'Lachit The Warrior' wins Best Animated Short Film award at Indo-French Festival
Prantik Deka, a renowned film critic, provides an analysis of the film entitled "Lachit The Warrior" directed by Dr. Parthasarathi Mahanta.
Ringing in positive news for the entertainment and cultural fraternity of Assam, Assamese animation film titled 'Lachit The Warrior' has been consistently earning laurels and critical acclaim in various film festivals held in India and other parts of the world. What's especially heartening is that it has also been selected for screening at the prestigious Indian Panorama section of the forthcoming International Film Festival of India to be held in Goa.
Directed by noted poet and Deputy Inspector General of Police (Administration) and Special Task Force (STF) Assam, Dr. Parthasarathi Mahanta, 'Lachit The Warrior' has most recently added another feather to its cap by winning the Best Animated Short Film award at the Indo-French International Film Festival held in Pondicherry. The festival is a joint collaborative effort of the Indian and French governments.
The film highlights the legendary Assamese General Lachit Barphukan's ancestry, charisma, valour, diplomacy, naval strategies, and unwavering patriotism. Most importantly, the film chronicles the great battle of Saraighat. It was under his dynamic command and leadership that the Assamese forces inflicted a resounding defeat to the invading Mughal army.
The rout of the Mughal forces and a decisive victory in this battle are events of which every Assamese is proud of and can hold their heads high. The watershed event signified upholding the honour and dignity of the Assamese people, their spirit of resistance and freedom.
"There are two things that I believe from the bottom of my heart. It was Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardeva who gave a spiritual identity to Assam. And the national entity that we possess as Assamese, which is our passion, was given by Lachit Barphukan," says the film's director Parthasarathi Mahanta.
"Lachit Barphukan greatly affected the minds of our people, he gave us self-respect, our Assamese entity. I always strongly feel that we haven't been able to do a proper assessment of the great general," he says.
There's something of a mysterious charm about the inconclusive image of Lachit Barphukan. Dr. Mahanta also indicates the limited role of the imagination.
After thinking really hard and consulting the right sources, Dr. Mahanta took the animation route in 'Lachit The Warrior', and decided to keep Lachit in silhouette throughout as he was careful not to create any kind of controversy.
"Because I've read numerous descriptions of Lachit's physical appearance, people invariably draw him differently," he says. A prolific writer, Dr Mahanta initially wrote a biopic poem on Lachit Barphukan. With his intense penchant for studying and analysing historical and ancient religious texts, he took immense care to insert the life and times of the legendary general into the poem, which was something that he wanted to do with all his heart. "Maintaining historical authenticity was the major challenge in this project. A lot of research was undertaken to convincingly portray the great warrior. We have this tendency to always confine Lachit to the battle of Saraighat. People in Assam are so emotional about him that even a slight deviation from authenticity could defeat the very purpose of making this animation film," said Parthasarathi Mahanta, a dedicated public servant, who is deeply committed to his social and cultural endeavours.
The film, produced by Mina Mahanta and Indrani Baruah, has already bagged awards at eight major international film festivals so far, including those held in Delhi, Kolkata and Jaipur, as well as the Chambal International Film Festival and the Mumbai North-East Film Festival. The film's narration has been done by Dr Amarjyoti Choudhury, former Vice-Chancellor of Gauhati University, while Rupam Talukdar has contributed with the music.
The film's creative director is Anupam Mahanta, with Hrishikesh Bora handling storyboarding and illustration, and Ratul Dutta managing VFX. An incredible amount of skill and effort has gone into the film from start to finish. It’s really heartening that with the love and appreciation received for this film, it truly holds an optimistic future for filmmakers and cinephiles who are looking forward to more animation movies in Assam. "We want the rest of the world to know about Lachit Barphukan, and that it is actually possible to stand up to the might of any foreign power and have your existence intact," Parthasarathi Mahanta, who has also been a leading crusader against drugs and a champion of LGBT rights and animal rights, said.
It's wonderful and heartening at the same time that 'Lachit The Warrior' has been chosen for screening at the Indian Panorama section of the forthcoming International Film Festival of India in Goa.