Content is KING!

Tuesday, 11 August 2020



Content is KING!

Swapnil Bharali | November 30, 2019 13:43 hrs

The entertainment palate of this week in Guwahati city has been non-vegetarian basically. Aamis, as you would say in Assamese. The movie of the same name has indeed captured the sensibilities of the city’s intelligentsia and clubs, coffee shops or any decent intellectual gathering have had visibly animated discussions on and about the movie. Some have criticized the movie downright: their gastronomic sensibilities have apparently been badly hurt. Others have found it to be a piece of cinematic masterpiece with its perfectly written screenplay building up the movie to engrossing levels keeping the audience spell-bound till the last scene. Whatever be the case, Aamis has turned out to be a hugely successful movie despite being bereft of the superstars of Assamese cinema. So what made it click? Content, of course!

For long I have been writing about the challenges faced by Assamese cinema. I have done the rounds exhaustively, interacted with the crème de la crème of Assamese filmmakers and tried to understand and reason out the stiff competition that it faces from Bollywood, Hollywood and the movie streaming platforms on digital media. From all these, one thing stood eminently clear to me. Assamese cinema is facing a double whammy: less audience resulting from depleting cinema halls across the Brahmaputra Valley which is the only region that Assamese cinema is supposed to do any reasonable business in; and low budgets given that stemming from less audience, the return on investment would also be low. Given this situation, the only option left for Assamese cinema to make a turnaround is by way of providing good original content in terms of a good story and coupling the same with the most skilful filmmaking techniques. 

One might argue that the Zubeen Garg movies were a departure from this line of thought as both his movies were mounted on big budgets (with respect to Assamese cinema) and did not have stories that could be critically considered as good content. Of more recent vintage was superstar Jatin Bora’s Ratnakar which also had a reasonably impressive budget as also a reasonably good story. The point here is that Zubeen Garg and Jatin Bora have remained the biggest draws in Assamese cinema and it is, but natural, that their movies find the ticket-purchasing audience with halls seeing a reasonable footfall. However, Assamese cinema is not just about Zubeen Garg and Jatin Bora but a plethora of new talented filmmakers who can offer great cinema with innovative and novel content.

Aamis has been a trendsetter in this respect simply because its content is so out of the ordinary. For all you know this hardly is an Assamese story to start with. It is a story for the world to be told to a global audience; we are fortunate to have witnessed it in the Assamese language. It is also worth mentioning the movie Bornodi Bhotiyai in the context of offering great cinematic content to Assamese movie lovers. And so, it is very clear that content is king and it is only good content that will sell in the garb of Assamese cinema.

From here on, it would be prudent of the part of Assamese filmmakers to do some serious introspection of the content that they would want to offer in the form of cinema. They would need to detach themselves from their potential product and give their scripts a serious revision with the explicit discerning judgement of whether they are actually offering something good to the ticket-purchasing viewer or if they are just blinded by the emotion of writing a movie that isn’t in reality all that good for the quality demanding audience. It is only then that the momentum set by Aamis in bringing audiences back to the theatres and halls will be kept up. At this point, another dud in the storyline of a forthcoming movie will be a serious setback for the fair name that the industry is making and this is something to take note of.

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