Assam’s best known actor Dr Santwana Bardoloi as made a full-length Assamese movie in early Nineties, which was a successful venture as ‘Adajya’ (The Flight, 1996) received both critical appreciations and international recognition. A practicing pediatrician at Dispur Hospitals, Dr Bardoloi however too almost two decades to launch her second movie. Her new film ‘Maj Rati Keteki’ (Midnight Keteki) is now ready for commercial release in coming winter.
Dr Bardoloi admits that there is presently crisis in Assamese film fraternity as the number of movie-goers for regional cinemas has not increased substantially. However, she remains hopeful that the general audience would come forward to support the local film industry. Pointing out that a good movie can be totally entertaining and another one too serious, where the third one may be entertaining as well as serious, but Dr Bardoloi claimed that all three productions can be good movies.
Assam’s best known actor Dr Santwana Bardoloi
Even though she agreed that a producer of Assamese movies hardly gets back the invested amount of money for the production, but the visible response from the audience in cinema halls encourages a responsible film maker to start a new venture. The film societies as well as the media too can promote the culture of appreciating honest cinemas in the country, Dr Bardoloi commented.
By now, the accomplished stage & radio artiste has repeated her achievement with the new one at 64th National Film Awards (of India, 2016). Conceived, produced and directed by Dr Bardoloi, ‘Maj Rati Keteki’ won national award as the best Assamese feature film. Popular Bollywood actor Adil Hussain, who hails from Assam, received national award with jury’s special mention for his performances in the 116 minutes movie (shared with Hindi movie ‘Mukti Bhawan’, directed by Shubhashish Bhutiani).
Produced under the banner of Dr Bardoloi’s newly launched production house named Udara Films, the movie has other casts including Kulada Kumar Bhattacharya, Sulakshana Barua, Mala Goswami, Shakil Imtiaz, Mahendra Rabha, Rahul G Sarma, Pranami Bora, Indu Mohan Das, Ashim K Baruah, Ponkhi Kashyap, Kasvi Songkorison etc. ‘Maj Rati Keteki’ has cinematography by Gnana Shekar VS and music by Anurag Saikia. Its sound design & mixing was done by Debajit Changmai and only song played by Rupam Bhuyan’s voice. Ms Ushma Bardoloi edited the movie and also worked as the associate director.
Waiting for release on 27 October this year, the feature film was recently screened in two international film festivals of Kerala and Bengaluru (Karnataka), where it attracted rave reviews from the audience as well critics. ‘Maj Rati Keteki’ also already received invitations from a number of prestigious film festivals across the country and waiting for more screenings.
The story of the movie, scripted by the director herself, revolves around a sensitive author who returned to his native place after many years and thus encounters a series of events involving different personalities to redefine his old experience and realizations. The title of the movie literary means midnight hawk-cuckoo, which gets reflection in the long whistling cry of a small Keteki bird.
Dr Bardoloi ventured into the world of celluloid with ‘Adajya’, which was based on a much-admired Assamese novel tilted Dontal Haatir Uiye Khowa Haoda, authored by Dr Indira Goswami. Starring Tom Alter, Bishnu Kharghoria, Nilu Chakrabarty, Trisha Saikia, Bhagirothi, Triveni Bora, Chetana Das, Indira Das, Mintu Barua etc, the movie brought laurels at 44th National Film Awards. ‘Adajya’ also was screened in various international film festivals.
FTII-trained cinematographer Mrinal Kanti Das won the national award for ‘Adajya’ (shared with ‘Raag Biraag’), which came for the first time to Assamese film industry. A seasoned Assamese actor Bidyut Chakraborty was awarded with Indira Gandhi director’s best debut film award for ‘Raag Biraag’ (Vacation of a Sanyasi, 1996), which was also based on an Indira Goswami’s literary creation.
Sher Choudhury scored music for both ‘Adajya’ and ‘Raag Biraag’. Sadly Jnanpith award-winning author, who was popularly known as Mamoni Roichom Goswami, young cameraperson Das, national awardee music director Choudhury and popular performer Chakraborty faced untimely deaths in the recent past creating a major vacuum in the regional film industry.