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Stress on regional films in fest

Jorhat, Feb. 27: In keeping with the celebrations of 100 years of Indian cinema, the Assam Film Society this year will screen films mostly of different regions with stress on regional films at the fifth edition of the four-day Assam International Film Festival here from March 7.

On the occasion of International Women’s Day on March 8, the movies will be women-centric.

In a press meet here today, Jayanta Madhav Dutta, president of the Society and director of the festival, said when “we think movies it is usually the Hollywood or the Bollywood kind”.

“Our film fest will, however, give due importance to films made in Poland, Denmark, Turkey, Bangladesh and other places in Asia and Europe which have a great contribution to cinema but have not received adequate exposure for various reasons. We would like to bring this to the audiences here,” he said.

Jahnu Baruah’s famous Halodhia Soraeae Bau Dhan Khaye will be screened on the inaugural day.

The next day, four women-centric films — Jyoti Prasad Agarwalla’s Joymoti, Manju Bora’s Joymati, Bhabendranath Saikia’s Agnisnan and Swantana Bordoloi’s Adajya will be screened.

Pranjal Borah, art director of the fest, said although V. Shantaram’s Amarjyoti, made in 1938, is recognised as the first film in which the woman is the protagonist, but Joymoti, which was made in 1935, is the first.

On March 10, in the popular segment, Bhal Pabo Najanilu in Assamese, Aabash by Bijoya Jena in Odiya, Abhinav Tiwari’s Oass in Hindi, Kurmavatar by Girish Kasaravalli in Kannada and Harishchandra by Paresh Mokashi in Marathi will be screened.

The films will be interspersed with documentaries such as the AFSPA on the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in Manipuri.

Dutta said the Nilima Das Cine Award for lifetime achievement for this year would be given to Assamese actress of yesteryears, Mridula Baruah, who has acted in more than 60 Assamese movies.

The award was instituted by the Society in 2012 and in memory of Das, who acted in the third Assamese film, Manamati.

Baruah shot to fame after acting in films like Shiva Prasad Thakur’s Buari and N. Baruah’s Kokadeuta, Nati Aru Hati, Itihax, Abarton and Gun Gun Gaane Gaane.

Balin Khargaria, secretary of the reception committee, said almost all the films that had been selected had a social message and the Society persisted in organising the event annually despite a poor turnout just to encourage good viewing habits.