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A word of appreciation to
Dr. Bhabendra Nath Saikia

 

The one name that coinsures up a feeling of warmth in every Assamese heart is that of Dr. Bhabendra Nath Saikia. His gift to the Assamese Society and in the fields of art., culture and literature has not yet been adequately measured. A very capable student of Physics and successful teacher of Gauhati University, Dr. Saikia entered the arena of literature with a few short stories that have shaken the very foundation of the form & style of Assamese fiction. With an eye to very minute details he used his pen with a depth surgeon’s precision. That was a unique beauty of his literary creations.

His creativity is such that he was always found at the head of a line of stalwarts in his own field. Dr. Saikia with a handful of very distinct few of his age group, has taken Assamese literature to a very respectable height and in the process a horde of awards came his away. What is remarkable in his case is that the discerning people of Assam have lost count of the awards but have kept close to their heart his works like "SHRINGKHAL", "BANAPRASTHA," "GAHBAR", "ANTAREEP" and the like. Added to this glorious creations, Dr. Saikia has made his way to a totally different field,namely of films. Someone has said about Dr. Saikia that he has a "Midas Touch" in whatever he puts his hand on. As if to prove this, he has directed such remarkable films like "SANDHYARAAG", "AGNISHNAN", " KOLAHAL", " SARATHI", and "KAALSANDHYA". Each & everyone of his films received not only rave reviews but also recognition both in the country and abroad. An important point to be noted that all his films were based on his own literary creations. One good aspect of this transformation is that he could translate every bit of his literary details to celluloid. These achievements, it is needless to say, have done us proud.

Dr Saikia has also put his hand & heart in the publication of few prestigious journals, the most popular "PRANTIK" is one with which he was associated from the very start. A children’s journal "SOFURA" discontinued for sometime, but has started again under his able leadership. Readers of "PRANTIK" will agree, that Dr. Saikia has given the journal a very respectable look not only its presentation but also in the variety and depth of its contents.

Dr. Saikia’s creativity found other equally successful outlets. His radio plays are one. More particularly a few he created for children has not been bettered as yet by other similar creations. He has also given a status to the most famous trend in Assamese Theatre, Namely Mobile Theatre. A hitherto unknown trend was established by a few such theatrical group with very rich plays and appropriate directional touch by him.

Dr. Saikia’s outstanding creations, be in celluloid or in the stage, have as yet achieved a landmark. They have given audiences a taste of the medias and people have learnt to appreciate a good film or a good play.

It is our pleasure to present this wonderful personality to this select group of people here today and through them to the society at large.
 

Dr. Bhabendra Nath Saikia's films:


Sandhyaraag (Cry of Twilight) - 1977. B&W
Anirban
(The Vigil) - 1981. B&W
Agnisnaan (Ordeal) - 1985, Colour
Kolahal (The Turmoil) - 1988, Colour
Sarothi (The Shelter) - 1991, Colour
Abartan (On the Run) - 1993, Colour
Itihaas (Exploration) - 1995, Colour
Kalsandhya
(Twilight of Death) - In Hindi 1997, Colour
 

Filmmaker Dr. Bhupen Hazarika
- Nayan Prasad

 

Collogue Sanjay Goswami narrated the story. He was then staying at Kolkata. Suddenly one morning he heard every where Bhupen Hazarika’s songs are played in the music systems. There are flag-size cutouts in the street corners. Goswami was shocked at the sudden incidence. Later by asking some one he came to know that Dr. Hazarika has been selected for the Dada Saheb Phalke Award—the most prestigious award of the Indian Cinema. Because of this news the people of Kolkata celebrates like this. They showed their heartiest greeting to their beloved artist.
In Assam also there was atmosphere of joy. But at the same time there started some controversies also-- Is Dr. Bhupen Hazarika appropriate enough to receive this award; he must have some political backing which is why he could achieve this award; for some other, Hazarika received this award because no one from the north east received this award etc.

