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Culture of Assam

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Culture of Assam

Assam is a land of people of myriad races, castes, languages and separate socio-economic fields. Communities of the ancient origin such as Aryan and non-Aryan, numerous tribes, sub-tribes, Mongoloid and Australoid and many more dwell in Assam. Therefore, the culture of Assam is a blend of tradition, lifestyle, faith, belief and religions of the different communities living in Assam.

Assam

Assam's culture has a rich heritage infused with the various fairs and festivals, dance and music, languages, arts and crafts and delicious cuisines. The Assamese have given a distinguished shape to it by retaining their age old traditions, rituals and celebrations. There is a cultural intermingling of people of different races and fields living in harmony under one roof in Assam.

Assam, known as the ‘Gateway of the Northeast’ is the link connecting India to the other seven northeastern sister states. The Assamese culture dates back to thousand years earlier when the first cultural intermix happened between the Austro-Asiatic and Tibeto-Burman people. The current original form of the Assamese culture can be said to have its origin roots in the great dynasties of Pragjyotisha and Kamarupa during the first millennium AD. Later during the year 1228, the Tai Shans entered Assam under the leadership of Sukaphaa and a new cultural assimilation took place. The Tai Shan people mixed with the local culture and adopted the language along with some elements mixed with their own.

Namghar

After these, the Vaishanav Movement started in Assam during the 15th century propagated by the great Assamese reformer and Saint Mahapurush Shrimanta Sankardeva and his disciples. This movement brought a sea of change and new principles in the culture of Assam. This led to the creation of Satras and Namghars which became a part of the Assamese culture. There was also contribution to the language of Assam, the literature and fine arts. With time, the Assamese culture adopted new modern forms with the Britishers entering Assam. They standardized the language and a renewed Sanskritisation was adopted for developing Assamese language and grammar.

The Assamese culture is composed of different sub systems. It is incorporated by elements of symbolism which puts it apart from other culture types in India. Some of the significant cultural traits of Assamese culture are:

Xapi

Areca nut and betel leaves: Tamulpan (areca nut and betel leaves) is considered as offers of devotion, respect and friendship. There is a significant tradition of Assam of offering Tamulpan to guests and elders as a sign of respect. 

There is a tradition of offerings of tamulpan and other gifts in a Xorai (a bell metal traditional object of Assam).

Jaapi is a symbol of respect. It is a traditional Assamese headgear or hat offered to guests.

Symbolic cloth type of Assam like Gamusa: The Gamusa is a significant object of Assam. It is a rectangular white piece of cloth with red border on three sides and woven motifs on the two ends. Guests in Assam are welcomes with the offering of Gamusa along with the Tamulpan. The Gamusa can be said to be a symbolism of the life and culture of Assam.

Also read:

Culture of Guwahati | Culture of Dibrugarh | Culture of Jorhat | Culture of Tinsukia | Culture of Lakhimpur

Food of Assam

A very important part of the culture of any state is its food. And the state of Assam is proud to possess its unique food. The food of Assam is a simple one but with unique taste. People of Assam are mostly non vegetarian consumers and as such fish and meat form an integral part of Assamese cuisine. People are also lovers of boiled and less oily and spicy food. 

A typical Assamese thali will have:

Steamed Rice - Bhaat

Xaak Bhaaji - Dry green leafy vegetable.

Daal - Dail or Daali

Khaar - A kind of veg / non veg item

Bhaaji - Dry veg

Torkari - wet veg

Maasor Aanja - Fish Curry, normally sour (tenga aanja)Food of Assam

Mandxor Jol - Chicken or Meat

Chutney

Some Fries - can be of various vegetables.

Pitika - a side dish , kind of a mash.

Asaar - achar or pickle


Art and Craft of Assam


Another important aspect of the culture of Assam is its excellence in art and craft. The people of Assam are naturally born artisans of handloom and handicraft. Different types of arts and craft, handloom and handicraft items, wooden items, metal items, paintings and jewelry of the state puts it apart from all other cultures of India. The exquisite silk, bamboo and cane products of Assam helps it stand out among the northeastern states. The land has given birth to thousands of skilled craftsmen who have retained the state’s rich cultural tradition over the centuries. The people of Assam have a special skill of crafting. There are several small scale cottage industries and most of the people are engaged in different types of handicraft making in Assam. Bamboo and cane products, handicrafts, metal crafts and other forms craft making are some of the activities in art and craft of Assam.

