The plight of villagers affected by the Baghjan oil well blowout now features in a film by National award-winning Assamese filmmaker Jaicheng Jai Dohutia.
A massive fire had started at the oil well at Baghjan in Assam’s Tinsukia district on June 9 after a blowout in the oil well on May 27.
The fire that raged for five months gutted houses and properties of people in the surrounding villages, forcing them to take shelter in rehabilitation camps.
Dohutia has shot the entire film at real locations in Baghjan and the cast included victims of the infamous fire.
Although the makers have completed the shoot of the film, they are now arranging funds to complete the post-production work of the film.
The film titled “Baghjan” narrates the misery of villagers affected by the blowout at an oil well operated by Oil India Limited (OIL).
The depicts the story of Manab, a fisherman his wife, Janeki and a selfish villager Bimal who have all been affected in the oil well fire episode.
“The whole Baghjan episode is heart-wrenching. When the explosion took place, fire gutted houses and properties of those poor families. Their life was hell,” a report quoted Dohutia as saying.
“The fire, the continuous high-decibel sound together with the frequent artificial earthquake is beyond imagination. I think such a terrible scene is nowhere to be found in the world,” Dohutia said.
“I think it’s very important to tell the story of these villagers to the world. I have tried my best to depict the Baghjan incident with the very limited resources which I had,” Dohutia said.
Since all the actors in the film are the real-life victims of the Baghjan fire, the entire film has a feel of reality to it.
Monuj Borkakoty is the only professional actor in the feature film.
The film was shot in relief camps where the victims were sheltered amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Although Covid-19 was at its peak during the shoot of the film, the victims of the Baghjan fire had much more to worry about than being infected by the novel coronavirus,” Dohutia said.
Shooting in Baghjan with the oil well fire burning continuously was a completely different experience for the crew of the film.
In fact, the crew had to shoot many scenes of the film at night to avoid scrutiny by security personnel on duty in the area.
The victims who have played a part in the film include Jadumoni Barua, principal of a local school, Pranali Bora, Dandeswar Bora, Sabita Bora and Gunawati Hazarika, Hemanta and two child artistes, Barbi and Gargi Gogoi.
The director hopes to release the film somewhere in the middle of this year.
The team plans to approach various platforms to arrange for funds to complete the post-production work.
The team is also ready to welcome anyone who is willing to fund the project.