An Assamese film starring acclaimed actors Victor Banerjee and Sanjay Suri and produced by the government body National Film Development Corporation (NFDC,Ekhon Nedekha Nadir Xipaare that the Censor Board has certified as an Assamese movie has been dismisses as a non-Assamese work by the state-appointed National Awards jury. The film is directed by Bidyut Kotoky and also stars Raj Zutshi,Priti Jhangiani and Bidita Bag. Incidentally,the film also has a Hindi version titled As The River Flows.
The decision has angered the films cast and crew as well as other members of the industry. I am flummoxed by the sheer absurdity of a National Jury watching an Assamese language film,directed by an Assamese,shot in Assam and then proclaiming it as not Assamese, says Banerjee. I am ashamed at the high-handed arrogance of ignorance of a jury that has no business calling itself national. As The River Flows is an important Assamese film with a message for everybody to ponder upon.
The jury,headed by actor Rohini Hattangady,had Assamese filmmaker Hiren Bora as a member. According to Bora,The jury was of the view that a major chunk of the film was shot in Mumbai and most of the dialogues were in Hindi. The North-Eastern MPs Forum of which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is an important member is likely to take up the issue with Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni.
What has happened is unfortunate. We are planning to meet Sonia (Gandhi)ji on this issue soon, said general secretary of the forum Birendra Prasad Baishya. The film is a socio-political thriller and talks of social conflicts and individual commitments in an age where society has become so self-centred.
The films cinematographer veteran Madhu Ambat says he cant understand the logic behind the jurys decision. It is not for a jury to decide what kind of a film it is. After all when the Censor Board has cleared it as an Assamese film,how can the jury reject it, he asks.
When contacted,NFDC GM Vikramjit Roy said,Please connect with the competent authorities at the Directorate of Film Festivals.
Set in the worlds biggest inhabited river island of Majuli,the rich culture and lifestyle of the famous Vaishnavite centres form the theme of the film. Zubin Garg of Ya Ali fame who has composed the music for the film is also surprised. Its surprising that the jury did not find enough Assamese elements in the film and rejected it, he says. Bhupen Hazarika,who died last year,has sung the title poem of the film.