GUWAHATI, April 21 � Through a rare screening of the Abdul Majid-directed classic, Chameli Memsab, and the showcasing of contemporary films like Rajni Basumatary�s Raag, Manju Borah�s Ko:yad and Bidyut Kotoky�s Ekhon Nedekha Nodir Xhipare, a special festival of cinema from Assam wowed residents of Delhi from April 13 to 18, a press release received here stated.
The festival was held on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the Assamese film industry, and a total of eight award-winning and critically-acclaimed films presented before cinema lovers a small but significant window to the cinema from the State. It was organised by the prestigious India International Centre in association with Assam Association, Delhi, which is a 68-year-old premier socio-cultural organisation of the people from Assam residing in Delhi and the NCR that has been engaged in promoting and projecting the rich and varied art and culture of Assam in particular and the NE region in general.
The festival was timed to coincide with the Association�s grandest regular event � Rongali Bihu celebrated on April 19 at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts in New Delhi.
Among the eight films screened at the festival were Jahnu Barua�s Aparoopa, Arup Manna�s Aideu, Bidyut Chakravarty�s Dwaar and Hemanta Kumar Das�s Othello. Curated by national award-winning film critic and filmmaker Utpal Borpujari, the festival received an enthusiastic response from both Assamese and non-Assamese audiences.
The celebratory mood, however, took a sombre turn during the screening of Filmfare Award-winning film Dwaar on April 18, as the audience mourned the sudden demise of its director, Bidyut Chakravarty. Zerifa Wahid, who plays the lead female character in the film, paid tribute to the late director-actor.
Earlier, the festival kicked off on April 13 with the screening of Abdul Majid�s Chameli Memsab in a packed auditorium. With its story written by Nirode Choudhury and evergreen music by Bhupen Hazarika, the film left the viewers commenting that it still is as refreshing as it was when it released in 1975.
Welcoming the audience, Assam Association, Delhi, general secretary Sarat Barkakati said that the festival was a small tribute to the creativity of filmmakers from the State, who have continued with the tradition of telling socially relevant stories, a trend that started in 1935 with Jyotiprasad Agarwala�s Joymoti. He thanked the India International Centre for partnering the association to organise the festival.
Festival curator Borpujari gave a brief introduction to the concept behind the festival and said that despite problems like lack of adequate screening space, nearly zero commercial prospects and long years of social unrest, Assam has seen a small, but regular outflow of socially relevant films in various ethnic languages. He also added that the films showcased in the festival were just a small sample from the long journey of Assam�s cinema.
Earlier, Borpujari was felicitated by Assam Association, Delhi president Dr Nilamani Sarma for conceptualizing and curating the festival. The festival was attended, among others, by Raag director Rajni Basumatary and actress Zerifa Wahid. Basumatary introduced the film and her cast and crew members to the audience.