Putting all other speculations to rest, ‘Purab Ki Awaz’ will finally see the light of day on March 10 in theatres across various other parts of the country including Assam and the North East. The film was already doing a lot of promotion ahead of its release date in August last year but then at the last minute the makers halted its release.
Whatever could be the reason, this much awaited Hindi biopic is the first film to be made on legendary freedom fighter Kanaklata Barua, and is by far the most ambitious project of filmmaker Chandra Mudoi. Whatever woes ensued, financial or otherwise, when the intentions are good, there’s no stopping the filmmakers who are ever determined to have it released at the pan-India level. L.P.K.G Film Production has now joined hands with Mittal Advertising & Distribution to release this film, which is perhaps the costliest venture to have emerged out of the State.
Despite boldly facing the bullets of the British police during the freedom struggle of India in 1942 and laying down her life for the country, Kanaklata is a little-known figure in the rest of the country. The defiant patriotism, fortitude and fearlessness displayed by Kanaklata who was only 16 at the time, made her an ultimate icon, a potent symbol of independence.
Hailing from a harsh social background, Kanaklata rose above circumstances through grit and determination to fight for the country’s freedom against the British oppressors. “We strongly feel that her ideals and contributions must be remembered with outmost respect and an open mind. Its our privilege to salute and celebrate her spirit on celluloid,” 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 can’t think of any woman who became a martyr at such a young age in the country,” said Mudoi. The unassuming and fiercely patriotic Kanaklata was at the vanguard of the movement, which erupted spontaneously among the youth, the discontented populace, at an age nobody could have ever imagined at that time. Her martyrdom aroused countless ordinary people, from their lethargy, awakening their latent rebellious instincts.
Most people in Assam are only aware of how this heroic woman was slain by the police while she was trying to hoist the national flag at the local police station. As a child, she endeared herself to everyone with her emotional accessibility and fellow-feeling towards her near and dear ones. She wasn’t in the least afraid to speak up her mind against any injustice or some unjust act.
There have been documentaries and tele-films on Kanaklata before, but the stories and incidents related to her childhood have not been captured before. While succinctly delving into the major incidents in Kanaklata’s brief life, Mudoi also took recourse on Thuleshwar Rajkhowa – the only living witness from that movement, in Gohpur, unearthing several unknown and interesting facts about this young freedom fighter as a child.
The film is seen through the eyes of a young Assamese girl, a hardnosed cadre from a militant outfit who accidentally stumbles into Kanaklata’s village, now long past its former glory, and rediscovers the life-story of this forgotten fighter with whom she finds a lot of affinity.
There are two strands of narrative in the film that run parallel while depicting the story of two women belonging to two generations in two separate ‘freedom’ movements, by expressing their protesting voices against insecurity, betrayal and oppression.
Produced by cultural activist Loknath Deka, ‘Purab Ki Awaz’s script is written by director Chandra Mudoi himself. There are several songs in the film written by Mudoi which are composed by Dr Hitesh Boruah, Ajoy Phukon and Tapan Kakati. Cinematographed by Naba Das, the various roles in the film are played by Nipon Goswami, Urmila Mahanta, Debasis Borthakur, Dr Tapan Sharma, Jatin Khanikar, Dipak Roy, Monimara Bora, Rina Bora, Swapnajit Borkakati, child artistes Rodali Bora, Jafri, etc. Chandra Mudoi is helped in direction by Dipak Roy and Swapnajit Borkakati. The film’s editing is handled by Syamal Das, make-up is by Biswa and Dhan, while the film’s production controller is Khargeswar Bora.
The filmmakers are hopeful of drawing the attention of the national viewers to the bravery and sacrifice of Kanaklata, and have also requested the Assamese diaspora living in New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai as well as Maharashtra, Kerala, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, etc, to extend their all-out help and support to the movie.
The Assamese version of the film, ‘Epaah Phulil Epaah Soril’ is expected to hit the screens in August this year.