When we see a wonderful movie on screen we always appreciated the actors and scriptwriters who have done their job so well. But, the brain at the back of actors portraying the wonderful role, scriptwriter writing it well is the Director. Director is the person who visualizes the whole art on his minds a long before it hits the screen. The director always stands as the prominent player to when it comes to making a movie at its best. So today at SobiGhor we will discuss 10 best Assamese Movie Directors of All Time. Notably, there are number wonderful directors across the state since last eight decades. Here we have made the list looking at the overall performances of their movies based on artistic work, peculiar content, awards, box office record and many more. So read ahead.
1. Kenny Basumatary
Kenny DB (born 9 April 1980), A person with a huge humor, passionate Acting skills, and Brilliant work from the back camera is the current sensation across the state, who bought a new genre of Action comedy movies which happened first time in Assamese Cinema. Kenny Deori Basumatary, well he is now popular as a wonderful director, but prior to directing he worked as a type casted actor in Bollywood movies. Some of these movies are Shanghai, Mary Kom, Phata Poster Nikla Hero and many more. Kenny is a drop out of IIT Delhi. He didn’t complete his college where he was pursuing Computer Engineering. After that, he worked as a newsreader for an Assamese News channel. And then, in 2009, Kenny moved to Mumbai to attend a film scripting workshop, in which his martial arts-based script did not make it to the top. After that he went on to act in commercials, TV serials and small roles, we have also seen Kenny portraying a small role in Anil Kapoor starrer TV series “24”. There began the rise of Kenny DB we know today. In 2013 he directed the Assamese martial arts comedy film Local Kung Fu, with a mere budget of 95,000 Rs. And was released on Youtube, upon release it became a rebel hit, the Action-Comedy movie had more the 3 Million Views by 2014 and was loved by masses. And it became a revolution in Assamese cinema, where other filmmakers appreciated Kenny for his peculiar work and mentioned him as a rising director. And he proved his brilliant directorial skills again with 2017 released Local Kunfu 2, which was again a big hit. It’s a big achievement for Kenny DB that Local Kung Fu (2013) was nominated for best Assamese film in the inaugural Filmfare awards for the Eastern region. Kenny still works both as an Actor and Director, and recently he portrayed the role of Subhash Chandra Bose in 2017 critically acclaimed “Raagdesh” Directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia. Kenny was appreciated a lot for his work in the movie. We wish Kenny to rise more and produce more amazing content ahead.
2. Jyoti Prasad Agarwala
Jyoti Prasad Agarwala (1903-1951), The pioneer of Assamese cinema, the person to produce and direct the first Assamese movie “Joymoti” in 1935. Born on 17 June 1903 to Paramananda Agarwala and Kiranmoyee Agarwala in Tamulbari Tea Estate. Jyoti’s uncles were renowned Assamese poets Chandra Kumar Agarwala and Ananda Chandra Agarwala. He was noted especially as Assamese play writer, songwriter, poet, writer, and filmmaker. He was considered as Assamese cultural icon, and often referred as “Rupkonwar” of Assamese culture. On his time span, Jyoti Prasad Agarwala had written more the 300 songs, many of whose music was composed by himself. Collectively, these songs are called Jyoti xongit. Although records say he has directed only two movies namely “joymoti” released in 1935 and “Indramalati” released in 1939, but still he is considered as one of the best directors of all time. His initiative has left a great remark to the Assamese Cinema. You should know the fact that until 1942 this was only two movies of Assamese cinema. Later many directors began filmmaking taking Jyoti Prasad Agarwala as Inspiration. As a tribute, the death anniversary (17 January) is celebrated as Silpi divas in Assam. With the mentioned two most prominent films, Agarwala has also written and directed a number of Plays some are Sonit Kunwor, Karengar Ligiri, Rupalim, Nimati Konya or Rupkonwar, Sonpakhilee, Khanikar, Kanaklata, Sundarknowar, and Lobhita. Jyoti Prasad Agarwala’s passionate work for Assamese Cinema will be always remembered.
