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Samskara (Funeral Rites) - 1970 DVD (Award Movie) $19.99

Samskara (Funeral Rites) - 1970 DVD (Award Movie)

The word Samskara means ritual in the Kannada language. The film was based on sensitive caste issues and was hence controversial. It was initially banned by the censor board for portraying caste-based politics but after being released, it went on to win the President's Gold Medal for the Best Indian Feature Film of 1971.

Movie : Samskaara (Funeral Rites)
Year : 1970
Cast : Girish Karnad, P. Lankesh, Dasharathi Dixit, B. R. Jayaram, Lakshmi Krishnamurthy, Snehalatha Reddy
Music : Rajeev Taranath
Direction : Pattabhi Rama Reddy
Producer : Ramamanohara Chitra
Story : U. R. Ananthamurthy, Girish Karnad
Cinematography : Tom Cowan


  1. National Film Award for Best Film (1971)
  2. Bronze Leopard at Locarno International Film Festival (1972)
  3. Best Story
  4. Best Direction
  5. Best Photography
  6. Best Supporting Actor


The story is set in a street in a small village called Durvasapura in the Western Ghats of Karnataka. Majority of the people who live in the street belong to the community of Madhwas (a Brahmin community).[6] The people who stay here have a traditional mindset and strictly follow the rules defined by their religion. Two of the main characters in the story are Praneshacharya (Girish Karnad) and Naranappa. Praneshacharya is a devout Brahmin who has completed his Vedic education at Varanasi and has returned to Duravasapura and is considered as the leader of the Brahmin community of his village and also of the surrounding villages. His main goal is to attain liberation or moksha and he is willing to go to any length to achieve it. In order to remain focussed on his goal and as an act of self-sacrifice, he marries an invalid woman and hence remains celibate.[6] The other main character is that of Naranappa, himself a Brahmin by birth but one who has rejected the set rules of Brahminism by eating meat and by keeping the company of a prostitute named Chandri. Once Naranappa along with his friends catches the sacred fish in the temple tank, cooks and eats them. This causes the Brahmins in the villages to rise up against him and they approach Praneshacharya to throw him out of the village. Praneshacharya decides against taking this extreme step and he believes that Naranappa can be convinced to get rid of his immoral acts. Once Naranappa visits Shimoga and he returns to Duravasapura with high fever and dies. The Brahmins are left in a piquant situation because according to Brahmin principles, a person who dies should be cremated as early as possible. None of the Brahmin's want to come forward to cremate the body since they feel that by cremating Naranappa's body, they will become polluted themselves as he was against the Brahmin principles during his lifetime. However, the Brahmin principles also stipulate that a non-Brahmin cannot cremate the body of a Brahmin. Praneshacharya, being the leader is responsible for finding the answer to this difficult problem. He reads the holy books but they do not provide any solution. He then goes to a temple to pray to God and spends a whole day there. Disappointed at not being able to solve the problem, he trudges back home and on his way, he encounters Chandri. He gets mesmerised by her beauty and when he wakes up in the midnight, he finds himself lying on Chandri's lap. Chandri rushes back home, finds that the body of Naranappa has started to rot, gets it cremated in secrecy and leaves Durvasapura. Praneshacharya is left in a piquant situation on whether he has to reveal his immoral act to the people of the village or keep quiet about it. Feeling guilty, he leaves the village but the guilt never leaves him. Finally deciding to own up his act, he returns to the village and the story ends here. Its left to the imagination of the viewer on whether Praneshacharya finally owns up the guilt or not.

DVD Features

All Regions - PAL - DVD Video - 103mins - English Subtitles - Black & White

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