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Kothanodi

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Director, Bhaskar Hazarika:

A 100 years ago, Lakshminath Bezbaroa, a literary stalwart and a sensitive artist, wanted to breathe new life into the then stagnating Assamese literary scenario. As a celebrated personality and pioneer of modern Assamese literature, he responded to the prevailing social environment through his beautiful satirical works to bring in a positive wave of change.

A century later, Bhaskar Hazarika took upon his story to re-imagine one of his most famous works. Hazarika’s debut feature, Kothanodi is based on the characters and events described in Burhi Aair Sadhu. Although anchored in the past, Bhaskar’s film reflects the modern day crimes against women in Assam. The National Award winning film is also the winner of the Asian Cinema Funds Post Production Fund Award for 2015. It premiered at the 59th British Film Institute London Film Festival, and was screened both at the 20th Busan International Film Festival and Dharamshala International Film Festival last year.

Originally from Dergaon in Assam, Bhaskar graduated in History from St. Stephen’s College in Delhi before the world of cinema opened up for him during his post graduation from the University of Reading. In the past, Bhaskar has co-written the screenplay for Abbas-Mustan’s Players [2012], co-directed the documentary Live from Peepli [2010] and made documentaries for the Film & Television Institute of India, the United Nations Development Programme, and the government of India. His documentary, Nobody’s Perfect won at the National Film Festival on Disability Issues in 2008. I got in touch with him to share more about his multiaward winning film, Assamese cinema, and how demanding the crowdfunding route proved. 

Through Kothanodi, you’ve re-imagined four folk tales from Assam that reflect the grisly truths of life. What was the inspiration behind this film?
The primary creative impulse behind K was to tell a cracking good story, to take a piece of our Assamese folklore and legends to a global audience. That the film is dark is a consequence of my own predilections!

What do you wish to communicate through your film and what do you want the audience to take away after watching it?
The idea is to provide a window to peek into a strange landscape of magic and mystery. If audiences go back from the film wishing to know more about Assamese folklore, I would say that’s a job well done.

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