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Experience Narrative Storytelling in “Thatha’s Secret” — Legend of the Tribe

Written and Directed by Sharanya Ramesh | Review by Moumita Deb

[dropcap]S[/dropcap]haranya Ramesh’s, “Thatha’s Secret” is storytelling brought to life with brilliant claymation, handmade sets, and the mystery that shrouds the legend of the tribe.

Similar to the narrative storytelling it emulates, the intricately detailed visuals hold a deeper meaning for the viewer.

Fair enough?

In this story, Arya and her sister Tara spend the summer with their grandfather — thatha. No holiday is complete without their customary camping trip. Most importantly, they get to hear thatha’s tales under the stars.

Unfortunately, this year thatha’s storytelling has a few unexpected twists with profound implications.

Narrative Storytelling

Ramesh’s narrative storytelling technique is unique for animation. She kept the promise of passing on the wisdom and legend of the tribe.

Indeed, Ramesh’s story held me captive from start to finish.

Story-telling with a miniature film set, the attic room with a desk and chair by the window at thatha's house.
Image coutesy of Sharanya Ramesh via FilmFreeway

“Thatha’s Secret”  is a wonderful effort and a terrific attempt to transfer the tale of the tribe to viewers. This film is, by far, one of the most thoughtful, authentic, and entertaining films related to the unraveling of grim secrets.

And this makes all the difference —

You must be patient with “Thatha’s Secret.” A different time and context require a slower thought process. Narrative storytelling is vastly different from modern recounts.

Storytelling and the legend of the tribe

Nevertheless, “Thatha’s Secret” is storytelling at its finest and a great, educational experience. The short film convincingly strikes the chord of love, courage, and redemption.  Notably, powerfully portrayed animation combined with the storyline works well as it drifts along.

Clamation figures from "Thatha's Secret" story-telling a scene where they're walking through the woods.
Image via Screenshot FilmFreeway

In my experience, the beautiful mix of fantasy and legends makes “Thatha’s Secret” one of the most phenomenal movies of its genre. It touched my heart and soul and brought me closer to an unnurtured yet well-sheltered secret of the mysterious tribe.

Everything about this movie is absolutely breath-taking from the scenery, plot, clothing, and the storyline.

No doubt, ” Thathsa’s Secret” is the heart of storytelling, with real soul, magic, mystery, and earth spirit. Indeed, I loved every part of the film.

It does the heart good to view something so redemptive and honest.

A lot of care went into authenticity and accuracy. From identifying the sacred storytelling of the tribe with proper language, every detail in the costumes, as well we the various periods, were painstakingly crafted.

A lasting impression

Ramesh’s animated short film is in that rare category of work that passes on truths in beguiling, entrancing story forms. Here live nature spirits, harmonious ways of ancient living, our spirituality, a deeply-rooted strength of character, and societal responsibility.

Ultimately, “Thatha’s Secret” is one of those movies that sticks with you long after the credits roll. Ramesh’s storytelling connects the past to the present. And in doing so, it manifests the understanding of the mystic realism that grandpa so poignantly stresses.

Clamation figures from "Thattha's Secret" and the magic of story-telling.
Image via Screenshot FilmFreeway

The true target audience for this lavishly produced film is our subconscious, as we connect the dots between our history and our storytelling.

As if that’s not enough, the plot thrives in utter simplicity —

The experience is one we all know, a curious child gleaning life lessons from a camping trek to the wilderness with his daring grandpa.

Our legacy is the stories we leave behind

Sharanya Ramesh on Instagram with her clamation set of "Thattha's Secret" for visual story-telling.
Image via Instagram

Ramesh’s film is as enjoyable as anything in mainstream animation. No doubt about it, the film offers a combination of audacity, intelligence, wit, and emotional reward.

The story depicts the fading of childhood’s imagination and explores the mechanics of forgetting. This is how “Thatha’s Secret” achieves universal significance.

Here, sorrow and happiness are equally valuable emotions. Still, Ramesh delivers this sentiment with less piety than you might imagine.

The pain of that legacy is evident in the emotional voiceover, which conveys the timeless message.

In the end, there’s a question that lingers over this sad saga. As a film “Thatha’s Secret ” provides its own venerable storyteller. We wonder then, will the story end here with the ultimate fulfillment?

As for Visual Style

“Thatha’s Secret” is dazzling, flouting the tendency to photorealism in favor of handmade sets.

A refined exploration of light, the film’s emotions are fibrous bundles of luminescence and delicious to gorge upon, as Ramesh’s, “Thatha’s Secret” tugs at the heartstrings without a hint of cynicism.

Moumita Deb

Moumita is a Kolkata based independent filmmaker and film critic, with certifications in Cinematography, Video Editing and Filmmaking She holds a post-graduate degree in English literature from Jadavpur University. Reading novels a wide range of authors of all genres from classic to contemporary has always been Moumita’s passion and calling.



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