Assam film ‘Ishu’ makes it to New York Indian Film Festival
Ishu, the feature film debut of critic-turned-filmmaker Utpal Borpujari, has been selected to be screened at the New York Indian Film Festival on May 12.
Ishu is a big screen adaptation of Manikuntala Bhattacharjya’s children’s novel with the same name. It addresses one the most disturbing social issues in the state, witch-hunting. The film, which marks the screen debut of Kapil Garo from Sonapur Barosojiya village on the outskirts of Guwahati in the title role, has travelled to several places and won many accolades in the past.
The film produced by Children’s Film Society, India (CFSI) had won the Special Jury Award in Indian Competition section of the 10th Bengaluru International Film Festival earlier this year. It was selected in the competition sections for the Indian Languages Competition at the 23rd Kolkata International Film Festival and 11th International Children’s Film Festival, Bangladesh. Ishu has also been selected for the 6th Toulouse Indian Film Festival, France, to be held in April this year.
The film stars two-time national award winning actors Bishnu Kharghoria and Tonthoingambi Leishangthem Devi, along with veterans like Chetana Das and Pratibha Choudhury and talented younger actors like Monuj Borkotoky, Dipika Deka and Nibedita Bharali. Others in the cast include Mahendra Das, Rajesh Bhuyan, Naba Kumar Baruah and Monuj Gogoi. Child actors in the film are Mahendra Rabha, Srabanta Rabha and Uday Rabha.
The film uses sand animation by talented Diganta Madhab Goswami to depict two folk tales that are told to the protagonist by his aunt and grandmother.
The film’s dialogue, with emphasis on how the Rabha people living near Goalpara area speak Assamese with a particular accent, has been written by Borpujari in collaboration with award-winning theatre director Sukracharjya Rabha of the famed Badungduppa Kala Kendra of Rampur, Agia.
Several actors from the Badungduppa group, including Dhananjay Rabha and Basanta Rabha, have acted in pivotal roles in the film, which has been shot in pristine locations of several Rabha tribal villages near Agia in Goalpara, located on the south bank of the mighty Brahmaputra River.
The film has been edited by A Sreekar Prasad, while its sound design is by Amrit Pritam Dutta. Music is by Anurag Saikia while the cinematographer is Sumon Dowerah.