2019 Proves to be the Biggest Year for Assamese Cinema
From Joymati, the first Assamese film to Pratighaat, the last released Assamese film in 2019, the Assamese film industry aka Jollywood has come a long way. No doubt the growth of Jollywood has been slow paced, yet it has given the world some simple nut noteworthy cinema.
2018 raised the bar of Assamese cinema with films like Village Rockstars, Xhoixobote Dhemalite and Bhoga Khirikee to name a few.
Apart from winning big at the 65th National Film Awards and various national and international awards, Village Rockstars also became India’s official nomination for Oscars in the ‘Foreign Language Film’ category in 2018. Xhoixobote Dhemalite received awards for Best Film, Best Actress and Best Music at the 3rd Love International Film Festival in Los Angeles, US and also became the first Assamese film to release in the US.
Similarly, 2019 has been no exception. The year has seen some of the high grossing Assamese films along with a few internationally acclaimed hits that are reaching global audiences, being screened at international film festivals and receiving numerous awards.
In 2019, 14 Assamese films were publicly released and Xoixobote Dhemalite was re-released in the beginning of the year. The 14 films include:
With the end of 2019, we look back at some of the big commercial and aesthetic hits of the year!
Written and directed by Zubeen Garg, Kanchanjangha is an action drama film. The story revolves around Anirban, an ambitious rebellious young guy who fights against the system and society.
The cast includes Zubeen Garg and Pabitra Rabha in the lead role, Pinki Sharma, Sasanka Samir, Dhritiman Phukan, and Atanu Bhuyan among others.
Released on 5th September, Kanchanjangha became the fastest Assamese film to cross the Rs 1 crore mark in just 4 days. Within a week of its release the film also crossed the Rs 2 crore mark. Overall, the film collected Rs 5.12 crores and stands among the list of top commercial hits of the Assamese film industry.
Bulbul Can Sing
Rima Das’s Bulbul Can Sing is an Assamese drama film based on the life of a teenage girl, Bulbul and her friends living in a village in Assam, fighting their way through life and finding their own identities. Written and directed by Rima Das, the film was officially released in Assam on 20th September before its pan-India release on September 27.
Among other awards, Bulbul Can Sing has also won the National Award for the Best Feature Film in Assamese in the Regional Language Film Category at the 66th National Film Awards. The film has also won the Best Indie Film at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) in Victoria, Australia. Das’s film was also screened at the Toronto Film Festival and Berlin Film Festival.
The cast of Bulbul Can Sing includes Arnali Das, Banita Thakuriya, Manoranjan Das, Manabendra Das and Pakija Begam.
Ratnakar: A New Myth of Love is an Assamese action, drama and romantic film written by Abhijit Bhattacharjya and directed by Jatin Bora.
Inspired by the 2016 Tamil film ‘Theri,’ the story of Ratnakar revolves around the struggle of a single father and the bond he shares with his daughter.
The cast of Ratnakar includes Jatin Bora and Barsha Rani Bishaya in lead roles, Nishita Goswami, Pabitra Bora, Chetana Das, Sanjeev Hazarika as supporting cast. Ashramika Saikia features as the child artist.
The film hit the theatres on 11th October and instantly became a hit. It earned Rs 90.5 lakhs in 2 days. Within a week of its release, Ratnakar became the highest gross for any Assamese movie in a week and earned Rs 3.31 crores.
Currently, Ratnakar tops the list of all time highest grossing Assamese films with a total of Rs 9.25 crore and is still running in the theatres.
Aamis is an Assamese thriller film written and directed by Bhaskar Hazarika. The film is a dark love story set in modern Guwahati. The story revolves around the relationship between a married paediatrician, Nirmali and a young PhD student, Suman.
Aamis has won two awards at the 3rd Singapore South Asian International Film Festival (SAIFF) 2019. Director Bhaskar Hazarika won the award for ‘Best Director’ and Lima Das won the award for ‘Best Actor: Female.’
The cast of Aamis includes, Arghadeep Baruah, Lima Das, Neetali Das, Manash Das and Sagar Saurav.
The film was also featured at the 20th Calgary International Film Festival in Canada and was also selected to be screened at the 18th Tribeca Film Festival in New York City in the ‘International Narrative Competition’ category. It was nominated at the 18th Tribeca Film Festival in five categories, including Best Film. It needs to be mentioned that Aamis was presented by prominent Bollywood director Anurag Kashyap.
It is to be mentioned here that four films by Assamese filmmakers, including a documentary, were screened at the 19th New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF) in May 2019. The films include Bulbul Can Sing by Rima Das, Bhoga Khidikee (Broken Window) by Jahnu Barua, Aamis by Bhaskar Hazarika and Daughters of the Polo God, a documentary by Roopa Barua.
A list of 200 finest Indian films made in the last decade was drawn by Aseem Chhabra, one of leading and most respected film critics and cinema researcher. The exhaustive list of films includes all the critically good films of the last decade in any of the Indian languages, and from all spectrums, mainstream or alternative. The list includes as many as seven northeastern films, out of which five are Assamese films. Apart from JahnuBarua's Bhoga Khirikee, the list also includes both Bhaskar Hazarika's Kotha Nodi and Aamis, and Rima Das's Village Rockstars and Bulbul Can Sing.