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Atithi (The Guest)
Directed by P. Sheshadri
Written by G.M. Prahlad, P. Sheshadri
Starring Prakash Rai, Baby Raksha, Dattatreya, Lakshmi Chandrashekar
Cinematography Chandra
Release date(s) 2002
Running time 90 mins
Language Kannada

Atithi, The Guest is a 2002 Kannada film directed by P. Sheshadri[1]. The film deals with terrorism and the psychology of terrorist.


Plot summary

In the backdrop of organized terrorism threatening world peace, Atithi tries to simulate the same situation at a micro-level by putting a terrorist and peace-loving doctor together under the same roof for a few days and examines the outcome of their complex interactions. 'Atithi' as the title suggest, means Guest. The film is about an un-invited guest, played by Prakash Rai who is terrorist. The film is set in a picturesque small malenadu village which is surrounded by mountains, creeks and greenery[2].

A terrorist gang, who are involved in bomb blasts enter that silent village. Leader of that gang played by Prakash Rai who is referred to as 'dost' throughout the film gets hurt in an explosion while they are making bombs in the forest, comes to a doctor's(Dattatreya) house in the village. Doctor’s wife is taken away as a hostage to ensure secrecy of the whole deal. Doctor’s house turns into an operating base for the terrorists. A casual entry of a small child into that house adds a new dimension.Later 'dost' befriends the child who happens to be doctors neighbor. While 'dost' is recovering from his injury, his teammates plot to blast off a dam which is to be inaugurated by a minister. Amidst all this confusion, doctor goes through agonizing moments living with the terrorist. Towards the end, the child gives sweets for her birthday and invites to the inauguration function of the dam, where she will be performing a dance along with her friends. What is the nature of their interactions during that period? What kind of internal conflicts they go through even while exhibiting their respective outward stance? How they react to each other’s views, how they affect each other in commonplace situations. How an innocent child transforms the whole complexion of their relationships, thinking patterns and behavioural patterns. These are some of the elements that Atithis tries to examine at the human level leaving the viewer free to create his own socio-political context as the backdrop based on his own life experience[3].

As the director P. Sheshadri puts it Atithi is not a stated position on terrorism; it is not about the destructive power of terrorist activities; it does not even offer 'the' solution to eliminate terrorism. It is more in the nature of an examination of human behavior under a set of circumstances- be it that of a confirmed terrorist or that of a peace-loving doctor.


  • 9/11 US tragedy and a car blast in Bangalore inspired the director Sheshadri to make a film about the psychology of terrorism[4].
  • Prakash Rai reportedly charged just one rupee to act in this film.

Critical reception

The film was well received by the critics. Critics were particularly unequivocal in their praise of the approach to a complex subject such as terrorism. Though the film had terrorism as the theme,there was no throttling noise of blasts and guns.

Awards and screening

  • 2002 The film was selected for Indian Panaroma in International Film Festival Of India[5], Goa
  • 2003 Screened at Cairo International Film Festival[6]
  • Won - National Award for Best Regional Film in Kannada

See also

P. Sheshadri

External links



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