Proud Northeast: Northeast India triumphs at the 65th National Film Awards

Proud Northeast: Northeast India triumphs at the 65th National Film Awards

By DIPANKAR SARKAR | April 14, 2018

While announcing the results of the 65th National Film Award the veteran filmmaker Shekhar Kapoor, who headed the feature film jury of this year’s awards, acknowledged, “It took me 12 years to make ‘Masoom’ and I know how difficult it is to make a regional film.’ The genuine statement from the 72 year old filmmaker emphasized the undying spirit of film-making in different regional belts of the country and this year the announcement of the awards will be etched with pride in the history of North Eastern film Industry. Every year the awards are given in three sections – Feature Films, Non-Feature Films and Best Writing on Cinema. This year, individuals from the north east have won an award in each of the categories.

Feature Film

To begin with, Rima Das’s ‘Village Rockstars’ has made a record of being the first Assamese film to win the awards in four different categories-Best Feature Film, Best Editing, Best Location sound recording and Best Child artist.

A scene from Village Rockstars

It was in the year 1988 that Jahnu Barua’s ‘Halodhia Choraye Baodhan Khai’ became the first Assamese film to win the prestigious Golden Lotus (Swarna Kamal) at the National Film Awards. Thirty years later ‘Village Rockstars’ became the second Assamese film to bring back the glory to the region.

A scene from Village Rockstars

On a similar note in the year 1996 A. Sreekar Prasad  won the national award for best editing for the Assamese film ‘Rag Birag’.  Rima Das is the second editor to have won the award for an Assamese film. The triumph of the film represents a new attitude to independent film-making in India, rejecting the orthodoxy and conservatism of traditional styles, thereby affirming the filmmaker’s belief in the freedom of cinematic expression.

Rima Das

The best Assamese film award went to the film ‘Ishu’ directed by critic turned filmmaker Utpal Borpujari, who has previously won the national award for Best Film Critic in 2002.

Utpal Borpujari

Edited by Sreekar Prasad, the film looks at how witch-hunting continues to be prevalent in certain communities in Assam. It is the story of 10-year-old Ishu, who lives in a remote tribal village in Assam.

A scene from Ishu

Non-Feature Film

An alumnus in Television direction from the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune Rukshana Tabassum’s short film ‘Cake Story’ has won the special mention. The film is a heart warming and fun tale of a 6-year old Monu who is left to spend the day with his father on his birthday till his mother returns from Jabalpur in the evening.

Rukshana Tabassum

It presents the audience with a vibrant father and son relationship directed with great dexterity and humour.

Best Writing on Cinema

Bobby Wahengbam’s book ‘Matmagi Manipur: The first Manipuri Feature Film’ has won the award best book on cinema.

The book provides a vivid account of the socio-political scenario in which Manipur regional cinema was born and denotes a compassionate account of the dreams, challenges, preparation, execution and success of the team involved. The critical analysis of the film makes it more praiseworthy and insightful.

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