THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Perumbadavam Sreedharan, 77, knelt and kissed the floor of Dostoyevsky’s museum in St. Petersburg as he entered the place for the first time in his life.
He was in a dreamy mood and moved to tears at seeing the house of the classic writer whose life he had portrayed in his acclaimed book ‘Oru Sankeerthanam Pole’ in 1993.
It was a dream come true for Perumbadavam Sreedharan, president of Kerala Sahitya Akademi, when he made a 12-day trip to St. Petersburg and Moscow to act as a writer, along with half a dozen Russians, in the docufiction, ‘In Return: Just a book,’ recently.
Perumbadavam, in his masterpiece featuring Fyodor Dostoyevsky and his wife Anna, had recreated the ambience of Russia without ever visiting the country. After 22 years, it was emotionally challenging for him to re-live himself before the camera.
The docufiction is scripted by Paul Zachariah, directed by Shiny Jacob Benjamin, camera by cinematographer K. G. Jayan and produced by Baby Mathew Somatheeram.
‘Oru Sankeerthanam Pole’ has set a record in Malayalam literature with 65 editions and has sold over 2.5 lakh copies. He released the 66th re-print of his book to Natalia Ashimbaeva, director of Fyodor Dostoyevsky literary memorial museum at St. Petersburg.
“I had grown up reading the books of Dostoyevsky, Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, Alexander Pushkin etc. So when I finally landed in Russia, it was a ‘sacred’ moment for me. To see Dostoyevsky’s house which has now been converted to a museum, the cobbled pathways he walked on, the church where he prayed, his cemetery and statue left an indelible mark in me,” said Perumbadavam.
Even after wearing five layers of woollen clothing, the bitter cold and the Siberian winds made him feel sick for a couple of days.
Ms. Benjamin recalled, “when he entered Dostoyevsky’s museum, he was moved to tears. He knelt and kissed the floor which revealed the adoration he had towards the Russian writer,” she said.