The conflict between good and evil is perhaps as old as humankind has known. However, such conflicts arising out of men’s greed to exploit the wild for commercial purposes is a relatively modern phenomenon with its genesis lying in the colonial past when exploitation for commercial gains proved primary over all other schemes-of-things. Often, exploitation of nature knows no bounds and results in the death and destruction of the wild along with loss in the lives of those committed to protect the forest.
Assamese film ‘Borsharanya’ – set in the backdrop of one of India’s richest rain forest situated in the country’s easternmost region, revolves around the lives and activities that prevail at fringe locals of the rain forest, with decaying values forming the ground for germination of men’s greed, and destructive ambitions resulting in systematic exploitation of the bountiful wild with which the traditional men was known to have led a symbiotic living.
Amidst such a milieu, the sacrifice and subsequent loss in the life of a dedicated forester, who single handedly fights the evils of illegal logging, corruption and poaching, remained unrecognised. Yet, good can prevail despite evil and can destroy the evil through the collective consciousness of the people for whom the forest has always been an inseparable part of their existence.
The film brings the focus back to Assam’s heavy deforestation, in fact so large that the forests have dwindled to half their former size.
‘Borsharanya’ is based on the novel ‘Naamsangor Antekhpur’ written by renowned conservationist and writer Soumyadeep Datta, whose pioneering group Nature’s Beckon not only launched a nation-wide unique campaign some ten years back for the protection of many endangered species around the Dihing Patkai rain forest but had also played a vital role in its proclamation as a wildlife sanctuary. The film’s story and screenplay is written by Jiten Sarma, who had spent a lot of time on research work. Filmmaker Diganta Mazumdar has crafted a profound film that surprised everyone, including critics and filmmakers at the 10th Habitat Film Festival held in New Delhi in May. The film has raised public awareness about the importance of conserving our rain forests. Incessant logging practiced illegally by criminal syndicates has depleted much of the forest cover resulting in rainforest degradation and destruction, besides extinction of many primary and rare species. Everyone should have the concern of protecting and preserving our natural resources, our precious flora and fauna. This wildlife sanctuary first came to the notice of British colonial rulers who plundered away much of its natural wealth. Deforestation continued even after India’s independence.
In addition to educating people about conservation, the idea behind the making of ‘Borsharanya’ is to gain national recognition for this wildlife preserve of amazing diversity.
‘Borsharanya’ is produced by entrepreneur-cultural activist Ikramul Majid under the banner of Guwahati-based Alternative Cinematics. His first film as a producer ‘Rodor Sithi’ directed by Baharul Islam was chosen for the award of excellence in filmmaking and screenwriting in the best foreign film category at the Canada International Film Festival this year. Before this movie, director Diganta Mazumdar had made the Assamese film ‘A Weekend’ in 2011. Mazumdar had gathered considerable experience working under such prominent directors as Bidyut Chakravarty, Sanjeev Hazorika, Dr Santwana Bordoloi, Manju Bora, Munin Barua among others as an assistant and chief assistant director in a number of movie projects. The book by Soumyadeep Datta had made an indelible impression on him. He had nurtured dreams of making it into a movie for years.
‘Borsharanya’s sound designing and mixing has been done by Amrit Pritam who was helped all along by the Oscar-winning sound designer Resul Pookutty. Pookutty had spent quality time in Assam’s various wildlife sanctuaries during the production period to oversee the film’s sound effects. Interestingly the film doesn’t have a background score save for the sounds of birds and animals. Another novelty is the use of Dihing Patkai as the leading protagonist instead of various other characters in the movie. Infact Pookutty was quite impressed with the film’s unique subject. He was all praise for Diganta Mazumdar for undertaking such a project.
‘Borsharanya’s camerawork has been done by Naiyer Ghufran. Script editing has been done by filmmaker Sanjeev Hazorika. Jatin Sarma has worked on the film’s audiography. The film is edited by Ramen Bora. Art direction is by Goluk Saha. Costume designer is Poli Gogoi. Hemen Bora is the film’s production controller.
Various roles in ‘Borsharanya’ are enacted by Tapan Das, Arun Nath, Tonthoi Devi (Manipur), Debojit Mazumdar, Surajit Sarma, Khanjan Nath, Shankar Rajkhowa, Sanjiv Dutta, Tarulata Kutum, Bitopan Saikia, Abatush Bhuyan, Parag Barua, Pinakpani Borthakur, Montu Gogoi, Pawan Phukan, child artistes Vaishnavi Sen Deka, Anindita Goswami, etc. Meanwhile Manipur’s well-known actress Tonthoi Devi has also received the National Film Award.