Special Correspondent

Joymotiwas produced and directed by Rupkonwar Agarwal

Made in 1935Screening in Germany

GUWAHATI: The first Assamese film, Joymoti, produced and directed by Rupkonwar Jyotiprasad Agarwal in 1935, will have its first international premiere in Germany, where he learnt film-making.

Rupkonwar's dream of having his movie screened before a global audience will come true 55 years after his death. It will be premiered at the third Indian film festival "Bollywood and Beyond" at Stuttgart between July 12 and 16 under the aegis of Filburo, a non-profit organisation of film-makers of Germany.

A one-hour DVD version of the film, prepared by Altaf Mazid, film-maker and critic, will be screened at the premiere as the complete print of the film has been lost. Rupkonwar's youngest brother Hridayananda Agarwalla could retrieve only seven of the film's reels.

The retrieved prints were incorporated in to the documentary, Rupkonwar Jyotiprasad Aru Joymoti, produced by singer Bhupen Hazarika in 1976 as a tribute to Assam's culture icon. They have been used by Mr. Mazid in his film. The English sub-titles of the dialogues and songs have been done by Pradip Acharya of Cotton College.

"The content of Joymoti is also innovative: a widely popular legend of a 17th century princess of Ahom dynasty, who died due to torture meted out by a puppet king. Joymoti remained silent about her husband, who had fled the state, as the king wanted to kill him because he considered him a competitor to the throne. The oppression and passive resistance of the peoplein the film paralleled the situation prevalent in India during [the] British rule in the 1930s," Mr. Mazid told The Hindu.

"Thus, the realistic depiction was a political approach, contradicting the theatrical style of acting, costume and sets, which at the time were the dominant features of Indian films. Cinematic content of productions in other Indian regions were also overtly religious, based on mythology. Contrary to such films, Joymoti was based on real historical material," he said.

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