I recommend that you do not miss Thithi. Raam Reddy’s debut is searingly honest, and yet so charming that its characters stay with you long after the lights come back on.
...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.
The film is indeed poignant, and affirms that Raam’s philosophy of weaving a story by understanding life backwards can result in a standing ovation if balanced by a forward-looking approach.
While many young directors brag about their debut with a star actor, Raam Reddy is a perfect example of a top class debut director.
In his first full-length feature itself, Raam Reddy seems to have mastered something that’s most difficult to master in cinema: a way of suggesting a dreamlike clarity in a brazen setting...
Thithi isn’t issue-based, unlike many Indian films that have traditionally received such acclaim. Despite depicting many aspects of rural Indian life — patriarchy, religious beliefs, and teenage sexuality, for instance — it isn’t ‘important’ or a ‘must-watch’. It has no flag to wave, and no apparent desire to kick-start conversations on hot-button issues.
His organic approach reflects in the film. The story uses death as a tool to make a statement on life in all its shades, while staying true to the world it is set in. Art and form couldn’t be a more potent mix than in Thithi.
Like the countless sheep that appear in it, Thithi is shorn of fluff. Because the film is so engaging on a minute-by-minute basis, it’s a while before one notices the absence of the usual markers of movie-dom. There are no songs or dances or fights (at least in the accepted sense), no heroes or villains. The cast is made up of non-professionals from screenwriter Eregowda’s village, Nodekoppalu, in Karnataka. There’s no background score, unless you count the constant refrain of bleats and baas and moos and clucks.
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.
Stripped off its unusual settings, Thithi’s story is most ordinary – a crooked deal gone badly wrong. By plonking it in a place that is both “once upon a time” and a recognisable town in Karnataka, Reddy has brewed a curious mix of anthropology, comedy and commentary on the futility of resistance.
An immersive rural tragicomedy built on loops of oppression...
Audience Reviews for Thithi
How can a first film be the best film? Ram Reddy is so much a product of a distinctive voice, I think it will take a lot of sweat for his mainstream film to match the splendour of this heartfelt, deep comedy which is an original.
To use death as an accessory for a comedy has been common to all the cinema in India. But the Kannadiga film 'Thithi' is a young, mature film of skill and sweat which uses the acting skills of non-actors with beauty, and the word 'death' with so much beauty of ridicule, it hardly feels an exercise to mine out humour. This is an interestingly metaphorical film about man and meat, spirited characters and their real, relatable situations. It's fascinating how the camera moves from the inside to the outside. The writing is not perfect, with sluggishness occurring frequently. It especially feels crude in the first hour.
But it's an unforgettable and inherently sweet comic with its heart and intentions in the right place. Other than the screenwriting, which too is too interesting to be dismissed, everything is perfect in this film, if the word 'perfect' exists. Century Gowda shall stay with you, so will Thithi, so will Abhi. It won't let go.
Indian cinema is experiencing a huge paradigm shift: from largely making potboilers for decades till the 2000s to finally arriving at making artful films. Thithi is one such example where comedy and drama is mixed to generate amusement.
Gaddappa (Channegowda) is the eldest and most careless son of late Century Gowda (Singrigowda), a centenarian who lived a lousy life. As per his community/religion/caste, he is the one who should perform the last rites at Gowda's funeral ("thithi" in Kannada). However, Gaddappa is least bothered, both about the funeral and about the land that he has now inherited from his father. Anxious and impatient is Thammanna (Thammegowda), Gaddappa's only son, who fears that the land will be usurped by his uncles. So, he devises a crooked plan to transfer the land into his name and subsequently sell it before the funeral. Not being helpful in this activity is Thammanna's son, Abhi (Abhishek H N), who is experiencing and trying to enjoy his newly found puberty. These three people's eccentric but ordinary actions leading up to the funeral is what the film is about.
One should thank the person who created the English subtitles for the film, for it helps a non-Kannada person understand the film and also get the jokes. Light humor is sampled in most of the dialogues as the characters interact with each other impassively. The air maintained by the three central characters as they set out on their own endeavours is absolutely normal yet highly convincing. Hence, it is the cast performance and delivery that works best for the story to propel forward seamlessly. Prima facie, the plot is pretty straightforward, but "Thithi" is about the intricacies and small things that describe these characters and their actions.
Writer-director Raam Reddy's efforts to clinch the quirky minds of the people of the small Karnataka village evidently pay off, with the film having not a single dull moment. With support from great production setup and continuity, the film succeeds in making its audience laugh and ponder about life (and death?). Moreover, it even teaches you a game and pokes fun at your gullibility.
For Kannada speakers, this will be a definite treat. For foreigners, this can be a light- hearted, one-time affair.
BOTTOM LINE: Raam Reddy's "Thithi" is an enjoyable film that should be watched and lauded, mostly for its brilliant cast and their flawless performance as quirky characters. Rent that DVD now!
Can be watched with a typical Indian family? NO
"Part of what made Raam Reddy’s debut film THITHI so compelling is its ability to give a real account of village life ongoings and procedures through a fully unfiltered lens. Yes, there have been other “village” films to come out, particularly those from Bollywood such as PEEPLI LIVE, but the forced media-eye encounter of that film was still a bit decorated and polished. Here, we get Karnataka in its utter primal state."
FULL REVIEW: https://extrasensoryfilms.wordpress.com/2016/12/09/three-stories-from-indias-rural-heartland/