wiki:Grahana

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Grahana

aka The Eclipse 1978 121’ b&w Kannada d/co-s T.S. Nagabharana p D. Sivaram, D. Venkatesh, D. Rame Gowda pc Harsha Pics co-s T.S. Ranga st Kodalli Shivaram c S. Ramchandra m Vijayabhaskar lp Anand Paricharan, G.K. Govinda Rao, Venkatramane Gowda, S.N. Rotti, B.S. Achar, Katte Ramchandra, Shobha Jyoti, Malati Rao

Nagabharana’s first feature is a critique of the caste system and of ‘traditional’ mores (cf. Samskara, 1970). The story is based on the Hebbaramma Festival celebrated in some Karnataka districts where Nagabharana shot the film on location (after bribing the local high priest to obtain permission). The plot concerns an annual village ritual in which a small number of Untouchables are selected to be Brahmins, for two weeks only, provided they mortify themselves throughout this period, often in extremely cruel fashion, as a kind of purification ceremony performed by ritual scapegoats. One of the scapegoats dies as a result and his body cannot be buried by members of either caste. The village headman’s son, Puttuswamy, calls in the police who remove the corpse. Puttuswamy then lives with the Harijans for a while. Since this infringes the rules of the ritual and of caste behaviour, the headman commits suicide. In spite of these traumas, the next year’s ritual goes ahead with the full participation of all villagers. However, the rebellious Puttuswamy joins the selected Harijans in the temple and tries to prevent the ritual. The Harijans throw him out to the angry Brahmin crowd and he is beaten to death. Girish Kasaravalli, who assisted on this film while still an FTII student, apparently directed most of it.

Film