Friday, May 28, 2010

Bhupen wings back to past-- Movie on Sankardeva out of tune with time

News Source : The Telegraph , May 28 , 2010
Guwahati, May 27: Kuxumbar putra Srixankar guruwe/ dharisil naamore taan /Naamore xurote anandot naasisil / Pabitra Bardowa thaan…

Way back in 1937, an 11-year-old singer-composer wrote the lyrics of his first song, dedicated to the 15th century saint-reformer Sankardeva. No wonder that the singer — a certain Bhupen Hazarika — described as “amazing” the only film made on Sankardeva after he watched the movie at a special screening here today.

Directed by his biographer Surjya Hazarika, Bhupen Hazarika has also lent his voice to two borgeets in the film.

In his 85th year, Hazarika regretted that he was no longer able to “run about” and watched the movie Srimanta Sankardeva seated on a wheelchair, placed in an aisle of Vandana cinema.

Age may be catching up with Assam’s most popular and enduring cultural icon, but the people’s Bhupenda is still the man behind the voice that has represented an era. The balladeer not only sat through the entire two-and-a-half hours of the film but appeared immersed in the big screen as the life of the saint-reformer unfolded in 35mm celluloid.

After the screening, Hazarika also fielded questions from journalists and posed for photographs, as photojournalists and TV cameramen jostled for space amid diehard fans who had gathered around him for a closer view of the man who is considered the tallest among Assam’s cultural greats.

Where Bhupenda scores, the film, however, does not, falling flat because of the lack of an eye for detail.

At the post-movie briefing, Bhupenda today said that the film was important because of the simple fact that “it is the first ever to be made on Sankardeva” but that is also precisely the reason viewers would be left disappointed — everything about it is “new”.

From the newly-erected sets to the starched and spotless white dhotis worn by all male characters, to the clean-shaven faces of the characters including that of Sankardeva, the film lacks the basic treatment that should be the hallmark of a period film.

No doubt, the canvas of the saint-reformer’s life and work would have been too vast to be encapsulated in a mere two-and-a-half hours, yet a more professional approach would have elevated it from the mundane to a definite cinematic treatise worth the greatness of the saint.

And certainly, Srimanta Sankardeva would have also done without guitar “pieces” as background music.