Cane and Bamboo Products of Assam

cane and bamboo

Cane and bamboo products are one of the exquisite products of Assam. Making of bamboo products is one of the prime occupations of the people of Assam. Cane and bamboo products like different  furniture, accessories, musical instruments, bags, utensils and decorative items are made in Assam. These products of Assam have now received immense recognition not only in the national market but also in the international market and are much in demand.

One of the significant items of cane and bamboo of Assam is the Jaapi, which is the traditional sunshade and is one of the prestigious bamboo items of Assam. Japi is also presented as a token of rich heritage of Assamese culture to personalities and is also used in important occasions.

Metals of Assam

metal

Use of metal is a very important part of the culture of Assam. Brass metal and bell metal are extensively used in Assam. The brass and bell metal products of Assam are highly durable and are famous for their beauty and unique crafting. The principle metal products include xorai (a plate or tray mounted on a base), koloh (water pot), kahi (dish), bati (bowl) and taal (cymbals). The traditional utensils of Assamese culture are made mostly of Bell-metal and brass metal. The Xorai and Bota are used to offer beetle-nut and paan to welcome guests. The bell metal industry is located in Sarthebari and the brass metal industry is concentrated in Hajo in Kamrup district of Assam.

Assam Handloom

handloom

Handloom forms another most important part of the culture of Assam. Handloom works in Assam are mostly handled by the womenfolk where women weave clothes in different looms. There are about thirty thousand looms located across the state. Sualkuchi, popularly known as the ‘Manchester of the East’ is the centre of handloom in Assam. More than 3000 weavers work regularly in the looms of Sualkuchi. The looms use mostly raw materials like cotton, Muga, paat (mulberry silk) and endi. Muga silk clothes are most sought after and their market is not only based in Assam and India but also have their demand in abroad. The designs on these Muga clothes are fine creations, birds, animals and other designs. Muga is the finest of India’s wild silk, produced only in Assam.

Assamese Jewellery


Assamese jewellery

During the time of festivities shopping jeweleries can be worthwhile. So, this Durga Puja I opted for traditional Assamese jewellery. Last Sunday I landed myself in Zangfai jewellery shop, a traditional Assamese jewellery shop in Guwahati. I was so overwhelmed seeing the majestic collection and the hospitality of the owner. The owner would display all the items for you. She would also suggest you what to buy and which would look good on you. And if you are lucky enough (like I was) you would get discount also.

jewellery

Like Zangfai there are also many shops in Assam known for having exquisite jewellery. From the wide range of traditional Assamese jewellery sets you can choose  necklaces like jon biri, satsori, golpata, magardana, gejera, bena, goog doogi, dhol biri, mukuta Moni, biri moni, poalmoni and silikha moni.

earings

You also get varieties in earrings which comes in lokaparo, jangphai, thuriya, keru, long Keru, sona or makori.

Gamkharu


If you are a lover of rings then Assamese jewellery has specialities like enpata, jethinejia, horinsakua and bakharpata. You can also go for gam- kharu which is a large bracelet made of silver or gold with a clasp.

necklace

Assamese jewellery is the traditional jewellery of Assam. Called Axomiya gohona, these kinds of jewellery are designed exclusively in Assam. Typically hand-made, Assamese jewellery designs depict the flora and fauna treasures of Assam. They hold special importance in the heart of the Assamese women and are worn during cultural and religious events. Objects of nature like bird, grain and animals; musical instruments like drums; Assamese stuffs like japi etc are designed in these unique jewellery.

earstud

Assamese jewellery is decorated with vibrant red gemstone, mina and ruby stones. Red, blue, green and black are the most favorite colours attracting people. Assamese jeweleries are made in silver based and gold foil plated, silver based with plastic stones gold foil plated and silver based with minakari gold dipped.

Jorhat, the second biggest city of Assam after Guwahati, is the main centre of jewellery making in Assam. Numerous outlets are located in Jorhat where people come to buy Assamese jewellery. There are also a number of small scale and cottage industries where skilled jewellery makers work to promote this kind of art.

Axomiya gohona comes in a very affordable rate. The range of a typical jewellery set starts from Rs 2,000 onwards. Assamese jewellery is also very easy to maintain as you have to wrap the stuffs in cotton and it will continue to glaze always. Accessorize your favourite mekhela chador, saree, suit or skirts with Axomiya gohona and flaunt your attitude this Durga Puja.

Wood Craft


Woodcraft

The Assamese people are skilled in making items of wood. They can make out the quality of the wood by touching it and can make finest craftwork out of it. Woodcraft in Assam is prevalent from earlier times where one can see the decorative panels of the royal Ahom palaces and the ancient Satra works are also carved on wood. The various items of a Satra along with the Guru Asana are carved on wood.

