A cut above the local- Kenny Basumatary venture releases today

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  • Published 27.09.13

Guwahati, Sept. 26: Look at the stills and they are out of a dusty, government school courtyard. Two unknowns doing their kicks and katas, passing time maybe... Then give Kenny Basumatary his humble 550D Canon camera and what do you have?

A crisp and contending 92-minute film, made for Rs 95,000, but good enough to be picked up by PVR Director’s Rare for screening in 41 movie theatres in Assam and Mumbai, Pune, Gurgaon, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Calcutta and Chennai... That’s Local Kung Fu for you!

The Assamese film, subtitled in English, releases tomorrow.

Produced by Kenny Basumatary and Durlov Baruah, the film has been made under the banner of Kenny DB Films.

The movie keeps it simple, but relevant.

Set in Guwahati, it revolves around “an ordinary boy” Charlie, who has a “delicate stomach”. It is his roller-coaster story involving his girlfriend, a wannabe under-18 don and his friends, a rumoured “naked thief” and an actual mid-level don who is a skilled kung fu fighter.

Complex? Not really, considering Basumatary is also credited with authoring a book, that goes by what seems a rather complex title of Chocolate Guitar Momos.

Crafted as a comedy, Local Kung Fu also has a message, against alcohol and gutkha, the second being a major killer among Assam’s populace.

So, are the man’s hands registered as deadly weapons?

“I did learn kung fu for two years but don’t have a belt,” says Basumatary. “But most of the actors in the film have black belts in kung fu.”

And why local? “Because it’s the kung fu that one sees so often in these parts.”

This goes well with local sentiments here really — “lokel eggs” (as opposed to what we get from Andhra Pradesh), lokel chicken, as opposed to broiler poultry... “Exactly like that,” says Basumatary.

Complex plot, complex personal career, too. Basumatary is “an IIT Delhi dropout, who is pursuing his dream in creative arts, especially films”.

Projects in the pipeline include Raag (with Adil Hussain) and Mary Kom (with Priyanka Chopra).

Commercials featuring Basumatary include those of Honda, GNIIT and BigBazaar.

As for Local Kung Fu, its YouTube hits have been high: over 18,444 views of its trailer that was uploaded in March 2012.

Once done, the film premiered at Osian’s Cinefan Film Festival in New Delhi, where both connoisseurs and critics approved of the effort.

Other special screenings include the International Digital Film Festival, Whistling Woods, Mumbai and Cine ASA Film Festival in Guwahati.

The cast includes Basumatary, Utkal Hazowary, Sangeeta Nair, Bonny Deuri, Bibhash Sinha, Ronnie Deuri, Johny Deuri and A.S. Deori.

And Basumatary seems to have beaten — hands down at that — the “no budget no movie” refrain that plagues so many of the region’s film directors.

His Rs 95,000 budget includes Rs 58,000 for his Canon, a lens and some accessories, Rs 5,000 for a Rode VideoMic, Rs 15,000 for “token payments” to actors, and the rest for nearly 150 rice cakes and 200 plates of momos and noodles.

The film’s credits, too, run simple: writer, director of photography, editor, main actor, production co-ordinator, spot boy, caterer and cook, all Kenny Basumatary.

Well, where there’s Basumatary, there’s a movie!