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Pitrakuda: ‘An Abode of Ancestors’

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Film Review

By Dr Anoop Virendra Kathait

A story or a film is a dream weaving process for any filmmaker for the sake of a revolution or awakening of the new generation. The recently released Garhwali movie – “Pitrakuda” or “An Abode of Ancestors” is all about a clear message to our new generation to be familiar with the concept of the homes of our forefathers who are not alive today.  Produced, directed, and written by Pradeep Bhandari and assisted by Vijay Bharati, it has various dimensions- rituals, migration, retribution, struggle, land laws, the scenic and cultural beauty of Uttarakhand.

The music composed by Sanjay Kumola, Amit V Kapoor, and Sumit Gusain takes us into the roots of our motherland. The title song of the film sung by well-known melodious singer Jitendra Panwar does justice to the film. The cinematography by Nagendra Prasad is again really a masterwork in itself. The film tries to capture the entire attention of the viewers and the flowing tears while watching it are a symbol of success for a director. However, the screenplay, the tonal quality of the dialogues and the background music could have been better.

Raghunath Singh, the protagonist, deals with all the incidents and feels all alone after his wife’s death. His son Diwan Singh has already left home for employment. He also confronts the land mafias and a great problem of hill areas i.e. palayan. Pitrakuda is a testament to the belief that the ancestors are not gone but continue to live through the lives of their descendants, guiding and protecting them. It is a place where the past and present unite, where the insight of the ancestors illuminates the path forward. “Abode of Ancestors” is a legacy of those who came before as the foundation of family welfare upon which the future is built. It is a bond between generations. And this hidden thread of affection should be protected.

The subject of the film is really untouched for our new generation. And this lack is due to earlier migration from the mountains and the motherland. For instance, a tree is nothing without its roots, the same with humans. So, it’s essential to understand our origin. In this, we should thank the director for having come up with this subject. The film maker has tried all his efforts to bring out the rituals of Himalayan villages. The singing ballads of mountains create a melodious stream of emotions to mingle with the folks to celebrate the gifts of nature.

The most sacred time in Pitrakuda is the “Pitra Paksha”, a fortnight dedicated to the ancestors. During this period, the village comes alive with ceremonies, music and dance, as offerings are made to ensure the ancestors’ passage to the higher realms is peaceful and to seek their blessings. As the movie goes on, the air is filled with the scent of incense and ancient hymns, creating an ethereal atmosphere that bridges the earthly and the divine. On whole, the movie “Pitrakuda” is a spiritual and cultural fabric which connects us to our roots. The ritual is an offering to make that abode alive in the hearts of dear ones. It’s also a call to return to one’s original abodes at least once a year to remember and worship the ancestors.

(The author is an educator, story writer and freelance writer in Dehradun)