The documentary film Challenge, directed by Ramen Borah and Sibanu Borah, presents a narrative that begins with the birth of a special child to a family in dire straits due to poverty. Delving into the unique attributes of the child and how society had misunderstood the child and the family, the film progresses to tell the story of an empowered woman, providing a poignant portrayal of hardship and triumph.
It skillfully blends a variety of perspectives and incorporates dramatic recreations of her life to effectively convey the challenges and struggles of Princy Gogoi, as she strives to lead a normal life and make meaningful contributions to society.
Born to Jagannath Gogoi and Beauty Gogoi, residents of the Sonari area in upper Assam’s Sivasagar district, Princy Gogoi was born with congenital amputation. A congenital amputation refers to a condition where an individual is born without one or more limbs, or with limbs that are not properly developed at birth. The documentary is a heartfelt, and occasionally heart-wrenching exploration of her life.
The documentary portrays the struggles faced by Princy and her family, as they battled societal validation, educational neglect, and superstitions due to her congenital amputation. Despite these challenges, Princy remained resolute in pursuing her passions for art and creativity, excelling in para-sports and winning numerous awards in state-level art competitions. Her artistic pursuits extend to painting stunning portraits and landscapes with her feet, and she also engages in household chores such as cooking, cleaning, and sewing. Princy’s unbreakable spirit serves as a source of inspiration, as she refuses to be defined by her physical limitations and instead thrives in her pursuit of creativity and independence.
In its capacity as a documentary film, it comprehensively depicts the facets of the life of the 22-year-old girl child, exhibiting a compassionate take without being sentimentality manipulative. The film effectively captures the essence of their lives, and the challenges faced by the subject, and presents a full spectrum of human experiences. Ramen Borah and Sibanu Borah, the filmmakers, remain steadfast in their pursuit of portraying a narrative of empowerment, centering on the symbiotic relationship between the mother and the girl child as each other’s primary sources of strength.
However, in order to enhance its scope and depth, it would have been desirable if the documentary had ventured into certain investigative aspects of Princy’s challenges during her higher secondary education and her failed job offer. And this is not to perpetuate the victimization of the individual, but rather to critique the societal and administrative shortcomings in adequately safeguarding and accommodating the interest of the differently-abled. Also, a glimpse into her personal life with interviews of her friends, classmates and companions at various stages of her life could have also enriched the subject’s portrayal.
Produced by Bharat Kalita and Rina Kalita, Challenge serves as a poignant depiction of the virtues of fortitude, perseverance, and inclusivity, while revealing the indomitable spirit of Princy Gogoi, and her family in overcoming myriad adversities. Through their journey, the film exemplifies the importance of embracing the limitless potential inherent in all human beings, irrespective of physical or societal barriers, and thus celebrates the transformative power of human resilience.