Assamese Toys

Toys

The toys of Assam can be categorized based on the material of their making. There are wooden toys, toys made from clay and cloth or cloth-and-mud toys. The toys are made in different shapes of Gods, Goddesses, mythological figures, variety of animal forms and many other forms. These toys are made by the Kumar and Hira communities in Assam. Toys depicting figures of Gods, Goddesses, animals and birds are made mostly in the Goalpara district in Assam. The cloth and clay toys are generally used for puppet theaters in Assam.

Assamese Pottery

Pottery

Pottery is the oldest form of art and craft activity prevalent in Assam. There have been craftsmen of ancient civilizations and kingdoms who are engaged in pottery making. There are many items made from this craft form like pitchers, plates, incense stick holders, earthen lamps and so on. The Kumar and the Hira are the two most important communities in Assam engaged in pottery making. When the Kumars use the wheel to make pots, the Hiras do not use any wheel to engage in pottery making.

Assamese Masks

masks

The Assamese people are also skilled at making masks out of wood, bamboo, terracotta, metal and clay. These masks are widely used in Bhaonas (play) and folk theatres which are staged across the state. Masks are also made as decorative items in drawing rooms as wall hangings.

Assamese Paintings

paintings

The traditional paintings of Assam can be traced to ancient times where different paintings and painted objects were presented to rulers and kings of earlier times. The Ahom palaces and Satras even now have these painting works made earlier. So, paintings form an important part of the culture of Assam since earlier times. In the present times also paintings are important forms of depicting the culture of the state.

Assamese Fibre Weaving

Kuhila koth is a famous handicraft mostly done in Batadrava area of Nagaon district. This is woven on a loom like item made of wood and bamboo poles. It is used to make seats, mats and cushions. It is also a recognized cottage industry in Assam.

Dances of Assam


Assam is a land of mystique and picturesque beauty. The land of blue hills and red river, Assam is known for its many dance forms, especially the bihu dance.

Bihu Dance


Bihu

Among all the dances of Assam, Bihu dance is the most popular dance. This dance is performed in the month of April. Bihu is the folk dance of Assam. Men and women in their traditional dresses take part in Bihu dance. Bihu dance is accompanied by Bihu songs and Bihu musical instruments.

Bihu is the most important festival of the Assamese community. Being the state festival of Assam, Bihu is celebrated thrice in a year. There are three types of Bihu-- Bhogali bihu, Rongali bihu and Kongali bihu. Rongali or Bohag Bihu  is celebrated with much festivity and joy during the month of April. Bihu dance is associated with the Rongali Bihu. The Bihu dance is a graceful and beautiful form of folk dance of Assam. Programmes are held of the Bihu dance and other dances of Assam during the Rongali Bihu. Bihu dance competitions  are also held in Bihutolis across the state.

Bihu dance

Bihu Dance Steps


The Bihu dance is a folk dance and a joyful dance performed by both men and women. This dance is characterized by brisk steps and swift hand movements in sync with the beats. In this dance, both the male and the female maintain separate gender roles. The females dance in lines and circles and the males enter the dancing area first and maintain their lines. After the female dancer enters, the male group breaks up and dances by mingling with the female dancers.

Bihu


The Bihu dance is said to be a dance of fertility. The dance with its sensuous movements using the hips and arms is said to celebrate the fertility of men and women. The dance is characterized by movement of hips, arms, wrists into twirls, squats and bends without any jumps included in the dance.


Bihu Songs

Bihu dances are also accompanied by Bihu Geets or Bihu songs which are sung by both the males and the females. The lyrics of the Bihu Geets would comprise songs depicting the life of a farmer to welcoming Assamese New Year to contemporary socio-political commentary in a satirical way.





Bihu Music


The Bihu dance is accompanied by Bihu music. The Bihu music is produced from the instruments using dhol (a type of drum), mohor xingor pepa (a type of flute made of buffalo’s horn), taal (a type of cymbals), gogona (a bamboo reed), toka (a bamboo clapper) and xutuli (a clay whistle). The dance has more than one dhulia (one who plays the dhol) playing different rhythms in the beginning. The rhythmic compositions (called seus) are played generally by the main dhulia and is changed from time to time.

Sattriya Dance

Sattriya dance

The Sattriya dance is another popular dance form of Assam. It is one of the eight principal classical Indian dance traditions. The dance form originated from Assam and was founded and propagated by the founder of Vaishnavism in Assam, Mahapurush Shrimanta Sankardeva during the 15th century. This dance form was created as an accompaniment to the Ankiya Nat plays and is performed in Sattras (monasteries).

