The present trend really echoes a healthy sign. Many in the industry believe it will spark a revival, a glorious return to the days of yore. A lot of people who hadn’t been to the movie theatres to watch Assamese films for quite some time came back to see ‘Doordarshan Ati Jantra’ and ‘Kothanodi’ which has received almost unanimous praise. People have really identified with the stories, and have connected with the characters on an emotional level. The favourable outcome will serve as inspirations for filmmakers to explore genres in new and interesting ways, and that in turn would benefit the film industry.
The edited version of three-page dossier of the Assamese Film Policy released by the new government is bringing some respite to the producers and investors. This new act proposes to drastically reduce the service tax charge for cinema halls in the state, besides making it mandatory for the theatres to run a minimum number of shows for Assamese films, as films have often suffered due to limited theatrical opportunity, while at the same time, it takes into consideration, the quality of the projects. Cine-goers pay money to go to the theatres to see a story that thrills, inspires, and makes them laugh or cry. Filmmakers need to lay due emphasis on raising production standards through better, original screenplays, and proper publicity to cash in on the current upturn. It will help foster a cinema culture in the audiences as it did in the recent weeks.
The latest movie to hit the screens to mixed reviews is Sanjib Sabhapandit’s ‘Dikchow Banat Palash’, which got released all over on September 30. Titled ‘The Way of the Soul’ in English, the protagonist, an octogenarian, is haunted by his past, memories that had long been repressed, triggering in him an irresistible urge to revisit a place that holds a deep sense of longing.
The film then takes the viewer to the pre-independence era, where the protagonist, then an energetic young man, wondered off to the hills of Nagaland from his home in the Sivasagar district after getting banished by the British for his role in the freedom struggle. Amidst the serenity and tranquility of the hills, he falls head-over-heels in love with a beautiful Naga damsel. She had even given him a few coins for his sustenance. However, fate had other things in store as the lovebirds were soon compelled to separate.
After many years however, the protagonist decides to revisit the place and return those coins to the lady. The film tries to project the fact that love, in its pristine glory, can still be sustained till the end of life. Through this movie, the director finally seemed to have found a reply and realised its sublime essence. Although many found it a bit melancholic and languorous in pace, the film clearly attempts to create an uplifting ambience for what’s beautiful within the human spirit. Produced by Assam Film (Finance and Development) Corporation Ltd and Utpal Kumar Das, the role of the protagonist is played by veteran actor Kulada Kumar Bhattacharjee, who endows his character with a humanity that makes one root for him. He is well supported by Naga actress Lolenla Ao, Chikmik, Mala Goswami, Chinmoy Chakraborty, Aren Jamir, Bidyut Bikash Sarma, Biren Hazarika, etc. The film’s story and script are by Sanjib Sabhapandit himself. The cinematography is by Parasher Baruah and music direction is by Anurag Saikia.
Another movie gearing to hit the screens is the Zubeen Garg starrer ‘Gaane Ki Aane’ which will unspool in the coming weekend, on October 14. Publicised as Zubeen Garg’s real-life story, the film takes its title after the singer’s song of the same name written by distinguished poet-lyricist Hiren Bhattacharya which has grown to be a cult hit over the years. An influential singer who has caught the popular imagination, Garg often parlayed his musical success into movie roles. After making his debut with the appalling ‘Tumi Mor Mathu Mor’, apparently designed to exploit his rising appeal, Garg starred in critically acclaimed movies – Munin Barua’s ‘Dinabandhu’ and M. Maniram’s ‘Mon Jai’, ‘Rodor Sithi’, the upcoming ‘Mission China’ among others. Known for his freewheeling, unencumbered lifestyle, often landing him in unseemly situations and controversies, the singer continues to find popular appeal with the masses. It would be interesting to see the singer’s colourful real-life on screen. ‘Gaane Ki Aane’ is directed by Mumbai-based Rajesh Jashpal, who has helmed serials like ‘Kusum’, ‘Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’, ‘Saat Vachan Saat Phere’, etc. The film is produced by Gautam Chakravorty, Sunil Gogoi and Rajesh Jashpal under the banner of Raga Films. The film also stars Parineeta Borthakur, Rimpi Das, Nipon Goswami, Hiranya Deka, Rina Bora, Himagni Gogoi etc. Musically scored and tuned by Zubeen Garg, the film’s songs are rendered by Zubeen, Zublee, Parineeta, Mahalaxmi and Anindita Paul.
A few more films have received official release dates. The action-oriented ‘Paglee’ will release on November 4, followed by the romantic ‘Ruf & Tuf’ on November 18. A female-driven action movie, ‘Paglee’ will display Prastuti Parashar in an action-based avatar. The film directed by Rupjyoti Bora intends to defy the traditional belief that action movies need male leads to attract audiences. The action scenes designed by Binud Kumbang incorporates the roofing technique in some scenes that will show the heroine pummeling off villains at will. The film also stars Nayan Nirban, Pabitra Pran Bora, Pradip Niscith, Ramen Tamuli among others.
‘Ruf & Tuf’ too contains some heart-stopping action scenes, but its basically a romantic story. The film introduces another director in Mani Sinha who also pens the screenplay and dialogues. The roles are essayed by Gunjan Bhardwaj, Gargi Kristi, Pran Krishna Mahanta, Satyen Sarma, Biren Hazarika, Anurupa Deka Raja, Debojit Majumdar among others.