‘Dikchow Bonot Palash’ : New Assamese Film by Sanjib Sabhapandit

National Award-winning director Sanjib Sabhapandit has an uncompromising knack of dealing with themes of intense human appeal and profound social relevance in his films. He pressed himself into projects that presented the issues of our times with creativity and passion. Sabhapandit came to prominence with his maiden venture ‘Juye Pora Xun’ in 2004 and ‘Jatinga Ityadi’ in 2006. Both the films were highly extolled by critics and connoisseurs alike for their socially relevant themes. His third movie ‘Janfai Junak’ was an intensely crafted work with superb technical finesse. All the three movies were selected to the prestigious Indian Panorama. ‘Juye Pora Xun’ was adjudged the best film on environment conservation/preservation. His last film, the introspective and much subdued ‘Jiya Jurir Shubakh’, was released to much anticipation on a High Definition (HD) projection at a mobile cinema theater, but didn’t quite made the kind of impact many expected. However the film’s subject opened a lot of people’s eyes. The film fetched him the award for best direction at the 6th State Film Awards. “One of his attributes has been that he always knew his mind even after letting it wander into realms of creativity that were subtle”, said Victor Banerjee, his leading artiste in ‘Jiya Jurir Shubakh’. “I loved working with a man whose spirit and personality charmed every performer and technician around him”, he added.

Kulada Kumar Bhattacharya in 'Dikchow Bonot Palash'

His has been a journey of self-created routes to creative expression. It was while playing the leading role in Jahnu Barua’s ‘Kuhkhal’, when he was bowled over by the power, the magnitude and the dimension of cinema. A former lecturer at the Assam Engineering College, currently running a textile industry in North Guwahati, Sabhapandit has exerted a noteworthy influence, even if unacknowledged, on Assamese cinema.

With an unerring eye for fresh, original stories, Sabhapandit has just started filming his new project titled ‘Dikchow Bonot Palash’ based on his own story and screeplay. The film’s mohurut was held at a naamghar located right opposite the beautiful 70-year old Assam type house of Birendranath Sarma at Majirgaon in Palashbari. On the occasion, the camera was garlanded by the honorary chairperson of the Assam State Film (Finance and Development) Corporation Ltd, Bobbeeta Sharma. After the auspicious coconut was broken by the Corporation’s managing director Umananda Doley, the shooting of ‘Dickchow Bonot Palash’ was started right away. Veteran actor Kulada Kumar Bhattacharya, reclining back on a chair, Mala Goswami and child artiste Akeeb participated in the opening shot. Sabhapandit’s new movie based on a poignant story of human relationship between an Assamese boy and a Naga girl, is an attempt to create an uplifting ambiance for what’s beautiful within the human spirit.

Unit members at the mohurut of 'Dikchow Bonot Palash '

The film recounts the past of an 85-year-old man. The year is 1945. He was a robust young man then. An active participant in the freedom struggle, this strapping, energetic lad unexpectedly leaves for the hills of Nagaland from Sivasagar district, and while staying there for over a year, falls deeply in love with a beautiful Naga girl. She even gave him money when he was in grave need of it. He was dreaming of their future life together. But all his dreams and enthusiasms vanished when he was caught and jailed. The relationship fizzled out. Now 85 years of age, he is suddenly reminded of his painful past, his breakup with the love of his life. After getting release from jail, he was appointed the Satradhikar of a local Satra. One day, even at his age, he visits the Naga Hills in search of that young girl. The purpose being to return the money that he took from her. But due to a wrong identity, he gets kidnapped. He meets a young girl when she was bringing him food. What does this young girl discover? What fate awaits the old man?

Produced under the banner of Canvascope, ‘Dikchow Bonot Palash’ is produced by Assam State Film (Finance and Development) Corporation Ltd, Utpal Das and Rajkamal Bhuyan. Sanjib Sabhapandit’s ‘Jatinga Ityadi’ was produced by Rajkamal Bhuyan. On the other hand, ‘Janfai Junak’ and ‘Jiya Jurir Shubakh’ were produced by Utpal Das. The film to be shot in locations like Palashbari, Rani, Mukkochang among other places, is being cinematographed by Parashar Barua. Before the movie went on floor, the production did spent a good amount of time in research works for credibly representing a different yet vibrant culture in order to lend an amount of authenticity. Apart from a cast of seasoned artistes from Assam, the movie uses a number of Nagamese artistes as well.

Various artistes starring in ‘Dikchow Bonot Palash’ are Kulada Kumar Bhattacharya, Chinmoy Chakraborty, Mala Goswami, Lolenna Ao, Aren Jamir, Bidyut Bikash Sarma, Biren Hazarika, Sajan Nayak, Alex Thomas, Hemen Das, Saumyadeep Dutta, Meena Engti, Dulal Sarma, Tezaswini Barua, Akeeb, Chikmik and Dimapur Hill Theatre troupe’s Bendong among others. The film’s production and costume designer is Amrita Sabhapandit. Art direction is by Gautam Das. Audiography is by Debajit Gayan. The film will be edited by Saurav Dutta. The film’s assistant directors are Dilip Dutta and Ashim Krishna Barua. The post-production works will be done in Mumbai. The film has been named ‘The Way of the Soul’ in English.

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