The Bridge

Assam, Jan 19: Assamese language film ‘The Bridge’ throws light on the devastations and hardships that floods bring to Assam villages every year.

“There is no solution in sight for this problem. I, being a farmer’s son hailing from rural Assam, have faced this,” said filmmaker Kalita while addressing a press conference on Tuesday at the 51st International Film Festival of India (IFFI), being held in Goa.

‘The Bridge’ was the only film from Assam nominated in the Indian Panorama category for the 51st International Film Festival of India.

National Award-winning film director and scriptwriter Blessy Ipe Thomas was also present at the media briefing. Every year, the mighty Brahmaputra and its tributaries flood many villages and ruin cultivation.

Kalita said the film’s protagonist Jonaki goes through an unusual struggle caused by floods. Her plight gets aggravated by the absence of a bridge over the river. But, in the end, she becomes empowered, signifying “life must go on”.

Kalita, an independent filmmaker, coming from a theatre background has taken mostly newcomers as crew and cast for the film said an I&B ministry statement.

“Shiva Rani Kalita, who plays the role of Jonaki, was chosen after a screen-testing done on 300 college-goers and theatre artists. The film, made with limited resources, was shot in a real flood situation in Upper Assam,” said Kalita.

“For a particular shot, the crew had to remain submerged in flood-water for seven hours. Even real scenes of people struggling in the floodwaters have been used in the film,” he added.

Speaking about the challenges he has been facing in film distribution, Kalita said: “Many theatres are remaining closed because of the lockdown due to COVID-19.”

In reply to a media query, he expressed his desire to make a big-budget film on Ahom King Chaolung Sukaphaa, who came from Thailand in the 13th century and set up a kingdom in Assam, especially given that the king too had to face the problem of floods caused by the Brahmaputra and its tributaries.

Speaking about the problems confronting Assam, he said, the migration of local people elsewhere in search of better employment is thwarting economic development in the state.