Monday, June 27, 2016

Thithi, A Kannada Movie...Watch A Village Through A Window!


Thithi, a Kannada Classic movie!
I am still savouring the nuances of this movie, 'Thithi'! I watched 'Lucia' a Kannada movie, a couple of weeks back.  I haven't watched Kannada movies for the past few years now.  Then heard about 'Lucia' and watched it.  It was quite impressive.  A 'different' type of movie. The same director, Raam Reddy has directed this movie, 'Thithi' also, so I was curious to see this movie also.  I did and was overwhelmed! Until now, Girish Karnad, GV Iyer etc. were the famous directors in Kannada movies.

The movie starts with an 101 year old eccentric man who is called Century Gowda, passing funny/luscious comments at the passers by.  Typical village scene...everybody takes them in their stride.  He was blabbering and walking on the street, suddenly buckles down and dies.  The whole hungama starts then! Everybody gathers together and starts arranging for his funeral.  His son, Gaddappa, who is also now, an old man, is roaming on the road, smoking beedi (sort of cigarette) and drinking 'tiger' brand local liquor and refuses to light the pyre of his father.  The villagers cajole and bring him over.  I love the easygoing nature of the villagers. They show later in the movie why he,  had become a recluse.  Gowda community is mostly rich farmers in Karnataka, as far as I know.

Now, the grandson of Century Gowda, Thammanna, needs large amount of money to conduct the 11th day 'pooja' of his grand father (an astrologer asks him to do it in a grand scale by feeding the whole village with meat feast). He asks his father, Gaddappa (means 'bearded father) to sign documents to name him as successor for Century gowda's 5 acres land.  Gaddappa refuses.  Thammanna looks for shortcuts to secure the land.  How he does in the village atmosphere is the plot of the story. 

Many other side stories, esp. the activities of Thammanna's son, the roaming shepherds, their lifestyle, their innocence...everything is picturized very naturally.  I loved them, their women and men and their happy innocence! All actors are amateurs, people from the actual village Nodekoppalu (co-writer of the movie, Ere Gowda's hometown) are cast in the movie.  Nobody was 'acting'.  They blended with the characters!

Wiki says:

The seed that gave rise to Thithi was planted during a visit that Reddy made to Nodekoppalu village in the Mandya district of Karnataka, the home town of the film's co-writer Eregowda. Reddy found the village, seen through the eyes of an insider, to contain within itself a highly cinematic world. Reddy then did a year-long stint at Prague Film School. Upon returning, re-visited the area frequently, conducting a three month exploratory process to better acquaint himself with the world. During this process, Eregowda and Reddy met and decided to revolve the film around three protagonists, Channegowda (Gadappa), Thammegowda S. (Thamanna), and Abhishek H.N. (Abhi), even before the idea for the story of the film had taken shape. Keeping the true life personalities of these three leads in mind, Reddy and Eregowda then began developing a screenplay that revolved around the death and thithi of a 101-year old cantankerous centenarian, Century Gowda. After Reddy and Eregowda finished the script, they had an ambitious 160 page screenplay with over a hundred characters. They then moved into pre-production work which included an eight-month long casting process to find actors to fill out smaller roles and putting together a crew for the film. At this stage, DoP Doron Tempert, Reddy's batch mate from Prague Film School, joined the development process and started building the story-telling style and approach with Reddy.

Award list:

Best First Feature: Raam Reddy
Golden Leopard - Filmmakers of the Present: Raam Reddy

Mumbai Film Festival 2015

International Competition: Raam Reddy

National Film Awards, India 2016

Regional Award: Best Feature film in Kannada, Raam Reddy, Prspctvs Productions. 

Palm Springs International Film Festival 2016

New Voices/New Visions Special Jury Mention
Raam Reddy. "The jury commended director Raam Reddy for taking his audience on a happily rambling journey, ... 
New Voices/New Visions Grand Jury Prize:              
    Raam Reddy

Pune International Film Festival (PIFF) 2016

Festival Prize:  Raam Reddy

San Francisco International Film Festival 2016

Golden Gate Award: New Director, Raam Reddy

Normally, these types of village stories are branded as 'art movies'.  This can be said as a 'light hearted' movie.  But you are eager to watch the next scenes as if it is a thriller! 

A 'MUST WATCH' MOVIE! It is with English subtitles. Now, let me watch the same director's other movie, 'U Turn' soon!

Read about this 25 year old director of the movie, here:

Raam Reddy, a 25 year old writer-director-producer, studied in St. Stephen's College, New Delhi, one of India's premiere institutions for Liberal Arts. During his time at St. Stephen's, Raam passionately pursued photography, writing and film; he won several photography competitions, started writing his debut novel It's Raining in Maya at the age of 19, and wrote and directed several short films. In 2011, Raam wrote, directed, shot and edited a Telugu short film called Ika (meaning "Feather") that has won national and international awards and has been screened at close to twenty international festivals.

I have never noticed a Kannada movie being screened here, in Chennai.  But 'Thithi' was screened for 2 weeks, I think!

P.S.: The real village and the real characters can be seen in this video.  Very interesting! But it is in Kannada.  Is language a barrier? You can guess!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Visit to Kukke Subrahmanya Temple, One Of The Famous Temples Of Karnataka.

Kukke Subrahmanya Temple, Karnataka.
We had been visiting this temple often for the past 20 years or so.  I have mentioned about this in a couple of my earlier post too.

This is a famous Hindu temple, situated in the village of Subrahmanya, Karnataka. Here, the Hindu God Karthikeya (son of Lord Shiva and Parvathi) is worshipped as Subrahmanya, lord of all serpents. The epics relate that the divine serpent Vasuki and other serpents found refuge under Subrahmanya when threatened by the Garuda, Vishnu's Vahana/vehicle... a Kite-like bird which catches snakes.

