National Awards for four Northeast films

PIC 3 Bulbul Can Sing Still – The News Mill
An image from Bulbul Can Sing

Four films from the Northeast have been named for the best films in their respective languages for the 66th National Awards that were announced in New Delhi on Friday.

‘Bulbul Can Sing’ in Assamese language by Rima Das, ‘In the Land of Poison Women’ in Pangchenpa dialect by Manju Borah, ‘Ma’ama’ in Garo language by Dominic Sangma and ‘Mishing’ in Sherdukpan dialect by Bobby Sarma Baruah have been named for the Rajat Kamal awards. Apart from the trophy, both the director and the producer each will be given a cash reward of Rs 1 lakh.

Last year Rima’s film Village Rockstars had won four awards including the Swarna Kamal, best film award.

“Very happy that Bulbul Can Sing is awarded National Film for Best Assamese Film. I was in all smile since Shahrukh Khan broke this news here at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne.  Thanks to God and universe for national film award for the second year in a row. May I have the strength to keep making the films that touch people’s hearts! Special thanks to my family and the team for their support and love,” Rima said in a text message to The News Mill from Australia.

‘Bulbul Can Sing’ by Rima Das has already made it presence felt in some of the prestigious festivals across the globe after ‘Village Rockstars’. The film narrates the story of Bulbul, a teenage schoolgirl, who grows up in a rural setting in Assam.

Arunachal’s Sherdukpen language film at KIFF competition – The News Mill
Director Bobby Sarma Baruah (in red) during the shooting of Mishing

‘In the Land of Poison Women’ in Pangchenpa dialect by Manju Borah is based in Arunachal Pradesh near the border of China administered Tibet. It is about a blind belief in the Pangchenpa community that women have Poison in their nails and when they serve food to the males they die immediately or slowly. But the modern educated generation is trying to eradicate this belief from their society.

“The recognition of course means a lot to us. But as a maker of the film I feel that limiting this award to a dialect category is not justified. Because the other elements of the film like syncs sound, cinematography, acting, production design and music among others are being overlooked. Anyway getting the opportunity to make this film in such remote place without having any infrastructure and with local people some of whom cannot even read and write is itself a great award for me,” Borah, one of the widely respected filmmakers of the region told The News Mill.

Meanwhile, Dominic Sangma’s debut feature film ‘Ma’ama’ got the best Garo language film. This is the first national award for Garo language.

“It feels really great. For my people, it’s special because it’s best Garo film. It’s kind of history for Garo film because this is the first Garo film to win national award,” Sominic told The News Mill.

His film ‘Ma’ama’ narrates the story of Philip Sangma who is searching for his dead wife, Anna. The 123-minute film follows Philip’s quest for answers about his past, reconciliation with his memory of Anna, and the inevitability of death. This film has also been widely appreciated across the globe.

Dominic Sangma – The News Mill
Dominic Sangma

Bobby Sarma Baruah’s ‘Mishing’ is also based in Arunachal Pradesh. Mishing deals with the folklore of among the Sherdukpen people. Mishing means the spirit of dying people that appear before their near and dear ones. The plot of the film is based in the 1980s.

“It was challenging to work on a dialect which you don’t know. But I’m happy and satisfied. I feel I could do the justice and could stand up to the expectations,” said Bobby.

Mishing is based on a novel of Sahitya Akademi award winning author Yeshe Dorjee Thongchi.

Assam governor Jagdish Mukhi and chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal congratulated the Rajat Kamal awardees from the state and said that the feat of the trio is the testimony of Assam’s imposing journey in the field of film making.

The governor said that Mukhi said that directorial venture of the women directors is a clear indication of the state’s growing talents in film making.

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About Abdul Gani


Abdul Gani is a Guwahati-based journalist


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