A still from 'Xogun'

Assamese short film ‘Xogun’ (Vulture), adapted from the much-acclaimed short story of the same name by noted writer-journalist Manoj Kumar Goswami and scripted and directed by national award winner Utpal Borpujari, has been selected to the 21st New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF).

Produced by IFT India, the film is among 58 feature films, documentaries and short films in 15 languages from across India that has been selected to NYIFF,  one of the most prestigious Indian film festivals globally, which will be held during June 4-15 virtually because of the COVID pandemic.

‘Xogun’ had earlier won the Best Film award in the short film competition of the 13th Guwahati International Film Festival organised by the Gauhati Cine Club and was screened at the 14th Signs Festival in Thiruvanathapuram, considered among the most prestigious short film and documentary festivals in India.

Filmed in Agia area of Goalpara with the support of Badunduppa Kala Kendra, the film ‘Xogun’, like the original story, takes a critical and hard look at certain aspects of modern-day journalistic practices in a powerful way.

The cast of ‘Xogun’ includes veteran actors like Sanjeev Hazorika and Dhananjay Nath, along with young talents like Rimjhim Deka and Ankit Shandilya and child actors Kapil Garo (of ‘Ishu’ fame), Anurag Rabha, Phanibhushan Rabha and Ashish Rabha.

The crew comprises Basanta Kumar Borthakur (executive producer), Chida Bora (cinematography), Umesh Kumar (editor), Amrit Pritam Dutta (sound design, editing and mixing), Anurag Saikia (music), Debajit Gayan (production sound mixer), Ghanashyam Kalita (colourist and chief asst director), Dipika Deka (asst director), Madan Rabha (art) and Homen Borah (production manager). The line production was done by 92X26 Films. The poster of ‘Xogun’ has been designed by Samudra Kajal Saikia.

“As a former journalist who wrote and reported from metros as well as some of the most interior parts of India for over two decades, I feel strongly about how the profession has responded to the times – with the negatives often outweighing the positives. Manoj Kumar Goswami’s story is a powerful reflection of how things are,” said Borpujari on the subject of the film.

“Like in any other profession, there have always been corrupt elements within journalism too, but rarely was corruption almost institutionalized like it has been in the recent years – be it in the form of paid news, fake news, individual corruption or the unstated institutional alignment with political parties and corporate houses.

“I feel that the responsibility for the rot largely lies on those who looked the other way – while not forgetting to pontificate – as the profession degenerated over the years. This short film is a reflection on all this, in a darkly realistic way,” he said.

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