His ability to balance art and entertainment is exactly the quality that has made him a popular director in the State. From his debut with the 1994 release ‘Agnigarh’ to ‘Bakor Putek’ in 2012, his movies have done reasonably well even when others have struggled at the box-office with disastrous consequences. Despite the prevailing conditions, producers still feel confident enough to invest in films helmed by him. He hasn’t garnered that many awards, but with 11 films to his name, the indefatigably prolific Chandra Mudoi has always been ahead of the curve, and he shows no signs of slowing down as yet.
Mudoi has been looking forward to a project, an ambitious one, that he has been nurturing for years now – a film on legendary freedom fighter Birangana Kanaklata. He was determined to leave a footprint with an unusual and compassionate take on the subject.
Despite boldly facing the bullets of the police force during the freedom struggle of India in 1942 and laying down her life for the country, Kanaklata is largely a little-known figure to the audiences in other parts of the country. Mudoi’s intention is not just to honour a brave soul but also to draw the attention of audiences across the country and abroad with his new bilingual in Assamese and Hindi. A 16 year old girl’s deep love and pride for her country is rare. She not only fought for the country’s independence but also became a martyr. “It’s our privilege to salute and celebrate her spirit on celluloid. Its a film that needs to seen by everyone”, said Mudoi. A number of freedom fighters have lost their lives during the Quit India Movement, but Kanaklata occupies a special pride of place in everyone’s hearts. In Mudoi’s own words, apart from being a woman, Kanaklata was a ‘minor’ at the time of her tragic death. “We couldn’t think of any woman who became a martyr at such a young age in the country”, said Mudoi.
Most people in Assam are only aware of the story of how this heroic woman was slained by the police while she was trying to hoist the national flag at the local police station. But Kanaklata was a rebel ever since she was a child, and was not afraid to raise her voice against any unjust acts. Her grit and determination is equalled to none. She concerned herself with the suffering of those who turned to her for help. The moment she was stirred by patriotism and nationalistic pride, she plunged deep into the freedom movement, becoming a vocal advocacy of freedom, in the process, sacrificing her own childhood years.
Chandra Mudoi had unearthed several unknown facts about the young freedom fighter as a child when he met Thuleshwar Rajkhowa in Gohpur. The only living proof from that movement in 1942, Rajkhowa was one of those several young unarmed freedom fighters along with Kanaklata who got bullet wounds when police opened fire during that procession. Kanaklata succumbed to her wounds but Rajkhowa somehow survived the incident. Mudoi has incorporated several of Rajkhowa’s interesting stories from her childhood in the movie. The unassuming and fiercely patriotic Kanaklata was thrust into the centre of a movement at an age nobody could have ever imagined at that time. During the Quit India Movement, Kanaklata’s valor and audacity gave hope to many Assamese, all of whom have to live through a number of turbulent years. There have been several films, documentaries on Kanaklata, but the stories and incidents related to her childhood were not captured before. The bravery and sacrifice of this young braveheart will certainly elicit the adoration of audiences from all over the country and abroad with the release of the bilingual – ‘Epaah Phulil Epaah Soril’ in Assamese and ‘Purab Ki Awaz’ in Hindi. The film’s banner L.P.K.G Film Production has joined hands with Pen-N-Camera International to release ‘Purab Ki Awaz’ world-wide in more than 1500 screens on August 5. On the same day, the Assamese version ‘Epaah Phulil Epaah Soril’ will also get release. The Mumbai based distributor has already launched a massive publicity drive in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata among other places. This is obviously good news for the people of Assam.
In this connection, it has to be mentioned that director Chandra Mudoi has utilised the services of two actresses to portray Kanaklata as a child and as a 16 year old. While the child version is played by dancing sensation Rodali Bora, the FTII alumnus Urmila Mahanta, who has made a name for herself down south and Mumbai, portrays Kanaklata as a 16 year old. She counts this among her career’s most persuasive roles. Mudoi is quite happy with their performances and he is quite confident that people in Assam will be able to discover Kanaklata afresh. He has also inserted a new character in the script while keeping in mind with the personality of Thuleshwar Rajkhowa. The state’s veteran actor Nipon Goswami plays this role. Audiences in Assam will also discover a young talent in Debashish Borthakur in the bilingual. Another important aspect will be its music. The music composed by Dr Hitesh Baruah, Ajay Phukan and Tapan Kakati is likely to be appreciated by the audiences.
In all probability, this bilingual is the costliest venture to have emerged out of the State. Made in Assamese and Hindi, most of this bilingual’s technical aspects were executed in Mumbai. Leaving no stone unturned to make it a film to remember, producer and cultural activist Loknath Deka displayed extraordinary guts and resolve while splurging an awesome amount of money, that runs into crores. Everyone is hopeful that the Hindi version will attract the attention of people from all over the country and even abroad.
Various other roles in the bilingual are played by Monimala, Dr Tapan Sarma, Jatin Khanikar, Papori Bora, Ashrumoni, child artistes Akshita and Jaffry, etc.
Chandra Mudoi is helped in direction by Dipak Roy and Swapnajit Borkakati. The film’s cinematography is done by Naba Kumar Das. The editing is executed by by Syamal Das, make-up is by Biswa and Dhan, while the film’s production controller is Khargeswar Bora.
In a heartening bit of news, even the President of the country Pranab Mukherjee has expressed his willingness to see ‘Purab Ki Awaz’. Recently, it came to light after a visit with a request made by the Rajya Sabha MP Ripon Bora was received with a generous stamp of approval at the Rastrapathi Bhavan. The MP was stunned by the President’s knowledge regarding the history of Birangana Kanaklata Barua. He also expressed his desire to see the movie within this month.
‘Purab Ki Awaz’ evoked generous praise and appreciation after a special show was held at the Films Division auditorium in New Delhi earlier in January.