Kolkata-You Humbled Me!!

On the afternoon of 15th of June, Friday, I was a little worried. The notice board outside says, if at least 20 people doesn’t turned up, the show will be cancelled. And a 1:30 pm show in a hot & humid afternoon, on a working day, is not the most ideal time for our Assamese film Xhoixobote Dhemalite/RainbowFields  to start its journey in Kolkata’s Nandan  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nandan_(Kolkata). To make the matter more complicated, our PR guy for Kolkata ditched us big time – there was almost no coverage of the release in Kolkata till then. What more, I had couriered the posters of our film from Mumbai one day before my departure, thinking it will be up in the complex at least a day before the show. Big mistake, the posters are lost in transition, with the different city brunches of the courier company trying to solve the mystery.In short, Mr Murphy had proclaimed his undying love for me all over again. Continue reading “Kolkata-You Humbled Me!!”

Xhoixobote Dhemalite (Rainbow Fields) Assamese Movie Review: Touching tale about growing up in violent times

Mumbai-based director Bidyut Kotoky’s Assamese film Xhoixobote Dhemalite (Rainbow Fields) is one of those movies that come across as so deeply personal that you are certain that the events unfolding on the big screen must be, in one way or the other, autobiographical in nature.

The autobiographical elements are not difficult to spot with the protagonist Niyor, played by Nakul Vaid (of Ab Tak Chappan fame) being an Assamese filmmaker himself, based out of Mumbai. Bidyut Kotoky has also dubbed the voice of the protagonist, giving the film a further personal touch. It feels as if the director is quite literally narrating a story, but in an audio-visual form.

Xhoixobote Dhemalite is about how violence deeply impacts the impressionable minds of innocent children. Set mainly in the 1980s of Assam when the North-Eastern state witnessed violence that left about 1,800 people dead. The focus here is not so much on the reason behind the riots, but on how children are always the worst victims of them.Continue reading “Xhoixobote Dhemalite (Rainbow Fields) Assamese Movie Review: Touching tale about growing up in violent times”

Raj Amit Kumar’s ‘Unfreedom’ ,launches online campaign to protest against censorship

Unfreedom Movie Poster 2015Unfreedom: Blemished Light (Hindi: Dagh Ujala) is a 2014 English/Hindi socio-political drama film by Raj Amit Kumar which will be released in North America on May 29, 2015. Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s poem, “Ye Dagh Dagh Ujala”, is the inspiration behind the film.

The story revolves around a Muslim fundamentalist in New York who kidnaps a liberal Muslim scholar with an intent to kill, while a closeted lesbian in New Delhi kidnaps her bisexual lover with the intent to love. The resulting torture and violence evokes a brutal struggle of identities against “unfreedom”. The film features an impressive star cast which includes Victor Banerjee, Adil Hussain, Ankur Vikal, Seema Rahmani etc. National Film Awards winner Hari Nair is the cinematographer of the film. Filmfare Awards winner Wayne Sharpe of Rajneeti and Gangaajal fame, and Jesse Kotansky have composed the soundtrack. Academy Award winner Resul Pookutty  has done the Sound Design.

The film has been in the news recently in India as the Central Board of Film Certification failed to give clearance for the movie to publicly release in India. The director of the movie Raj Amit Kumar today released a video where he appeals to everyone to sign a petition addressed to the Prime Minister of India to protect rights of freedom of expression of all Indian citizens. The video questions the functioning of Censor Board and the way it passes imbecile decisions without batting an eyelid.

In the video, filmmaker Raj Amit Kumar states that the Censor Board should ‘rate’ or ‘certify’ a movie instead of banning and offering cuts. He also challenges that he will keep sending these signed petitions to PMO and Censor board until there is a real change.In order for this petition campaign to be successful, and for a real change to happen for all Indians, the filmmaker seeks support from everyone who believes in freedom of speech.

