Tome tribute to Jyotiprasad - Book to focus on filmmaker?s unacknowledged contribution to cinema

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  • Published 26.05.05

Guwahati, May 26: When Jyotiprasad Agarwalla completed the first Assamese film, Joymoti, in 1935, it was nothing short of a miracle ? the culmination of a determined man?s desire to break new ground.

Seventy years hence, a national award-winning film critic is documenting Agarwalla?s celluloid dreams in a book that will be the first one in English to focus on the multi-faceted genius? hitherto unacknowledged contributions to the medium of cinema.

Joymoti was made just four years after the first Indian talkie, Alam Ara, had been released. The budget of the two-hour black- and-white film was a modest Rs 50,000.

?My book is an attempt to portray the multi-faceted genius as a filmmaker who understood the aesthetic sense of cinema and tried to establish it as an art form,? critic Apurba Sharma said. ?As a filmmaker, Jyotiprasad took cinema to great heights in spite of many impediments.?

Unfortunately, not a single print of Joymoti is available because the original was not preserved properly. ?Losing Joymoti cannot be compensated for, but the pioneering director?s contribution to cinema must be acknowledged,? Sharma said.

Gauhati Cine Club is financing the book, which will be released on June 17, the filmmaker?s birth anniversary. ?Most cinema fans are perhaps unaware about Jyotiprasad the filmmaker and I believe our apathy is to blame for it. Our club thought of publishing a book in English on Jyotiprasad to set this right,? cine club secretary Kanak Kalita said.

Sharma has analysed some of the sequences of the first Assamese film on the basis of a documentary, Joymoti and Jyotiprasad, by Bhupen Hazarika.

?Jyotiprasad incurred heavy losses because the people of Assam failed to appreciate Joymoti?s value as a cult film,? Sharma said.

Jyotiprasad made his second film, Indramaloti, in 1940 to recover his losses but he personally never considered it to be of any importance. The writer-composer-filmmaker died at the relatively young age of 48.

Sharma is trying hard to make his book the definitive one on Jyotiprasad and his credentials as a writer support his vision. He has four successful short-story anthologies to his credit. His first book on cinema, Asomiya Cholochitror Sah-Puhor, fetched him the President?s gold medal at the national film awards, 2002.