Wanna get our awesome news?
We will send you weekly news & updates. Isn't that cool?
Subscribe!

Actually we will not spam you and keep your personal data secure

Wanna get our awesome news?
We will send you emails only several times per week. Isn't that cool?
Subscribe!

Actually we will not spam you and keep your personal data secure

Sun, 23 Feb 2020

Northeast Today

THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’: THE CHANGING LANDSCAPE/BROADENING AUDIENCE OF ASSAMESE CINEMA

THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’: THE CHANGING LANDSCAPE/BROADENING AUDIENCE OF ASSAMESE CINEMA
February 11
11:46 2020

Vasudha Roy

 

At a time when Bollywood’s popular films are majorly concentrated on genres like action, romantic films, rom-coms and the like, quality films have been a rarity. Under the guise of easy entertainment, people have found themselves drawn to the charm of the silver screens for a long time now, but the scene is set for change with the coming of more realistic, true- to-life everyday narratives being incorporated into films. Newer genres are being explored and unique plotlines made, making for an altogether refreshing wave of change in the field.

In this regard, the Assamese film industry has been increasingly becoming the talk of the town, which lay largely unaccounted for, in the past.  An industry that owes its humble beginnings to Rupkonwar Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, it has grown considerably well over the years, and is finally getting the attention it  deserves,  reaching  out  to screens across India and worldwide. Earning accolades and recognition, filmmakers from the region have been making it big at film festivals and theatres across the country.

An industry that boasts of Bornodi Bhotiyai, Bhoga Khirikee, Aamis, Axone, Local Kungfu, Handuk, Bulbul Can Sing, Village Rockstars, Kothanodi and the like, one can easily understand the kind of diversity films in this region allow for. And with eight states sharing boundaries together, this diversity is indeed understandable. Given the rich potpourri of traditional folktales, cultures and customs available at the disposal of filmmakers, it would be only foolish to not explore the same. But the richness/ uniqueness of content cannot solely provide for a film’s popularity. Presentation plays an equally important part- as was exemplified by the recent box office battle between Bala and Ujda Chaman. We all know how that went down  in the end. Another important element is to foster  a sense of familiarity; a feat that filmmakers of the region have steadily achieved. The quality of taking what might be alien to people outside the culture and transforming it into something that inspires awe, is an achievement that films of the region have commanded so much respect for.v

Cinema is a reflection of the society- the more real it is, the greater is the impact. When the audience’s hearts rolled along like the Outenga with   the   traditional   folktales in   Kothanodi, or they found themselves  wanting  to  indulge in the meat dishes in Aamis, and maybe taste some Akhuni alongside, or follow the eyes of the helpless spectator as Dhunu’s village was swept away by the floods in Village Rockstars, as they understood the plight of the teenagers in Bulbul Can Sing, a chord was struck somewhere. When an alienated  audience  was  given  a peek  into the problem of insurgency in Assam through Jahnu Barua’s Bhoga Khirikee and Jai Dohutia’s Haanduk, or they empathised with how gravely Majuli’s existence was threatened, every passing day in Anupam Kaushik’s Bornodi Bhotiyai, the awestruck audience was bound to take notice of how rich the culture of filmmaking in the region actually is. From a time when Assamese  films were rarely screened outside Northeast to them having gained global attention, we have come a long way indeed. In essence, the Assamese film industry has commanded respect among modern day film enthusiasts, and for all the right reasons. Amongst other considerations, the industry allows a lot of scope for independent filmmaking- so much so that it has emerged as a whole new genre. On the one hand where experienced filmmakers detach themselves from the prospect of commercial gains,  budding filmmakers  on the other hand attempt to make a mark in the field with their efforts- and all of  it allows for one thing in common- experimentation. And experimentation is what keeps an art alive.

Another trend among filmmakers in the region is the eye for a realistic cultural landscape, painted subtly alongside the main narrative, piquing the interest of the non-Assamese audience, for it is largely unknown to them. The outstanding visual narratives in combination with the greatness of depth of the storylines are a recipe for the ultimate cinematic experience.

Further, the versatility of narratives and genres has catered to a range of audiences alike, so there’s always something for everybody. Owing to various hurdles, it did take us a considerable amount of time to gain a wider audience, but the newly gained charm looks like it is here to stay for a while. And as the saying goes, make hay while the sun shines, filmmakers are using it to their advantage. Making up for the rarity of quality films in mainstream cinema, Assamese films have carved a niche for themselves in the field. We still have a long way to go, but popular cinema of all time has one thing in common: while glamour makes money, quality makes a mark. And the Assamese film industry had this mantra figured out, a long time ago.

 

Share

Related Articles

0 Comments