Shakira In Theatres Of Assam

Posted by Susmit Isfaq in Culture-Vulture
January 18, 2017

Finally, the much awaited “Shakira Ahibo Bokultolor Bihuloi”( Shakira Will Come To Bokultol’s Bihu) is here. With a fascinating name, this Assamese film is ready to be screened this Friday (January 20).

But, it’s not only because of Shakira that I’m writing this post. It’s much more than just the title.

Yesterday (January 17), the whole of Assam celebrated the birthday of Rupkonwar Jyotiprasad Agarwala, the first to direct an Assamese movie. He made “Joymoti” (1935) which was a massive landmark for the Assamese film industry. After “Joymoti”, there were a few movies that stood out, but there has been a large gap in terms of quality. Films like “Dr. Bezborooah”,”Chameli Memsaab”, “Jetuka Pator Dore”, “Mon Jaai” gained popular support, but nothing beyond that. There was a time, and still is, where producers of Assamese movies were not getting their money back, people were not going to the theatres to see Assamese movie. But things have changed in the past few years. With some great plots in films like “Kothanodi”, “Bokul”, “Duwaar”, the Assamese movie industry has started to revive itself from the trauma. Though it has not been fully revived, I hope it will, soon.

While writing this, I have to agree that I am not a movie critic, nor do I know technicalities of making a film. But for me, Himangshu Prasad Das’s maiden movie is a revolution in itself. Made on a budget of ₹30 lakhs, the interesting point here is that there isn’t a single producer. A large part of the budget is crowd-funded.

Being a famous poet of Assam, the director collected money from the public by standing on roads, in buses, in public places to support the making of the movie. As far as I know, there are very few movies in the history of Indian cinema which have been made with crowd-funding. Not only money, people helped the cast of the film by providing food, shelter etc. This for me is a revolution. We need more films like this. There are many young directors out there who lack the money to make a film. This can be a way to show the world that a movie can be made by the people, for the people.

Another very fascinating thing is that the movie is an adaptation of Guernica’s (a theatre group in Assam) play with the same name. The play was performed first in 2015 and became popular. The interesting question is how the director will catch the audience attention since people already know the plot. It is a daring move. I hope, this will be a new dawn for the Assamese film industry.

Another bit of trivia is that nearly 3,000 artists worked in the film.

Being a well-wisher of Assamese film industry I hope, this movie will create a milestone.

Are you guys ready to meet Shakira?