On the eastern side of Guwahati’s historic Latasil playground stands an iconic Assam-type house that will complete a century of its existence in 2023. Constructed by engineer Chandranath Barua of Bihdiya village located near Baihata Chariali, this house has been home to some of Assam’s most famous icons, such as filmmaker-actor-musician Brajen Barua, filmmaker-footballer-flautist-painter Nip Barua, singer-turned composer Ramen Barua, filmmaker Dibon Barua, cricketer-turned-singer Dwipen Barua, cricketer-pilot-entrepreneur-politician Girin Barua and radio broadcaster Niren Barua.
As this Guwahati house — built in 1923 with a mix of materials imported from the UK as well as sourced locally — approaches its 100th year of existence, national award-winning film critic-turned-filmmaker Utpal Borpujari has decided to chronicle its history through a feature-length documentary film – ‘Baruar Xongxar’ (House of Baruas). The filming is currently underway.
The film is being produced through the collective effort of a group of cultural and film enthusiasts such as Nayan Prasad, Bhaben Baruah, Sanjeev Ingty and Dibyajyoti Saharia.
“This will be the story of the iconic Guwahati house and its denizens. The Baruas are surely the only family in Assam, and perhaps in entire India, that has produced so many noted personalities in fields as diverse as cinema, music, sports and politics. The idea behind the film is to audio-visually document the family’s contributions to these fields and present it before the world,” says Borpujari.
The first schedule of the shooting of the film on the iconic Guwahati house has already been completed, and the second and final schedule will be done around May-June. “The plan is to launch the film in 2022 when the House of Baruas will enter its 100th year of existence,” say its producers.
Starting with ‘Smritir Parax’ (1955) directed by Nip Barua, members of the family has directed 29 feature films, including ‘Ronga Police’, ‘Dr Bezbarua’, ‘Lalita’, ‘Mukuta’, ‘Ajoli Nabow’, ‘Kokadeuta Nati Aru Hati’, ‘Shakuntala Aru Shankar Joseph Ali’, ‘Jog Biyog’, ‘Toramai’ and ‘Ajala Kokai’. In the sporting arena, Girin Barua shone as a cricketer and represented Assam in the Ranji Trophy for 15 years, including as captain, while Dwipen Barua played in the Ranji Trophy and even captained the junior East Zone team before the songs of ‘Dr Bezbarua’ made him an overnight sensation in 1969, leading to a shift to a singing career.
On the other hand, Nip Barua played football and captained Assam in Santosh Trophy even while making films. Girin Barua’s son Anshuman Barua, who has made two feature films, also represented Assam in junior-level cricket. Brajen Barua’s daughter Monami Bezbarua, who played the lead in Sanjeev Hazorika’s acclaimed feature film ‘Meemangxa’, has directed and produced several TV serials over the years.
Among the film’s crew are Jhulan Krishna Mahanta (editing), Debajit Gayan (sound design and re-recording mixer), Rituraj Shivam (camera) and Nayan Jyoti Bhuyan (production sound mixer). The research for the project has been done by Manaswinee Mahanta.