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Four films from Assam at New York Indian Film Festival
As many as four films, including one documentary, by Assamese filmmakers will be screened at the 19th New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF) scheduled to be held from May 7 to May 12.
The films include Bulbul Can Sing by Rima Das, Bhoga Khidikee (Broken Window) by Jahnu Barua, Aamis by Bhaskar Hazarika and Daughters of the Polo God, a documentary by Roopa Barua.
The NYIFF has been organized to celebrate independent, art house, alternate and diaspora films from the Indian subcontinent at the Village East Cinemas in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York.
“It is a great moment for cinema from Assam that in such a festival in New York, as many as four films from Assamese filmmakers are being screened. I am very happy and excited. The Assamese contingent of talented filmmakers, comprising of Bhaskar Hazarika, Rima Das and Roopa Barua are being led by none other than Jahnu Barua himself, with his film. So, it is a great moment,” Shahnaab Alam of Easterly Entertainment who co-produced Bhoga Khidikee with Priyanaka Chopra told The News Mill.
Priyanka Chopra’s Purple Pebble Pictures had joined hands with Easterly Entertainment to produce the Assamese film which is a multi-layered story from the perspective of a female protagonist whose life is in turmoil due to the ideological and existential clash amongst the three men in her life – her father, husband and a stranger.
Bulbul Can Sing by Rima Das has already made its 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. While she is on the verge of discovering her teen life, a tragedy strikes her best friend. A spirited Bulbul fights her way through love and loss as she figures out who she really is. It also got Special Mention from the Generation 14plus International Jury at the Berlin International Film Festival.
Aamis by Bhaskar Hazarika also has been able to draw the attention of the critics. This is Hazarika’s second feature film. It was selected for the 2017 Asian Cinema Fund’s Co-Production Market in Busan and the 2017 NFDC Film Bazaar Co-Production Market in Goa. Aamis had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival 2019, where it competed in the International Narrative Competition section.
Daughters of the Polo God by Roopa Barua is set in Manipur which is a unique story of girls and horses empowering each other. It is a story about saving an endangered breed of pony and empowering women in the sport of polo at the same time.
“It is a very important platform for my film. The story of the Manipuri women polo players playing an international tournament is very important and the world needs to know. A big push for polo is to save the Manipuri pony and this is the crux of the film,” Roopa told The News Mill.
The festival is dedicated to bringing these films to the New York audience. The festival will feature 32 screenings (29 narrative, three documentary and 32 short films).
The NYIFF has been the go-to festival to watch South Asian diaspora films that have not been seen in New York and is continuing with this mission for the 19th year.