Thithi: Three men and a plot of land

Using a cast of non-actors, Raam Reddy spins a tale in Thithi thatis both reality and fiction with ease, justifying the film’s accolades

June 03, 2016 12:00 am | Updated October 18, 2016 12:34 pm IST

Captivating: Thithi is a film with an emotional chord that will keep you hooked till the end.

Captivating: Thithi is a film with an emotional chord that will keep you hooked till the end.

It is rather easy to see why Thithi has generated so much buzz and why Raam Reddy is the director to look out for.

Before anything else, the film is foremost a stellar example of blending reality with fiction, blurring boundaries between the two. So much so that it becomes unimportant to discern which portion is real and which is imagined.

That is because the filmmaker is a good storyteller and that’s all that matters. Moreover, he knows how to make the written word come alive on screen, kicking and reaching for the stars: all at the same time.

And this is evidently not the work of Reddy alone but his entire cast and crew who show you what it means to buy into a vision, an idea and execute it together.

After journeying across the world, Thithi has finally managed to secure a theatrical release across the country. In the recent landscape of Kannada cinema especially, the film stands out. Even though the film has already been branded a multiplex film, one is curious to see how it will fare with non-multiplex audiences.

For those who haven’t watched the film already, here’s a quick gist (without too many spoilers).

The death of Century Gowda (Singregowda), a patriarch, sends his family, particularly his grandson Thammappa, into a tizzy. The family land is still in the dead man’s name and Gaddappa, Century Gowda’s son, could not care less about transferring ownership in his or his son’s name. But Thammappa cares, and what he does to try and secure the land forms the rest of the story.

Compelling characters

Reddy and Ere Gowda, the co-writer of the screenplay, sketch a rich world in the form of Nodekoplu village, giving us earthy and compelling characters in the form of Thammappa (Thammegowda) and Gaddappa (Channegowda) particularly. Even Century Gowda, through his brief appearance in the first few frames of the film, manages to stay in our minds; not to forget his eerie but iconic presence in the rest of the film through his framed photograph.

The villagers of Nodekoplu carry the story on their shoulders and the entire action culminates in the eventual thithi (funeral) of Century Gowda.

It is probably inappropriate to call the cast non-actors or amateurs. Each one of them is an incredible performer in his or her right. The characters they portray are far from village stereotypes; instead what you get are nuanced, grey portraits of humanity, as close to life as they can get.

You’d expect a film about a funeral to be sombre. But Reddy takes the theme of death, inheritance and family and throws it up in the air to make you see your world for what it is.

Part of the allure of the film is its intriguing use of sound. Snatches of recognisable music have been inserted in the most casual scenes: a contemporary Kannada film song as a ringtone or the interlude of ‘ Aap Jaisa Koi Nahin ’ as the song that the bus conductor plays.

In fact we hear the film even before we see it; in the first few seconds of the film we hear Century Gowda’s audacious comments to passersby before we see him.

As morbid as it sounds, Thithi is an evergreen film with an emotional chord that will keep you hooked and entertained till the end.

Thithi (Kannada)

Director: Raam Reddy

Starring: Singregowda, Channegowda, Thammegowda, Abhishek H.N., Pooja S.N.

Runtime: 123 mins

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