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In a breakthrough moment for Assamese cinema, Rima Das’ directorial ‘Village Rockstars’ was named the Best Feature Film at the 65th National Film Awards here on Friday. It is after 29 years that an Assamese film has won the honour.

Jahnu Barua’s ‘Halodhia Choraye Baodhan Khai’ had won the award last in 1987. Set in Rima’s own village Chhaygaon near Guwahati, ‘Village Rockstars’ is the story of “poor but amazing children” who live a fun-filled life. The film opens with the children having fun as a rock band. As the story progresses, it captures the whole gamut of fun that these rural children are having despite living a life of poverty and deprivation.

Rima has also won the Best Editing honour for ‘Village Rockstars’, which has won the Best Child Artist honour for Bhanita Das. It has also been recognised for Best Location Sound Recordist Mallika Das’ work. The Best Assamese Film award went to Utpal Borpujari for ‘Ishu’.

Borpujari is ecstatic about the win. “I am very happy to win this award as ‘Ishu’ is my debut feature film. I am happy for my cast and crew who supported me throughout,” he told. He is also emotional about the victory of ‘Village Rockstars’.

“I am more happy about ‘Village Rockstars’ because after 29 years, an Assamese film has won the Best Feature Film Award.”

“What is more special about ‘Village Rockstars’ is that it is a totally independent film which Rima Das made with her own resources with a very small crew. For such a film to win the National Award is a big achievement. This film has been widely acclaimed in international film circles,” Borpujari said in a statement.

About the Movie:
Plot Summary

Dhunu is in a group of real Village Rock stars. Growing up in depravation, she learns to manage her life within surroundings of hostile natural calamities and weaving dreams of owning a guitar!

Ten-year-old Dhunu (Bhanita Das) lives in Chayagaon village in Assam with her widowed mother (Basanti Das) and elder brother Manabendra (Manabendra Das). While helping her mother sell snacks at a local event, she becomes mesmerized by a band that’s performing there. The part that’s so delightfully hokey: the boys belt out their hits with musical instruments made of Styrofoam. She proceeds to copy them, carving a guitar Jimi Hendrix would be proud of.

Impressionable and tenacious at the same time, Dhunu reads a comic book and decides she wants to form a band playing real instruments. Rupee by rupee, she begins to save for a used guitar. She reads an article in a scrap newspaper and decides that positive thinking can make the guitar materialize. But as floods destroy the family’s crops, Dhunu must choose her priorities. The whole premise sounds endearingly naive, yet Dhunu’s brilliance in everything she does transforms the cheesy bromides into a rallying cry for hope and self-reliance. The language of the movie is Kamrupi, a distinct dialect of Assam.

Source: TOI, Wikipedia

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