Do you know which is the first Assamese movie? Many times you might have come across such questions in your day to day life or in exams as general knowledge. People nowadays are very much aware of what Bollywood and Hollywood are doing. People rush to the Theatres when movies like Endgame releases but how many people care about what Assamese movies industry is doing or have done so far. The film industry also holds a great chapter since 1935 when Rup Konwar Jyotiprasad Agarwala produced Joymoti, the first Assamese movie.
Since then the Assamese cinema has gradually developed towards a new itinerary with the film of Bhabendra Nath Saikia and Jahnu Barua, etc. Jyoti Prasad Agarwala produced Joymoti under the banner of Chitralekha Movietone. As there were no trained technicians at that time, Agarwalla himself had to take the responsibilities of a scriptwriter, producer, director, choreographer, editor, costume designer, lyricist, and music director. In simple terms all in one package. The budget of the film was 60,000 rupees.
In spite of so much hard work, the film was a failure. But Jyotiprasad despite the financial loss from Joymoti produced his second film Indramalati which got released in 1939. Bhupen Hazarika, the eminent composer, and singer played a prominent role in the play. Gradually in the 1940s, there came films of Rohini Kumar Baruah’s Manomati (1941), Phani Sharma’s Siraj, Parvati Prasad Baruah’s Rupahi (1946), Kamal Narayan Choudhury’s Badan Barphukan (1947), Prabin Phukan’s Parghat and Suresh Goswami’s Runumi.
In 1950’s Gama Prasad Agarwalla produced Piyali Phukan under the banner of Rupjyoti Productions. , Bhupen Hazarika was the music composer. Piyali Phukan is the first Assamese movie to win the National Award. The story of the film was about the life of a freedom fighter who stood against the British Rule. Some other films of the 1950s were Nip Baruah’s Mak Aaru Moram, Ranga Police which won many state awards and silver medal at the national level. Bhupen Hazarika’s Era Bator Sur and Prabhat Mukherjee’s Puberun presented in the Berlin Film Festival.
Assamese Movies History
By the mid-sixties, the film began to be produced regularly in Assam. About 62 movies made between 1935 and 1970. Likewise, during 1970 -82, a total of 57 Assamese films were made. Halodhia Choraye Baodhan Khai is the first Assamese film to win the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in 1988, and it also won multiple awards at the Locarno International Film Festival in 1988. Some of the notable directors of Assamese cinema are Jahnu Barua, Bhabendra Nath Saikia, Santwana Bordoloi and Manju Borah. They have enriched the film industry with many blockbuster films. In 2000’s personalities like Munin Baruah, Jatin Bora and Zubin Garg gave movies like Hiya Diya Niya, Nayak, etc.
Assamese Movies: Recent Events & Developments
Later, there came films like Ramdhenu, Mission China, Tumi Ahibane, Doordarshan Eti Jantra which reached 1 crore mark. There was also a significant loss of prominent personalities like Bhupen Hazarika, Munin Baruah, and Biju Phukan who have played an essential role in shaping Movies. 2018 again is a very harmonious year for the movie industry as Rima Das’s Village Rockstars won the ‘Swarna Kamal’ award the best feature film at the 65th National Film Awards in Delhi. Remarkably the second Assamese movie to win this award after Halodhiya Choraye Baodhan Khai. The film also won awards in categories of Best Child Artist, Best Audiography and Best Editing. The film got selected for India’s official entry to 91st Academy Awards. Another movie Xhoixobote Dhemalite received three awards for Best Actress, Best Film and Best Music in 3rd Love International Film Festival in Los Angeles, US. The first Assamese movie to get a release in the US.
At times the production houses and directors are using technology and proper pieces of equipment to give the Assamese movie a higher texture. There have also come up line production houses in Guwahati who produces entertaining and realistic series telecasted in the television channels. These production houses are a combination of young, creative and talented personalities who works as a scriptwriter, director, music director, etc. Eastern green pictures are also coming up with the services of line production in Guwahati. So far EGP has two line productions Anuraag produced by Bhaskar Upadhyaya and Meghraj Upadhya and Abhimaan produced by Bhaskar Upadhyaya.
EGP is also coming up with a movie Ulka based on a piece of fiction which has relevance to a real-life incident. Pranab Vivek directed the film and produced by Bhaskar Upadhyaya. In 2019’s movies industry is enriched with films like Bor Nodi Bhotiyai, which is getting enormous popularity. There are also producers and directors with good scripts planning to make good films. The youths of Assam at present are gaining knowledge of cinema, technology, editing, and acting. All are working hard not to make the movies industry history but a well-established industry. The government of Assam has also taken up various constructive plans for the development of Assamese Cinema.