| Actors Sanjay Suri and Nakul Vaid in a scene from Ekhon Nedekha Nodir Xipaare |
Calcutta, July 25: A rough journey and tag of “not-Assamese” notwithstanding, director Bidyut Kotoky’s Ekhon Nedekha Nodir Xipaare is set to be screened for the first time at the 12th Osian’s Cinefan Film Festival of Indian, Asian and Arab films as an Assamese one in New Delhi on Sunday.
This film, starring Sanjay Suri and Victor Banerjee, as well as director Kenny Basumatary’s Local Kung Fu, will be screened at the festival, scheduled from July 27 to August 5 at the Siri Fort Complex and Osianama and Blue Frog at The Kila, New Delhi.
The release of the film had been put off for nearly two years now, with the producer, NFDC, citing reasons like funds crunch for the delay.
It was also disqualified as the state’s representative for the national awards this year.
Assamese locale, director, language, NFDC and Censor board certificates and a title poem recited by Bhupen Hazarika had not been enough to qualify the film as “Assamese” by the jury.
Kotoky admits that the selection of the film for the festival was a pleasant surprise. It portrays the journey of a young journalist who arrives at Majuli in search of a lost friend. Raj Zutshi, Preeti Jhangiani and Bidita Bag also star in the movie.
“I hope now that the journey of the film has started it will travel to its destiny. It took longer than expected but I would like to believe I did learn a lot along the way,” the director says.
“However, I would love to re-iterate that it is an Assamese film, although a few wise men would like you to believe otherwise.”
Veteran actor Victor Banerjee had earlier rued that “the little and uncluttered painting of a story and history on celluloid is likely to drift downstream, unnoticed, unproclaimed, unrecognised.”
He said, “Ekhon Nedekha Nodir Xipaare is not a film that will create an unprecedented tsunami in critical circles. Nor will money machines clatter and jingle at the box-office. But it will touch hearts and create a consciousness that Assam and we, the people of Assam, have been looking at the rest of you for, with no demands other than brotherhood, love and compassion, for decades.”
Director Jahnu Baruah, who had earlier championed the film’s cause, said, “A grave injustice had been done. Now the wrong can be set right.”
National award winning film critic Utpal Borpujari said Ekhon Nedekha Nodir Xipaare, for which he was the script consultant, gives a fictionalised account of how violence has affected Assamese society at large in the last three decades or so.
He is confident that the screening will finally vindicate the film. “Going by the screenplay and dialogues, it’s an Assamese film, and there can be no doubt about that. Once it is shown in Osian’s Cinefan, the debate, I am sure, will end finally,” he said.
On the two Assamese films, Borpujari says, “Both the films are absolutely different from each other in terms of genre, treatment and subject. Local Kung Fu is a celebration of how new technology has made filmmaking affordable. It was made for just Rs 95,000.”
“LKF is meant to be a fun entertainer that you can go and watch with your family. It’s in the vein of Jackie Chan/Stephen Chow movies,” says Kenny.
The comic martial arts film will be screened on Saturday at 10am and Ekhon Nedekha Nodir Xipaare will be screened on Sunday at 7pm.