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Joymoti goes Hollywood - First Assamese film to be screened at US meet

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By Staff Reporter
  • Published 1.01.10

Guwahati, Dec. 31: The first Assamese film, Joymoti, will travel to Hollywood, 75 years after Jyotiprasad Agarwalla made it.

Noted filmmaker Altaf Mazid said the prestigious Society of Cinema and Media Studies (SCMC) of Northwestern University in Evanston, Los Angeles, has invited Joymoti for its 50th international conference to be held from March 17 to 21 next year.

“Nick Davis, department of English/Gender Studies Program of the university wrote to me for consent. It is a matter of great pride and joy that the first Assamese film will be screened at the Mecca of films,” Mazid told The Telegraph.

“One of our members has nominated the film Joymoti for an official screening. The screening committee has voted enthusiastically to accept this proposal, and I hope to confirm with you that, with your help, we may show Joymoti for our members,” Davis wrote to Mazid.

Joymoti, the fourth film made in India since Raja Harishchandra,made its international premiere in the film festival of Bollywood and Beyond in Stuttgart, 2006 and had subsequent screenings in Asiaticafilmidale (Encounters with Asian Cinema) in Rome, Munich Film Festival and Asian’s Cinefan in Delhi.

Joymoti tells the story of an Ahom princess of the same name who refused to bow down before evil king Lora Roja who tortured her to collect information about her husband Godapani, the heir apparent.

Lora Roja had killed or disfigured all Ahom princes who he considered a threat to his crown. He was after Godapani who managed to flee before the king’s soldiers came knocking on his door. Joymoti gave up her life but did not utter a word about her husband.

Stating the purpose of the SCMC conference, Mazid quoted Davis as saying, “Every year, it draws together over a thousand film professors, filmmakers, and film students committed to the exhibition, circulation, study, and preservation of a wide range of films. These screenings offer the best chance to showcase important films to the members, who sustain the visibility and reputation of these films by assigning them in college courses, writing about them in books and published articles, purchasing copies of these films for their libraries or for personal research, and/or recommending titles to colleagues, curators, festival programmers, and fellow artists”.

Mazid said he had already replied with the assurance of providing the screening format of Joymoti at the earliest.

Screening of the film in the SCMC conference bears one significant coincidence. It is their golden jubilee while Assamese cinema is celebrating its platinum anniversary.

“In 1935, the film was released in the month of March while the platinum jubilee celebration in 2010 and this conference screening are happening in the same month,” Mazid added.

Founded in 1959, the SCMS is a professional organisation of college and university educators, filmmakers, historians, critics, scholars, and others devoted to the study of the moving image.