3. Rima Das
The latest entry in the list of legendary directors, with her blockbuster and National Award winning movie “Village Rockstars”, Rima Das creates history. Rima Das is said as a self-taught film writer-producer-director. Whose passion for filmmaking made her create a number of epic arts on the silver screen, this includes her most popular films like the latest Village Rockstars (2017), Man with binoculars (2016) and Pratha (2009). She was born in Assam and she started her work in the movie industry as an actress prior becoming a well-known Director. In late 2009, she decided to go to the other side of the camera and become a director. After producing and directing successful short films and documentaries, Reema Das took up the project to shoot her first feature film in which she contributed as a screenwriter, director, and producer. Work on the film with a small budget and a small film-crew took her 4 years. And thus we see on the screen the popular short film Pratha (2009) and the feature film Man with the binoculars (2016) on screen, that signifies the passion and hard work she has done to make this movie an epic. For her movie, Village Rockstars, which has won several National and international awards, Has also won India’s National Best Film and where Rima Das herself bagged the award for Best Editing. We hope to see more from this rising lady and wish her to lead Assamese Cinema to greater Standards.
4. Prabhat Mukherjee
Prabhat Mukherjee (1917-1997), A director who is known for providing the International exposure to Assamese Cinema. 1958 released Puberun was directed by Prabhat Mukherjee, and Puberun became the first Assamese Movie to be showcased in International Film Festival in 1960 held in Bernaile. Prabhat Mukherjee is known for directing movies in several languages that include Assamese, Bengali, Hindi, and Oriya. Prabhat Mukherjee began his career with as a radio Jockey in All India Radio and then turned as an actor in Bengali film in the 1950s. After that in 1956, he made his directorial debut with the film Maa. And then In 1958, Mukherjee shotPuberun. He also wrote the screenplay for this drama about maternal love. After that, He directed several Oriya films that include Dasyu Ratnakara of 1962 which he tried to remake in Assamese also but because of financial issues, he dropped the project. Mukherjee’s Hindi film came as 1972 film Shayar-e-Kashmir Mahjoor, produced by the Jammu and Kashmir government on the Kashmiri national poet Ghulam Ahmad. Mukherjee always tried to represent the native languages film of Assamese and Bengali in globally and he does succeded in his goal. At the end days, Mukherjee turned as Book writer and wrote the book “Redemption at Shridi” which he wrote after he turned towards teachings of Sai Baba after his failure of the second marriage. Later Number of filmmakers has followed ideas and writings of Mukherjee to develop mythological scripts. With Puberun as a big hit Mukherjee also directed a number of Short films and plays in Assamese language and contributed a lot to Assamese Cinema. Other hit movies of Mukherjee includes Bicharak, Jeevan Saathi, Nua Bou, Manik Jodi, Chimni Ka Dhuan etc.
5. Brajen Baruah
When there was an era where no Assamese film was performing well in box office and award functions and was also considered as an industry who produces similar kind of content every time. Brajen Baruah took the initiative and Directed the first crime thriller movie named “Dr. Bezbarua” from Assam and attracted the attention of every Tom Dick and Harry across the nation. Dr. Bezbarua became biggest hits of All time and became the first commercially super successful movie of Assamese cinema. It also bagged the National Award for best film in Assamese after 4 blank years in 1969. Brajen Baruah’s initiative with an incredible script will be always remarkable in Assamese cinema. Later Baruah directed several other hit movies like Lalita (1972), Upoja Hunor Mati (1972) and Gorom Botah in 2001. With directing movies Brajen Baruah also composed music and is one of the best music directors of 70s. Some of his compositions are still popular across the countryside of Assam, these are “Moyna Kon Bidhatai”, “Ki Naam Di Matim”, “Jilika Jilika Tora Akakhore” and “Phool Phool Phool” which he composed with his brother Ramen Barua. Because of providing peculiar content in every movie he directed he is considered as one of the best directors of Assamese Cinema.
