Archive for the ‘Jahnu Barua’ Category


There is a striking similarity in Ray’s KAPURUSH (a 1965 film) with the debut film APOROOPA (1982) directed by the renowned Assamese filmmaker Jahnu Barua. The Ray film featured Soumitro Chattopadhyay and Madhabi Mukherjee, while the Barua film had Biju Phukan and Suhasini Mulay in the lead roles. In both the films the lead player plays ex-lovers where the female lead is married to a tea estate manager.
The ex-lovers meet after a long hiatus via the tea estate manager who initially befriends the male lead. The similarity ends here. While the Barua film had a courageous lover, the one in the Ray film was a Kapurush (weakling). The Ray film was based on a story by Premendra Mitra.

Rating: 3 out of 5

It is heartening to find that powerful films can come from small film industries like Assam in a dialect (Mising) spoken by a minority section of the population of the state. KO-YAD is such a haunting film, it kept me reminding of Jahnu Barua’s HKGOROLOI BOHU DOOR (It is a Long Way to the Sea).

Basically it is a tale of arduous struggle of a boatman Paukum who faced tremendous personal tragedies but bravely faced his circumstances and continued in the profession to eke out a livelihood for his family by catching firewood from the river. He subsisted on “Apong” – a kind of local brew of the people of the area.
Some of the dialogues linger: ” I have two rivers and a boat” (The boat was a gift to the protagonist from his father and was constructed of good timber)
“I had a belief that even if the entire world betrays me the river and the boat would never betray me.”
The film also touches upon issues of the under privileged and their difficulties faced trying to provide professional education like Medicine to their offspring. The filming qualities are remarkable – IMHO at par with the best of International cinema. The excellent cinematography echoed the films of Gautam Ghose and his brilliance in capturing the vagaries of nature. One early scene where the mother of the protagonist commits suicide in the river is beautifully and creatively shot.
The screenplay and direction is by Manju Borah.

Rating: 4.4 out of 5

2013 Kannada film Bharath Stores poster.jpg

BHARAT STORES (Kannada) highlights a topical theme – the small time trader’s hardship to keep afloat in this age of liberalised economy, multinational and ‘mall cultures.’ With the exception of Jahnu Barua’s HKGOROLOI BOHU DOOR (Assamese) & DIGANT (Konkani) there have been very few films that speak about the threat faced by conventional professions in the wake of urbanization and modernization. The film weaves in sub-text of a NRI couple – the woman making an all out effort to keep her promise to her dying father to repay the debt he owed to the protagonist trader – the struggle of the family of the protagonist in the face of declining business & physical ailment. The moving drama is directed by P. Seshadiri

Rating: 4 out of 5


In some respects this Abhijit Dasgupta directed film echo Jahnu Barua’s debut Assamese film APOOROOPA (1982) which featured Biju Phukan and Suhasini Mulay. In both these films a former lover re-enters into the life of the heroine at an unhappy phase in her life. In Barua’s film the lovers escape from their surroundings to go off to a distant place; in this Bengali film the lovers refrain from taking such a step.

Rituparno Sengupta plays the heroine who loses her husband (Sabyasachi Chakraborty) suddenly. A couple of years later, she meets her former lover (Shilajit) and sparks rekindle. The film is based on a story by Manjulika Dasgupta and shot almost entirely on a hill station. Lyrical at times, but melancholic throughout.

Rating: 3 out of 5




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:, 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.