The Kannada film industry has traveled a long way and always lagged behind its other members of the family (Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu) in terms of creative quality and commercial success. So when a Kannada movie wins the National award and breaks geographical barriers by winning an award at one of the most elusive festival for Indian Films- Locarno Film Festival- ‘praiseworthy’ is an understatement.
‘Thithi’ (function for the 12th day after a person dies) is a humorous film set in a village in Mandya and well layered with socio-political sarcasm. ‘Century Gowda’- a man who lived true to his name for a hundred years dies leaving 3 generations behind. His grandson Thamanna makes his best efforts to get possession of his land as Century’s son- Gadappa- is least bothered about worldly matters. The great grandson- Abhi- is in his teens and busy running behind a village belle to be even bothered about his family matters.
The situations are hilarious and sometimes dark. ‘Death’ is a Hero and the main character in this movie and the reaction by each generation is the subplot. The debutant director- Raam Reddy- brings to life a ‘small Indian village’ with realism. Scenes like an omnipresent drunk always dancing in a procession and the different ways in which even a mobile is handled by the three different generations show the attention to detail. A popular kannada song as a ringtone and a cantankerous hindi disco song played on the bus speakers give a sense of dejavu if you have travelled in these places.
Language is no barrier as it has English subtitles and it was heartening to see a good crowd from different cross sections watching this movie. Raam Reddy has arrived!