Hkgoroloi Bohu Door (1995)

Posted: March 14, 2014 in 100 remarkable Indian films, Assamese Cinema, Bhishnu Khargoria, Jahnu Barua, North East Cinema, Regional

hago

The Assamese film deals with the life of one Powal, a boatman in Nemuguri village in Assam that is situated on the bank of the river Dihing. There is no bridge in that river. For a few generations his forefathers have been ferrying people to and fro. Life goes on smoothly for the boatman. Until one day when he hears about a bridge to be built across the river threatening his livelihood.

Writing in India Today (Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/international-film-festival-of-india-indian-panorama-films-fail-to-scintillate/1/280741.html), Madhu Jain writes “Hkhagoroloi tackles the subject of the wages of development when the human factor is not considered. This is done through the story of an old man, a third-generation boatman who stands to lose his job if a proposed bridge comes up. Interestingly, here again (like in Mammo, Naseem), the pivot is the relationship between grandparents (or grand-aunt) and grandchildren. And the story once more is the intervention of fate in their lives.”

Hkhagoroloi Bohu Door, directed by Jahnu Barua, won him the National Award for the best director in 1995, and 15 international awards including World Peace Prize at Chicago International Film Festival, and Best Director at the International Film Festival of Independent Film makers at Brussels, apart from being invited to as many as 42 prestigious film festivals world wide in a span of two years.

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  1. PRADIP BISWAS says:

    ‘HKHAGOROLOI BOHU DOOR: JAHNU BARUA’S BEST FILM SO FAR

    BY PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS

    JURY MEMBER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL OF INDIA
    JURY MEMBER FRIBOURG INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, FIFF, SWISS

    CURATOR INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVALS

    Jahnu Barua is the foremost and eminent filmmaker of Assam and that of India. In a way he is figurehead of regional cinema in Assam. His film Hkhagoroloi Bohu Door is a sort of a masterpiece for its topical look and realistic depiction of socially deprived classes like a boatman on the river. The film is initially termed as ”the dark side of development” which is a red herring. Its content and form along with its agrarian milieu appears so credible that one desires to re-visit the film again and again. The great métier of the film is its stark realism and cathartic treatment. It is a very memorable work of Jahnu. Hkhagoroloi Bohu Door is Jahnu’s one time great work, never to fade away with the dust of time.

    This critic is stunned to get into the comment of Madhu Jain, FIPRESCI Member and a part time critic said: “There’s nothing extraordinary about this film: no epiphanies, no dramatic twists, no self-conscious technology acting as an advertisement of itself, as is happening increasingly in Indian cinema.” What a bovine evaluation by Madhu who is yet to mature in aesthetics of cinema and film realism. To have such a mind-set, Madhu needed a thorough knowledge of its nature.

    The film unfolds a life and dark going of a boatman who ferries people across the big river in historic strophe. But once a news arrives that a bridge would be constructed over the big river to facilitate the passengers to a comfortable time span. It is a tale about a third-generation boatman about to lose his source of livelihood because of a proposed bridge across the Dihing river, a sustaining life’s journey with a head high.
    Just as the river flows uninterrupted in this gloriously green and sylvan part of Assam – the Kulchi hills – Hkhagoroloi Bohu Door (It’s a Long Way to the Sea) flows along imperceptibly, gently lapping against the shores of our vibrant civilization. To keep tale to a high note of anxieties and uncertainties, Jahnu has used his cinematic sensibilities and aesthetic nuances to a honed scale. Never for a moment we lose interest in the progress of the film when it harks back fall of a generation of boatmen’s genealogy. It is sad, pathetic and hurting.
    In its destined coda, the film plods further questioning the tradition-or-modernity dilemma, still unresolved socially and politically. However, as we find Jahnu, without being controversial, shows in the film the dangers of development and uprooting of people attached to the roots. However, only towards the end do you pitch into the meaning that the film is all about the old man, the sea, well, river, the milieu and the biometry of the social situation and about the impending bridge and the inevitable change in the simple way of life of Nemuguri village that “development” will bring with it, brining like Thomas Hardy’s uprooting the rooted people affected by technological progress and industrialization.
    4/
    Publizität

    The director also makes a poignant statement about the irrevocable widening of the generation gap caused by materialism. Though rooted firmly in Assam, the film is quite universal in its appeal – it has been accepted as a competitive entry in the Chicago Film Festival and was tipped for Cannes in certain summer as well.

