Assam agitation has an impact in declining film industry: Shankar Lal Goenka

Veteran film producer of Assam Shankar Lal Goenka who has been associated with the industry for last six decades has termed Assam agitation as one of the factors for the declining Assam film industry.

Goenka, who is also a distributor, said that several halls were shut down during the 1980s due to which the industry has suffered.

“We had a great time during the days of Bhupen Hazarika, Nip Barua and their contemporaries in 1960s and 1970s but gradually during the time of Assam agitation several cinema halls were closed down. People stopped coming to cinema. And that’s how the return of the films decreased. And finally the quality of the films also decreased,” Goenka said during an event at the first Guwahati International Film Festival (GIFF).

He, however, appreciated the young filmmakers who have been able to make a name of their own across the globe. “It’s good that the new filmmakers are really making some wonderful films and that’s why their films are being screened globally,” Goenka added.

The veteran producer is also very critical of the state government in this regard. “Though the state government has announced about the subsidies, I’m not aware when we will get to see these practically. The government must play a role in promoting and preserving Assamese cinema. I think that there must be at least one cinema hall in the state where we can run Assamese films 52 weeks in a year without thinking of loss and profit,” said Goenka.

At present, not having good number of cinema halls in the state is one of the major problems faced by the film industry in Assam. There are just 60 plus cinema halls in Assam.

He urged the state government to assist in re-opening those cinema halls which had to be shut down due to various reasons.

Chairman of state government owned Jyoti Chitraban (Film Studio) Society, Pabitra Margherita said that the state government has already earmarked Rs 5 crore for the promotion and preservation of films in Assam.

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