GUWAHATI: In a resounding triumph, Akanshya Bhagabati's Assamese short film, "Son of the Soil," clinched the coveted Best Film prize at the second edition of the Kelvin Cinema Festival in Shillong, held from November 9 to November 11, 2023. This Northeastern gem, making its regional premiere at the festival, received acclaim from the jury for its audacious exploration of the intricacies surrounding land and minority issues, artfully conveyed through the eloquence of silence.
"Son of the Soil" intricately navigates the labyrinth of land ownership and cultural identity in Assam, unfolding the narrative of Haren, a native Assamese returning to his village after a decade of toil in Bangalore. His homecoming is marked by an unexpected clash with Ali, a Bengali-Muslim laborer who has diligently worked on Haren's land for years. The film artfully weaves a tapestry of tensions between natives and immigrants, delving into broader themes of identity and belonging. Praised for its sensitive portrayal of complex issues, the movie stands as a potent and emotionally stirring exploration of societal fault lines.
Akanshya Bhagabati, an emerging filmmaker already recognized for her debut short film "Kumu: The Song of a Wingless Bird," which secured the John Abraham National Award for Best Short Feature at the 15th SIGNS Film Festival in Kerala. "Son of the Soil" further cements Bhagabati's reputation as a storyteller with a unique voice and a keen ability to tackle vital narratives with compelling storytelling.
The Kelvin Cinema Festival, an annual event in Shillong, India, serves as a platform for promoting independent cinema from both India and around the world. The second edition showcased a diverse selection of films from India, Bangladesh, and Nepal, underscoring the festival's commitment to celebrating cinematic diversity.
Bhagabati's triumph at the Kelvin Cinema Festival not only marks a significant milestone in her burgeoning career but also serves as a testament to the prowess of Assamese cinema on the national stage. "Son of the Soil" stands tall as a powerful cinematic achievement, showcasing Bhagabati's talent in weaving impactful narratives that resonate with audiences on a profound level.