Dithee: Embracing the truth
Director: Sumitra Bhave
Starring: Kishor Kadam, Dr Mohan Agashe, Dilip Prabhavalkar, Uttara Baokar, Girish Kulkarni, Amruta Subhash, Shashank Shende and Omkar Govardhan
Sometimes you start on a journey, knowing how and where it will conclude. What makes you embark on it are the joys that you experience along the way. But is any journey complete without grief and anguish? This eternal circle of life and death is beautifully captured in Sumitra Bhave’s Dithee, which is based on a story by Di Ba Mokashi.
Bhave sublimely portrays the existential crisis faced by Ramji (Kadam), a village ironsmith, in Dithee. He is a devout warkari (those who are a part of the annual pilgrimage called wari, that starts from Alandi and concludes at Pandharpur, where Lord Vitthal resides) and also regarded as a wise man by the villagers. In times of bereavement, he is the person people turn to, to help them tide over the crisis and get on with their lives. But this wisdom fails him when his young, strapping son is swept away by the floods in the village. No words console him and he is angry with his Vithoba. How he regains his sanity and re-establishes his bond with Vithoba is the crux of the movie. Interspersed with devout songs and readings from the scriptures authored by Sant Dnyaneshwar, the audience realises the futility of Ramji’s anger. Once you are born, death is inevitable, so we must embrace it.
The film, which has stellar names form Marathi cinema, add heft to the story. It’s their cumulative experience and expertise which succeeds in making the audience believe in this simple story. Making a ‘simple’ movie on life and death is toughest to execute and here, Bhave succeeds admirably. At the time of screening of Dithee at the 525-seater screen 1 at CityPride Kothrud during 17th Pune International Film Festival (PIFF), not a single seat was empty.
Furthermore, the veteran filmmaker was awarded the Best Marathi Film Director at PIFF, which just proves how phenomenal has been her journey.