Life is an interfusing tale of problems, loss, love, challenges, and happiness. In short, life offers chaos and harmony simultaneously and on the same platter. Xobdo Nixobdo Kolahol- a film by debutant filmmaker Dhanjit Das is a platter where one will find both clamour and calmness.
Sound and silence are equally important in our lives. Sometimes, sound can be as calm as the graveyard silence, and silence can be as chaotic as the regular corner fish market. Sometimes, sound can be peaceful, and silence can be disturbed.
Xobdo Nixobdo Kolahol: The Soul of Silence is divided into three segments- The Sound, The Silence, and The Dissonance.
Each story tells three different tales of challenges and happiness.
The first story tells us the story of a young married woman named Malaya. She mostly lives a solitary life, and her only companion is the noise made by termites. Though annoying, the noise becomes her soul companion when her husband brings home a second wife. Accepting the situation and living in harmony with it is what Malaya's oppressed cries of many days and several nights are portrayed beautifully.
The film's second story tells us the story of Kala- a deaf labourer who works at a stone crusher mill. Sometimes, not being able to hear what the surrounding talks about us can be blissful! But, when we can't hear the talks of our surroundings, we don't realise how sinister it can be. When Kala was deaf, his life was peaceful, but a hearing aid turned it upside down. Indeed, deafness was a blessing in disguise for Kala.
Rather than letting the pain fester, one should express it and move forward. And one can either remain silent or cry aloud to express their pain. This anthology's third and final instalment focuses on this aspect of human life- expressing pain. The story is about two labourers- Nur and Ruksana, and how they deal with the death of their infant child. If suppressing pain within yourself doesn't work, then better you vent it out. Sometimes, crying aloud is better than crying in silence.
More About The Movie
Xobdo Nixobdo Kolahol: The Soul of Silence is a beautifully made movie. Neither is it exaggerated nor is it underplayed. Everything is right in its perfect place.
Dhanjit Das, who wrote the story and did the film's colour grading, has done a commendable job. I will not back out from saying he will go down as one of the modern greats of the Assamese film industry.
Apart from the performances of the various actors who brought each character alive, cinematography and background music are the other two performers that have added an extra layer of charm to the entire narrative of the movie.
But I Am Still Disappointed
Yes, you read it right! However, I am still disappointed even after watching such an excellent movie. Well, not with the makers but with the audience. It is disappointing that only a handful of cinemagoers turned out for Xobdo Nixobdo Kolahol: The Soul of Silence's special screening held at Jyoti Chitraban. It deserves far more views than most "super grossers" from the past.
I also feel disappointed that shows of a few brilliant Assamese movies are getting cancelled in theatres across Assam because of the low audience turnout. And I a pretty sure, Xobdo Nixobdo Kolahol: The Soul of Silence would have also met a similar fate had it hit the theatres.
When inconsequential movies mint millions, it feels sad to see that makers of such gems barely earn something.
Well, watching or not watching a movie is an individual choice. I, or anyone else, cannot do anything about it by ranting our frustration. The individual mindset needs to change.
One common statement I often hear is- Where is it written that one must have to watch Assamese movies just because one is an Assamese? Trues, it is written nowhere, but what's the harm in promoting good and meaningful cinema? Agreed, every Assamese movie isn't a great watch, but isn't this the case for every industry? When most of the regional film industries are thriving and reviving. And why can't we do the same for our Assamese movies when their movies are loved and adored across the country?
Why do we fail to appreciate movies narrating comprehensible life tales when we welcome movies glorifying toxic male masculinity? Tales that may not be a part of your or my life, but which are the burning realities of many others?
When we can welcome mindless mission and revenge movies or movies based on plagiarised stories, then where is the harm in appreciating movies based on our robust literature?
Like every failure comes with thousands of excuses, there are plenty of justifications for most Assamese movies' poor run. This game of justification and rationalising is never-ending, and I am not entering the arena. But then again, there is always something called "in-between".
Anyway, I (with many like me) feel that the fate of Assamese movies will revive "soon". And I am confident a day will come when "soon" will be replaced by "finally".
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.