Here is the video where Raj Amit Kumar is seeking support from people to protest against censorship-

And here is the trailer of the film

Continue reading “Raj Amit Kumar’s ‘Unfreedom’ ,launches online campaign to protest against censorship”

Children of War Movie Review: A Disturbing Tale of Socio-Political Relevance

Children of War 2014Man likes to re-visit history from time to time for various reasons and a filmmaker also follows this diktat on and off. I for one have always had a fascination for history as I believe we have a natural curiosity to know more about what happened to us in the past, maybe somewhere among the tales from the past there could be a lesson or two that we could keep in mind for the future. Post the partition of India in 1947 and the subsequent creation of Pakistan, the two neighbouring countries have been at odds on various occasions, leading to wars both formally and covertly. But in 1971 the phenomena observed was an exception, India went to war with Pakistan once again (after 1965) but this time the cause being something that was never a direct bone of contention between the 2 Nations. Bangladesh or East Pakistan as it was earlier known as, was fighting its War of Liberation with Pakistan and the Pakistani regime in an unprecedented shameful act of terror went on to unleash a mass genocide. Nearly 3 million people were reportedly killed and about 4 lakh women raped, in a totally barbaric act. India’s support to the Bangladeshi liberation movement, led to a direct war with Pakistan, but also enabled the creation of Bangladesh by the end of 1971.Continue reading “Children of War Movie Review: A Disturbing Tale of Socio-Political Relevance”

Children of War: Trailer

The Bastard Child PosterPreviously titled The Bastard Child, Mrityunjay Devvrat‘s film on a controversial subject (1971 War for Independence of Bangladesh and its associated events) has now been re-titled as Children of War. After quite a long wait and lots of uncertainty over the release, its heartening to note that the film will now be releasing on May 16th. The title change has apparently been as a result of the Censor Board’s objection to the original title though no cuts have been suggested by them. The new title will be used in India and Bangladesh while the original title will be used in the other Countries wherever it will be released. While we have had instances of film titles getting changed in Hindi Cinema earlier as well (Billu Barber becoming Billu, Rambo Rajkumar becoming R…Rajkumar, Mental becoming Jai Ho, Aman Ki Asha becoming Total Siyapaa, Jaffna becoming Madras Cafe etc),this time the case is a lot more unique due to the Censor Board’s involvement.Continue reading “Children of War: Trailer”

The Bastard Child: Trailer

The Bastard Child-Pawan MalhotraBased in rural Bangladesh in 1971, The Bastard Child is a film which dares to talk about a brutal but apparently true incident that was horrifyingly gruesome. Directed by Mrityunjay Devvrat and produced by Soumya Joshi Devvrat, The Bastard Child tries to tread down a path that not many have actually tried to attempt. Continue reading “The Bastard Child: Trailer”

DIFF 2012 – The MAM coverage Part 2

The Dubai Film Festival coverage continues, this time focussing on India, with reviews of Valley of Saints, Miss Lovely, Shutter, Gattu, Shobdo and Shahid.

 This year, as always, the Dubai Film Festival had a fair share of offerings from the subcontinent.

A special program titled ‘Celebration of Indian Cinema’ brought together some interesting films from various parts of the country which included Hansal Mehta’s gripping biopic Shahid, Kaushik Ganguly’s Shobdo, Joy Mathew’s debut feature Shutter and Tryodoshi (Quarter 1)– Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s magical big screen interpretation of some of Rabindranath Tagore’s select poems.Continue reading “DIFF 2012 – The MAM coverage Part 2”

Ekhon Nedekha Nodir Xhipare (as the River flows) Movie Review: A film with many questions

By now a lot of people must be aware of filmmaker Bidyut Kotoky and his struggle to get his bilingual film- as the River flows (Hindi)/ Ekhon Nedekha Nodir Xhipare (Assamese) released. Though an NFDC production, for some reason or the other the film was lying in cold storage for quite some time. Towards the end of 2011/early 2012 things started looking up with the news of the Assamese version being in contention for the National Awards. Continue reading “Ekhon Nedekha Nodir Xhipare (as the River flows) Movie Review: A film with many questions”

as the River flows- A note from Victor Banerjee

It is much easier to get Mr. Victor Banerjee to agree to do my film than to make him re-live the time he spend with us during the making of the film. After all, here is a man who believes in moving ahead in life, without ever looking back. Once the shoot & dubbing of a film is over, it is curtain for him regarding that film. So much so that except Satyajit Ray’s ‘Ghare Baire’, he has not seen any of the film where he has acted in! A story goes that legendary David Lean had made this compulsory for his cast & crew to attend the premier of ‘Passage to India’. As soon as the opening credit of the film had started, one figure was seen to leave the auditorium. And that person was Victor Banerjee…Continue reading “as the River flows- A note from Victor Banerjee”