- 1 hr 53 min
Samskara is a 1970 Indian Kannada movie directed by Pattabhirama Reddy. The film is based on a novel of the same name by U.R. Ananthamurthy. It stars Girish Karnad, Snehalata Reddy, and P. Lankesh in pivotal roles. The film portrays the theme of caste, religion, and morality in the high-spirited cultural landscape of rural India. The story revolves around Praneshacharya (Girish Karnad), a Brahmin priest residing in a small village in South India. He is a learned scholar who leads his life strictly following the norms of his caste and religion. However, he becomes curious about a woman who has been ostracized from the community, and despite his Brahminical background, he becomes close to her. This leads to immense turmoil within himself, as he is unable to reconcile his beliefs with his growing feelings for her. Meanwhile, the community is shaken by the sudden demise of Naranappa, a member of the untouchable caste. According to the customs, the people from the Brahmin caste are expected to perform the last rites of Naranappa, but none of them come forward. This leads to a moral dilemma in the village with everyone seeking Praneshacharyaâs advice on what they should; this leads to pressure on Praneshacharya to act. The outcast woman brings Praneshacharyaâs attention to Sthreekara (P. Lankesh), who directly challenges the established Brahminical norms and questions the sanctity of the Janana Vati, the sacred water where Brahmins take bath. He wants to be cremated using cow dung instead of wood, which is traditionally used. The confusion created by Naranappa's death, as well as Sthreekara's radical beliefs, leaves Praneshacharya in a perplexed state of mind. It forces him to question the concept of morality, caste, and religion and its relation to the customs of society. He begins to re-examine his beliefs and his identity, ultimately leading him to confront his inner dilemmas. The film is a beautiful portrayal of how the characters interact, and how their actions and beliefs impact society at large. With intense dialogue and compelling performances, Samskara compels the viewers to ponder existential questions like morality, belief, and identity. The direction and cinematography immerse the audience in the captivating scenic beauty of rural India â the lush fields, deep forests, and murky ponds. Girish Karnad, who plays Praneshacharya with great subtlety and nuance, showcases a masterful performance in one of the finest roles of his career. Snehalata Reddy, as Chandri, P. Lankesh, as Sthreekara, and crew gave equally remarkable performances that bring the story to vibrant life. The movie delves into several issues that have plagued rural India since ages. The problem of caste and how it affects the society is a reality that still exists in modern India. The movie exposes the hypocrisy of the upper-class Brahmins who are considered the custodians of culture but are shown to have no compassion or morality in their behavior. It highlights how women who transgress the brahminical rules and caste norms are ostracized and their lives are destroyed. Samskara is a thought-provoking movie that encourages contemplation on universal philosophical questions, like what is the self, what do we mean by identity, what constitutes a good life and grappling with the uncomfortable truths. Pattabhirama Reddy's direction, Karnad's performance, and the story itself are true masterpieces in the world of cinema. The movie truly stands the test of time and presents an unflinching look at India's cultural landscape, not relying on stereotypical tropes or preconceptions. In conclusion, Samskara is intellectual, groundbreaking, and inspiring. It is a film that will leave an indelible mark on those who watch it, leading to discussions and debates about moral and social issues that continue to impact India and the world.