A wizened old man, over a hundred years and counting, suddenly keels over and dies. And sets into motion an absurdist comedy of manners which uses death to make gentle yet stinging points about life.
Director Raam Reddy’s first feature borrows some of its quirky quality from Emir Kusturica and Frederico Fellini, as it tracks the impact of the death on the family of the aptly-named Century Gowda : the vagabond elder son Gadappa ( Channegowda), the much-in-need-of-ready-cash other son Thamanna ( Thammegowda), and the layabout grandson Abhi ( Abhishek) whose raging hormones lead him to circle incessantly around a shepherd girl ( Pooja).
The eleventh day ceremony ( thithi) is when many things will come to fruition : Thamanna has had an eye on the family land which he intends to reel in for profit, Abhi is desperate to get his hands on the slippery Pooja, and Gadappa wants only to continue being a meandering ministrel.
Gadappa doesn’t really have a song but clearly typifies the free-spirited wanderer, totally unlike his materialistic sibling. The entire village, actually, stands to benefit from Century’s passing, as on the eleventh day ( thithi), there will be a grand meaty feast, and everyone will partake.
The film is set in Mandya, a village in Karnataka. Most of the cast is non-professional, and the plot ( co-written by Eregowda and Reddy) originates from the soil. It’s so authentic you can smell it, and the characters feel absolutely real, their ‘quirkiness’ never spilling over into caricature, as Reddy goes about creating a very specific but delightfully universal tale of fate and greed and thwarted desire.
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And most of it is funny, even if the film suffers from occasional flatness. Reddy’s is an original voice, and the 26 year old is a welcome addition to the growing number of young filmmakers in India creating cinema which has provenance, which has something to say. Thithi has won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Kannada.
Cast: Channegowda, Thammegowda S, Abhishek H N, Pooja S M
Director : Raam Reddy