After successfully concluding its festival run, director Krrishna Kt. Borah’s debut feature film ‘Boroxun – Songs for Rain’ has now reached the audiences as one of the major Assamese releases of 2022. Adopting a non-traditional form of release, the film, for its first phase screenings have hosted screenings from March 11 in Guwahati’s Jyoti Chitraban and Rabindra Bhawan and Anchalik Bishnujyoti Kalamandol in Teok and also Ban Theatre of Tezpur before moving on to Mangaldai.
“It’s quite overwhelming, I would say. There is positive response, feedback and constructive criticism which are the things we were looking for. It’s an out and out experiment for us, and the response till now has been great”, said director Borah when asked about success of the strategy.
A film about love, and loss and the superstitions that continue to govern life in rural Assam along with the numerous personal sacrifices that go into creating and sustaining communal life and peace, ‘Boroxun – Songs for Rain’ shows the story of a riverine village in all its innocence and appraisals.
“Growing up in a village, I’ve always been fascinated by the people’s lifestyles, as well as the socio-political and economic issues that are firmly rooted among the communities or villages,” said Borah.
“When we were thinking about how to bring the story to life, we did not want to avoid the complexity that comes along with a simple rural existence. Yes, we are talking about the simple and mundane lifestyle, but it is also underlined with socio-political issues, the class and caste divide, patriarchy, and superstitions,” he added.
An alumnus of the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI), Kolkata, Krrishna Kt. Borah was also the executive producer of the award-winning short documentary ‘Abridged’ in 2019.
Sharing about his experiences as a student of the prestigious institute in the making of this film, Borah said: “The institute’s environment, I believe, played a significant role in my journey. Discussing cinema for the most of the day, and especially with like-minded people, was crucial in developing the concept of Boroxun.”
“The DOP of the film, Enosh Olivera, was my roommate, The EP was my batch mate from college, Likewise, the sound recordist and designer, Shubharun Sengupta, is one of my closest friends. Every member of the team provided their inputs and suggestions for the film. The professors of my department also acted as mentors for the project. We, the students and the faculty, shared a special bond. It has helped the film,” he added.
The exposure to diverse kind of cinema is also visible in Borah’s craft in regard to his storytelling, the subtle bizarreness, and the ending of the film which is very much left open for viewer’s interpretation.
“We wanted each audience member to interpret the film for themselves. Watching it through their eyes and carrying their own thoughts back with them when it ended was our intention,” said the writer-director who wrote the script along with Maharshi Tuhin Kashyap.
“When our perspectives and interpretations become more similar, we sense a chord being struck between us as creators and the audience. Also when viewers come out and give us different perspectives on how they saw the movie, it gives us new dimensions and additional angles to think about. As a result of this, the film becomes interactive,” he added.
Shot at Jogduar in Teok, ‘Boroxun – Songs for Rain’ shows the lives of the inhabitants of a remote fisherman’s village at stake due to lack of rain and a dying river. The film carries a very desaturated look and the sun is always on top such that we can feel the dryness of the environment around through the images.
Speaking about the specific visual choices, Borah said: “We did a lot of work on getting that feel right. The director of photography, Enosh Olivera, who hails from Mysore studied every location very minutely. He was there for a month even before the shoot. We did a proper light study and shot mostly with natural light to achieve the look.”
So far, the public has well received the film, and it has also garnered positive feedback from critics. Critically acclaimed in a number of film festivals across the world, ‘Boroxun – Songs for Rain’ has also been bestowed with much recognition including the official nomination for best actor and best director in the New York Indian Film Festival 2021.
The decision to release the film ditching the traditional norms of distribution and exhibition comes from a personal as well as collective choice of the makers. “Citing my own example, I stay at a place which is 40 kms away from the nearest theatre. We don’t have cinema halls in sufficient numbers. And this is the reality of most of the people residing in Assam who are deprived of watching new releases in theatres,” said Borah.
“So, we wanted to take the film to audiences residing in every corner of Assam. No matter how many accolades we have gathered in our festival run, our ultimate goal was to take the film to the maximum audience possible. And we found this alternative route more effective,” he added.
Sharing his comment on the producer-distributor-exhibitor relationship in Assam for Assamese cinema, Borah said: “To be honest, there was nothing more than demotivation when we tried to approach a couple of distributors and exhibitors. But, as first-timers, it’s possible that we didn’t approach the right people.”
“So, until and unless new cinema halls are not built in our state, alternate modes of exhibition may be the way of the future. It might not be the way we are doing it, but we must seriously consider this subject for the sake of our cinema’s future,” he added.
The team of ‘Boroxun – Songs for Rain’ is coordinating with different people and places for the second phase screenings of the movie, which we will be announced as soon as the first phase is completed.
In recent times many films from Assam have skipped the conventional norms of traditional theatrical release and have premiered directly through OTT platforms including Prodyut Deka’s ‘Chiyahir Rong’, Chandra Mudoi’s ‘Ronuwa’ and Biswajeet Bora’s ‘Lakhimi’. Likewise, Himangshu Prasad Das’ ‘Goru’ and ‘Hero’ has also taken the route of taking his film to the masses by releasing it through makeshift provisions.