Brahmaputra Valley Film Festival 2017 was held last month and as the norm of this yearly festival, Brahmaputra Valley Short Film Contest was also held as part of the festival. The contest was open to filmmakers from the region and also to short films that showcased topics from the region or were shot in the region. Many talented filmmakers from across the region sent in their short films but only the best three made it all the way to the end and the winner was Raja Narzary’s thoughtful film ‘From Nowhere’. We speak to the filmmaker to know more about him and his film.
Tell us a little about yourself
I am from Kokrajhar, Assam. My parents are Lt Miniswar Narzary and Rainy Narzary. I have an elder brother, Phungkha Narzary. I completed Bachelor’s in Commerce from Delhi University. I am also in the last stages of getting my Master’s in Communication and Journalism from Gauhati University (result pending). I have a post-graduation diploma in Film Production/Direction from Asian Academy of Film and Television, Noida. I worked as an assistant director in Sphere Origins Production House for a TV serial ‘Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon Dobara’ between 2013-14. Currently, I am working as an cinematographer/editor/director at X-Vision Multimedia Studio, Kokrajhar which was founded in 2015 by me and Arup Gayary.
What inspired you to start making films?
I loved watching films when I was a child and I was interested to tell stories and entertain people. This interest motivated me to join a film school to learn the basics of filmmaking. In 2012, after finishing my graduation, I joined the Asian Academy of Film and Television and since then I have been progressing on this journey as a filmmaker.
Are you are a full-time filmmaker or do you make films in your free time?
I work full time, so most of my time I am engaged in either editing or handling the camera or directing regional music videos. For films of my own, whenever I get some free time, I write scripts and shoot. I mostly concentrate on scriptwriting in my free time.
What inspired you to make ‘From Nowhere’, what do you want the audience to take back after watching the film?
I was appointed as a cameraman for recording the documentation in 50th All Bodo Students Union Golden Jubilee Celebration in February, 2017. I was in charge for recording the seminars on ‘Women Empowerment’ and ‘Human Trafficking in the Northeast’. While working, I listened to the seminar very sincerely and there I came to know the statistics of trafficking cases in our State. I realised that if such problems are not immediately tackled, they will keep increasing. I made this film to create an awareness.
After watching my film, I just want people, especially the people in rural areas, to realise the problem of trafficking and not be misguided by local traders who exploit them while feeding them dreams of attractive jobs.
How long did you shoot for, where did you shoot and did you face any challenges?
I shot the film in three days, but not continuously, as I had to change locations. I shot the scenes in the brothel at Jyoti Chitrabon Film Studio, Guwahati and the scenes with the rural setting in Sesapani village, Kokrajhar.
The challenges was choosing the right cast and getting financial assistance for the film. I faced the problem of budget at the initial stage due to shoot’s requirements but then later a group named Smart Hub liked my script and became the co-producer.
Name some movies or filmmakers who have inspired you?
Some of my favourite movies which have inspired me are Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, The Shinning , 2001: A Space Odyssey, Seven Samurai, Apocalypto, Braveheart and The Patriot. I am also inspired by Steven Spielberg, Stanley Kubrick and Mel Gibson.
I am focusing on writing scripts related to various issues faced by the tribal people. I am also interested in scripts about our the ancient warriors of the Northeast. Once I am ready with the script, I will shoot my next film.
As told to Meeta Borah