British archive picks Assam film - London institute to preserve award-winning movie on schizophrenia

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By Staff Reporter
  • Published 7.04.10

Guwahati, April 6: Ahir Bhairav, an award-winning Assamese film on a woman’s struggle with schizophrenia, has been chosen by the British Film Institute, London, to be preserved in its world-renowned archive.

Producer Ranen Sarma said the institute had agreed to accept the film for safekeeping.

Started in 1935, the institute’s archive has the largest collection of moving image material in the world.

It is a charitable organisation that encourages development of films and television programmes and promotes their use as a record of contemporary life and manners.

Ahir Bhairav (Songs of the Dawn) takes a close look into the world of a schizophrenic woman and the impact the ailment has on those close to her, especially her westernised daughter.

Released in Assam in April 2007, it is the first Assamese film to have been shot entirely in the UK.

It revolves around three generations of educated Indians caught in the vortex of a dilemma and how they psychologically struggle to come to terms with the lives of schizophrenics in their midst.

Directed by late Siba Prasad Thakur, it had won the best international director award and was nominated in four other categories at the New York Independent International Film Festival, 2008.

“The British Film Institute decided to acquire a print of the film after they found it interesting. I believe it was quite an achievement for the people of Assam and the Assamese film industry because it is a very renowned film institute of the world,” the producer said.

The institute will also arrange for students and research fellows from all over the world to view the film.

“I am very pleased that our film has found a place among the great collection from around the world and film lovers from across the globe will be able to see the movie,” he said.

Sarma said he had produced the film based on decades of experience to create awareness on mental illness.

Last year, he screened the film in different parts of Assam, including in rural areas, to create awareness about schizophrenia and the medical treatment available for the disease.