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

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Remembering Aideu Handique (আইদেউ সন্দিকৈ): It’s been more than 87 years since the first Assamese film, ‘Joymoti,’ was released, and the industry has come a long way from being considered a social and cultural taboo to an opportunity-filled avenue.

Aideu Nilambar Handique, Assam’s first actress, had to be persuaded to act after director Jyotiprasad Agarwala struggled to find a leading lady for the conservative society for the first Assamese film in the early 1930s.

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

She was the first Assamese actress. She deigned to act in a talkie when it was frowned upon. In Jyoti Prasad Agarwalla’s directorial debut, she played the title role of JOYMOTI.
Aideu Handique, like the character she played, faced tremendous societal counterarguments bordering on pathological hatred. She, like Joymoti, was an outcast.

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Aideu Handique was born in Pani Dihingiya, Golaghat, Assam in 1920 to Nilambar and Malakhi Handique. She remained unmarried because in the film, she referred to the co-actor who played her character’s husband as Bongohordeo (Assamese for husband). Unfortunately, the general public perceived Handique as having broken a cultural taboo, and she was shunned by neighbours, sinking into solitude and obscurity as a result.

Remembering Aideu Handique, 5 Things You Need To Know:

Jyotiprasad Agarwalla was planning the first Assamese talkie, Joymati, in 1933. it is expected that there is a man or woman on the internet. Agarwalla, on the other hand, was looking for a woman to play Joymati, the legendary Assamese heroine and martyr. In his vain search for a girl willing to break social shackles and appear in front of a camera, he advertised in newspapers and toured villages.


Handique never married; rather, she never had the opportunity to marry because no man wanted to marry a woman who had acted in public. People refused to drink from the same pond as her, and she and her family were shunned and isolated for the rest of their lives.

Aideu was socially isolated by the villagers for three years after appearing in the film ‘Joymoti,’ forcing her to live in the confines of her father’s house and remain unmarried.

‘Joymoti,’ written by eminent litterateur Lakhsminath Bezbarua, is the story of an Ahom princess (Joymoti) who gave her life for her husband Gadhadhar Singha, also known as Gadapani. The fugitive prince, Gadapani, seeks refuge in the Naga Hills.

Lora Roja, the ruling prince, is on a high speed chase to kill Gadapani, and when his aides fail to find him, they torture Joymoti so she will tell them about her husband. Joymoti, on the other hand, preferred death to betrayal. “Joymoti” is a story about supreme faith and sacrifice in the face of oppression and dominance.

Joymati was released in 1935 and quickly became a classic, while Aideu’s name was etched in the annals of Assamese cinema. But the star never met Joymati. There was no local cinema, and she only saw clips from it 40 years later in a documentary.

Arup Manna created an Assamese film Aideu (Behind the Screen) based on Aideu Handique’s tragic life and times as the first Assamese film actress, which premiered at the Mumbai International Film Festival on February 8, 2007.


Aideu Nilambar Handique, actor, born June 27 1915; died December 17 2002

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