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Everyone’s rooting for Kannada film Thithi

Director Raam Reddy gives us a preview

By Sonam Savlani  May 26th, 2016

Director Raam Reddy broke a 40-year spell for India when his Kannada film Thithi won two major awards at this year’s Locarno International Film Festival. The critically acclaimed indie, which has everyone from Anurag Kashyap to Kalki Koechlin rooting for it, releases in India this June. Here, the 25-year-old Bangalore native gives us a preview:

Thithi doesn’t take death seriously. 
The film examines 11 days in the life of three generations of a family, reunited for the funeral of the 101-year-old patriarch. “The film doesn’t revolve around death. It’s just the impetus. A lot of people have dubbed this film a black comedy, because they think death + comedy = black comedy,” says Reddy. The grandson is driven by hormones, the father by blind materialism, but the grandfather stands in complete contrast, a free spirit roaming the countryside. “In many ways he’s the soul of the film,” Reddy adds. 

It had an unusual filming process. 
Reddy found the location for his film (Mandya, in Karnataka) before writing it. “We wanted to make a warm, authentic film in an unexplored corner of India. I never start with a story,” says Reddy, who’s film-making style draws from several sources. “[TV show] The Wire influenced me immensely in terms of the short-scene structuring; as did the playfulness of Wes Anderson and the narrative structure of Coen brothers,” says Reddy.  

Reddy’s OCD got in the way.
Thithi was so ambitious that it almost didn’t get made. “The script was at 160 pages, with over a 120 scenes and more than 100 characters, about 50 of which were recurring,” says Reddy, who didn’t deviate from the page. Despite the festival wins, including the Jury Grand Prize at the last edition of MAMI, Reddy’s continued to edit the film. “I’m not crazy. We wanted it to reach its potential, and I like to know what I am doing. Otherwise, I’m a fluke film-maker.”


Thithi releases on June 3