The state’s noted film critic and writer Arun Lochan Das has bagged the Special Jury Award for his book on cinema – ‘Eri Aaha Dinborot Asomiya Cinema’ for the year 2016-17, in the category of Best Film Critic and Best Book on Cinema instituted in the memory of influential film critic and cine-journalist Pabitra Kumar Deka, at the 7th State Film Awards ceremony held on July 27 and 28 at the Srimanta Sankardev International Auditorium, situated at the premises of Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra at Panjabari in Guwahati. The award comprised of a memento, a certificate and Rs 25,000.00 in cash.
In fact, it was Pabitra Kumar Deka, whose prolific writings and tireless work in the field of film criticism and cultural journalism has inspired and transformed a band of young writers, who are now proudly following his footsteps. It was due to the efforts and initiative of Deka that film journalism gained professional status in Assam. It’s not easy eking out a living as a freelancer, writing for newspapers and magazines, but Arun Lochan Das, who began his journey under Deka, has been making immense strides in the field. The jury in this competition was chaired by eminent litterateur and National Award-winning film critic Apurba Sarma. The other members of the jury were noted film critic Manoj Borpujari and popular film and cultural activist Nayan Prasad. On the occasion, Apurba Sarma, in his speech, singled out two books in particular in fray for the year 2016-17, showering praises on the authors for their tireless endeavors. However, there is an apparent lack of critical literary and academic writings on cinema in Assam, which he rued. There are very few specialists working in the field today.
On the other hand, the Pabitra Kumar Deka Award for Best Film Critic for the year 2015-16 was bagged by noted film critic Bitopan Borborah, while the Best Film Critic Award for the year 2016-17 was bagged by well-known critics and film activists Parthajit Barua and Pranjal Bora.
Published by Jonali Das under Sisu-Sashi Prakashan, the 300-page ‘Eri Aaha Dinborot Asomiya Cinema’ has appealed to a wide range of film enthusiasts, fans and critics. The book is a reliable guide to the feature films produced in the last eight decades of Assamese cinema. Arun Lochan Das is currently busy compiling the second episode of ‘Exo Asomiya Chalachitrar Kahini Aru Geet’. Providing an overview of Assamese films and their historical backdrop, the book accompanied by numerous photographs, contains the stories and lyrics of hundred films, including ‘Badan Borphukan’, ‘Parghat’, ‘Biplabi’, ‘Chameli Memsahab’, ‘Kollul’, ‘Kolahol’, ‘Sarathi’, ‘Drishti’, ‘Bonoriya Phool’, Maram Trishna, ‘Xagoroloi Bohudoor’, ‘Baibhav’, ‘Othello’, Hiya Diya Niya’, ‘Ghar Sanchar’, ‘Shringkal’, ‘Dinabandhu, ‘Shrimati ‘Mahimamayee’, ‘Arohi’, ‘Village Rockstars’, etc. The senior cine-journalist is also compiling a voluminous book on Assamese cinema titled ‘Asomiya Challachitrar Itihaas’, which will be ready in two years time.