The old man and the hill

Posted on April 27, 2017

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A flashback to moments from the 2002 Kannada drama ‘Dweepa’, where the construction of a dam threatens an ancient way of life.

Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/southern-lights-the-old-man-and-the-hill

Only the lower gates of the dam have been closed, and already the water levels have climbed to half the height of the hill known as Sita’s Peak, home to a few hundred tribals. Soon, the upper gates will be closed. How will the little household at the film’s centre – father Dugajja, son Ganappa, daughter-in-law Nagi – hold on? The neighbours are slowly leaving, but this family depends on a rite Dugajja performs at a local shrine, a rite named Nema. For generations, this family has been the custodian of this shrine, this rite.

Hence this plea by Ganappa to the Relief Officer who wants him to just take his compensation and clear out: “If we move to a new place, the money you give us can buy us a meal, but not this respect. Can you compensate for the honour and dignity our people give us?” An aide at the office says that the government has fixed the compensations according to the value of the land, the house – according to “assets,” in other words. “But these people have no such property.” Essentially, he’s calling them squatters. He’s telling them that even this compensation money is more than what they are rightfully owed.

Continued at the link above.

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