Mangaldai: Debutant filmmaker Akanshya Bhagabati’s short film Kumu won the prestigious John Abraham National Award for Best Short Feature at the 15th edition of the reputed SiGNS Film Festival in Kerala.
Organized by the Federation of Film Societies of India – Keralam, SiGNS is a pioneering festival in India featuring national-level competition for documentaries and short fiction for the prestigious John Abraham National Awards. The award carries a citation, a trophy and a cash prize of Rs 50,000.
An overwhelmed Akanshya Bhagabati, who has previously worked as an assistant director in Parthajit Baruah’s The Children of God, said, “I have not attended any film school, but the story that I have attempted to express here is very special to me, and it is this concept that has given me the strength and enthusiasm to turn it into a film, and receiving this prestigious award, I am overwhelmed with joy and a great sense of honour. I strongly believe that if anyone has the passion for good cinema, one can do it”.
Kumu is set against the lush green tea gardens of Assam, where it follows the life of a 12-year-old Adivasi girl, Kumu, who was forced to forsake her education and carefree life owing to familial circumstances.
Through the journey of Kumu, the film focuses on how the Adivasi children living in the tea gardens of Assam are deprived of their childhood happiness and hopes, beauty and parental care and are even forbidden from dreaming of a life beyond their predetermined fate.
The cinematography of the film is credited to Chida Bora who has previously worked in Jaicheng Jai Dohutia’s National Award-winning film Haanduk-The Hidden Corner.
Renowned National Award-winning singer Tarali Sarma is the music director of the film. Sound Design is credited to National Award-winning sound designer Debajit Gayan , Color Grading by Suraj Duara, who directed the National Award-winning film Orang. The film is edited by Hirak Jyoti Pathak.
The character of KUMU was played by Nayanmoni Mura, from Dhontula Tea Estate near Nagaon, where the entire film was shot.
Akanshya is a final year student of Mass Communication and Journalism at Tezpur University.