary photo-flood bulbs.

Later on he did the debut film of I.V.Sasi and the team regularly brought out many small budget B&W films which became superhits, such as AVALUDE RAAVUGAL etc. When the colour era came I got associated with I.V.Sasi in his first colour feature film ITHA IVVIDE VAREY which was a path breaking film. While in 1979 I was going to the U.S. for the filming of I.V.Sasi's multilingual films EZHAM KADALIN AKKARE (Malayalam ) and OREY VAANAM OREY BHOOMI (Tamil) we thought of having a second unit. Editor Narayanan as Director and Vipin Das as cinematographer formed the second unit. Thus we had the opportunity to work side by side for about a fortnight. Below is a photograph taken at the Niagara Falls helipad.

At Niagara falls - Editor Narayanan, Vipin Das and me

The last time I met him was while he was shooting the Malayalam film TATWAMASI on one of the floors of the Chitranjali Studios. At that time I was shooting the film KADAKSHAM on the main studio floor. He came down to our sets during the lunch break and spent some time there. He was looking very smart and active despite the passage of years. Though he had not done feature films for a number of years, he was quite up to date about the technology as he was a voracious reader.

Malayalam film industry will certainly miss the loss of Veteran Cinematographer Vipin Das who had contributed a lot especially during the Black and White era low budget films. I too miss him, but I hope that as per his nature, any moment he may reappear again at unexpected time and place.

He had done a large number of feature films and documentaries in Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and other languages. Given below is a partial list of films as Cinematographer and as Director.

Filmography ( Cinematographer):

2010 Tatwamasi

1991 Adayalam

1990 Randam Varavu

1989 Jagratha

1989 Mounam Sammadham

1988 Oru CBI Diary Kurippu

1988 Moonnam Mura

1987 Aankiliyude Tharattu

1987 Oru Sindoora Pottinte Ormaykku

1986 Ee Kaikalil

1986 Adukkan Entheluppam

1986 Iniyum Kurukshethram

1985 Nirakkoottu

1985 Ente Kanakkuyil

1985 Azhiyatha Bandhangal

1985 Kaiyum Thalayum Purathidaruthu

1984 Piriyilla Naam

1983 Belt Mathai

1983 Changatham

1982 Chillu

1982 Ponmudy

1981 Oridathoru Phayalwan

1981 Parvathi

1977 Mani Muzhakkam

As Director :

1984 Oru Kochu Swapnam

1971 Prathidhawani

Thalattu ( Tamil)


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. You're the only co-worker who remembered him in his demise.