People who criticized Hazarika’s this achievent probably thought that the Indian film meant only Hindi film, so the stars of the Hindi film industry may get this type of prestigious award; but a man like Hazarika who is solely related with the regional films should not get this type of award. These critics can't think that beyond Hindi film industry there is a vast portion of regional films in India. Still there are a number of film personalities who really deserve the Phalke award. For example Abiram Sarma, a renowned film make of Manipur deserves this award. He is the man who almost his own effort took the Manipuri Cinema to the world of Cinema. But people who do not aware about the activities of Sarma may raise question if he is also selected for this award. Of course, he did not make any Hindi film, may be the popular stars of Hindi Films do not know him. Is this is disadvantage! This type of criticism often found because comparatively the market of Hindi film than any other regional films is vast. Hindi films are shown everywhere in India.

Singer, lyricist and composer Dr. Hazarika is a man of deep heart. His personality as a music creator suppressed his identity as a able film maker. Probably the new generation does not know that he had made seven films in Assamese language alone. Even on behalf of the Government of Arunachal Pradesh he made a Hindi film namely “Marii Dharam Meri Maa”. Apart from these he was the music director of Assamese films like “ Piyali Phukan” (1954), “Dhumuha” (1957), “ Kencha Son”, (1959), “Maniram Dewan” (1963), “Khoj” (1975), “ Kanchghar” (1975), “Cameli Memsaab”, (1975), “Palasar Rang” (1976), “Ban Hansa”, (1977), “Banjui” (1978), “ Akan” (1980), “Aparupa”, (1982), “Angikaar” (1985), “ Sankalpa” (1986), “Maa” (1986), “Yuge Yuge Sangram” (1986), “Pratisodh” (1987), “Priyajan” (1993), “Paani” (1995) and a Bora film “Cmimang” (1987). As music director he directed 27 films of Assam. For his contribution to Assamese film he received Dada Saheb Phalke Award. As director before selecting a theme for his film Dr. Hazarika critically examined the theme. While the story of Assamese film was based on historical and mythological events Dr. Hazarika made “Era Batar Sur” a totally musical film. In this film we see the hero roams around the cities in search of musical notes. Dr. Hazarika was also inspired by the Neo-realism trend started in Italy. This film reflected his feelings nicely. He made “Pratiddhani” in 1963. In this film the relation between the people of hilly region and those of valley became the central thing; but still it reveals a nice love story. With Manik Raytang he made the screen play on a Khasi folklore. His another film “lati Ghati” (1966) is a film made in trend of film within film. Probably the audience at that time could not understand properly the sharp satirical tone which is why the film was not well accepted. Brajen Baruah’s “Ito Sito Bahuto” is another such film. That is why both the films can be called as the films ‘Ahead of Time’. The “Chik Mik Bijuli” (1969) is a film where Dr. Hazarika pictures the life style of lower class people in the society. Similarly in “Man Prajapati” he pictured the life style of some people who worked in a circus party.

Dr. Hazarika is a man master of many fields. For him songs are his life and the lyrics and its tune are his breathed air. That is why even though he thought about making films; still he could not work on it strictly because he probably did not have so much patience and time to spare for making a film. That is why he became much interested in music direction rather than film making. He was such a careless artist for his future that he even neglected the offer of India’s prestigious ‘Rajasree Production’; who offered him to make five films serially. But Dr. Hazarika did not bother to go ahead after making the first film. Later he was closely in link with films but retired from film direction. As music director, he even created history in Hindi film industry also.

