Watch Ghatashraddha

  • 1977
  • 2 hr 24 min
  • 7.7  (153)

Ghatashraddha is a 1977 Indian Kannada language movie directed by G.V. Iyer. The movie was based on a novel of the same name by eminent author U.R. Ananthamurthy. This classic movie takes place in the village of Shankarapura near Ananthamurthy's own birthplace in Karnataka. It reveals the life of a Dalit boy named Tamaiah, who is taken under the wings of Ramaiah, a high caste Brahmin. The story is set in pre-independence India during a time when caste-based oppression was rampant. The film is a masterpiece in Indian cinema and was awarded Best Feature Film and the Best Direction at the National Film Awards in 1977.

The story of Ghatashraddha unfolds in a traditional Brahmin house in the village, where Ramaiah, the head of the family holds the highest respect in the village. However, Ramaiah's family is not without their own internal struggles. His daughter has become pregnant outside of marriage and has been cast out by the family. Simultaneously, an orphan boy named Tamaiah roams the village alone, taking care of himself with the little he can gather from the community. Ramaiah, who is blessed with an abundance of wealth but lacks the goodness of the human heart, gets to know Tamaiah through his own selfish motives.

The movie starts with the arrival of Tamaiah into this Brahmin family as a servant. Ramaiah's wife initially isn't happy with the arrival of an untouchable in their house, but despite him being an untouchable, Tamaiah quickly gains the attention and favourable opinion of the rest of the family in the house because of his personality.

The movie continues to develop as Ramaiah starts to pressure Tamaiah into being his personal servant while also providing free labor services for Ramaiah's agricultural work. Meanwhile, Tamaiah's mother is disapproved of because of her work as a prostitute, which leads to an awkward confrontation between her son and the Brahmin women of the house.

As the movie progresses, Tamaiah gains more knowledge and becomes more self-aware of the position he is in. He finds himself being exploited by the Brahmin family he serves and starts to see how the hierarchy operates within the community. In one notable scene, Ramaiah's wife gives Tamaiah a small amount of food to eat out of a tumbler rather than out of the kitchen pot, which is exclusively reserved for people of the Brahmin caste. This incident, among others, leads Tamaiah to realize his place in the world and the stark reality of caste-based discrimination in his society.

Ghatashraddha is a brilliant social commentary on the issue of caste-based discrimination that has plagued Indian society for centuries. The movie highlights the hypocrisy of the caste system, the cruelty of the upper castes towards the Dalits, and how even the smallest of gestures can create a powerful impact.

The film is brought to life by the brilliant performances of the cast, particularly that of Narayan Bhatt who played the role of Tamaiah. His portrayal of the innocent and naive boy in the initial stages of the movie was beautifully conveyed through his acting skills. The way he develops and comes to grips with the reality of the world around him was nothing short of mesmerizing. Janganath, as Ramaiah, does an excellent job playing the wealthy and cunning Brahmin who uses Tamaiah for his own benefit.

The beautiful cinematography and the verve with which the movie has been shot is praise-worthy, and they successfully achieve the film's underlying message. Having been released in 1977, the movie had to deal with censorship issues due to the sensitive topic it portrayed, but the director and the cast broke down walls and barriers by persisting and creating what is now considered a timeless classic of Indian cinema.

In conclusion, Ghatashraddha is a truly remarkable movie that highlights the depth of India's caste-based oppression systems. Set during a time when this issue was particularly pervasive, the movie highlights the issues of moral conflict and the intergenerational inheritance of caste as well. The movie is a testament to social justice and has now become cult classic for cinema buffs not just in India but around the world.

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  • Release Date
  • Runtime
    2 hr 24 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.7  (153)