October 18, 2020 5:42:51 pm
We dwell in an age of on-line mourning. With the pandemic raging on, unabated demise has been, ahem, a lethal presence within the lives of thousands and thousands this 12 months. More than ever earlier than, demise isn’t just the old-school solemn act it was as soon as famend for. But immediately it appears it is usually one with out dignity the place the departed soul doesn’t even get a correct burial/cremation and no farewell; the family members are denied public grief and compelled to fend for themselves within the stinging isolation of their houses. Mourners can’t even have a good time the deceased’s life as ceremonial funerals are banned because of Covid-imposed lockdowns. Death’s wanting more and more scarier, isn’t it? Well, contemplate a life-affirming segue into cinema. Call it a triple invoice. In Thithi, Mukti Bhawan and Ee. Ma. Yau, three wonderful funeral farces of current years (all obtainable for streaming), you’ll discover that heavy subjects like ‘death’ and ‘loss’ are given the lightest of remedy, as if the respective filmmakers are daring Lord Yamraj to a recreation of chess (or ‘lamb and tiger’ if you’ll, Thithi progonatist’s favorite pastime). Death is being performed for laughs right here — is there something mistaken in it? Does it cross the road? To borrow from the smiley-faced Joker in The Dark Knight, “Why so serious?”
A Dysfunctional Family
Dry-witted and sharply noticed, Thithi (2016) is Raam Reddy’s sucker punch of a debut. Everything on this indie touchstone is critical as hell besides that not everybody desires to be taken severely. The darkish comedy, set in a distant Kannada village referred to as Nodekoppalu, begins with an old-timer, Century Gowda (he’s 100-plus), who simply minutes in the past was seen tossing expletives within the village sq. to nobody specifically however has now turned a nook to pee and dropped lifeless. It was a life well-lived. And aptly, there have to be a grand send-off to considered one of Nodekoppalu’s most well-known sons. Lamenters from close by villages will attend the much-hyped funeral and cooked lamb shall be served, we’re instructed. But the place’s the cash for such extravaganza? In this most dysfunctional of households, the burden falls on Gowda’s grandson, Thammanna (Thammegowda) because the proverbial son, the hard-drinking geezer Gaddappa (Channegowda) who’s obligated to conduct the final rites, is nowhere to be discovered. He’s a stray (“he’s quit on life,” sums up one villager pithily) who seeks the journey and never the vacation spot, filling his days enjoying the leisurely ‘lamb and tiger’ recreation. Occasionally, native schoolkids be a part of him. In one unintentionally hilarious scene, Gaddappa wanders into the body however when instructed his village lies on the alternative finish, rapidly walks out and disappears as soon as once more. Thammanna has his personal causes to stage the magnificent funeral — pull off the ancestral land sale clandestinely whereas Century Gowda’s thithi, or rituals, is underway. Short on money, he borrows a hefty sum from the thuggish toddy bar proprietor Kamala who guarantees to dishonour him in entrance of the villagers lest he defaults on the mortgage. To make issues worse, he has to provide Gaddappa’s pretend demise certificates to shut the land deal. Adding to his woes is his hopeless son Abhi (Abhishek HN). Just like his late vibrant great-grandfather, the lusty girl killer has most likely bought a shepherd’s daughter pregnant. Though life is approaching breaking level, the lad is holding the occasion going. Come finale and all comedian hell will break unfastened. Director Raam Reddy decoded the plot finest when he stated that all of the characters are chasing one thing, “Thammanna is chasing money, his son is chasing girls.” What about Gaddappa? He’s a thrill-seeker, you may say. Reddy brings a lot off-kilter humour to the proceedings, pushed alongside by an incredible solid of low-key newcomers. Made on an intimate and native scale, Thithi is a farce on demise, rituals, household politics, greed and poverty that is rarely monumental however at all times significant — it’s Century Gowda’s ghost taking a leak on human nature.
Funeral = Fun Real?
Like Thithi, Lijo Jose Pellissery’s Ee. Ma. Yau (RIP) is an excellent madder stab at demise. In some methods, the 2018 Malayalam breakout is Thithi’s (extra fashionable) religious cousin. Both share a fetish for a spectacular funeral, solely to be overrun by anarchic cacophony. The setting is the fishing city of Chellanam, Kerala. When mason Vavachan Mesthiri’s father died, it was a grand affair. “Even I felt like dying,” Vavachan tells his son Eesy (Chemban Vinod Jose), who guarantees to provide him a farewell worthy of “St Xavier’s” festivities, what with all of the Latin Catholic funeral paraphernalia firmly in place. “First class coffin, music band, fireworks and men bearing gold cross,” within the phrases of Eesy. Shortly after this oddly humorous and touching father-son second, Vavachan dies leaving Eesy to wrestle with elevating money for the final rites that he promised his dying father. This results in a stretch of weird circumstances that make you marvel if the grand funeral of Vavachan’s dream is headed right into a nightmare. (Comic gold just like the costly coffin crashing even earlier than the ultimate journey has began or the deceased’s different spouse and household turning up helps put ‘fun’ again into funerals). The movie opens and closes with beautiful visible imagery, as Vavachan passes into the nice past — some scenes evoke Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, notably the cardboard gamers that substitute the Bergmanian chess recreation between Death and the knight.
Thithi and Ee. Ma. Yau may make for relatively well-suited bedfellows with Shubhashish Bhutiani’s Mukti Bhawan (2017). All three critically-acclaimed films, in some methods, are principally male-centric. More exactly, sons and their bittersweet relationships with their fathers. This time, the backdrop is the town the place Hindus come to die — Banaras. Starring Adil Hussain, Lalit Behl and Geetanjali Kulkarni, Mukti Bhawan is about studying to “let go.” Dayanand Kumar (Lalit Behl) is aware of his days are numbered. Ergo, his demand for a soul-liberating demise in Banaras. His unenthusiastic son, Rajiv (Hussain), turns into his unlikely companion on this journey. When the father-son examine into Hotel Salvation, they’re instructed by the inn-keeper that Dayanand has 15 days to die. What if he doesn’t kick it? “Go back home,” comes a terse reply. Even as Dayanand prepares for his final days within the holy metropolis, the movie strikes a stunning chemistry between him and Rajiv. Tender and amusing, the movie goals to place a Hindu spin on demise. But finally ends up providing classes on life and its boundless urge for food for absurdities.
(Thithi is streaming on Netflix, Ee. Ma. Yau on Amazon Prime and Mukti Bhawan on Hotstar)
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and keep up to date with the newest headlines
© IE Online Media Services Pvt Ltd