Revisiting the Past
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Sixty-year-old Barua has made 13 feature films so far — including the 2005 Hindi film Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara — all of which have won critical acclaim. The FTII alumnus' latest offering Baandhon centres around 26/11 and was chosen as the opening film at the Indian panorama section of International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2012 in Goa. Written and directed by him, the film revolves around Dandeswar and Hkawni, an elderly couple, who arrive in Mumbai to look for their beloved grandson — the only other living member of the family who has been missing since the 26/11 terror attack.
"It was in IFFI 2008, when I saw the 26/11 news on TV and thought that this was going to be one of the major topics for films in the next few years," says Barua. But he was surprised as well as disappointed to see that no filmmaker was ready to touch the subject. "That's when I decided to make a film on the subject," he adds.
But Barua was very wary about approaching the topics of violence and tragedy revolving around 26/11, since the disaster had left a deep impression in the minds of the people. "That is why I chose to tell the story from the point of view of an elderly couple," says Barua, adding that he has shown no graphic details in the film. The film was shot in Mumbai, which is a city close to Barua's heart, since he has spent more than 25 years there.
Baandhon is an Assamese film that has been produced by the Assam State Film Finance and Development Corporation (ASFFDC) and stars North Eastern actors Jatin Bora, Bishnu Kharghoria and Zerifa Wahid in the lead roles. The film, which was released last month in Assam, received a positive response from the audience, but Barua feels that regional cinema needs to be more ambitious in terms of its subjects. "Regional cinema is what reaches the common people at the grassroot level. When I decided to make Baandhon, I approached a few producers. But no one was ready to back us up. That is why I approached the ASFFDC," says Barua, adding that his timing was perfect because the ASFFDC hadn't made a film in 10 years and was looking to revive the Assamese film industry.
The Guwahati-based filmmaker is now working on an independent Assamese film which revolves around various uprisings and unrests that haunt the region. "I will use a comparative portrayal of the situation during the independence movement and the violence in the North East, to show how even after decades, things that have changed are essentially the same," says Barua.
Barua hopes that his 2007 film Har Pal, starring Preity Zinta and Shiny Ahuja, will be released soon. The shooting of the film began in August 2007 in Mumbai, Kolkata and Shillong, but the film's release was delayed for several years following rape charges which were levelled against Ahuja. "I have completed Har Pal but it didn't release due to several unfortunate reasons. But I'm certain that it will very soon," says Barua on a positive note.
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