Every once in a while there comes a movie with a storyline so simple and yet stunning, that it will leave you yearning for more.
‘Village Rockstars’, an Assamese film does just that. This coming-of-age movie has been written, produced, edited, designed and put together beautifully by Rima Das.
Rima moved to Mumbai with aspirations of becoming an actor.
But as luck would have it, she ended up directing ‘Man with the binoculars: Antardrishti’, her first feature film, which was released in 2016.
‘Village Rockstars’ tells the tale of a ten-year-old girl with dreams to form her own rock band, who goes in search of an electric guitar in her village.
This comes as a huge honour for Rima as this is the second film from Assam to be selected as India’s submission to the Oscars.
In a report published by The Indian Express, Rima says, “It is a big deal because when you don’t receive recognition, you feel things are not possible. It stops people from trying. Such news makes me feel that things are possible.”
Here are seven things you ought to know about Village Rockstars:
1. Rima Das, the director of this movie, is a one-woman army. Besides being its director she is also the screenwriter, executive producer, editor, production designer and cinematographer.
2. Rima took over three-and-a-half years to script ‘Village Rockstars’, which was then shot over a period of 130 days. This feature film was shot on a handheld camera and has used a cast of non-actors, sourced almost wholly from the village of Kalardiya in Assam’s Chayagaon.
3. The film touches upon many scenarios that one continues to encounter in India’s villages. For example, it unflinchingly tackles the disturbing manner in which village elders force girls who reach puberty to suddenly sit at home and have little contact with the outside world. How the protagonist’s mother reacts to this is one of the highlights of the film.
4. The protagonist, played by child actor Bhanita Das, has also been awarded a National Award.
This makes her the first-ever Assamese child actor to receive this honour. Bhanita happens to be Rima’s cousin sister.
5. In 2017, ‘Village Rockstars’ was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival. The natural elements in the movie – like the unseen locations, an authentic cast, and organic story-telling helped the movie win critical appreciation nationally and internationally.
6. ‘Village Rockstars’ is the second Assamese feature film to win the National Award.
The first one was ‘Halodhia Choraye Baodhan Khai’ by Jahnu Barua, which bagged the award 29 years ago.
7. ‘Village Rockstars’ is India’s official nomination for the 2018 Academy Awards. 29 films – including blockbusters like Raazi, Padmaavat, Hichki, October, Love Sonia, Gulabjaam, Mahanati, Pihu, Kadvi Hawa, Bhogda, Revaa, Bioscopewala, Manto, 102 Not out, Padman, Bhayanakam, Ajji, Nude, Gali Guliiyan – were considered.
Here’s hoping that this movie from Assam makes us all proud. The Academy Awards are scheduled on February 24, 2019.
(Edited By Vinayak Hegde)