As always… I’m late to the party… as always. It’s three years after Thithi been released. And, this movie was freaking awesome. Wait. Let me backup a bit. All the way back.
Question: What the hell is the purpose of a movie?
Answer: To tell a story. To entertain. To make a point.
What is the purpose of Thithi? I don’t know. Except that the movie in two hours, has captured my heart.
The Way it Starts
The movie starts off with this man – sitting in the village centre and like a drunk commenting at all the villagers passing by. And then, he just collapses and dies. His death begins a story of the village’s search or struggle to hold on to their cultural roots. And at the same time, it’s a story of a family’s struggle to just… be alive, to survive, to be accepted, and to be successful.
The Stages of Life
There are three main characters in the film.
- The grandfather has lived his life the best way that he can. Now, in his old age, he is free of responsibility and cares little for what society thinks.
- The father still has a responsibility to feed his family, to maintain a standing in society, and to take care of his dying farmland.
- The son is youthful, he dreams of girls, he dreams of a job that pays, he dreams of days where he can party with his friends.
And with the death of Century Gowda, each of these lives suffer from a cascading effect… even as they struggle for a simple goal – happiness. The death of Century Gowda forces them to confront how they will achieve this goal. And make them even question if they can achieve it..
Each character represents a stage in life, a struggle in life. Each character has dreams and hopes. Yet, there are so many obstacles that stop them. There are deep themes that these characters represent as they pursue their goals in life, themes that will make you wonder about where you are headed in life.
A movie should be stylish. The actors should be beautiful. The dialogue must be sharp, witty, engaging. The cinematography should be awe-inspiring.
And, yet, Thithi is none of these. It’s freaking authentic. I might as well be watching a real life of the people’s lives unfolding in this quaint village in Karnataka.
• The dialogue is not sharp or witty. It’s raw, rough, abusive.
• The people… are normal. (In fact, most of the people in the movie are not professional actors).
• The clothing they wear… feels – so real. That dirty shirt. That dirty banyan.
• The setting has that consistent yellow dusty atmosphere.
A Chokehold of Tradition
Do not lament tradition. Do not hate it. Rather, watch its beauty and watch its horror. For that’s what Thithi brings out.
• Century Gowda – the great grandfather – is not the village’s favourite person. Yet, in his death, his life is celebrated just as the customs demand it.
• Yet, the grandfather rejects these notions. He does not care for these customs. In fact, he probably hates his father.
• And, the father… well, he has a reputation to maintain in the community. The customs of a funeral are expensive. He can’t afford them, yet he must.
• And the son, he just wants to be free – but what can this village life offer him?
• And then there are the villagers. Their tradition is fading. Their lives has forced them to be flexible. Yet, they can barely remember what their tradition is. But, what little they do remember – they hold on to it with their dear life.
Thithi is a story about the rejection of tradition, just as much as it is a story that is about embracing tradition. It seems impossible that movie can be so contradictory to itself.
There is so much to be said about Thithi. It’s a wonderful setting. It’s a whimsical story. The pain that every character carries deep in the hearts. The dreams of a better tomorrow.
The story reminds me of the bitter-sweet stories of R.K Narayan. And the rustic realism of Andrei Tarkovsky, which said no to movies that were grand, beautiful and exciting.
If I haven’t convinced you that this movie – then, well damn it!
Thithi is not a movie. I don’t know what this is.