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Sight & Sound - Prantik Deka

Sight & Sound - Prantik Deka

Sailadhar Baruah Memorial Film Awards Held

The one single major turning point and a significant milestone in Assamese cinema was undoubtedly the release of 'Halodhia Choraye Baodhan Khai', in the year 1987. 

The highly acclaimed film went on to earn the well-deserved National Award for Best Film (Golden Lotus) in 1988, the Grand Prix Leopard and World Ecumenical award at the Locarno International Film Festival, and Best of Asia at the Tokyo International Film Festival among other honours. Indra Bania, who played the role of the protagonist, earned the Special Jury Mention at the National Awards and the Best Actor Award at the Locarno Film Festival. The film is considered the jewel in the crown for the Assamese film industry. 

It was a fantastic accomplishment for Jahnu Barua, whose indefinable artistry and unique ability to tell a story changed the very outlook on Assamese cinema in a deep and profound way. However, it was the unyielding help and support of the film's producer, more or less the unsung hero, who reposed his faith and confidence on his helmsman, that made it possible for things to happen in a way it did. It was largely due to the generosity of Sailadhar Baruah that made it possible for Jahnu Barua to create award winning festival movies. It was Sailadhar Baruah who encouraged and mentored Jahnu Barua to create those realistic films, bypassing populist entartainers, and to take it to a global platform. Moreover, it was Sailadhar Barua who instinctively trusted his filmmaker on his artistic endeavours, providing him with all the practical tools to realise his vision. 

After 'Halodhia Choraye Baodhan Khai', the collaboration spawned critically acclaimed films like 'Firingoti', 'Hagoroloi Bahu Dur', 'Pakhi', 'Kanikar Ramdhenu', 'Kukhal Konwar' and 'Tora'. The films - with their local resonance reflected Baruah's avowed pride and passion in representing the land of his birth, people and the cultural ethos before a global audience. The much revered producer-director duo stuck with each other through thick and thin, notwithstanding Box-Office failures and successes.

The second edition of the Sailadhar Baruah Memorial Film Awards, instituted by the Sailadhar Baruah Memorial Trust, in memory of this renowned producer, who passed away on January 10, 2010, were presented in a glittering function that featured a star-studded lineup of celebrities, prominent citizens, film enthusiasts and critics at the District Library recently.

The function began with a welcome address by Mrinmoy Baruah, the President of the Trust, and the younger brother of the late producer. Chief guest Nipon Goswami paid his tribute to Sailadhar Baruah for his great contribution to Assamese cinema at the function. Director Dara Ahmed felt that filmmakers should devote more time towards making quality films which is the need of the hour. He also bemoaned the abject lack of adequate number of cinema halls in the State and urged for government action in this regard.

The Trust honoured writer-actor-director Badal Das and eminent film director-playwright Munin Barua for their contributions to Assamese cinema. 

This time, there were participation of just twelve films. Of them, the jury members selected the best six for the awards. The committee has included two more awards in the second edition, and plans to add two more next year, which will be a grander affair. "We are planning to include films from the entire Northeast by 2020," said Trust secretary Ranjit Das. On the occasion, the souvenir of Sailadhar Baruah Film Awards, 2017, was released by Dara Ahmed.

The Best Film award was bagged by the Rajat Kamal-winning 'Maj Rati Keteki', produced and directed by Santwana Bordoloi, while Narayan Seal received the award for Best Director for his film 'Li : Len' (Mising).

Further, Anurag Saikia received the Best Music Director award for his score in 'Dikchow Banat Palaax' and 'Maj Rati Keteki', while sound designer Debojit Gayan received the Best Technician award for 'Haanduk'.

Mintu Baruah won the Best Male Actor award for 'Dooronir Nirola Poja' and Pranami Bora won the Best Female Actor award for 'Sonar Baran Pakhi'.

Director Jaicheng Jai Dohutia and child actor Mahendra Rabha won the Jury's  Special Mention Award for 'Haanduk' and 'Maj Rati Keteki' respectively.

The jury members were Arup Manna, Runu Devi, Jatin Sarma, Ranjit Das and Munin Bayan.