Assam boy bags laurels in Kerala Film Festival; Wins Best Short Fiction award


-Dipankar Sarkar

At the  10th International Documentary & Short Film Festival of Kerala, young filmmaker from Nalbari district of Assam, Mukul Haloi won the Best Short Fiction award for his student exercise film in Assamese language 'Xorotor Aabelibur (Days of Autumn, 2016)'. The jury of the festival were deeply impressed by the subtle element of the film in which the filmmaker took them into the intimate space of its characters and through them, allowed them to experience the cycles and rhythms of life as it passes by. The members were particularly captivated by the way in which nature is interwoven into the main narrative.

From the beginning of the film the filmmaker brings to the screen the mundane situations within the spectrum of everyday through the life of an aged school teacher and his housewife. The treatment of the short film presents a keen observation of the young filmmaker in the manners and mores of life in a rural set up. The husband bringing on jack fruit with his oil smeared hand, the women appreciating the screen presence of an upcoming actor over a cup of tea, the salesman looking expectantly while the women is making her husband wear one sweater after the other- evokes a certain sense of reality within the economic structures of life in a village where the presence of a physical and visible world merges into the essence of verisimilitude.

Technically speaking, the editing pattern of the film preserves the natural order of the space in a restrained manner along with the long takes that suggests a detached observation for the viewers, which in a way works in favor of depicting the quotidian life of the couple and their relation with the external world. The sound design of the film synchronizes with the pervading atmosphere of absence that can be felt aurally throughout the film. However, the cinematography and art direction of the film could have better executed with much more finesse .  Also the influences of contemporary Asian filmmakers can be hardly denied in the filmmakers' style of shot arrangements.

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