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A rare peep into world of Assamese cinema

Lakshmi B. Ghosh

Delhi festival to promote regional fare


NEW DELHI: For years now, the cinematic wonders of this State have been drowned by the admiration and adulation that the City of Joy's celluloid works have attracted.

But this week will give Delhi a rare chance to not just get a peek into the world of Assamese films but also discover cinematic works that have received critical acclaim but never really reached the wide audience that they were meant for.

One of the first such big festivals of regional films in the city, the award-winning Assamese Film Festival is being organised by the Assam State Film (Finance and Development) Corporation and the Directorate of Film Festivals.

Revolving round the theme of "Role of cinema in social awakening'', Assamese films tackling issues of social relevance will be screened at the three-day festival at Siri Fort Auditorium here.

There will also be a photo exhibition on the history of Assamese films.

Addressing a press conference here to announce the festival, noted Assamese filmmaker Jahnu Barua welcomed the initiative to promote regional cinema.

"It feels very nice to see this event. I think this kind of festival should have been held much earlier. The society in Assam is much influenced by cinema and we do make a lot of films centred round local issues. But since the market is very small the number of films has been less,'' he said.

For a State that has always taken its cinema seriously, Assamese cinema unlike its Bengali counterpart never really managed to make the breakthrough on the national scene despite its film industry making a mark in the National Awards over the years. But the problem of regional cinema getting sidelined, feels Mr. Barua, is not that of Assam alone.

"We have a lot of talent in the country both before and behind the camera but we have not been able to come up with the quality of cinema that is required. We are nowhere near the international market. This is a matter of great concern for us. We have not been able to create the kind of environment that is necessary to create a system. That is why we end up being ordinary despite the best of talent,'' says the director.

The festival will open this Friday with a tribute to eminent filmmaker Bhabendra Nath Saikia, whose much-acclaimed film "Kalsandhya'' will be screened on the inaugural day.

The other films to be shown at the festival are Jahnu Barua's "Firingoti'', Santwana Bardoloi's "Adajya'' (The Flight), Manju Bora's "Laaz'', Sanjib Hazarika's "Matsyagandhya'' (Outrage), Jwangdoa Bodosa's ``Hagramayo Jinahari'' (Rape in the Virgin Forest) and Sanjib Sabhapandit's ``Juye Poora Xoon'' (The Self Triumphs).

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