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    Dated : Monday, July 31, 2017

A Two Day Festival of Classical Dance - 'Vandan'

Since its very inception, the Sadhana Kathak Kendra has been steadfastly promoting and propagating Kathak, one of the six classical dance forms of the country, throughout the State. Founded by the eminent exponent of Lucknow Gharana of Kathak, Aligunjan Kalita Mudiar, and her sister, noted dance exponent Chandrani Kalita Ojah, Sadhana Kathak Kendra in collaboration with the Directorate of Cultural Affairs, organised a two-day classical dance festival entitled 'Vandan' on July 17-18, on the occasion of renowned Kathak exponent, Guru Surendra Saikia's second death anniversary, at the Rabindra Bhawan recently. A number of dance enthusiasts, amateur and professional practitioners, critics and connoisseurs got themselves truly immersed in the festival that featured exponents not just from Assam but from other parts of the country as well.
The opening day saw the talented students of Sadhana Kathak Kendra performing Shiva Vandana, Ram Bhajan and Tarana - Barkha Ritu under the choreography of Aligunjan Kalita Mudiar, before the audience was treated to a fabulous evening of pure traditional Kathak, performed by three of its most prominent proponents - Aligunjan Kalita Mudiar, V. Anuradha Singh from Bhopal and Delhi's Eshani Agarwal. The meticulously performed Kathak items by these highly professional artistes held the audiences spellbound at the jam-packed auditorium that more often than not, reverberated in the alluring sound of the ghunghroo. 
The second day too began with the students of Sadhana Kathak Kendra taking on the stage with their presentations of Kathak based items - Ganesh Stuti, Nritya Dhara, Krishna Bhajan - Tarana and Chandam, under the choreography of Aligunjan Kalita Mudiar. A captivating Kathak performance by Rupa Rani Das Bora and a virtuosic vocal recital by Kolkata's Bidushi Anjana Nath turned out to be the highlights of the evening. The evening also served as an occasion to recognise the exceptionally gifted Kathak exponent Bipul Das, who was felicitated with the Guru Surendra Saikia Memorial Award 2017. Incidentally, renowned artiste Garima Hazarika was the recipient of this award last year. 
On the occasion, a souvenir - 'Vandan' edited by cine-journalist Manoranjan Kalita was also released. Compered by Tarun Chandra Kalita and Saniya Sharma, the professional dancers in the two-day festival were aptly accompanied by Lucknow's Rajeev Shukla on tabla, Sourav Mahanta on vocal, Dwipendra Sarma on violin, Utathya Kalita on tabla and Pandit Parimal Chakravarty on tabla.
Its worth noting that Sadhana Kathak Kendra, founded in memory of Guru Vikram Singhe in 1995, has been conducting training and demonstration programmes through academic classes, workshops and performances, in the field of Hindustani classical vocal, instrumental music and Kathak dance. In addition to performing in prestigious cultural functions in places like Delhi, Lucknow, Kolkata, etc., a number of its students have gone on to earn CCRT (Centre for Cultural Resources and Training) scholarships, and National Scholarships under Govt. of India's Human Resource Development department.

Assamese Short Film Makes it to Florida Film Fest

An Assamese short film of mere 7 minutes that blatantly portrays the highly sensitive issue of 'Periods' that young girls face for the first time, has won hearts of many and made it to Florida's Film Festival in USA.
The amazing short film titled 'Alert Condition : Red' explains the first experience of a young girl entering her adulthood and the problem she faces because of it. 
Directed by Xahid Khan, the film bagged the second Best Film Award in the 9th International Guwahati Film Festival and was screened in the Jio Filmfare Short Film competition. Its now officially selected to Cine Miamo Fest, Florida.
While speaking about his film, Xahid says, "Menstruation is an important issue, but we often fail to discuss about it. People in our society consider it a taboo. When I was working on the script of the film, I had sleepless nights thinking about the reaction from the audience. But I am surprised and proud to see the reaction from the people and how they are appreciating my work. My audience reaction came from different kinds of people. While some appreciated and encouraged me to produce more such work, others considered it as an adult film."
Xahid is an alumni of Pragjyotish College, Guwahati. He completed his Bachelors in Business Administartion from Central IT College.


