Assamese Movies: Wings To Fly
We appreciate the recent steps of our state government to sit across the table with the leading captains of the Assamese film fraternity for drafting a fresh and vibrant policy to revive our glorious Assamese film industry.
However, will only some more intensity of government patronage suffice towards reviving the industry and taking it on a successful commercial path? Will our movies become blockbusters or super hits overnight? I believe that day is still far off from happening in reality. Assamese movies have actually not taken off (barring a countable few) and the industry, as a whole, has not flourished at all. But is it only due to the lack of finance or scarcity of mini cinema halls? We need to think and analyze the reasons much beyond that.
A movie, to become a super hit, may need a lot of other factors. The viewer must be able to strongly relate to the movie theme. In fact, it has to be a more natural chemistry. I feel that, the X factor is still missing in our movies.
We have to be realistic in our approach and the storyline has to be strong. The same old stories of Bowaris and Xahus and of heroes wooing the maidens around lush gardens, with a guitar in hand, is surely becoming a drag nowadays.
Recently, the Hindi movie Kabir Singh, has swept all box office collections massively. We don't endorse toxic masculinity or male chauvinism, but the protagonist has those traits in this movie. He is not perfect. His anger management is zero. Similarly, none of us are perfect and our society is also not perfect. Bollywood has accepted this fact gracefully, while Assamese movies still tread on projecting the old paths of virtue and righteousness. So the viewers get detached and lose interest in the movies.
Again, let me shoot a question to all who are interested and wish well for Assamese cinema. The always successful Rajashri movies have never invested a billion dollars in their projects. The movies of Hrishikesh Mukherjee or Basu Bhattacharyya never saw huge infusion of large investments. Even in our own state, mobile theatres are also doing much better comparatively, than movies. So economics, though crucial, may not be the sole factor for films to succeed.
Recent Bollywood movies like MSD, Taskhent Files, Batla House, Mangal Mission are either bio-pics or based on true incidents which are controversial or famous themes. But very strong research & development combined with legal safeguards and delicately planning have contributed to make them so successful. Disclaimers are there side by side and best attempts are also made not to distort incidents, history or characters.
Assamese movies can take a leaf from the books of Bollywood. We don't have dearth of heroes and legends in our state. Bishnu Rabha, Dr Bhupen Hazarika, Dr Mamoni Raisom Goswami are potentially exciting topics for bio-pics. The mystery of Justice Rajkhowa's triple murder in Dhubri, the ULFA stories and encounters may make up chilling crime thrillers. Only sincere and careful research has to be done before embarking on this journey because chances of disasters loom large with such projects.
New faces have always come out in Bollywood. They are strong character players. Being physically beautiful is not their forte. But power acting is their USP. I am yet to see a sort of Nawazuddin Siddique or an Irfan Khan or a Vidya Balan in our Assamese films in the last two decades. The same old faces of Nipon Goswami, Jatin Bora, Moloya Goswami in their respective typecasts are still very conspicuous. We really need to infuse new blood, new ideas, new faces and new brains to take this journey forward. Even comedy has to evolve from caricatures to wit to make the modern viewer-blushing movies. We respect the experienced and seasoned actors very much, but a judicious mixture of youth and experience will really be a much better proposition.
We have seen some good new Assamese movies like Kothanadi, Maj Rati Keteki, Xoixobote Dhemalite and Ramdhenu recently. They are refreshing and still give us a ray of hope for better days to come.
At the end, stronger scripts, realistic narratives, accepting social changes with open mindedness and pragmatism, well researched projects and bio-pics, new ideas, new faces and out of the box scripts, a fresh team of creative mavericks will surely add wings to fly, for a squatting bird to move up and touch the skies. Finance, efficient film distribution, more cinema halls and more government support will definitely follow in due course and add synergy to the revival of glory for Assamese movies and this wonderful industry. Believe me, well begun is half done and golden times will again come back soon.
(The author is a serious movie viewer, well wisher of the Assamese film industry and a freelance writer)