- NET Web Desk
The Dimasa organizations have urged President Droupadi Murmu to intervene and halt the screening of National Award film ‘Semkhor’ for misrepresenting the community; and therefore staged a protest along the headquarters of Assam’s Dima Hasao district.
This 2021 film is the first Dimasa language film; which was awarded the Rajat Kamal at the 68th National Film Awards.
Baruah, who is also the co producer and lead actor of ‘Semkhor’ won the Special Jury Mention award.
According to the memorandum sent to the President, the film had given a distorted account of their rituals, traditions, and way of life. Additionally, the Dimasa organizations pleaded with the president to stop all press coverage of the movie’s director – Aimee Baruah.
They staged an agitation and submitted the memorandum to the Dima Hasao district administration. The protestors sought a public apology, in response to Baruah’s inaccurate portrayal of Dimasa custom, tradition, and livelihood in the film “Semkhor”.
“We demand compensation to the Dimasa society for defaming the traditional morality of the community,” their memorandum said.
The memorandum also claimed that a baby girl allegedly passed away due to cold, during shooting of the film; as Baruah failed to follow the legal procedures.
“The film portrays the Dimasa people as being against any kind of modern developments like road infrastructure, schools and medical facilities. It has misrepresented the tradition of our community at such a level that it portrays the practice of female infanticide in Dimasa society which is completely wrong and false. Such practices have never existed in the Dimasa society since time immemorial,” – asserted the memorandum.
The protestors claimed that no extensive research was done on Dimasa customs and traditions by Baruah and “rather she went on with a half baked story and is simply carried away with her passion to meet up her profession/hobbies by which she can earn name and fame and her act has led to a permanent dent on the morality of customs, traditions and livelihoods of the Dimasa tribe”.
Blaming Baruah for not following legal formalities, the protestors claimed that she did not take permission from the district magistrate before casting the baby girl in the film as required under the Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986.
“This is a clear case of violation of laws,” the memorandum said and demanded justice for the bereaved family.
“The baby girl was just 84 days old when she was cast in this particular film and became sick due to exposure to cold and rough weather condition at the time following which she died four days later”, it said.
Its worthy to note that ‘Semkhor’ received the “Special Audience Award” at the 20th Dhaka International Film Festival held in Dhaka, Bangladesh. It has also bagged three awards, in three different categories of Tagore International Film Festival at Kolkata – ‘Best Narrative’, ‘Best Women Film’ and ‘Best Debut Film Maker’ awards.
Besides, Actress Aimee Baruah also clinched the ‘Best Actress Award’ at Toronto International Women Film Festival (TIWFF) for her film ‘Semkhor’. TIWFF is an IMDB qualifying monthly and annual festival which celebrates and recognizes movies made by talented female filmmakers from all over the world.