    The film makes a clear departure from Jahnu’s previous works like Aparoopa, Halodhia Choraye Baodhan Khai and Firingoti, which dealt with individual problems plus social cobflicts. Jahnu says that he wanted to make a more “generalised film”. Assam’s society is in a crisis. People with roots in the rural areas are really suffering as they are getting decimated by social stuation. It is difficult for them to cope with the urban society which is caught up in materialism.”

    The narrative has Puwal, the boatman, played with restrained dignity by Bishnu Kharghoria, represents the innocent generation for whom the bell is tolling. His son, who lives in Guwahati, has, in the process of cutting the umbilical chord with his village and father, banished even the twinges of conscience in his race to get ahead. His ruination under urban pollution is complete. And the third generation is represented by Hkhuman, Puwal’s orphaned and gifted grandson, superbly played by Sushanta Barooah, who lost his parents to the river.

    Jahnu thinks, he should say it has been to find out ways of investing story with organic cohesion, and filling it with detailed and truthful observation of human behaviour and relationship in a given milieu and given set of events, avoiding stereotypes and stock situations, and sustaining interest visually, aurally, and emotionally by a judicious use of human and technical resources at one’s disposal. The film of Jahnu under scanner seems to have employed the manners of making a realistic film. And this is beyond any polemical doubt. I am felix about the films that borders on a masterpiece.

    Jahnu reaistically depicts the relationship between the grandfather, who gradually becomes embittered and childlike, and his often petulant schoolboy grandson who attains a maturity far greater than his years.
    In the end, child is the father of man –Jahnu’s placing his hopes for the future on Hkhuman. And he does so without falling into the trap of easy sentimentality. Here image of Mrinal Sen takes over and refers back to Ritwik’s nostalgic partition trauma.
    In any sense Jahnu has pitched into trajectory of downhill slope from which a marginalized boatman has not retrieve his-elf above dignity. Jahnu leave not parable; you see the film and get to understand to what extent he could invest his theme with contemporary sensibility. This critic is certain Jahnu has not only observed rule of cinema’s imaginative rules but also merges into artistic and poetic ellipses like superior director. It is here Jahnu emerges as a director with full reckoning and poetic sensibility. This is why Hkhagoroloi Bohu Door is a work miles away from the so called mill of the conventional in Indian Cinema. A rare feat indeed!!!
    END

  2. PRADIP BISWAS says:

    ‘HKHAGOROLOI BOHU DOOR: JAHNU BARUA’S BEST FILM SO FAR

    BY PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS

    JURY MEMBER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL OF INDIA
    JURY MEMBER FRIBOURG INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, FIFF, SWISS

    CURATOR INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVALS

    Jahnu Barua is the foremost and eminent filmmaker of Assam and that of India. In a way he is figurehead of regional cinema in Assam. His film Hkhagoroloi Bohu Door is a sort of a masterpiece for its topical look and realistic depiction of socially deprived classes like a boatman on the river. The film is initially termed as ”the dark side of development” which is a red herring. Its content and form along with its agrarian milieu appears so credible that one desires to re-visit the film again and again. The great métier of the film is its stark realism and cathartic treatment. It is a very memorable work of Jahnu. Hkhagoroloi Bohu Door is Jahnu’s one time great work, never to fade away with the dust of time.

    This critic is stunned to get into the comment of Madhu Jain, FIPRESCI Member and a part time critic said: “There’s nothing extraordinary about this film: no epiphanies, no dramatic twists, no self-conscious technology acting as an advertisement of itself, as is happening increasingly in Indian cinema.” What a bovine evaluation by Madhu who is yet to mature in aesthetics of cinema and film realism. To have such a mind-set, Madhu needed a thorough knowledge of its nature.

