Kathavasheshan means ‘The Deceased’, and it’s one of my favourite Malayalam movies. In my mind though, I split it in a different way (inaccurately) – what remains of him after the story. I watched it on TV after a long time. Meanwhile, such was the magic of Devdutt Pattanaik’s Jaya that I used the ad breaks to continue my reading. Though I consider myself fairly well versed with the epic, the book was an eye opener at many levels – new interpretations and back stories, philosophy, and the narration that immensely adds to the tale’s relevance.
After the Mahabharata, as Yudhishtira is conducting the Ashwamedha and is called upon to settle a dispute, Krishna asks him to postpone his decision by 3 months as the situation would undergo a sea change, because 3 months later, the Ashwamedha will conclude and the Kali Yuga will begin. Only a quarter of the values instituted by Prithu at the dawn of civilisation will survive. Man will live for pleasure, children will abandon responsibility, woman will be like men, men like women. Humans will copulate like beasts. Power will be respected, justice abandoned, sacrifice forgotten and love ridiculed. The wise will argue for the law of the jungle. Every victim will, given a chance, turn a victimiser. Values. Dharma. As the epic explains, dharma is not about winning. It is about empathy and growth. Dharma is work in progress, and cannot be seen in the isolation of one life.
(movie spoiler) Kathavasheshan‘s protagonist is a sensitive person who has empathy for everyone around him. The story begins with his suicide and his fiancee’s search for the reason. The story progresses through the perspectives of various people whose lives he has touched and his effect on them. It finally turns out that it is this very empathy and his inability to live in a society that allows the Gujarat atrocities to happen that is the reason for his suicide. (there is a personal connection for him too)
It led me to wonder if the manifestations of the Kali Yuga were such that they could not be fought within the ‘constraints’ of dharma, and escapism was the only way. It is only a movie and a character, but I’d like to think that he remains – in the minds of the people he touched – and continues his growth and the pursuit of dharma in his next life.
until next time, the post continues..