Children's film goes global

Ishu, a children's film, directed by Utpal Borpujari, will be screened in various film festivals across the world. It is the first Assamese film in past decade that has been produced by the Children's Film Society India (CFSI). Jahnu Barua's Tora was the last film to be produced by the CFSI in 2004.

By Manash Pratim Dutta in Guwahati
  • Published 13.10.17
  •  
A still from Ishu. Picture courtesy: CFSI

Guwahati, Oct. 12: Ishu, a children's film, directed by Utpal Borpujari, will be screened in various film festivals across the world. It is the first Assamese film in past decade that has been produced by the Children's Film Society India (CFSI). Jahnu Barua's Tora was the last film to be produced by the CFSI in 2004.

Ishu is based on Assamese writer Monikuntala Bhattacharya's novel with the same name where the issue of witch-hunting has been portrayed from a boy's perspective.

"I liked the story as it presents a burning issue of Assam from a 10-year-old's point of view. Adults think everything critically and we always try to make every problem critical. But children have clean mindsets and they try to find an easy solution to every problem. Witch-hunting is a serious problem in Assam and other parts of the country and it should be discussed properly," Borpujari said.

"At the national level, only a few films had rural life as their plots. Therefore, we chose this story. Besides, it portrays the lifestyle of the Rabha community," the director added.

Kapil Garo, 10, from Jagiroad, Morigaon, played the protagonist. This is Kapil's debut film.

"I travelled all around the state to find a boy for the lead role. I met some child actors in Upper Assam but the role demanded an innocent-looking boy who speaks in the lower Assam accent. Then I had started searching in the villages of lower Assam. Finally, I met Kapil. I did not hold any audition as I thought good actors might not perform well during auditions owing to nervousness. I just interacted with some boys and tried to read their faces," Borpujari said.

The film critic-turned-director of Assam, who had also worked as a journalist for many years, has already made five documentaries, Mayong: Myth/Reality, Songs of the Blue Hills, Soccer Queens of Rani, Memories of a Forgotten War and For a Durbar of the People. Borpujari is one of the prominent film critics from Assam who bagged the National Award in 2002.

Borpujari said he has already applied for nomination for the 91-minute film in various national and international film festivals and also got confirmation from a couple of festivals.

Tora, whichreleased in 2004, received the Best Children's Film award in the 51st National Film Awards in 2003. Aei Maatite, another film based on witch-hunting, which released recently, got a good response across the state.