Thampu (The Circus Tent)

Thampu is a nuanced, muted film about the arrival of a circus troupe in a village on the banks of the Bharathapusha, describing life inside and outside the big tent. “Aravindan's Thampu is a deeply observant film. Aravindan has learned to see without exertion, his camera notices the edges of gestures....

“For three days the circus makes small ripples in the life of this village.... At a toddy shop, a soldier befriends the circus strongman; a pump attendant sits on a rock each day watching a village girl bathe.... The dwarf brings back to the circus a watermelon larger than his head.
“In the film's three days, we, the viewers, learn the geography of the village....
“Something very gentle runs through Aravindan's film. The narrative says: The circus comes and leaves; life goes on. But the tranquil camera and the unobtrusive editing say that the life which goes on is individual and very precious.” -Satti Khanna, “Indian Cinema '78/'79.”

“A classic in muted key... this is certainly a picture which lifts the Malayalam film industry into higher planes of veracity and media values. There is that touch of creativity that hides art behind art, helping to make it a total cinema of appeal to classes and masses alike.” -Indian Express, Bombay

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