Sunday 25 October 2009

Watching Girish Kasaravalli's work for the first time

In the age of mushrooming channels vying for attention and TRPs, there is a channel (I don't know how many of you know about it) called Lok Sabha TV. The channel deals with events in the Parliament and other social issues like health, education, economic reforms and gender. Alongside all these programmes, Saturday nights hold special interest for me as they telecast NFDC award-winning films from noted filmmakers. The weekend classic has a repeat telecast on Sunday afternoon at 2 pm. The best part of this package is the uninterrupted viewing. There are no commercial breaks or any other interruption. We get to watch the entire film sans any break and that makes the slot worthwhile.

Last night the movie was Nayi Neralu, a 2005 Kannada film by the noted  filmmaker Girish Kasaravalli. I have heard his name many times, promising myself that I will for sure see his films but then I just could not do so and finally last night I made it.

The story evolves around the belief of reincarnation. But the greatness in the film lies in the fact that one can peel layers of thoughts and ideas from the film. Social issues like the trauma faced by widows, emotional aspects like love, lust, sympathy, anger and betrayal, relationship problems and many more were handled in great detail by Kasaravalli.

The protagonist Venku is a widow whose life revolves around her daughter, Raji. Raji is a modern young woman who does not believe in rituals and other religious sentiments but turns around when she finds her mother in love with Vishwa. The problems begin when Vishwa in another village claims that he is the reincarnation of Venku's husband, Ramanna. Venku's father-in-law is persuaded by his wife to visit Vishwa and bring him home. Venku, at first is unable to accept a stranger in her house who claims to be her husband but things gradually change and she accepts him. Even Raji who comes across as a very perceptive modern girl is against her mother when she discovers her mother's love for the stranger, Vishwa.The same society which could accept the stranger as a son could not accept him as Venku's husband.

The scenes where Venku is chastised by her people and others is very poignant. In one scene, she tells her friend: "You told me that things will change if I am a married woman but now I am neither accepted as a widow nor as a married woman." Another scene that is quite disturbing is when Raji, Venku's daughter is against her mother accepting Vishwa, who is of her age, as her husband. Venku tells her and her parents-in-law that everyone accepts whatever they want to accept. The truth is what each one sees. My truth is different from yours so you cannot come to terms with it. Perspectives is what she was referring to and that also reminds me of another movie that I saw last week, Rashomon  by Akira Kurosawa, which also deals with different aspects of the truth which is perceived differently by individuals. That was a stray thought.

The film evoked many questions, thoughts and debates within my mind. A film worth watching which has a lovely feel from another century. I am sure to try and watch other works of Kasaravalli.


  1. what an incredibly moving film that it - the story one that is ancient in many cultures - and this film seems to carry layers of social and cultural issues to the surface - thanks so much for sharing it - i'm gonna have to see if it by chance would be over at amazon -

  2. You should watch it dear friend. It will open you to a different world of culture, customs, rituals and experience.

  3. The Loksabha tv previews movies every Saturday! wow!! I used to unfailingly watch all the relgional language films that was broadcasted on DD1 long time ago, when it was the only channel. They came on at 1:30pm every Sunday after that news for the hearing impared, u know what I mean n

    With the incursion of the cable tv, dd1 was forgotten and I lost track of that habit. Now to think that Doordarshan have been persistent is wonderful news...

    and u for passing that info on...

    Abt the movie, it is the young who portray themselves as "the modern" who create hindrances in their parents' happiness -- be it a second marriage or late pregnancy. But when it is a question of their own life, breaking barriers are a no issue. They blame their elders for not giving in.... strange!!

    Hypocrisy or selfishness or both, can't say

    Have a lovely week ahead Susan


  4. I get the Lok Sabha channel, but I didnt know they had movies Saturday nights..there's usually discussions and public interest talks whenever I watch it..


    Yeah, DD1 used to have and maybe still does have these really good films on Sunday afternoons..

    I remember I saw Pyaasa, Bandini, Meghe Dhaka Tara, Anaahat, Aranyer Din Ratri on DD1..

    with these really good subtitles..

    I forgot about them when I started getting channels like World Movies and Lumiere..

    Thank you for reminding me that there's a lot of things still left to explore..

    And about the movie, I, too, agree with Ashes..

    We want to be free ourselves..but we dont easily extend the same freedoms to our parents..

    we still look at them as infallible people who're always going to sacrifice their happiness for our convenience..

    children can be very selfish..especially when they grow up..



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