6. Bhupen Hazarika
Bhupen Hazarika (1926 – 2011), is a legendary personality who has tried his hands in all forms of art from, writing, producing, directing, composing music and singing. A multi-talented personality, He was popular as a playback singer, lyricist, musician, singer, poet and film-maker. He was often referred Sudhakantha. His songs, based on the themes of communal amity, universal justice, and empathy, have become popular among the people of Assam, besides West Bengal and Bangladesh. He is also acknowledged to have introduced the culture and folk music of Assam and Northeast India to Hindi cinema at the national level. With the composition of wonderful music, Hazarika has also composed and directed few wonderful movies that are remarkable in the history of Assamese and Indian Cinema. These movies include Era Bator Sur (1956), Shakuntala Sur (1961), Pratidhwani (1964), Loti-Ghoti (1966), Chik Mik Bijuli (1969), Mon Projapati (1979), Siraj (1988) and Many more. He received the National Film Award for Best Music Direction in 1975. Recipient of Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1987), Padmashri (1977), and Padmabhushan (2001), Dada Saheb Phalke Award (1992), Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship (2008), He was posthumously awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian award, in 2012. Hazarika also held the position of the Chairman of the Sangeet Natak Akademi from December 1998 to December 2003. The contribution of Bhupen Hazarika was incredible His works ranging from Music Direction, Playback singing, lyricist, Poet to Film Making and everything will always be remembered.
7. Munin Baruah
Munin Barua (1946-2018). A classic personality with a passion to present things beautifully that it should be loved by everyone. A director who has given us number of commercially hit films that we have loved a lot, and we had watched them repeatedly. Munin Barua’s hit movies include Pita-Putro, Prabhati Pokhir Gaan, Hiya Diya Niya, Daag, Nayak, Bidhata etc. Barua was born in 1946 at Khumtai in Golaghat district, Assam. His father was late Hemendra Nath Barua, who was the mouzadar in Khumtai mouza and mother is Latika Barua. Barua is widely mentioned in Assam to have been one of the directors who helped popularize and establish Assamese cinema outside the state, primarily outside India where other industries were already present. In 2000, his film Hiya Diya Niya became a first ‘blockbuster hit’ in Assamese cinema, which helped revive the Assamese film industry. Another film, Dinabandhoo, received National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Assamese in 2005. In his personal life, He married Manjula Barua, She is an actress as well as a costume designer in Assamese film industry. They have two children, Manas and Puja. Munin Barua began his career in Assamese cinema as a scriptwriter and assistant director in mid 70’s. He has written scripts for 21 films, which includes Bowari, Ghar-Sansar, Sonmoina, Mon-Mandir, Sewali, Daag, Barood, Rong, Maya, Bidhata etc. He has worked as assistant director for Shiva Prasad Thakur’s films Bowari, Ghar-Sansar, and Sonmoina. Barua made his directorial debut jointly with Nipon Goswami in the 1987 movie Pratima. He has also written scripts in many plays of mobile theatres. Apart from movies Barua also directed television serials like – Papu Nikur Xongbad and Rudra. Barua has a great contribution to making Assamese Cinema so good nowadays. But we lost this great personality on 7 April 2018, at the age of 71 in Guwahati. Zubeen Garg starrer Priyor Priyo was the last movie directed by Munin Baruah.
8. Manju Borah
A gem in Herself and presenting the best content on screen everytime she handles a project is Manju Borah. An expert in directing and presenting movies beautifully in prominent regional languages like Assamese, Bodo, and Missing. Most of the Manju Borah’s films express the region’s culture and its impact on the person and society as a whole. For Her first feature film, Baibhab (A Scam in Verse) was released in 1999. The film was awarded the Jury’s ‘Special Mention’ in the 47th National Film Festival, 2000 and was named the Best film in Asia at the 6th Dhaka International Film Festival, 2000. Her next Aakashitorar Kothare won the National award for Best Regional Feature Film and the National award for Best Female Playback Singer for Tarali Sarma. Her other films like Laaz (Shame), 2004 and Joymati (The Saviour), 2006 were both selected for the Indian Panorama in IFFI and other National & International festivals. Later, Her 2008 film Aai Kot Nai (Ma) was awarded the Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration in 56th National Film Awards. In 2012 Ko: yad (A Silent Way) received National Awards for Best Mising Film and Best Cinematography in 60th National Film Awards. Also Her film Dau Huduni Methai (Song of The Horned Owl) received National Awards for Best Bodo Film, 2015, Indian Panorama, 2015 (46th IFFI), Best Cinematography Award in the 4th International Women’s Film Festival, 2016, Afghanistan it was also an official selection for Montreal World Film Festival, Kerala International Film Festival, 2015, MAMI 2015 etc. Her latest film Sarbagunakar Srimanta Sankardeva which is the 1st animated feature film in the North-Eastern Region of India which got released in Nov 2016 with a huge response from the audience. With filmmaking, She also holds various positions at different cine organizations. She is a Non-official member of General Body Jyoti Chitraban Film Studio Society and has served as a member of the Governing Council of Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute (SRFTI). Her other films are Sapon 1996, Anya Ek Yatra 2001. Her works are incomparable and have bought a new dawn to Assamese Cinema with her amazing movies.