We stayed in a hotel (Vasantha Mahal) in Mangalore which was quite good. Subrahmanya was around 105 Kms. from Mangalore, around 2 hours' journey by taxi.  We left at about 8 am, had breakfast at Hotel Uthsav which was nearby (all Udupi specials like Moode kadubu and other delicacies are available here) and left for Subrahmanya.  It was drizzling throughout the way.  Since the temple is situated in Western Ghats, the route was covered by trees on both sides.  The road used to be very narrow 20 years back and dark because of the trees, but now, it has become a quite busy road. But the old feel is still there.  Since we were there on a Wednesday, middle of the week, crowd was not there.  We could go to the sanctum sanctorum without standing in the queue. Schools had started after the summer vacation, so this was the right time to go there.  If too much crowd is there, they let the senior citizens in a separate queue. 

Our family members have got sarpa dosha (somebody in our family must have harmed snakes) and we were asked to do Ashlesha bali, i.e. pinda pradhana ceremony like we do for humans when they die, for the serpents.  We have to go on the previous day itself, register for the pooja.  Stay in some hotel (many are there now), come back in the morning after taking bath.  Do sankalpa (give your name, nakshatra/star, gothra etc.) with the priest and wait at the place of the pooja.  Snake shaped rangolis are drawn and pinda pradhanam (rice balls) was placed on them during the pooja. Actually, it is interesting to watch.  It takes around an hour or so.  Then prasadam is given.  It is not very expensive too. We did this pooja long back.

Some people do sarpa prathishte (placing serpent shaped stones at a particular place there at the temple). 

A close-up picture of the Gopuram.  Normally Karnataka temples do not have this type of gopuram.  They will be very simple.  This one resembles Tamilnadu temple gopurams as per my view.  Looks beautiful!
This is the temple for Subrahmanya (Lord Shiva and Parvati's son). More details from Wiki:

According to one Mythology, after killing the demon rulers, Tharaka, Shurapadmasura and their followers in a war, Lord Shanmukha reached Kumara parvatha with his brother Ganesha and others. He was received by Indra and his followers. Indra being very happy prayed Lord Kumara swamy, i.e.Subrahmanya, to accept and marry his daughter Devasena for which the Lord readily agreed. The divine marriage took place on Margashira shudha shashti at Kumara parvatha. Gods like Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra and many other deities assembled for the marriage and coronation ceremony of Shanmukha/Subrahmanya, for which waters of several holy rivers were brought. With these waters of Mahabhisheka fell down to form a river which was later known by the popular name Kumaradhara.The great Shiva Bhakta and Serpent king Vasuki was performing tapas for years in the Biladwara caves of Kukke Subrahmanya to avoid the attack of Garuda. Following Lord Shiva`s assurance Shanmuka gave darshan to Vasuki and blessed him that he would stay with his parama bhakta in this place forever. Hence the pooja offered to Vasuki or Nagaraja are nothing but the poojas to Lord Subrahmanya.

Kukke means makri/cane basket.  In olden days, people were bringing serpent shaped stones in baskets and keep them near the river Kumaradhara, it seems.  So, the temple is called Kukke Subrahmanya.

Lord Subrahmanya and Vasuki. Courtesy: Here
Bhairava and Umamaheshwara Sannidhis can be seen during the pradakshina.  I don't know how old this temple is, but the Gopuram looks recently built.  Earlier Adi Subrahmanaya temple only was here which can be seen two streets away.  The prasada given here is Snake nest's mud.

And we met this beautiful, young elephant in the temple.  He was a happy animal.  No chain marks on his legs/ankles could be seen, which made us very happy!  He was blessing everyone for a coin! Well, both I and my husband stood in front of him, watching him for sometime, happily!

We can have lunch at the temple.  We were in a hurry, so we didn't have it.  Local people always have it here without fail, as prasada. We visited the Adi Subrahmanya temple which was nearby and then had lunch outside the temple, which was just OK and returned to Mangalore. We saw this near the Adi Subrahmanya temple, which was interesting!

We can pay for annual poojas at the seva counter outside the counter.  It was drizzling throughout the day.

It was quite clean everywhere and the toilets also were clean!

This video shows the inside of the temple.  Got it in 'you tube'!


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Happy Feeling And Funny Feeling!


Young elephant WITHOUT chain marks!

We had been to Kukke Subrahmanya temple, a couple of days back.  I will write more about it later.  I saw this baby elephant there which looked very happy, blessing people.  It had no chain marks on its ankles, which is very rare in temple elephants.  Felt very happy.

Another scene at the same temple complex, near old Subrahmanya temple, we saw this.  The temple is surrounded by a water body.  It looked like a river some 20 years back but now the water is nearly absent.  You can notice in the picture.  What we found weird was, people piling up stones one upon another and folding their hands at them.  I asked the security lady who was standing there, why people were doing that.  She laughingly said that one day, somebody did that for fun and seeing that other people had started piling stones one upon the other.  On my way back somebody said that if we pile up stones and pray for an own house, it works, it seems! So many 'houses' are there now!

I think we are not the right persons to laugh at them.  All of us have many types of superstitions like going to particular temple for different ailments, like Subrahmanya temple for skin problem, Vaikam Shiva temple for stomach problem, etc. Well....our country is full of temples for all sorts of problems.  We have to take everything easy!

We visit this temple because somebody said that we have got Naaga dosha (Somebody in our family must have harmed the serpent/snake sometime!)!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Wordless Wednesday!


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