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A murky, dark alley, portrayed on celluloid

- Kangkan Rajkhowa’s debut film Siyor, delving into the lives of sex workers in Guwahati, releases today

Guwahati, Jan. 16: It is a subject which usually raises eyebrows when portrayed on celluloid, but a grim reality for those grappling with it.

Assamese director Kangkan Rajkhowa has dared to go where no one has gone before and portrayed the lives of sex workers in his debut film Siyor (The Scream), which releases tomorrow.

A special screening of Siyor was held here today.

The film highlights how Guwahati does not have a demarcated red-light area but there are people running the flesh trade in the city by bribing policemen. All those involved in the profession have a tragic story to tell.

The film is based on the novel Sayelika’s Diary by Govind Khound.

“Some earlier Assamese movies had a passing reference to prostitution but none dealt with the subject exclusively. It is certainly a brave attempt by the director,” said film critic Arun Lochan Das.

The film portrays the journey of a young journalist, Priya, whose chance meeting with a prostitute inspires her to do a story on their lives. She is from an affluent family and joins a news channel on an internship after completing her graduation in mass communication.

But an unexpected chain of events forces her to live in a brothel, where she is raped by a goon, becomes pregnant and her newborn is looked after by a homeless elderly woman.

Rajkhowa tries to present the daily lives of sex workers and their cruel past through his narrative.

The initial melodrama is a bit dull but Priya’s fate after she gets entangled in the seedy world moves the audience.

Siyor is perhaps the first Assamese film to have a surfeit of slang. “The director could have minimised uses of slang in the film. Apart from that, I appreciate the use of new faces. Rajkhowa has done away with the tradition of featuring big stars in his film,” Das said.

The Censor Board has awarded an UA-certificate for Siyor, which means people of all ages may be admitted but children below 12 years must be accompanied by a parent “as the theme or content may be considered intense or inappropriate for young children”.

The cast includes Bhagirathi, Biki, Priyashi Kashyap, Pranami Bora, Simashree Bora, Gyanendra Pallav, Abhijit Goswami, Tridib Lahon, Baisali Saikia and Amitabh Rajkhowa.

Producer Sanjive Narayan said they had planned to release the film last year but could not do so because of lack of slots in cinema theatres owing to the release of some big-budget Hindi films.


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