An unusual first film in many ways, centered around an absent hero, an engineering student at the state capital. His father, who lives in a remote coastal village, expects his son's imminent return, and journeys each evening to the bus stop, only to be disappointed. Following a report of police arrest, the old man makes a painful trip to the city, but discovers nothing. It becomes clear that the son will not be coming back. Writer/director Shaji and his 83-year-old star Premji make the father's pain and confusion heartbreakingly authentic in what is a profoundly sensual film: the sheer effort of walking, the abrasive physical presence of the elements. At the same time, it addresses current political concerns: the infringement of the modern world on traditional beliefs; establishment corruption; the role of women; education. A master of nuance and mood, Shaji values grace and the human spirit, but the film ends on a tragically ambivalent note. Quiet and contemplative in conception, it is deeply moving in effect.
Cast and crew
Raghunath Paleri, Shaji