In today’s world, most industries and businesses are in the grip of the corporate sector. Due to an open market, even arts and culture, including cinema and theatre, have come under the ambit of corporate professionals. Its the ‘corporate’ players who funds and distributes contemporary films. The corporate is seen as the need of the hour to bring about some kind of an upheaval. But it is not the case in Assam, as the industry is still not organised as such.
The film industry in Assam urgently requires a radical change. And that can only be achieved through corporatisation of our industry. Its something seen as inevitable by many in the industry that has practically remained ‘unorganised’ throughout its existence. Under the circumstances, Ikramul Mazid, an enterprising film and theatre lover from Guwahati, took an initiative to create in place a sustainable creative organization that would make a difference in the areas of film and theatre in the state. For this purpose, he launched Alternative Cinematics, a corporate organization, in the year 2014. The main aim and objective of this organisation is to produce realistic and purposeful films and promote Assamese films and theatre. In 2015, Mazid produced an offbeat film titled ‘Rodor Sithi’ with story, script and direction by Baharul Islam, and starring artistes like Adil Hussain, Bhagirathi, Zubeen Garg and Angarag Mahanta, among others. The film with a catchy score by Zubeen Garg went on to win the ‘Best Film’ award in the ‘Excellence in Cinema’ category at the Canada International Film Festival. It has been an honor for him to see his work recognized in a major film festival.
After that success, Mazid went ahead to produce his second venture – ‘Barsharanya’ (Rain Forest) under Alternative Cinematics. The film based on noted environmentalist Soumyadeep Dutta’s aclaimed book ‘Namchangor Antexpurot’, has been directed by Diganta Mazumdar, with script by playwright Jiten Sarma, sound design and mixing by Amrit Pritam, cinematography by Naiyer Ghufran and editing by Ramen Bora. Sarring artistes like Arun Nath, Tapan Das, Debajit Mazumdar, Tanthoi Devi among others, ‘Barsharanya’ even bagged ‘Best Film’ award in the environment category at the Mexico International Film Festival.
Meanwhile, both these films – ‘Rodor Sithi’ and ‘Barsharanya’ were screened to rave reviews at the Lonavla International Film Festival in Maharashtra, which is indeed great news for our region. They were selected from well over 300 films from across the globe. Both were based on issue based and realistic genre. A good number of India’s celebrated filmmakers and artistes like Shyam Benegal, Govind Nihalani, Naseeruddin Shah etc., are involved with this festival.
Ikramul Majid had always shown a penchant for the parallel Hindi cinema since his younger days and he treasured the idea to make socially relevant films. Despite facing financial constraints, he intends to make more such meaningful cinema in the future. He believes that there are many discerning viewers who would like to watch good Assamese films. But for that the State Government has to take the initiative to promote Assamese cinema, much like the involvement of governments in the States of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Bengal, among others. Moreover Japanese, Korean, German, French and Iranian films are greatly patronised by their country’s governments.
Films have become a culture of commodification. As part of a ‘consumer product’, its absolutely necessary to have proper packaging, promotion and marketing strategy in place to attain good business. Mazid is also planning to include filmmaking and exhibition in the corporate sector.
Mazid is also quite keen to produce quality theatrical ventures. Recently, he co-produced the drama ‘Garh’, presented by Seagull theatre and directed by Ikramul Majid.