Movies

Vijay’s ‘Theri’ inspires Assamese cinema’s biggest-ever blockbuster

Jatin Bora in Assamese film ‘Ratnakar: A New Myth of Love’

Jatin Bora in Assamese film ‘Ratnakar: A New Myth of Love’  

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Titled ‘Ratnakar: A New Myth of Love’, the film stars superstar Jatin Bora playing the role of a single father living incognito to protect the safety of his young daughter

Assamese film Ratnakar: A New Myth of Love, has broken all box office records since its release on October 11, to emerge as the biggest Assamese blockbuster of all time. Loosely inspired from the Tamil film of 2016, Vijay-starrer Theri that was directed by Atlee, Ratnakar has superstar Jatin Bora playing the lead role of a single father living incognito in a remote place to protect the safety of his young daughter.

Starring Samantha, Amy Jackson and Baby Nainika, Theri was a huge hit for the Tamil star, and led to future collaborations between Atlee and Vijay with Mersal and the recent Deepavali release Bigil.

 

Bora has also co-produced and directed the film with music composed by the other big star of Assamese cinema, Zubeen Garg. The film has been scripted by Abhijit Bhattacharjya, who is well-known for his work with the popular travelling theatres in Assam.

“Not just Assam, it’s the biggest ever money-spinner for the entire North East,” says the film’s co-producer, Navanita Sarma Bora. Ratnakar released in 59 theatres in the state and 12 outside the North East in its first week. According to its distributor Siddharth Goenka, it has collected Rs 9 crore 23 lakh net since then, which is said to be just 1 per cent of the entire India market. “So 9 crore in Assam would roughly be equivalent of a Hindi film doing 900 crore business in the all India market,” says a trade expert.

Ratnakar is not the only one to have hit the jackpot. Kanchanjangha, that released in 69 theatres in Assam on September 6 this year did a business of Rs 7 crore gross in a five-week-run to become the highest grossing Assamese film in history, till Ratnakar came a month later to break its record. The previous highest Assamese grosser had been Mission China (2017) that did an approximate business of Rs 5 crore.

Both Kanchanjangha and Mission China were co-produced,directed and written by Zubeen Garg who also composed the music and starred in them. “In the beginning of the fourth week, Kanchanjangha also surpassed the record of Baahubali 2: The Conclusion as the highest grosser in the North East,” says co-producer Garima Saikia Garg. Both Ratnakar and Kanchanjangha have been distributed by Goenka.

“It’s a golden time for Assamese cinema with two films making history, back-to-back,” says Saikia Garg. “2019 has been the best ever year for Assamese cinema. The producers, distributors, exhibitors… everyone is happy,” says veteran filmmaker Manju Bora. “Usually Assamese films would make way to accommodate mainstream Hindi films in the theatres. This year it has been the other way round; Hindi films are giving way to Assamese films.The last such blockbuster was Joubone Amoni Kore that pushed Hum Aapke Hain Koun! out of the theatres,” says critic-turned-filmmaker Utpal Borpujari.

Ratnakar was my dream project, but I never thought people of Assam would like it so much,” says Jatin Bora, who came back to direction, 13 years after having made Adhinayak. Co-producer Navanita Sarma Bora thinks it’s because of the “upgradation” in all departments of filmmaking. “People told me that if you change the language, noone can tell that it’s an Assamese film. It’s comparable to the best of Bollywood and southern films,” she says. According to her, the new, stylish look of Bora and the emotional pull of the father-daughter relationship also worked in the film’s favour.

“We saw this revolution coming during Mission China itself,” says Garg, adding that the new mode of publicity and promotions — reaching out to the young, new generation of viewers in universities, colleges and educational institutes — is also bearing fruit.

The booming business has been helping independent Assamese cinema as well. India’s Oscar entry last year, Rima Das’ Village Rockstars, is reported to have run for three weeks in Assam and made more than Rs 1 crore. “There have been very few takers for award-winning, festival circuit films. Now even that line is being breached for the betterment of cinema,” says Manju Bora.

Meanwhile, Garg already has three scripts playing on his mind. He wants to try out a comedy next, called Oghaitong (Naughty), a genre that he thinks has been sorely lacking in Assamese cinema in the last two-three decades.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 11:38:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/vijays-theri-inspires-assamese-cinemas-biggest-ever-blockbuster/article29971725.ece

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