'Thithi' : The Reality As It Is
By Suraj Kumar Thube
08 June, 2016
When you have an old, wizened man sitting in an everyday place of his village, slurring people around him, you get a sense of getting introduced to a quintessential Indian village. The new Kannada film called 'Thithi' gives us the real, earthy village everyday life that we haven't seen in a long time. With a modest plot of depicting what transpires between the death of a famed centurion and to the day of his thithi, the director captures the remarkable ordinariness of the rural like a seasoned anthropologist.
Three generations, all having different aims and ambitions in life, do what they do best only to intertwine on the day of the thithi for one grand drama. Being a character driver film, it is carried almost singlehandedly by Gandappa, arguably the most likeable of them all. A complete disinterest toward worldly affairs, he keeps roaming in the village with great zest. So much so that he remains indifferent to his fathers death and lives his secluded life with his pack of beedis and alcohol. His son, on the other hand tries desperately to satiate his greed by doing everything he could to acquire his grandfathers land on his name. The last sub plot is that of his son who collects sand and cuts trees from the protected areas and keeps chasing a shepherd girl when he is not in an inebriated condition.
The thing that stands out in the film is the minimal 'creation' of a village life. Each and every scene in the film reminds you of the brute realities of a rural lifestyle. This is transcended not by any concerted, gargantuan efforts but by going back to what they do best in life and letting the passage of time take things back to normalcy. The hardships and sorrows are mixed with moments of exhilaration, pride, assertion and transient satisfaction. This is realised the most when the film, inadvertently as it may seem, highlights the significance of their interdependent lifestyles.
Even in the midst of our rapid surge of globalization, the 'commons' as a source of not just material fulfilment but also one that defines our collective social identity is something that gets realistically portrayed in the film. Along with this larger societal networking, one witnesses moments of women assertion ( in terms of dominating the household affairs ), a peep into different world views ranging from that of the shepherds to the urban elites out to prowl on anything that can be extracted from the villagers.
This is a film which shows what an Indian village is all about. Where the mundaneness has moments of catharsis followed up by a recourse to the same old cycle with minimum fuss. It deserves wide viewership for literally reproducing what a real village is by moving away from the idealised, glamorised villages of some other movies off late which fob us into believing a contrived narrative. Watch it for the reality as it is.
Suraj Kumar Thube is currently pursuing his MA in Political Science from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. He is interested in Indian politics and Indian political thought. He spends most of his time reading books, playing football and listening to Hindustani classical music.