Movies

'I am not the first to depict a gay character,' says Assamese filmmaker Basumatary

A scene from the movie.

A scene from the movie.

In a rare instance, an Assamese movie has been getting nationwide attention after its release in theaters in the State  on Wednesday. Local Kung fu 2, a sequel to Local Kung Fu released in 2013, is an adaption of William Shakespeare’s “Comedy of Errors.”

Directed by Kenny Deori Basumatary, the movie has grabbed eyeballs for its portrayal of a gay protagonist. Seen as one of the leads in the action-comedy, the character packs punches, cracks jokes and, thankfully, stays away from clichés.

Kenny, who dropped out of IIT Delhi to find work in Bollywood, has written the screenplay and acted in the movie. Before venturing into movie-making, the multi-talented filmmaker was seen in many ads and in a few cameos in Hindi films.

Following are excerpts from an interview with him:

What was the idea behind having a gay protagonist?

The main objective of the movie is to be as funny as possible. But I tried to sneak in my point of view without making it obvious. I am sure there have been movies in Assam where a character is gay. So not sure if I am the first. But the idea was to keep it subtle; we don’t want to mock or disrespect anyone but to execute it sensitively.

Kenny Deori Basumatary

Kenny Deori Basumatary

Given the buzz about the movie, are you looking for a nationwide release?

We intend to, at least in the main metros. But we haven’t spoken to any distributors yet. I know a few people in Mumbai, will speak with them and see if we can get screen space. Meanwhile, the movie is running houseful in PVRs and INOX in Assam since its release, which is great.

For pan India release, we need to add subtitles and finish a few other things. So it will take another month or two.

Do you think it’s unfortunate that Assamese films fail to reach masses in the rest of India?

A Marathi movie isn’t releasing in theatres across the country and yet it has audience and popularity. For the industry to grow, it has to happen in Assam and not outside the State.

 

So what do you think is stopping the Assamese film industry from growing?

Gunda gardi   (hooliganism) of outside distributors. They reserve good shows in theatres for Hindi and English movies. They don’t give space to regional cinemas. My last movie, Raag, co-starring Adil Hussain and Zerifa Wahid, was running successfully until these distributors decided to stop the shows and gave it to Arjun Kapoor starrer Gunday .

They call up the theatre owners and threaten them to make space for Hindi and English movies. For the industry to grow we need protection. Even a country like South Korea has government regulations for running Korean movies for certain number of days before giving it away to Hollywood movies. Besides, the State also needs more theatres.

Is there any dialogue with the current government to help uplift the industry?

The government is nothing but Sonowal-Hemanta (Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, and Minister for Education, Health and Finance Hemanta Biswa Sarma) and yes, they have tried to improve the conditions by rearranging ticket pricing, which then enables producers as more money comes into their pockets. But, there is so much more that needs to be done.

Do you plan to direct your next film in Bollywood, giventhat you live there?

Well, to break in to Bollywood one needs contacts and networking and I don’t seem to be good at it. So if I get a producer, I will go ahead.


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Printable version | Jul 4, 2022 2:22:50 am | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/i-am-not-the-first-to-depict-a-gay-character-says-assamese-filmmaker-basumatary/article18189720.ece