Sunday, July 17, 2005

yathharth: the truth -- a folk tale on film

[june 21/25, 2005]

This is a simple tale of the vagaries of fate and destiny set in a village called pipa.Diyaa on the banks of the gomatii river. We have budha_ii (Raghubeer Yadav), a chaa.nDaal (cremates the dead), who lives on the outskirts of the village. He's a widower and must care for his daughter bijuriyaa (TV familiar Shraddha Nigam). Thanks to the issues of segregation and exclusion due to caste and profession, they have to rely on death for life -- every dead body means that they'll have food to eat. This manifests in a dance that bijuriyaa breaks into spontaneously and unwittingly every time a death procession approaches. In the mix is a kind truck driver jiite (Milind Gunaji). The film has no trappings or pretensions. There is no art either, but there are, unfortunately, the irksome song breaks (saawan kii pa.Dii re puhaar being the most pleasant of the lot). Aside from that, this is a decent effort at telling the kind of tale that seems to have vanished from the mainstream. If only the filmmakers had employed some more technical smarts ... we'd have had a more engaging tale on our hands. Oh well, we'll have to make do with this (as the final credit goes "and life goes on..."). As a side-note, this is one of the few films with the Hindi-English name (Yathharth - the Beginning) that actually mentions the tagline in its credits ... Strangely, the credit is flipped: The Truth ... YATHHARTH [and then in devanaagarii: dii Truth ... yathaarth].

Personal high: There's an excerpt from a Mithun flick:) The weep-and-wail-fest called Prem Pratigya with Madhuri Dixit as his co-star. There's a funeral procession in the film, and as this plays out on the screen set up for the villagers, bijuriyaa, who is also watching, breaks into her "happy" death dance. Her friend raghuu drags her away, at which point the camera tracks back to the screen for an XCU of Mithun's face as he holds one end of the stretcher.

Curious, curious. The end credits include one for censor script writer (Madhav Asegaonkar). Wonder what he had to do ... If you're interested, the background score and song compositions were done by someone called Muralidhar with lyrics supplied by Jalees-Rashid.

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