Bounce Back of Assamese Cinema: A Ray of New Hope

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Films are a creative representation of untold tales of people and places. Assamese cinema has always been a source of pride and honor for the people of Assam. It has experienced many highs and lows over the past few years. Nonetheless, people hold dear the numerous achievements it has gained along with the beautiful representation of the state.

Let’s go behind the lens and dig into the journey of Assamese cinema from scratch.

A glorious history of Assamese Cinema

The rich history of Assamese cinema dates back to 1935 with the release of “Joymoti”, produced and directed by the noted Assamese poet, author, and filmmaker Roopkonwar Jyoti Prasad Agarwala. It was based on the play by Lakshimath Bezbaruah and starred Aideu Handique and Phani Sharma.

First Assamese Cinema: Joymoti

That was the beginning of a remarkable era in the history of art, literature, and culture in Assam, where renowned filmmakers have produced works of finest art that have won awards at the national level.

Since 1935, the golden age has been signified by the release of remarkable masterpieces like Jyoti Prasad Agarwala’s “Indramalati”, “Monumoti” by Rohini Kumar Baruah, “Badan Barphukan” by Kamal Narayan Choudhury, “Siraj” by Phani Sharma and Bishnu Prashad Rabha, “Runumi” by Siraj Goswami, and several others.

In the 1950s, the Phani Sharma-directed film “PiyoliPhukan” won the National Award for best regional language film. Also, set the benchmark for other directors to showcase their brilliance. ‘Era Bator Sur’, directed by Dr. Bhupen Hazarika crafted a new age for Assamese cinema. His musical “Shakuntala” in 1961 won the President’s Silver Medal. “Puberun” by Prabhat Mukherjee was screened at the Berlin Film Festival and gained international recognition for the first time. The 1988 release, “Halodhia Choraye Baodhan Khai” directed by Jahnu Barua, became the first Assamese movie to win the National Award for Best Feature Film and multiple awards at the Locarno International Film Festival.

The DVD/VCD era

The early 2000s marked the age of DVDs and VCDs. The people of Assam, especially the youth, went bouncing off the walls over the newly released musical drama “Junbai,” directed by Rajesh Bhuyan. The gorgeous Gayatri Mahanta as Junali won many hearts along with Nayan Nilim, and the melodies of Zubeen Garg made it a hit.

Rajesh Bhuyan, with his other blockbuster series “Janmoni,” starring Jatin Bora, Shyamontika Sharma, and Utpal Das, succeeded in impressing the audience. The Bihu songs from the movie were very popular, and they gradually became the talk of the town.

The unsettling collapse

In a state that has always taken cinema seriously, Assamese cinema has never really managed to break through on the national stage, despite its lengthy history and aesthetic accomplishments. However, throughout the years, the state’s film industry has made a name for itself at the National Awards.

Despite the release of Assamese films in the vein of Bollywood at the start of the twenty-first century, the industry has not been able to compete in the market and has been much eclipsed by the larger industries like Bollywood.

One of the key reasons for its downfall is the audience’s changing interest. The prominent themes of Assamese cinema have always been social dogmas, turmoil, village life, historical plays, or musicals. It was focused on the drama genre, showcasing the emotions of Assamese people.

But with changing times and modernization, people started searching for more relatable and exciting themes like romance, thrillers, and action. It was a challenge for the Assamese film industry to meet the expectations of the young audience while not losing its true essence.

The bounce back

The challenge was accepted, molded, and presented in a successful way. The Assamese cinema made its comeback with flying colors. They were successful in including every component that the public had anticipated in a number of captivating blockbusters. Furthermore, it served as a global representative of Assam with its coming-of-age dramas.

The 2010s can be marked as the reincarnation of the industry. Movies like Ramdhenu, Mission China, Ratnakar, Kanchanjangha, and Sri Raghupati collected over ₹2 crore at the box office. Many independent movies shined globally with national and international awards.

Rima Das, with her two beautiful compositions, “Village Rockstars” and “Bulbul Can Sing,” succeeded in collecting global recognition and many awards. Village Rockstar won the Best Feature Film Award at the 65th National Film Awards in Delhi, the second Assamese movie after Halodhia Choraye Baodhan Khai to win this award.

Other critically acclaimed fresh dramas that left the footprints of Assamese cinema all over the world are “Anur” by Monjul Baruah, the haunting thrillers “Aamis” and “Kothanodi” by Bhaskar Hazarika, “Maj rati keteki” by Santwana Bordoloi, and “Baandhon ‘by Jahnu Barua.

Also read:

RankPeak RankFilmYearStudio(s)DirectorWorldwide gross
11Sri Raghupati2023Maniratna EntertainmentSuvrat Kakoti₹13.81 crore (US$1.7 million)
22Ratnakar2019J. B. ProductionJatin Bora₹9.25 crore (US$1.2 million)
32Kanchanjangha2019Eye Creation ProductionsZubeen Garg₹7 crore (US$880,000)
43Dr. Bezbaruah 22023AM TelevisionNipon Goswami₹6.91 crore (US$870,000)
51Mission China2017Eye Creation ProductionsZubeen Garg₹6 crore (US$750,000)
61Ramdhenu2011Pride East EntertainmentMunin Baruah₹2.04 crore (US$260,000)
73Tumi Ahibane2017Prerana CreationsPrerana Barbarooah₹1.94 crore (US$240,000)
84Priyar priyo2017Azaan FilmsMunin Baruah₹1.80 crore (US$230,000)
List of highest grossing Assamese films in recent years

  1. Lakshmi B. Ghosh, “A rare peep into world of Assamese cinema”The Hindu, 2006
  2. Today, Adda (3 July 2023). “Sri Raghupati: Revolutionizing the Assamese Film Industry with Historic Box Office Success” Retrieved 4 July 2023

Know the History in detail

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