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88 Years of Assamese Cinema: ‘Joymoti’ First Assamese feature film Released on This Day

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88 Glorious Years of Assamese Cinema: Jyotiprasad Agarwala’s (ৰূপকোঁৱৰ জ্যোতিপ্ৰসাদ আগৰৱালা) ‘Joymoti‘ (জয়মতী), the first Assamese feature film, was released on March 10, 1935, and was based on the life of Joymoti Konwari, a celebrated princess and the wife of Tai-Ahom Prince – Gadapani, who underwent extreme afflictions but never revealed the location of her exiled husband.

Jyotiprasad Agarwala (ৰূপকোঁৱৰ জ্যোতিপ্ৰসাদ আগৰৱালা), a freedom fighter and cultural pioneer, directed and produced the film, which featured Aideu Nilambar Handique as the protagonist in a scene of political unrest in the 17th century Ahom kingdom.

Jyotiprasad Agarwala, a playwright and poet, laid the groundwork for Assamese by writing, directing, producing, and composing the music for Joymoti on March 10, 1935. Agarwala’s film, an adaptation of Lakshmikanth Bezbaruah’s play Joymati Kunwari, follows the trials and tribulations of a seventeenth-century princess who is harassed and killed for refusing to betray her husband.

 

‘Joymoti’ is based on Assamese playwright Lakshminath Bezbaroa’s classic 1914 drama ‘Joymoti Kunwari’. Bezbaroa was a key figure in the Assamese cultural revival, and his plays are notable for bringing important events and figures from Assamese history to a wider audience.

Also Read: Remembering Aideu Handique: The First Woman To Act In Assamese Cinema

Jyotiprasad Agarwala was an Assamese cultural visionary whose works included theatre, film, music, and poetry, as well as political activities. His first film, ‘Joymoti,’ was created with the intention of honoring the Assamese people’s rich history, unique cultural heritage, and manners.

Joymoti’s commercial failure drove Agarwala into debt, while his lead actress, Adieu Handique, endured social censure and ostracism for years for portraying a married woman on the screen. Agarwala’s foresight, on the other hand, has ensured that Joymoti endures as a visionary piece of cinema, heralding the birth of a film industry.

The film, which was shot between 1933 and 1935, was released in 1935 by Chitralekha Movietone and marked the start of Assamese cinema. Joymoti was screened at Northwestern University’s 50th International Conference of the Society For Cinema and Media Studies (SCMC) in March 2011 in Evanston, Illinois, USA. Among the other screenings are:  India-Bangladesh Joint Celebration of 100 Years of Indian Cinema, Dhaka (2012) and many more.

 

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