The most difficult thing in life is to pen down words when penning the same seems like the effort of a lifetime. Ever since the trailer of Monjul Baruah's Anur released and social media started getting flooded with its promotional activities, I wanted to pen down a few words about the film, but it got delayed.
Then came the trailers of Nipon Goswami's last directorial venture, Dr Bezbaruah 2, and Siddharth Anand's Pathaan. The writer's bug started biting me more and more this time.
But my now gradually improving unstable mental health and some overwhelming situations pushed me again towards oblivion.
But things are settling down, and I am also trying to cope with life the way it is. From the one counselling session I had, all I have understood is that whining will never make me win this battle with myself. Lifestyle changes, proper therapy with medications, and going forward with a changed but positive attitude can improve and make things better for me.
"The key is to focus on things that should not be done rather than on things that need to be done."
I say this because I feel the Assamese film fraternity and its "well-wishers" are all going through an overwhelming mental health situation like the one I am wading through and battling against.
If that would not have been the case, why is the story the same for every new Assamese feature film? Why do the makers keep repeating the same appeals and whines just before the release of a new Assamese feature film? Have they asked themselves where their fault lies?
Visiting some schools and colleges and interacting with the students and faculty in the name of film promotion might have worked once or maybe twice, but adhering to the same strategy over and over again... I don't know. Perhaps I am wrong to even raise this question.
Irrespective of the genre and the grade of their films, the filmmakers make films with the utmost love, care, and confidence. Some become blockbusters, while others tank pathetically. When a movie tanks, some filmmakers make their feelings public, while a selected few moves on, keeping their feelings private.
There might be zillions of reasons as to why the audience may not have turned out to watch your movie. That doesn't mean you have made an inferior product. And only because the audience did not turn out, you should not come to social media and start making distressed cries. No one can forcefully pull someone to the theatre to watch your movie.
When filmmakers celebrate the success parties of their films after they mint a lot of money, do they remember the people who made it successful? If not all, do they even bother to invite someone from the audience who watched their films? If a filmmaker can cry on social media after the audience's rejection, then they could also possibly find some way to interact with the same audience after a film's success?
I know that is impossible and a senseless thing for me to even think about. But this isn't improbable or is it?
So, why isn't the audience getting attracted to your movie? I am repeating a paragraph here: "Visiting some schools and colleges and interacting with the students and faculty in the name of film promotion might have worked once or maybe twice, but adhering to the same strategy over and over again... I don't know. Perhaps I am wrong to even raise this question.
"Newness is not just a mere word. Newness is an emotion." You can quote me saying this bold and clear.
Now, coming back to Dr Bezbaruah 2, Anur, and Pathaan. What I should and should not watch is entirely up to me. Will my choice change after I see your distressed cries on social media? It may or may not. But hey, such distressed cries may even boomerang on you!
Your words are of grave importance. It can either fetch you an award or land you in deep soup.
When I am battling depression and find myself on the spectrum of bipolar disorder, I am gradually understanding the importance of my words and my presentation. I have understood the importance of our expressions, words, and social media behaviour.
Justification is never justified; I firmly believe in this. This firmness dawned on me only last year.
Last year, I realised that I had been trying to justify my coarseness and had avoided eye-to-eye contact with my impending reality all these years. Last year, I understood what I really need to do and what I was actually doing. I understood it last year- where I need to focus and where I did not require focusing.
The nonexistent Assamese film industry in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s until the mid-2000s gave us some exceptionally brilliant movies — when I say exceptionally brilliant, I mean it exceptionally brilliant in every aspect and in almost every department.
If the past was exceptional, then why is our present below average? Why? Why?- Here again, this is a question that I am asking myself. I am not a filmmaker and I have oblivious to the world of filmmaking. I don't know anything about things like a storyboard, direction, acting, how to do film publicity, or the budget required. The questions raised here are those of an amateur, and I am saying everything as a lay person.
Just like a normal person doesn't understand the importance of mental health or mental health issues or that untreated mental health can eventually lead to a person choosing death over life, in the same way, I don't know the pain a filmmaker goes through while making a film. All I understand is that our nonexistent film industry and the passionate people trying to give it a concrete identity require counselling and a lot of introspection and retrospection.
We are blessed with technology, and we are in a romantic relationship with the internet. Today, we can certainly re-achieve everything that the filmmakers of the 1960s, 1970s, and bygone eras had already achieved.
I know what I have written so far is nothing but gibberish and this article makes no sense, and I am confident about it. My conviction is strong. And I am at peace with my writing style. Yes, there are better writers than me, and I am happy that there are many writers who write with much more clarity than I do. The better writers will help me improve my style. I have originality, which I am never going to lose. I am revisiting the past and trying to achieve what I have already achieved.
I will watch Pathaan, Anur, and Dr Bezbaruah 2, not because I have any sentiments or emotions attached to them. I will watch them because I want to watch them. I will praise them if I like them and thrash them if I don't. Emotions and sentiments cannot stop me from calling a spade a spade.
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Partha Prawal (Goswami) is a Guwahati-based journalist who loves to write about entertainment, sports, and social and civic issues among others. He is also a published author.