News Alert

Ishu enters Kolkata IFF

Correspondent

Guwahati, November 6, 2017: Good news for Assamese cinema, “Ishu”, the feature film debut of critic-turned filmmaker Utpal Borpujari produced by Children’s Film Society, India (CFSI), has been selected for the Indian Languages Competition at the 23rd Kolkata International Film Festival, one of India’s most prominent international film festivals. 

The film, which marks the screen debut of Kapil Garo from Sonapur Barosojiya village on the outskirts of Guwahati in the title role, will compete with nine other Indian films in variious langauges for the top honours at the festival. In the continuing strong relation between Assamese cinema and literature, Ishu is a big screen adaptation of Manikuntala Bhattacharjya’s children’s novel of the same name.

The film also stars two-time National Award (Special Jury Mention)-winning actor Bishnu Kharghoria and National Award-winning Manipuri actress Tonthoingambi Leishangthem Devi, along with veterans like Chetana Das and Pratibha Choudhury and talented younger actors like Monuj Borkotoky, Dipika Deka and Nibedita Bharali. Others in the cast include Mahendra Das, Rajesh Bhuyan, Naba Kumar Baruah, Monuj Gogoi, etc. Other child actors in the film include Mahendra Rabha, Srabanta Rabha and Uday Rabha.

The film uses sand animation by the talented Diganta Madhab Goswami to depict two folk tales that are told to the protagonist by his aunt and grandmother.

The film’s dialogue, with emphasis on how the Rabha people living near Goalpara area speak Assamese with a particular accent, has been written by Borpujari in collaboration with award-winning theatre director Sukracharjya Rabha of the famed Badungduppa Kala Kendra of Rampur, Agia.

Several actors from the Badungduppa group, including Dhananjay Rabha and Basanta Rabha, have acted in pivotal roles in the film, which has been shot in pristine locations of several Rabha tribal vilages near Agia in Goalpara, located on the south bank of the mighty Brahmaputra.

It may be mentioned that NSD graduate and actress Pranami Bora conducted an 8-day workshop for the actors of the film at Badungduppa Kala Kendra premises, and Madan Rabha and Basanta Rabha were in charge of imparting accent training for the actors so that all of them could deliver their dialogues in the local accent.

The film reflects the rural ambience of western Assam in its truest sense, and it will instantly take the viewer to a world of a kid whose innocent and happy-go-lucky world turns topsy turvy thanks to the superstitious society of adults around him.

Set in a remote tribal Rabha village in Lower Assam area bordering Meghalaya’s Garo Hills, this Assamese feature film marks the feature film debut of National Award-winning film critic and documentary director Utpal Borpujari, whose documentaries “Mayong: Myth/Reality”, “Songs of the Blue Hills” and “Memories of a Forgotten War” have earned wide acclaim across the world.

The film takes a look at the inhuman practice of ‘witch hunting’ that is prevalent in parts of Assam as well as some other parts of India, through they eyes of an innocent child whose favourite aunt is branded as a ‘witch’ by the evil village “Bej” (quack) who conspires with another aunt to do so.