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Dispur to fund mini cinemas

Guwahati, Oct. 10: The Assam government has finally sanctioned Rs 5 crore to set up 10 mini cinema halls with seating capacity of 250 to 300 across the state to give a boost to the struggling Assamese film industry.

Revealing this during the music release of the upcoming Assamese movie Bir Silarai, director of cultural affairs Madhurima Barua Sen said the list of the persons who would be given licences to set up the halls was being finalised.

“In the first phase, the state government has sanctioned Rs 5 crore to set up 10 mini cinema halls across the state. The amount will be distributed equally (Rs 50 lakh each) among 10 beneficiaries. If the expenditure for setting up a hall is more than Rs 50 lakh, the beneficiary has to bear the rest of the cost,” Barua said.

She said the beneficiaries would receive the amounts as grants-in-aid and not as loans and added that the state government would sanction another sum of Rs 5 crore in the next phase to set up more halls. She said chief minister Tarun Gogoi was keen to bring the Assamese film industry out of its present gloomy state.

The filmmaking community of the state, which has been asking the state government to set up the halls for a long time now, welcomed the news.

Filmmaker Bani Das said it was a positive and the first step towards development of the Assamese film industry. He said the state government should have also taken the initiative to reopen the 150 odd cinema halls that had been closed down.

Film critic Arun Lochan Das also welcomed the decision, saying the state needed mini cinema halls in semi-urban and rural areas. “If people get a cinema hall within a short distance, they will see Assamese films. Mobile theatres with film actors are receiving good response from the people as they have entered every nook and corner of the state, while people in rural and semi-urban areas need to travel more than 25km to reach the nearest cinema hall.”

The film Bir Silarai, which has been directed by Samarendra Narayan Deb of Aranya fame after a gap of two decades, is based on the life of the Koch general who was revered for his fighting skills.

Deb said the animation part of the film was being done and the film would hit the screens in December.


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