9. Dr. Bhabendranath Saikia
Dr. Bhabendra Nath Saikia (1932– 2003) with directing movies, he was also a novelist, short story writer. He won many literary awards, including Sahitya Academy (1976), and was also recognized with the Padma Shri. Bhabendra Nath Saikia was born on 20 February 1932 in Nagaon town. Prior to movies, Saikia had earned a number of honorary degrees in Physics that includes Ph.D. in physics from the University of London. Saikia edited the popular Prantik, an Assamese monthly magazine, and a children’s magazine named Xaphura both in the Assamese language. He was also the president of the Jyoti Chitraban which was for a long time the only film studio in Assam. Saikia is the only person across the nation who has won the National Awards for each of the seven Assamese films he had directed, These include Sandhya Raag (1977), Anirban (1981), Agnisnan (1985), Kolahal (1988), Sarothi (1992), Abartan (1994) and Itihas (1996). He was also popular as one of the top ranking writers of Assam. Many stories have been translated into English, Bengali, Hindi, Telugu, Malayalam, Marathi, Gujarati etc. He had also written a large number of plays for All India Radio (AIR). The plays Kolahal, Durbhiksha, and Itihaas were taken up by the AIR as national plays. He has written many plays for ‘Mobile Theatre’ of Assam and he has been actively involved with famous Assamese Mobile Theater industry most notably with Abahan Theater. For his services to the literature, culture, and cinema of Assam, Dr. Saikia was awarded Padma Shri in 2001. The contributions of Saikia is incredible to Assamese Cinema and Literature.
Before mentioning the top pick here are few honorable mentions.
Notable Works : Adajya (1996), Maj Rati Keteki (2017)
Notable Works: Kothanodi (2015)
Notable Works : Suren Suror Pitek (2005), Junda Iman Gunda (2007), Soi Gaonr Chompa (2017)
10. Jahnu Barua
Jahnu Barua (Born: 17 October 1952). Twelve times National Award winner Jahnu Barua makes the top on our list. An incredible person who has always concentrated on presenting awesome art on the silver screen. So far has made around 15 feature films and His films have won over 20 international awards including Silver Leopard at Locarno International Film Festival. Hailing from Assam, Jahnu makes most of his films in his native language Assamese, which provides exposure to Assamese cinema and culture to the national and international grounds. Graduated in Film Direction form Film & Television Institute of India, Jahnu is the Board member of Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute of India, Calcutta. He is best popular outside Assam for his Hindi film Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara, a drama which uses the principles of Gandhism in the entire movie. For Assamese cinema, he has always contributed a lot, and we can see it since his first directorial debut in 1982 with “Aparoopa” which bagged the National Award for Best Regional Film. He was the person who directed the movie Halodhia Soraye Baodhan Khai (1986), which bagged the first National Award for Best film from Assam, competing for all other movies in National Level. And it was only movie of Assam to achieve that until Village Rocksatars (2017) directed by Reema Das become the second movie to win the same after 31 years of the previous. Jahnu’s other super hit movies are Firingoti, Xagoroloi Bohudur, Konikar Ramdhenu, Pokhi, Tora, Bandhon, Kuhkaal, Bonani, Ajeyo etc, where all the movies are awarded National and International awards. Jahnu Barua is still working and will contribute more to the Assamese Cinema, currently, he is working on his upcoming projects titled Bhoga Khidkee and Unread Pages, and we wish this movie will be big hits.
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