Response To 'Thithi' Has Been Huge, Says Director Raam Reddy
After watching his Kannada movie, Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan has sent out not just one, but four tweets to call it a must see film. Another famous filmmaker Anurag Kashyap says that he is “jealous” of the success and talent of him. The legendary director of the 1972 movie ‘The Godfather’ Francis Ford Coppola called it one of the best films.
New Delhi: After watching his Kannada movie, Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan has sent out not just one, but four tweets to call it a must see film. Another famous filmmaker Anurag Kashyap says that he is “jealous” of the success and talent of him. The legendary director of the 1972 movie ‘The Godfather’ Francis Ford Coppola called it one of the best films.
Media has described it as one of the excellent movies and a landmark in Indian cinema. The film we are talking about is ‘Thithi’ and the filmmaker is just 26 years old Raam Reddy. The film has already won the National Film Award for the best feature film and several other International awards since its release in last August.
Its commercial release in Karnataka has been a huge success. It was even screened at the Times Square in New York. ‘Thithi’ with English subtitles will be released in Mumbai, Delhi and other parts of India on Friday. ‘Thithi’ has various meanings in Kannada. In this movie, it is funeral or last rites.
The USP of the film is its story and actors. Believe it or not. The entire cast is from non-acting background. None of the actors acted in a movie or in a play before this movie. All of them are local villagers where the movie was shot. And no make-up was used! It is a first for a cinema in any language anywhere in the World. The story is also tight.
Raam Reddy did his graduation from Delhi’s prestigious St. Stephen’s College and later went to Prague in Czech Republic to do a course in film making. He is not from a film background. His grandfather KC Reddy was the first chief minister of Mysore state which later became Karnataka. Already hailed as a young revolutionary in cinema, Reddy who is in Mumbai for the release of film spoke to News18 over telephone. He says that it has been such an amazing journey and hard to believe sometimes.
On Turning Into A Filmmaker
“You may not believe this. I had no interest in movies till I joined a college. I was more into books, painting and music. I never thought that one day I would be making movies. In 2007 I came to Delhi to do BA in Economics at St. Stephen’s college. The atmosphere of the college helped me a lot to think freely. I developed a taste for movies there. I started making short films. I actually made eight short films before going to Prague in Czech Republic to a course in movie making. I made four short films in Prague. One in Czech language too. After I returned to my home in Bengaluru, I decided to concentrate only on cinema. Because I realised that cinema is the only medium which has everything in it.”
On Making ‘Thithi’
“My friend Eeere Gowda, who co-authored the story gave me this idea. We visited the village Navekoppalu in Mandya to see if we can actually shoot a movie there. I am quite familiar with that village. We decided to do a movie on the life in the same village involving the same locals. The first challenge was to convince the villagers to act. It was not an easy job. Fortunately, they agreed. We started shooting. The lead actor is a 98-year-old villager called Singri Gowda who played the character Century Gowda! It was more like a serious fun. We spent five months in that village to complete the shooting. I am a perfectionist. I re-shot several scenes. All actors are non-actors and no make-up was used. I believe in magical realism. I like the writings of Salman Rushdie, Marquez etc. ‘Thithi’ also belongs to magical realism genre. I want to do many more movies in this genre.”
On Response To ‘Thithi’
“I can’t believe this. The response is huge. Really big. Some of the biggest names in the world of cinema have praised my movie. The commercial release has also been a huge success. The media coverage has also been fabulous. It is really amazing. It has already got over half a dozen awards so far.”
On Upcoming Projects
“Impressed by the success of ‘Thithi’, a lot of people are approaching me to do another movie. I certainly want to make another movie and remain in this field. But, I am not in a hurry. I am a perfectionist. I take time. I have already spent three and a half years on ‘Thithi’. I am tired. I need a short break. Only after that I can think of making my next movie. As I have already told you, I love magical realism genre. Will do more in that genre.”
This dramatic comedy follows three generations of sons' reactions to the death of the oldest in their clan, a man named Century Gowda. Set in a remote village in South India, the three storylines intertwine before converging at Century Gowda's ‘Thithi’ - the final funeral celebration. Century Gowda's eldest son, Gadappa, is himself a little old man who spends his time wandering the village fields, puffing cheap cigarettes and swigging brandy. Gadappa's far more materialistic son, Thamanna, plots to illegally sell Century Gowda's property, even though the land officially belongs to his father. At the same time, Thamanna's confident pubescent son, Abhi, shrugs his responsibilities to relentlessly pursue a shepherd girl.
Awards So Far
63rd National Film Awards, 68th Locarno International Film Festival Award, Mumbai Film Festival Award, Marrakesh International Film Festival Award, two awards at Palm Springs International Film Festival, Karnataka State Film Awards and a few more in just eight months.