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Assam gems for Delhi film buffs

Award winning films will be featured at the fest, reports Saibal Chatterjee.

india Updated: Jan 05, 2006 19:36 IST

Seven award-winning cinematic essays from Assam will be screened in New Delhi as part of a special film festival jointly organized by the Assam State Film (Finance and Development) Corporation (ASFFDC) and the Directorate of Film Festivals, Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

The Assamese Film Festival, designed around the theme of the “role of cinema in social awakening’, will kick off on the evening of January 6 in New Delhi’s Siri Fort complex with the screening of the Hindi-language Kaalsandhya, the last film of the late writer-editor-filmmaker Bhabendranath Saikia’s illustrious career

The inaugural ceremony will be attended by noted Assamese filmmaker Jahnu Barua, acclaimed writer Indira Goswami and celebrated screen and stage actress Seema Biswas.

The other six features that will be on show during the three-day festival range from Jahnu Barua’s 1992 award-winning film, Firingoti (The Spark), to the recently completed Laaz, directed by Manju Bora. The package also includes a Bodo-language film, Jwngdao Bodosa’s Hagramayao Jinahari (Rape in the Virgin Forest).

Also in the line-up are three other critically applauded Assamese films – Santwana Bordoloi’s Adajya (The Flight), Sanjib Sabhapandit’s Juye Poora Xoon (The Self Triumphs) and Sanjeev Hazorika’s Matsyagandha (The Outrage).

“A festival of this sort should have started many years ago, when interest in Assamese cinema was at its peak at the national level,” says Jahnu Barua. “But better late than never.”

The prime mover of the Assamese Film Festival is the ASFFDC, which has drawn up elaborate plans to step up its activities to promote cinema from the state. Says Bobbeeta Sharma, Chairperson, ASFFDC: “We intend to make this film festival an annual event.”

Barua feels that the festival is a step in the right direction. “Our output is low because of the limited size of the market for Assamese films,” he says. “All the more reason for us to make concerted efforts to widen the audience base and spread awareness about the quality of Assamese cinema.”

How important this festival is for Assamese cinema as a whole can be gauged from the number of personalities who are flying in from Guwahati to grace the occasion. Among those who will be seen during the screenings are award-winning actress Moloya Goswami, widely lauded filmmaker Santwana Bordoloi and popular actor Jatin Bora.

ASFFDC has, on its part, rolled out other equally crucial plans to give Assamese cinema a renewed boost. In April last year, it revived the Assam State Film Awards after a hiatus of six years. The then Union minister for youth affairs, Sunil Dutt, inaugurated the proceedings in the presence of actor Victor Banerjee.

A month later, ASFFDC organized the first Guwahati International Film Festival, with well-known actor-director Amol Palekar putting in an appearance as the chief guest.

The Assamese Film Festival is an extension of a long overdue bid to put Assamese cinema back on the national map.

First Published: Jan 05, 2006 20:00 IST