The much-awaited music album of Bidyut Kotoky’s second Assamese feature film – Xhoixobote Dhemalite (Rainbow Fields), was released in a glittering ceremony at the Gateway Grandeur Hotel, in Guwahati, recently.
The function began with a welcome address by popular musician Poran Borkatoky (Jojo) whose newly formed Dhwani Records, along with Sony Music have obtained the exclusive distribution rights for the album worldwide. Interestingly, this was also Sony Music’s first music album release in Assamese.
On the occasion, the film’s National Award-winning music director Anurag Saikia talked about his journey with his score for the album that reflected the spirit and ethos of the film. Director Bidyut Kotoky recounted his experiences as a child growing up amidst unrest and savage brutality during the Assam Agitation, and its impact on him. “Xhoixobote Dhemalite.. is inspired by events I experienced as a child during the Assam Student Movement in the 1980s,” the 45-year-old Guwahati-born director said.
More than three decades ago, Bidyut Kotoky, then a school-going boy, was witness to the violence and mayhem that typified the deeply troubled period. He recalled watching houses being torched by irate mobs, and how in such a scenario, a man, in his blood-stained clothes, tightly clutching his little daughter, pleaded before a crowd to spare their lives. The incident left an indelible scar, “that remained etched in my memory for the next 36 years,” said a visibly emotional Kotoky. And traumatic as it may have been, it reminds one of what the world is witnessing at the moment – the gruesome and devastating images of war-ravaged countries like Syria, Iraq, Palestine, and Afghanistan. And more often than not, it’s the children, the most vulnerable, who get stuck in the crossfire of conflicts. The film’s story idea was with Kotoky for quite a while but was kept on the back burner for some time.
The traumatic incidents he witnessed in Kokrajhar district had a considerable psychological impact on him that lingered at the subconscious level, and after becoming a father some four years back, he was sort of emboldened to tackle the subject.
Although semi-autobiographical in nature, Kotoky even got proposals to make the film in Hindi, as the subject has an emotional depth that cuts across geographical barriers. But he was adamant about making it in Assamese. He also feels that in these globalized times, an Assamese film too, like a quality Iranian film, can be made with subtitles.
Facing financial crunch, the director had even started a crowdfunding campaign with Wishberry to gather a sum of Rs 10 lakhs. The campaign fetched Rs 3.5 lakh. The contributors from Assam accounted for only Rs 16,000. The willing private enterprises or investors made up the rest.
The film, to be released in January in the country, has been well-received in the festival circuit, having won quite a few accolades, including the Best Foreign Film Award at the Hollywood International CineFest 2017, and selection to the Indian Panorama of the 48th International Film Festival of India, 2017. ‘Xhoixobote Dhemalite..’ was also shortlisted, along with eight other films from five South Asian countries, in the CLINIK Kathmandu Film Lab (2015). The script has been mentored by Michael Henrichs (associate producer of ‘Chauthi Koot’ which was part of the Official Selection at Cannes 2015). The film was selected for the prestigious KID FIRST Film Festival – the world’s largest film festival for kids. Now in its 17th year, the KIDS FIRST Film Festival offers a showcase for short and feature films from major studios, as well as independent and student filmmakers.
‘Ekhon Nedekha Nadir Xhipare’ (As The River Flows), Kotoky’s debut film, received various awards, including the Best Script and Best Actor awards in the 2013 Washington DC South-Asian Film Festival and the Audience Choice award in the North Carolina South-Asian film festival in 2014.
‘Xhoixobote Dhemalite..’ stars veteran actor Victor Banerjee, Dipannita Sharma, Nakul Vaid, Naved Aslam, Nipon Goswami and Nikumoni Barua, among others. Noted sound designer Amrit Pritam has designed the sound for this film. Camera is by Satya Prakash Rath and editing by Pallavi Kotoky.
The film has been produced by India Stories, a Mumbai based production house, and co-produced by Bidyut’s Dhruv Creative Productions and Kurmasana Kreates – a US-based production house. Mukul Gogoi is the film’s associate producer.
The album of ‘Xhoixobote Dhemalite..’ was formally released by eminent guests, including filmmaker Santwana Bordoloi, writer-classical vocalist Mitra Phukan, journalist-writer Mrinal Talukdar, filmmaker Rakesh Sarma, besides the film’s director and music director, among others. The film’s trailer and the title song rendered by Zubeen Garg were also shown on the occasion. The only song from the album – ‘Emuthi..’ rendered by Garg, has two more versions too – one sung by Nilotpal and the other by upcoming singer Dipakshi. The programme on the occasion was anchored by RJ Megha of Gup-Shup Radio.
The songs are currently available on the digital platforms like iTunes, Spotify, Saavn, Deezer, Anghami, Fizy, Shazam and the like.