Haanduk' gets Selection to Film Fest in London

After receiving laurels in the Jio Mami Mumbai Film Festival and winning the Rajat Kamal Award, Jaicheng Dahutia's 'Haanduk' gets official entry to the 26th Chichester International Film Festival, in London to be held from August 10 to 27 this year. 
'Haanduk' is grounded on a true story of insurgency in Assam. The word Haanduk is a moran word which means very remote, interior place or the dark corner of the house. The story depicts the plight of Hiramoni, mother of extremist Mukti who goes missing. When the maimed bullet-ridden body of her son is brought home, she performs last rites, but then to her dismay, she is told that the body might not be that of her son's. There begins Hiramoni's long wait, as the news relights some new hope in her to see her son coming home someday.
Jaicheng Dohutia says , "I distinctly remember the article published in the 1st June 2007 issue of the Assamese weekly named Sadin when the news  of the unfortunate mother was published. The mother, who was given the dead body of her son twice, once due to some mistake committed by police, and later in real. This incident triggered me to make a film on it. I met the mother with the help of Haran Sonowal who had filed the report and journalist Hindujyoti Gogoi of Sibsagar." 
It was in 2012, when he wrote the film's first draft. "After writing the first draft in 2012, I met my co-writer Bhaskar Jyoti Das in 2013. Together we started writing. We discussed a lot, changed the structure many times. My father Srikumar Dohutia also guided me a lot. My friends Manash Protim Dutta, Chida Bora, Debajit Gayan, Bhaben Mahanta also stood by me. And I started my production," the director added.
The in-depth study of Dohutia is perceived in the absolutely fantastic portrayal of the real scene of insurgency in Assam around 30 years ago, when the insurgency activities were raising high in the region. 'Haanduk' was shot in actual locations amongst locals who have had been spectators to the mutinies of armed insurgency. The fury of the young cohort, their frustration, and the scene of insurgency in the state is being shown in the movie.
Earlier the movie had won the Grand Jury award in the Jio Mami Mumbai film festival and the Rajat Kamal award for the Best Moran Film in the 64th National Film Competition. 'Haanduk' will be screened amongst some 150 movies from around the world in the Chichester International film festival in London.


Film Winning Audiences' Hearts

Assamese films are slowly making their presence felt with solid content and a more commercial approach from the makers. Films like Local Kungfu 2 and Antareen have already done well this year and now Dhruva J Bordoloi's family drama 'Dooronir Nirola Poja' is winning hearts at the theatres.
The story of the movie revolves around Hiranya Barua, a Private Insurance employee, who shifts with his family of four to a new town. The key roles in the film have been essayed by Mintu Baruah, Jayshree Goswami, Partha Hazarika, Raghavi Duttta, Bibhuti Bhushan Hazarika, Sonia Sarma, Arup Jyoti Rabha, etc.
Dhruva J Bordoloi, the director of the film said, "Even in the second week, the film is screened at eight theatres across the state which is a very positive sign. I am getting lot of messages from people who have told me that this film has been a nostalgic journey for them to their childhood. This is certainly a very good phase for Assamese films which shows that a film with good content definitely works."
Senior actor Mintu Baruah, who plays the role of the protagonist Hiranya Baruah in the movie says, "BVFF generated a lot of positive word of mouth for the film which has helped it when it finally released at the theatres. Many people who watched the movie during the screening at BVFF have told me that they have watched it for the second time at the theatres."
It is the realistic story and the relatable treatment which has helped the film. Actor-director Kenny Basumatary said, "I became emotional while watching the film because it reminded me of my childhood. Going to school riding cycles or falling in love in tuitions, everything was so relatable in the movie. Also, it was shot in a very realistic manner."
Bordoloi is hopeful that the theatres will screen his movie for another week. "I will speak to the distributors and exhibitors today evening and then I will get to know whether it will get another week or not. The response for the film is good so let's see."


Assamese Short Film 'Obosheshot' (At Last..) Making Waves

Its nice to see a quality short film get the attention it deserves. It did not take too long for the festival circuit to take note of a new short film titled 'Obosheshot' (At Last..). Interestingly, this film is based on a short story caled 'Debodut', written by distinguished filmmaker-litterateur Dr. Bhabendra Nath Saikia. Director Arindam Barooah, who has made a number short films and documentaries, creates his own structure out of a offbeat theme. He remains one of the handful of filmmakers committed to exploring the possibilities of a short film.
What happens when the child of a demon is born in a village, where superstitions run amok? Where people are gripped by fear and apprehension. In the midst of this, is the mother whose love and sacrifice for her child acts as a barrier against the tribulations of the world.
The film narrates the story of Numoli, who strives to give her child a voice, the use of which she has forfeited due to unfortunate circumstances.  
While the villagers deem her to be possessed and impregnated by the demon, only she knows what hurts her. And when the demon returns to her life, although she is filled with rage and hatred, all she can ask for is her voice; to teach her child to speak and who needs his mother's voice to comfort him. For now, only the words 'bou' (Mother) in her child's voice can sweep away her life.
Its heartening to know that 'Obosheshot' has received prizes at various film festivals, including the Honorable Jury Mention at the 7th Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival - 2017, Delhi, Outstanding Achievement Award at 6th Season of Calcutta International Cult Film Festival 2017, Special Festival Mention at the 6th Bangalore Shorts Film Festival-17, and official selections to Cyprus International Film Festival, Five Continents International Film Festival in Venezuela, Barcelona Planet Film Festival 2017, Semi-Finalist at Lakecity Film Festival 2017, Lagos, Nigeria, among others.
The film is cinematographed by Thangmaism Nishanta Singha and Bhaskar Jyoti Dutta, while the script is written by Rita Bhuyan Barooah and Bhavna Devchoudhury, editing is by Diganta Gogoi, and the background music is scored by Jagoran Saikia. The cast of artistes include Dipika Gogoi, Anjjan Dhon Bordoloi, Jharna Sharma Devchoudhury, Padma Dolakasharia, etc. 

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What a man can be, he must be. This need we call self-actualization.
— Abraham Maslow
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