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‘Mithya’ Explores How Children Grieve


‘Mithya’ Explores How Children Grieve

NEW DELHI, (IANS) – During the pandemic, filmmaker Sumant Bhat got the news of a distant relative’s death and on the thirteenth day, the deceased man’s wife killed herself, leaving behind two sons, one 11-year-old and the other only three.

Bhat attended the funeral ceremony of the wife. The older child was quite serious, but the younger one was laughing and running around, oblivious to the fact of what had happened.

That image never left the director, and thus was sown the seeds of his Kannada film ‘Mithya’.

The movie centers around Mithun, an eleven-year-old, coming to terms with the sudden loss of his parents. Things turn gloomier as their families squabble over his custody, even as questions over the nature of his father’s death remain unanswered.

The filmmaker dwells on questions like – can a new house be home; can friendships be forged again or is it all just a search for something long gone?

“I am also a parent to two children and wanted to look at how they grieve,” he said.

Stressing that it would be unfair to call ‘Mithya’ a children’s film, adding that he has had this problem of labeling some movies as ‘children’s films’ especially in India, as we mostly underestimate the emotional maturity of children and their capacity to grasp complexity.

Bhat adds: “We dumb down films for them and they are mostly about talking animals or a magic land. I did not make this movie keeping in mind any specific age group, just the fact that things need to be explored from a child’s perspective. At MAMI in Mumbai, children were not allowed, and the audience members were adults. During the Q&A session, I realized that they connected with the film through their parent’s loss or of their siblings.”

All set for its festival journey, including to the US, Russia and Europe, funding for the film was not a problem for Bhat as his friend, a major Kannada star financed not only his film but also the ventures of other independent filmmakers.

The filmmaker feels that major artists who have reached the top of the industry should also do their bit for independent films. “Even if they finance just one film of their choice, it will make a huge difference. Or they can promote it by speaking about a small film to the media.”

Dismissing the fact that OTT has helped independent filmmakers, he says it was a very small bubble that busted completely after the pandemic. It does not take much to observe that most digital platforms are now following an algorithm and prefer crime thrillers, leaving no space for something genuinely ‘different’.

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