By Abdul Gani
Daai means uncle in Assamese. Daai is an artist dedicated to his craft and is progressive. The middle-aged Daai is ready to give a fight to bring a change in the society.
The 19-minute film by Monuj Borkotoky is a lyrical ode to an artist. The film revolves around the protagonist who is not a very ‘fit’ person to live in the society as he even fails to marry a woman leave alone other works which would have projected him a ‘successful man’.
Daai, played by Devi Borkotoky, has devoted his life for the cause of art and society. Besides working in agricultural field to help his widowed sister-in law and niece run the family, he is into taking part in Bhaona (traditional plays with religious message).
Daai also encourages his niece, Pokhi, (Ranjita Kashyap) to take part in Bhaona at the Naamghar even though a section in the village opposes the idea of a woman taking part in it. Daai is the face of modernity but his village, his people fail to understand it.
Apart from the constant taunts from his sister-in-law (Bina Patangia), the villagers make fun of him for his efforts to bring a change in the society. But his love for art and craft motivate Daai to keep moving in life. Only Pokhi seems to understand him in the journey.
The director has aptly used Bhupen Hazarika’s famous song ‘Modarore Phul Heno Pujato Nalage... Lage Pise Akakhote Jui Logabole’ (Indian Coral tree flowers are not allowed in temple… But it is required to light up the sky) in the end to give a conclusion on the life of Daai.
Set up in rural Assam, the director hasn’t tried to do so many things but just let the 19 minutes of visual imagery to reflect a reality.
With the dialogues and proper costumes, Daai fits well in the role and so are Pokhi and Padumi.
Though there is not a great scope for experiment, Chida Bora has done a decent job with the camera.
Direction, Story, Screenplay, Dialogue, Costume: Monoj Borkotoky
Featuring: Devi Borkotoky, Bina Patangia, Ranjita Kashyap and others
Director of Photography: Chida Bora
The film is now being streamed on popular YouTube channel Pocket Films. Watch it here: