Sunday, September 21, 2014

Bhoota Kola of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi Districts - A short video

Bhoota Kola (precisely bhootada kola) is prominent belief amongst people of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi district. A raw translation to English leads to Spirit worship or daemon worship. People in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi district are firm worshipers of Goddess durga and Lord Ganapathy. Apart from this, they worship the spirits and have small fane dedicated to it. The event happens amongst family groups and not as public worship. There is also Serpent worship (Cobra) which occurs as public event. Our family group conducts this event every year during winter time. Pre-dominantly the event is conducted during nights of winter season. The worship prolongs for entire night. The protagonist for the event is well experienced in performing the worship as acts as representative of the daemon. It is believed the daemon enters his soul after performing certain chronology and later on he acts as messenger of daemon. The event starts around 10PM and ends at 4AM. There are reasons as why the event tends to be under night sky (may be spirits appear only at night?). The event starts of with tiny "pooje" and later the performer adorns himself with artistic patterns resembling the imaginary spirit. The event is initiated with "Gaggara", the later moment it is believed spirit enters the soul. Thereafter, the acts performed are not well defined and carried out as per wish of spirit. A short break at the middle narrates the story of the spirit worship during which, the soul is back to human nature. Later on, the spirit is pleased again to enter the soul. As concluding part, people seek queries on their problems and spirit provides solutions to them. Any deficiencies in family group, the spirit seeks remedy for the same. The day ends with distribution of prasada and its time for us to have deep slumber.

Here starts my story. This was the first time, I burnt my eyes whole night videographing this special event for first time. I guess once during childhood days, I watched event for entire night. As life and civilization modernizes, such type of events are being perceived as superstitions and people only watch them as a folklore. It is up-to to people to decide their beliefs. My job here was to concentrate on the videography concepts without hindering the sanctity of occasion or hampering people's belief. I was on duty based on request from one of the visitor for free :). It was also sort of learning opportunity for me despite curtailing peaceful sleep. I did few video editing too! All videos were shot hand-held which was sufficient to maintain steadiness. Eventually around 10GB of footage was accumulated and later compiled in KDENLIVE for final touch up. Only prominent aspects of event was retained in compiled video and turned out to be quite huge too (around 25 mins). I shared the compiled DVD with my cousin brother in village and he was enthralled to watch it with high quality. Even I was satisfied with the kind of reception the video drew (my father was happy too!). Hope you find time to watch lengthy video. I compiled video after a gap of 4 months from the day of event. Somethings require time and they deserve too (Like Subramanya train journey which I uploaded after gap of 4 months).



 I self reviewed the video and found few observations

  • Missed some important events like the performer being decorated as spirit especially painting. I was away during his preparation.
  • The middle of event is called "Paad-dhaana" in Tulu during which, the fable of spirit worship is narrated. The audio turned out to be feeble since I lacked external microphone
  • The last part of event when prasada was distributed. I was quite exhausted during wee hours desperately wanting to lie on bed.
  • Usage of tripod was not possible since the performer skews around area due to which lot of dynamism was required while videographing.
  • The reasons may seem to be excuses however will try next year for better glimpses.

Last Note:

"What kind of worship is this which finds place in modernized world full of robots", someone may lament. As mentioned earlier, my part here was to enjoy the event and videograph to my known knowledge. I have not uploaded for debating. Any comments/critiques on perception, quality of the video are highly appreciated. While on contrary, any praise/flames on the authenticity of worship will be mercilessly scrapped :). I do not expect any critiques here other than videography

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