| A still from Manju Bora’s film Ai Kot Nai |
Guwahati, March 1: Winning a national award comes easy to celluloid storyteller Manju Bora.
But what has become an almost impossible task, she regrets, is bringing the audience back to the theatres to watch Assamese movies.
She has her reasons. The state’s film industry won four awards at the National Film Awards last month, led by Bora’s poignant tale Aai Kot Nai which brought the prestigious Nargis Dutt Award to the state for the first time.
“Awards are fine, but where is the audience? The industry cannot survive on awards alone. Unless our films do good business, there is very little motivation for the industry which is the bread and butter for thousands of people,” Bora said after winning the award.
Manju Bora has won several awards since her debut as a director with Baibhav. Her film Aakashitoraar Kothare had fetched her three national awards a couple of years ago.
Known for her heavily women-oriented subjects, Bora admitted that when the business of Assamese films was bleak, awards did encourage struggling filmmakers and artistes.
“Yes, it is a personal satisfaction. But that is just about it…” she added.
Bora was of the view that, perhaps, the state’s filmmakers were not being able to make the films attractive enough for the audience.
“It is not about who is making the film. It is always about how the story is told,” she said adding that the reason why Bollywood star Aamir Khan’s style of storytelling was loved by all was because of its simplicity.
“Even in a film like Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, Aamir Khan brought together two newcomers and retold a common story in such a manner that it was a big hit though he was not in the film,” Bora said.
In the film, Aamir had cast his nephew Imran Khan opposite Genelia and churned out a very popular movie. “Perhaps, we need an Aamir Khan here to lift the industry to bring back the crowd,” she said.
“We need to strike the balance between commercial and serious filmmaking to attract the audience,” she added.
In her award-winning film Aai Kot Nai, Bora spun a saga of two communities — the Assamese and the Nagas — caught in a no-man’s land on the inter-state border.
The other films which won national awards this year include debutant director M. Maniram’s Mon Jai which bagged the Rajat Kamal for the best regional movie. Mon Jai, which deals with youth unrest, has Zubeen Garg in a serious role.
The Best Critic Award was bagged by Altaf Mazid for focus on the Assamese film industry. He also won the award in the non-feature film category for Best Anthropological/Ethnographic Film for his directorial work in Boliya Pitaier Sohoki Sootal.