As film maker Rima Das continues to be showered with praises and accolades for being the first Assamese at the helm to power India’s hopes at the Oscars, the journey of ‘Village Rockstars’ from an unheralded cinematic venture to one soaring to the pinnacles of international glory has taken the world by storm.
As we celebrate the lady and her vision behind the epoch making film, which had swept the National Awards, it is pivotal to chronicle Das’ journey from her native village of Kalardiya in Chayygaon with a host of artistes who proved their mettle even without much professional guidance.
As Village Rockstars is set up for a much anticipated release in the country on 28th September after earning rave reviews in movie festivals around the world, we caught up with the young lot of Kalardiya who has been instrumental in Rima Das’ journey to the Academy Awards, the most prestigious award ceremony in the world.
Bhanita Das plays the protagonist Dhunu in Village Rockstars and the young actor is a shy girl in person. She has that twinkle in her eyes that lets her dream and much like the role she enacts, Bhanita is every bit of the character she encompasses in the film. While the demure lass is a student of class 9, her elder brother Manabendra Das is pursuing his higher secondary studies.
And though relatively young for a sound recordist, pursuing her graduation is Mallika Das, the National Award winner for Best Location Sound Recordist.
In conversation with the stars that shaped up Village Rockstars
Q. Would you like to say a dialogue from the film?
Ans: (Bhanita)- I have a goat who is also my friend. One day while she was grazing it started to rain. I wish to depict the scene.
Q. The most memorable memory during the shoot?
Ans: (Bhanita)- One day during the shoot it was flooded. My friend and I went out on a boat. We tried to catch the branch of a tree but it broke and we fell down on the boat!
Q. How did you come to know about the Oscar nomination?
Ans: (Manabendra)- Mallika ba called us at 9 am on 21st September and told us about the Oscar nomination. We were very happy.
Q. How do you feel about the Oscar nomination?
Ans: (Manabendra)- It’s a very big award in the film industry.
Q. Tell us about your role in the film?
Ans: (Manabendra)- My role is about a lazy boy who makes his sister do all his work.
Q. The first Assamese film to be in the Oscars, how does it feel?
Ans: (Mallika)- The hard work paid off Rima ba’s experience and the team’s effort has earned this honour for the film.
Q. Are you a trained sound recordist?
Ans: (Mallika)- No, Rima ba brought me a sound recorder and taught me how to use it.
Q. Awards that the film has received till now?
Ans: (Mallika)- The first award the first award the film got was in MAMI, Dhunu got 5 awards for best actress, a couple of best film awards and a National Award.
(Bhanita)- I got awards in Hyderabad, Delhi, Olimpia, National Award, South Africa.
Q. What are your future projects? Have you been approached by any other filmmaker / producer?
Ans: (Mallika)- Not yet, let’s see in the future.
THE VISION AND THE VILLAGE IN ‘VILLAGE ROCKSTARS’
Perhaps one major factor that has contributed to the appeal of the film is its authenticity. The raw overtone in the film is primarily its setting- shot in Rima Das’ home village of Kalardiya in Chhaygaon, Village Rockstars carry the sentiment of unbounded dreams, thriving to be fulfilled under circumstances that are not very conducive to their realisation. But that may be just the reason why the film strikes with its realistic portrayal of dreams and hopes, brought to life by a bevy of non actors- people who have actually gone through it all as they stumble along in the journey of life. That perhaps sums up the impact this one finery of a film have had upon the psyche of a vast majority of cinematic minds.