    The film unfolds a life and dark going of a boatman who ferries people across the big river in historic strophe. But once a news arrives that a bridge would be constructed over the big river to facilitate the passengers to a comfortable time span. It is a tale about a third-generation boatman about to lose his source of livelihood because of a proposed bridge across the Dihing river, a sustaining life’s journey with a head high.
    Just as the river flows uninterrupted in this gloriously green and sylvan part of Assam – the Kulchi hills – Hkhagoroloi Bohu Door (It’s a Long Way to the Sea) flows along imperceptibly, gently lapping against the shores of our vibrant civilization. To keep tale to a high note of anxieties and uncertainties, Jahnu has used his cinematic sensibilities and aesthetic nuances to a honed scale. Never for a moment we lose interest in the progress of the film when it harks back fall of a generation of boatmen’s genealogy. It is sad, pathetic and hurting.
    In its destined coda, the film plods further questioning the tradition-or-modernity dilemma, still unresolved socially and politically. However, as we find Jahnu, without being controversial, shows in the film the dangers of development and uprooting of people attached to the roots. However, only towards the end do you pitch into the meaning that the film is all about the old man, the sea, well, river, the milieu and the biometry of the social situation and about the impending bridge and the inevitable change in the simple way of life of Nemuguri village that “development” will bring with it, brining like Thomas Hardy’s uprooting the rooted people affected by technological progress and industrialization.
    4/
    Publizität

    The director also makes a poignant statement about the irrevocable widening of the generation gap caused by materialism. Though rooted firmly in Assam, the film is quite universal in its appeal – it has been accepted as a competitive entry in the Chicago Film Festival and was tipped for Cannes in certain summer as well.

    The film makes a clear departure from Jahnu’s previous works like Aparoopa, Halodhia Choraye Baodhan Khai and Firingoti, which dealt with individual problems plus social cobflicts. Jahnu says that he wanted to make a more “generalised film”. Assam’s society is in a crisis. People with roots in the rural areas are really suffering as they are getting decimated by social stuation. It is difficult for them to cope with the urban society which is caught up in materialism.”

    The narrative has Puwal, the boatman, played with restrained dignity by Bishnu Kharghoria, represents the innocent generation for whom the bell is tolling. His son, who lives in Guwahati, has, in the process of cutting the umbilical chord with his village and father, banished even the twinges of conscience in his race to get ahead. His ruination under urban pollution is complete. And the third generation is represented by Hkhuman, Puwal’s orphaned and gifted grandson, superbly played by Sushanta Barooah, who lost his parents to the river.

    Jahnu thinks, he should say it has been to find out ways of investing story with organic cohesion, and filling it with detailed and truthful observation of human behaviour and relationship in a given milieu and given set of events, avoiding stereotypes and stock situations, and sustaining interest visually, aurally, and emotionally by a judicious use of human and technical resources at one’s disposal. The film of Jahnu under scanner seems to have employed the manners of making a realistic film. And this is beyond any polemical doubt. I am felix about the films that borders on a masterpiece.
    Jahnu reaistically depicts the relationship between the grandfather, who gradually becomes embittered and childlike, and his often petulant schoolboy grandson who attains a maturity far greater than his years.
    In the end, child is the father of man –Jahnu’s placing his hopes for the future on Hkhuman. And he does so without falling into the trap of easy sentimentality. Here image of Mrinal Sen takes over and refers back to Ritwik’s nostalgic partition trauma.
    In any sense Jahnu has pitched into trajectory of downhill slope from which a marginalized boatman has not retrieve his-elf above dignity. Jahnu leave not parable; you see the film and get to understand to what extent he could invest his theme with contemporary sensibility. This critic is certain Jahnu has not only observed rule of cinema’s imaginative rules but also merges into artistic and poetic ellipses like superior director. It is here Jahnu emerges as a director with full reckoning and poetic sensibility. This is why Hkhagoroloi Bohu Door is a work miles away from the so called mill of the conventional in Indian Cinema. A rare feat indeed!!!
    END

  3. Thanks Pradip Da for the wonderful write up. Truly appreciate…

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