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Sun, 16 Jun 2019

Northeast Today

‘Audience Admire Good Work’

‘Audience Admire Good Work’
April 04
12:07 2019

IN CONVERSATION

Journalist turned filmmaker Monjuri Borkotoky talks to Maumita Mazumdar about her directorial debut ‘Across The Paddy Field’- a movie based on the insurgency of Assam.

 

Maumita: Was film making always on the cards or was it something you gradually developed?

 

Monjuri: Filmmaking was never on the cards. I did think of directing short plays, but I never thought I would be directing a film someday. I did think, however, that I might act someday.

Maumita: Tell us something about the theme and the motivation behind it.

 

Monjuri: The theme is set on the backdrop of insurgency in the 1990s and also about the journalism of that time. It was something we grew up watching. I always knew I would be a reporter when I grow up. I was very fascinated by all that happened around me. And my husband Anurag Baruah, who is also the writer of the film, grew up in Namti near Sibsagar- which was the hub of the insurgent activities. He was exposed to the happenings of the time and had a very good understanding. This is what sprung to our minds as the very first idea. And I am happy that we did what we did.

Maumita: How much of the work is done so far?

Monjuri Borkotoky

 

Monjuri: The shoot is over. It was an 18-day schedule starting from November 26 and was wrapped up on December 13. The song is ready and we are to work on the post-production now.

Maumita: How was it to shoot outdoors?

 

Monjuri: Shooting outdoors is fun! Mainly because my DOP Aniruddha Baruah (of Nilotpal Bora’s ‘Majuli’ fame) actually put the location for good use and he seems to be very satisfied with the outcome. As per as the locations were concerned, when we were writing the story we already had in our mind what kind of locations we require and we knew where we could find them, so it was not much of a problem. We were lucky that we had people like Mahendra Das (who also acted in Rock On 2) and Sanjiv Buragohain (who teaches drama in Jagiroad College). They and a few others were helpful and with their suggestions, we could scout out the exact location without much difficulty.

Maumita: Tell us something about the team.

 

Monjuri: The film has Urmila Mahanta in a lead role, along with veterans like Bishnu Kharghoria along with other prominent actors like Jyoti Narayan Nath, Bibhuti Bhushan Hazarika, and Navadip Borgohain playing crucial roles. Shankuraj Konwar has composed music and penned down the lyrics and also is lending his voice to the song. Debajit Gayan is the sound designer.

Monjuri Borkotoky

 

Maumita: How would you sum up the experience.

 

Monjuri: Initially I thought of doing a formal course on filmmaking before taking up this project. But then we discussed and decided to begin with whatever little we know, promising to rectify the mistakes, ensuring not to repeat it further. I also plan to maintain this same team for any future project that I would take up. Almost every one of us has debuted with this movie, but we have tried to do our best. Thus I would call it a learning experience.

 

Maumita: Are you concerned about big-budget films overshadowing regional films?

 

Monjuri: I think that concern is slowly dying out as people are coming out to watch good movies irrespective of whether they are regional or not. I was not an avid movie goer but ever since these films started promoting themselves, I plan to go and watch it. If the audiences are offered with good work, they will definitely not neglect it. After what Rima Das has done with her work, I don’t think we need to put forward our own opinion.

 

Maumita: Your favourite filmmaker/makers and one all-time favourite film.

 

Monjuri: Owing to the ease of access to the cinema made across the world, the list has become a never-ending one. I am from the crowd who is open to watching all types of films.

 

Maumita: Your overall experience of being a part of different media- from print to digital and which one shall be your most favoured one?

 

Manjuri: I have a short experience in print and that helped me polish my grammar. Television obviously helped me with the news presentation skills as this is something you cannot learn from textbooks. Radio helped me to connect to my own soul. And then digital was something very new, we had no idea what to expect from it when we started but gradually we learned from our experience. I cannot actually choose either of these as I am a communicator and all are equally important

 

 

Maumita: Any message for aspiring filmmakers and media professionals.

 

Monjuri: Right now, I am nobody to give a message to aspiring filmmakers because my work is still to be completed. And to those who are planning to take up media as profession, as long as one knows how to articulate and one is clear about what one is talking about, one will enjoy media. If one enjoys communicating, one will enjoy media.

 

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