Evergreen Assamese Movies of All Time
Assam is quoted as the land full of diversities ranging from Sadiya to Dhuburi. The imaginative vibe to create something out of this diversities dates back to 1935 when the eminent and doyen film maker, poet, play writer, composer and freedom fighter Jyotiprasad Agarwala bestowed us with his masterpiece ‘Joymoti’. Thus setting a benchmark in the arena of Assamese movies. Assam has given birth to many such eminent personalities which carried forward the works of Jyotiprasad Agarwala. This bunch of people added more to the field of performing arts and culture by coming up with amazing masterpieces which bought laurels and glory to the state.
The journey began with ‘Joymoti’:
Jollywood or the Assam film industry derived its name from the pioneer of Assamese movies Jyotiprasad Agarwala. ‘Joymoti’, the first movie from Assam starring Aidue Handique and Phani Sarma had a budget of Rs 50,000 and it’s box office collection was Rs 24,000. Although the movie was not a commercial success but it was the first Indian talkie film to use dubbing, re-recording technology and unique sets employed by the imagination of Jyotiprasad Agarwala. The film was even noticed for its female protagonist which was a great deal back then. This was something uncommon and unnoticed in Indian cinemas of that time. Even after years of its release, Joymoti is screened in many important events.
With Joymoti, the benchmark and foundation of Assamese films was laid. Then came Indramalati, one of the evergreen Assamese movies of all time. This was Jyotiprasad Agarwala’s second attempt to enlarge the arena of Assamese language movies in 1939, starring the versatile actor Phani Sarma. This film also marks the journey of Dr. Bhupen Hazarika. Dr Hazarika and Jyotiprasad Agarwala teamed up to create music for Indramalati. The commercial loss of Joymoti didn’t affect Jyotiprasad Agarwala but accelerated him with new hopes and desires. Indramalati was shoot in Talbari and Arora Studios, Kolkata.
Jyotiprasad Agarwala’s tremendous hardwork started to admire many. As a result many such persons came up with different ideas. Films like Parvati Prasad Boruwa’s Rupohi, Kamal Narayan Choudhury’s Badan Barphukan, Phani Sarma’s Siraj and many more with relevant historical topics inspired many others to come up.
The fate of Assamese movies took a turn in 1950s. During this period several salient films were made which brought immense recognitions to the state. Phani Sarma’s Piyoli Phukon, Nip Baruah’s Smritir Parash, Bhupen Hazarika’s Era Bator Sur and Prabhat Mukherjee’s Puberun. Puberun was screened in the Berlin Film Festival and was awarded the prestigious National Award whereas Piyoli Phukan and Maak aru Morom earned national level recognization.
The golden age of Assamese movies:
The period of 1959-1969 is called the golden age of Assamese film industry. A sum of 25 films was made and 9 of them went on to receive National Awards. In 60s and 70s Sarbeshwar Chakrabarty’s Maniram Dewan, Nip Barua’s Narakasur, Dr Bhupen Hazarika’s Shakuntala, Pratidhoni gave a new wave to this industry- a wave of modernisation in the movies which bought many aclolade. This wave of modernisation released many films in 1970-82 like Narayan Deb’s Aranya, Kamal Choudhury’s Bhaity which was the first colour film of Assam. Pulok Gogoi’s Khoj and Bhabendranath Saikia’s Sandhya Raag etc. are worth mentioning.
The new era:
Assamese films always center around issues relevant in the society, family centric problems or the problems faced by a society. Such category of films includes Surya Tejor Anya Naam, Jeevan Bator Logori, Papori starring many of the famous actors of Assam. And of course who can forget about the evergreen Mon Jai starring the versatile Zubeen Garg.
In current era films like Xagoroloi Bohutdor and Kothanodi by Jahnu Barua, Agnisaan by Dr. Bhabendranath Saikia added glory to the industry by grabbing both National and International awards. In the current era films like Village Rockstars, Bulbul can sing, Aamis, Kanchenjunga etc. are enriching the industry with a perfect blend of every element. Rima Das’s Village Rockstars even became the first Assamese movie entry to the Oscars. These recent releases overtook the golden journey of Assam through movies to a next level. Let the journey continue.