The Films Of Dr. Bhupen Hazarika

1. Era Batar Sur 1956 Director/ Music Director
2. Shakuntala 1961 Director/ Music Director
3. Pratiddhani 1964 Director/ Music Director
4. Lati Ghati 1966 Director/ Music Director
5. ChikMik Bijuli 1969 Director/ Music Director
6. Man Prajapati 1979 Director/ Music Director
7. Shiraj 1988 Director/ Music Director

 

Language, music of a film and “Ganga Silanir Pakhi”

Utpal Mena
Translated by--- Ritul Bhagabati

 

Cinema is a media of the director; it is also a media of the camera. The standard or classification of the film is depended on the ‘language’ of the camera. According to most of the renowned cine artist, cine lovers or critics the dividetion in the cinema like the main stream or parallel stream is meaningless. Similarly the dividetion of regional films are also meaningless. We can say meaningless because the language of the film is cinematic, universal. The cinematic language of “Ganga Silanir Pakhi” and its music both are fantastic. In the very first sequence of the film we see the wonderful mathematical equation of the long and mid-long shot. The film moves through the language of the camera. … We see a shadow in a long shot… Sonai river.. A ‘Ganga Silani’ flying in the sky… the heroine of the film went to pour water from the river got attracted by the voice of the bird. The use of fridge matfti is out standing in the very first sequence itself. The diector made it vividly clear that the voice of the ‘Ganga Silani’ is the symbol of hope for the heroine. According to the prominent scholars of the cine-field the story of a film is not important. According to the scholars a brilliant director is always very economic in using dialogues. We see the Director Padum Baruah appropriately used his knowledge in this field. The story of the “Ganga Silanir Pakhi” is very weak. The viewers who loves nicely constructed story in a field may not be happy after seeing this film. It is also worth mentioning that the acting portion is also very weak. But both the deficiencies are covered by the wonderful use of cinematic language.

If we observe carefully the contemporary Indian films and compare the “Ganga Silanir Pakhi” we may see that this film is some what advance in the use of cinematic language. This film is far better than the other contemporary Assamese films in this field. Even in the films of Jahnu Baruah we cannot see the appropriate use of cinematic language. It may be mentioned here that the other two movies where we can find nice cinematic language are “”Baibhav” and “The Sixth Day of Creation”. But the methametical use and selection of the shots of these two films are not as nice as Padum Baruah’s film. Padum Baruah was careful enough because of which “Ganga Silanir Pakhi” is much appreciable than other films. We can comment on this film as an evergreen film. The director did not want to waste the footage of the film by using more dialogue. The economic director by the help of the subject movement, changing the various views and nice use of shots makes the film lively. (For example- The hero of the film proposes the heroine in mid shot. Cut.. In mid-long shot the cow boy sings Bihu sitting on a buffalo.) Because of all these the poor story line is neglected.

If we observe the film keenly another important thing comes in front of us—the music of the film, because of which the film became lively. The music of the film composed by using local films, keeping in mind the language of camera and situation. In one such sequence the back ground music was the sound of a ‘Dheki’ a typical grounding equipment of Assam. The nice composition of Sarod and drums makes the film meaningful. It seems that the background music also gets the same importance along with the direction of the film.

 

 

The pioneer of the Guwahati Cine Club


Kanak Chandra Kalita

 


