YEAR ENDER | Filmmakers from Assam who made Headlines in 2019
2019 was indeed a great year for filmmakers of Assam with many movies being appreciated largely by viewers and their creators receiving recognition, both in national and global platforms. While some filmmakers tried taking the state’s exquisite flavours and taste to the rest of the world, some, through their creations, endeavoured to spread a message to the society for a better tomorrow.
Let us have a look at the filmmakers and movies of Assam which hogged limelight in 2019:
RIMA DAS (BULBUL CAN SING & VILLAGE ROCKSTARS) — Rima Das, whose film “Bulbul Can Sing” wowed movie-lovers across the globe and received the National Award for the Best Assamese film in 2019, topped the charts in the list of filmmakers of Assam and made headlines in 2019. She bagged the Best Director award at the Jagran Film Festival in Mumbai, 2019 and was nominated under the category of Best Director award at the New York Indian Film Festival, 2019. The splendid creation, which also won the Best Indie Film at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) in Victoria, Australia this year, is set to have its European premiere at the 69th Berlin International Film Festival in 2020. “Bulbul Can Sing” is a coming-of-age drama about a teenage girl Bulbul living in a rural area in Assam, who fights her way through love and loss as she finds out who she really is. Besides “Bulbul Can Sing”, Das’ previous film “Village Rockstars” got entry in the Best Foreign Language category at the Oscars 2019. The film is about a girl of a village in Assam and her dreams of owning a guitar and forming a band with the local boys.
JAHNU BARUA (BHOGA KHIRIKEE) — National award winning filmmaker Jahnu Barua was nominated under the category Best Director award at the New York Indian Film Festival, 2019 for his movie ‘Bhoga Khirikee’ (Broken Window). Set against the socio-political landscape of the state in 2015, the film is based on real life experiences of a village girl in upper Assam.
ARUNJIT BORAH (MIDNIGHT SONG) — Borah is one of the emerging names among the filmmakers of Assam this year. He received the Best First Time Director award for his film “Midnight Song” (Cheers, The Sprint & Disguise) at the New York Cinematography Award 2019. The film, which is a suspense drama based on relationship crisis and self-discovery of a woman, was screened at the India International Film Festival Of Boston (IIFFB) on September 14, 2019.
ROOPA BARUAH (DAUGHTERS OF THE POLO GOD) — Baruah’s documentary “Daughters of the Polo God” won the best documentary (short) at the 19th Annual New York Indian Film Festival in 2019. Set in Manipur, the documentary by Roopa Barua, is a story about saving an endangered breed of pony and empowering women in the sport of polo at the same time.
MANJU BORAH (IN THE LAND OF POISON WOMEN) — Manju Borah was honoured with the ‘Best Pangchenpa Film’ award for her movie ‘In the Land of Poison Women’ at the 66th National Film awards ceremony in 2019. The film portrays an individual’s efforts to break the myth of “poison women” in a remote part of Arunachal Pradesh.
Junmani Devi Khaund
JUNMANI DEVI KHAUND (RUNJUN CRIES) — Khaund’s short film “Runjun Cries” was screened at a short film competition cum festival organised at Dr. Ambedkar International Centre in New Delhi by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on November 27-30. It was selected under the ‘Professional Filmmakers and Film Studios’ category.
BHASKAR HAZARIKA (AAMIS) — Hazarika’s film “Aamis” received its world premiere at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival. It was nominated in five categories in the fest’s “International Narrative” section. Set in Guwahati in Assam, the film is about a love story of a married woman and a younger man and how their relationship takes a dark turn after they go on exploring various adventurous things in life.
Dhritiman Kakati & Raktim Hazarika
DHRITIMAN KAKATI and RAKTIM HAZARIKA (THE MAN WHO SPEAKS NATURE) — The duo’s short documentary film ‘The Man Who Speaks Nature’ bagged the Best Short Film Award at the Festival International Nature Namur in Belgium in 2019. It was awarded the Best Short Film in the Professional Films category. The film, which was also invited to be a part of the International Nature Film Festival Godollo, Hungary, depicts the life and work of Manoj Gogoi, a conservationist based in Kaziranga who dedicated his life towards the rescue and rehabilitation of snakes and birds.
Bobby Sarma Baruah
BOBBY SARMA BARUAH (MISHING) — Booby Sarma Baruah is a National award winning director from Assam, best known for her film – Mishing. “Mishing”, a Sherdukpen word, means the appearance of the soul before one’s actual death. Based on the Sahitya Akademi award-winning writer Yeshe Dorjee Thongchi’s novel of the same title, won the Rajat Kamal award at the 66th National Film Awards for the best Sherdukpan film. (Sherdukpan is an ethnic group of Arunachal Pradesh).