After impressing cinephiles in a number of film festivals with his short film ‘Sita’, filmmaker Kangkan Deka’s upcoming ‘Beautiful Lives’ is the most hotly anticipated one from the current crop of movies waiting to be released this year. Those who have had the privilege of seeing it have only paeans to sing for the film and Kangkan Deka. Its heartening to know that at a time when creative cinema is getting scarce to come by, Deka has captured something that is realistic and true and which will really touch the heart of everyone who watches it.
In a press meet held in connection with the film’s CD and trailer release as part of the curtain raiser at the Guwahati Press Club, noted film critic Pramod Kalita, one of the fortunate few to view it described ‘Beautiful Lives’ as beautifully unique, and there’s every likelihood that its name will be enshrined in ‘golden letters’ in the years to come. A few others, including Deka’s close friends and unit members believes that it will usher a new awakening in the history of Assamese cinema. It’s quite revelatory in terms of subtle script writing and creative filmmaking, something that has to be emulated by upcoming filmmakers and writers, feels Kalita. As for the acting, the leading artistes contribute the best work of their careers. The artistes present on the occasion – Pakiza Begum and Bhagwat Pritam spoke about the director’s infectious energy and enthusiasm, which has really inspired them to give their best.
Kangkan Deka has explored a subject that reflects a deep humanity.
The film depicts a period when Assam was in a state of turmoil. It relates the story of a 28-year-old auto rickshaw driver Ajay, a bomb blast victim, who is left bed-ridden with brachial plexus injuries, leaving his arms completely paralysed. But his other bodily organs are working normally. People, whether disabled or not, have the same sexual or biological needs and urges. Despite all the pain and conflicting emotions – anger, fear, remorse, deep sadness, this once robust youth, still occasionally experiences a nocturnal emission which leaves his mother distraught and concerned. He was once deeply in love with a beautiful girl. But then she ditched him as a result of the injury after the bomb blast.
Ajay’s mother Dashami, meanwhile has been running from pillar to post to get the promised compensation as announced by the government. She was having an agonising time dealing with an apathetic bureaucracy.
And to add further wounds to injury, the mastermind behind the terrorist act that has ripped apart many innocent lives, is acquitted of every other crime, sparking off an outcry amongst many of the victims and their families, including Ajay’s mother Dashami. But despite his helplessness and isolation after the traumatic event, Ajay strengthens his will to lead a normal life.
‘Beautiful Lives’ would remind a divided society about the very importance of love and peace in the time of hatred. It exposes how vulnerable are lives at the hands of cruelty of time and fate. The film is a stark vision of a desperate soul left to deal with demons all by himself. It honestly tries to stir emotions of hearts to think about the reality of destiny in our lives.
Most importantly, ‘Beautiful Lives’ has effectively shattered all barriers and taboos against openly representing uninhibited sexuality. But it’s strictly integral to the story and compliments without getting in the way of narrative. It’s an audacious attempt on the part of director Kangkan Deka, who brings a certain amount of aesthetics to the scenes, without being provocative or vulgar, giving the film depth and authenticity.
The film is now scheduled to hit the screens on February 17. It has been highly appreciated by the members of the censor board, awarding it with an ‘A’ certificate. The horrific scenes of devastation wreaked by the bomb blast, its aftershock, and the terror are all conveyed here, and are true to memory. Besides directing, Kangkan Deka, who is an alumnus of ZEE Media Arts, has also produced and written its story, script and dialogues under the banner of Kernel Film Production.
The film’s artistes include Boloram Das, Ashrumoni Bora, Juri Dutta, Pakiza Begum, Navadeep Borgohain, Jayanta Bhagawati, Dharitri Jumi Barua, Nayan Saikia, Pratibha Choudhury, Rupam Barua, Prankrishna Mahanta, Pragati Devi, etc. Bhagwat Pritam, who has scored the music, appears in a special role. The title track ‘Heruwa Rongor Shubakh’ rendered Zubeen Garg, is composed by Bhagwat Pritam and Bikash Barua. The film’s cinematography is done by Midhun Chandran. Its sound is designed by the much feted Amrit Pritam, while Debojit Gayan has handled the location sound. Costumes are provided by Liku Sarmah, art direction is by Jyoti Shankar Bhattacarjya, makeup by Biswa Kalita. The title track is rendered by Zubeen Garg. The film’s chief assistant director is Rajib Dutta. The assistant directors are Liza Pegu, Anindita Kalita, Priyanku Baruah. The film’s executive producers are Rajib Phukan and Bhaskar Lekharu. Besides Guwahati, ‘Beautiful Lives’ was shot in Mangaldoi, Majuli, Kaziranga, etc.