 Ranjeev Baruah, Prabodh Das, Alak Adhikary and I-- all are the executive members of the Guwahati Cine Club decided to meet Dr. Bhupen Hazarika. Taking an appointment from he one evening we went to his residendence at Nizarapar. He asked us to meet him at 7 pm. That evening we stayed with him for about one and half hours. During this period of time we only talked on Guwahati Cine club. While talking on this organization he became nostalgic. There was Apurba Das with him, who was a special co-singer of Bhupen Hazrika. We could learn so many unknown things from the pioneer of the Guwahati Cine Club. Bhupenda, along with the established secretary of the club Apurba Das talked on the incidents that occurred 41 years back.
Before entering in the film line, Satyajit Ray first came into close contact of Film Association. It was then he learnt the basic preliminary things of film. Only after this he tried his hand in film making. Bhupen Hazarika acted in the film “Indramalati”, directed by Jyoti Prasad Agarwal, as a child artist in the year 1939. Child Bhupen Hazarika also sang a song of Jyoti Prasad Agarwal. He became very familiar and known film personality even at that time also; particularly he gained popularity in the field of singing. It was the inspiration of the greatest film personality of that time, Jyoti Prasad that he could able to make films like “Era Batar Sur” (1956), “Shakuntala” (1961), “Pratiddhani” (1965) and “Latighati” (1966). In the same year, i.e. in 1966 on 26th April under the leadership oh Bhupen Hazarika Guwahati Cine Club was established. By that time he had to visit Kolkata very frequently where the revolution of Film Association started already. He observed all these very keenly. Kolkata Cine Club was established in 1947; Satyajit Ray, Chidananda Dasgupta were among the pioneers. It was then Bhupen Hazarika felt that there should be a Cine Club at Guwahati also. He brought his desire come true but as he was very busy with his film and music projects, so he could not spare much time to the club. In the first executive meeting of the Guwahati Cine Club prominent scholars of Assam like Dr. Birendra Kemar Bhattacharya, Dr. Nirmal Prabha Bardaloi, Atulananda Goswami participated. In the “Sundarar Na-Diganta” a book published in 1967 Hazarika in his article “Chalachitra Sangha Andolanar Uddeshya Ki” wrote the mottos of the film associations. He wrote the mottos should include pursuing the film maker to make films keeping in view of scientific, ultural education for the mass. The film should create desire in the society to learn more. He mentioned here the need of making scientific, educational, cultural movies and to create awareness of making a film with all these values. With these mottos Hazarika worked for the well being of the Guwahati Cine Club. The citizen of Guwahati could able to taste the various interesting movies made different part of the world through the Cine Club. Apart from this the club has organized various symposiums, seminar on cinema besides publishing some valuable books on Cinema. Even it arranged some special classes and workshops for the students of Cinema. We must appreciate Dr. Hazarika for wherever he did for the Cine Club of Guwahati. If he did not have established the Cine Club the development of assamese Cinema would not have reached the position that we see today. He too expressed that through the Cine Club he got a chance to gather knowledge on cinema by observing the trend of world cinema. He also admitted that after Jyotiprasad Agarwal, thorough Guwahati Cine Club he could have much ideas on world cinema and with these inspiration he started his active work in film line.
After the establishment of the Guwahati Cine Club he made “Chil Mik Bijulee” in 1969. In 1979 he made “Man Prajapati” and in 1988 “Shiraj” was made. It is noteworthy that Hazarikas most appreciable works for Assamese film industry is his “Rupkonwar Jyotiprasad Aaru Jaymati”. It is very unfortunate that the most of the parts of the prints of the first and second films of Assamese Cinema are become useless. Dr. Hazarika collected the still active prints of both of the films and decieded to make an indifferent movie. Apart from the prints he mingled the story of revolutionary lifestyle of Jyotiprasad Agarwal and made “Rupkonwar Jyotiprasad Aaru Jaymati”. Once during conversation he told us “There is no creativity in the films I have made all ready. I have made all these only because of my economic gain. But I have plan to make a really good film. Still I have this desire in my mind.” To sum up this article I would like to quote Dr. Hazarika’s feeling on the mottos of the Cine Association. In his article mentioned above Hazarika put the question—“What is the motto of the Chalachitra Sangha Andolan (Revolution of the Cine Association)”. He said here “The member of the Cine Club (of Guwahati) should remember the mentality of the British archives curator Ernest Lindgreen. … Not only in our country, the Cine association of all over the world survive even in a very critical atmosphere of the human society. This proves that the viewers of a movie are not mere spectators; they are the sentinels of this powerful form of art. …It is worth mentioning that the Cine Club of Guwahati is a non political, non profitable and self financed organization. The activities of this club are performed by the timely donation of the club members. It was established with the capital of heartiest co operation of the people. The cine lovers and the scholars, who too think like Eisenstein that the cinema is something of every art should take the responsibility to look after the development of this organisation.