Critic turned filmmaker Utpal Borpujari’s debut feature film Ishu has won the Special Jury Award in Indian Competition Section of 10th Bengaluru International Film Festival.
“I am quite happy to receive the award and I see it as recognition of my work. This is a great honour and I hope it would come as a booster for Assamese cinema,” Borpujari told Northeast Now.
Produced by the Children’s Film Society India, Borpujari’s debut feature examines witch-hunting practices in Assam through the eyes of a child.
Set in a remote village in Goalpara district, Ishu examines the banned practice through Ishu’s battle for his aunt, who is wrongly branded as witch.
Borpujari who has earlier made critically acclaimed documentaries like ‘Mayong: Myth/Reality’, ‘Songs of the Blue Hills’ and ‘Memories of a Forgotten War’ focuses on Northeastern region to tell his stories.
Ishu is based on Assamese writer Manikuntala Bhattacharya’s novel of the same name.
Regarding his choice of subjects, Borpujari said, “There are so many stories in Northeast which have gone untold. The idea is to bring all of these interesting concepts on film. Also when you talk about Northeast, there is often a negative image that comes to one’s mind. I try to pick up subjects that haven’t been handled before.”
The movie stars Kapil Garo as the titular character, alongside Bishnu Khargharia and Tonthoingambi Leishangthem Devi.
Like Ishu, Garo too is a 10-year-old boy from a village in Assam. He was chosen from 300-odd children for the part.
Borpujari said even though the movie is based on a dark theme, it has been made in such a manner that it is fit for screening to children and that is why Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) passed it with a U certificate with no cuts.