‘Films should not ignore rural Assam’

SUALKUCHI, Dec 13 - The ailing Assamese film industry would do well if it pays heed to the feedback coming from the grassroots. Mere class room critique and raising hue and cry at urban centric film festivals would not help to improve the prevailing slump in the industry that is waiting for a panacea.

A large group of film lovers in Sualkuchi said that they wanted to see films made in the backdrop of the typical Assamese culture while expressing their opinion during an interactive session of a film festival held here on Sunday night.

It needs to be mentioned here that this demand for films capturing the flavour of their own culture has been made time and again by the film lovers and it has also been supported by many veteran actors who were part of hit films like Dr Bezborauh, Chameli Memsaab etc. Hadi Alam Bora who acted in Chameli Memsaab had recently said in the media that lack of films true to the culture of the State was one major reason behind the decline in the Assamese film industry.

People of all age group in Sualkuchi had flocked to the Srimanta Shankar Mandir Natghar here to watch a few Assamese feature films and some short films. The programme was organised by Cinegoers, a group of culturally inclined young people who pursue different professions.

The first film to be screened was Aideu directed by Arup Manna. This film portrays the life of Aideu Handique, the actress who was looked down upon by society for acting with a male counterpart in the first Assamese film Joymati by Jyotiprasad Agarwalla. That people enjoy a good movie was evident by the pin drop silence during the screening of the film and no mobile phones rang out throughout the festival.

“What I had read about Aideu Handique I saw it in the film. I became so emotional while watching the film,” said 60-year old Bhagyabala Das, who likes to watch films. But she said that she does not watch films now like she used to do before. “I don’t like the present films. They do not show our villages and our life,” she regretted.

Supporting Bhagyabala, Lila Choudhury, another resident of Sualkuchi said that films like Dr Bezboruah, Buwari, Ajali Nabou etc should be made so that people in the rural areas can relate.

“Films should not ignore the expectation of rural Assam, because it’s the films lovers of rural Assam who have sustained the film industry,” said Diganta Das.

The festival was an effort of cinegoers to promote film viewing, but it turned out to be a platform for the film lovers of rural Assam to voice their expectation from the film makers. The festival also proved that the popularity of short films is rising as the spectators clapped spontaneously to show their appreciation of a short film. Two feature films and six short films were screened in the festival.