The Sattriya dance usually has great mythological stories depicting by the dancers. The dancers through the dance movements depict the mythological stories to the viewers. This dance form was originally performed by the bhokots (priests) in the Sattras as a part of the daily rituals. The Sattriya dance has many genres in its fold. The dance is accompanied by Borgeets and inetruments like khol, taal and flute complement the dance form. The dresses worn during Sattriya dance are made of pat and are woven with beautiful local motifs.

Bagurumba Dance

Bagrumba

Bagurumba dance is one of the folk dances of Assam performed by the Bodo community of Assam. It is dance by women and girls dressed in colorful attire. The Bodo women wear their ethnic dress dokhna, jwmgra and aronai to perform the dance. The women dance to the tune of the traditional musical instruments of the tribe with slow steps and stretched hands. Various musical instruments like serja, sifung, tharkha, kham or madal accompanies the dance. The Bagrumba dance is also called as Bardwisikhla dance. It is performed during the Bwishagu festival. One can see the Bagrumba dance in areas of Udalguri, Chirang, Bongaigaon, Nalbari, Darrang and Sonitpur districts.

Jhumur Dance

Jhumur

Jhumur dance is a traditional folk dance form of Assam. This form of dance of performed by the tea tribes of Assam. The dance form is locally known as ‘Chah Baganor Jhumur Nach’ or the Jhumur dance of the tea garden. This dance is performed by both girls and boys and sometimes by girls alone. Young girls performs the dance accompany by fewer male members in open place. Male members maintains the rhythm the musical instruments and vocals. The dance is characterized by good foot work while holding each others waist tightly.Drum, flute and a pair of Taals are the main musical instruments in the dance.

Ali Ai Ligang Dance

Ali Ai Ligang

This dance is performed by the Mising community of Assam. this dance is performed while making offerings to the deities during the Ali Ai Ligang festival. This dance form is mostly seen in Sonitpur and Lakhimpur districts of Assam.

Barpeta Bhortal Nritya

Bortal nritya

This is a form of dance propagated by the Sankari culture. This dance form was first introduced and developed by well known Sattriya artist Narahari Burha Bhakat. This dance is performed during the Vaishnavite and Sankari festivals and is performed by a group of six to eight dancers equipped with cymbals. The dancers present beautiful formations with the cymbals

Ojapali

Ojapali

It is a classical dance form of Assam. Oja is the leader of the dance and Pali is his assistants. These are the groups of chorus dancers and singers. A total of three to four Palis are required for the dance and the principal person is known as the Daina Pali. These groups also play small cymbals and relate stories apart from dancing.

Deodhani dance

The Deodhani dance form is a dance associated with worship. It is related to the worship of the snake God Manasa. The dance is performed by a girl in trance like inspired state and the girl dances to the beats of the Ciphung (flute) and the Kham (drum). After a stage of dancing the girl uses a sword and a shield and performs a war like dance in honor of various Gods and Goddesses.

Some other indigenous classical dance forms of Assam include Bhaona and temple dances. All these classical dances are of remote origin. The dances are performed on the same manner of Natya Shastra or Sanskrit treatises on dance. Among the folk dances, some others are Husari & Bihunas, Dhuliya and Bhawariya, Zikirs, Mohauhau or Mahkheda and the Apsara-Sabah. These dances are mainly performed in groups.

Festivals in Assam


One of the most important state in the northeast, Assam is a state of different fairs and festivals. People of different communities live in Assam and they celebrate different festivals round the year. The most important festivals celebrated in Assam are Bihu, Durga puja, Ambubachi Mela, Me-Dum- Me-Phi, Brahmaputra Beach Festival, New Year, Diwalai, Holi among many others. Let us take a look at the festivals celebrated in Assam.

Bihu


Bihu

Bihu is the most important festival celebrated in Assam. There are three types of Bihu celebrated in different times throughout the year in Assam. The three main types of Bihu are:  Rongali Bihu, Kati Bihu and Bhogali Bihu.

Me-Dam-Me-Phi

Me-dum-me-phi

This is one of the most important festivals of the Ahom community of Assam. This festival is dedicated to the ancestors. It is an ancestor worship festival where the people show respect to the departed ancestors to remember their contributions. The word ‘Me’ means offerings, ‘Dam’ means ancestors and ‘Phi’ means God. As such, the festival is a remembrance to the ancestors and dead as well as sacrifices to the Gods. The people worship remembering their ancestors and seeking their blessings. Offerings like home made wine, rice with items of meat and fish are offered as a ritual.

Jonbeel Mela

Jonbeel

This is a spectacular fair held near Jagiroad. It is held every year for 3 days during winter in the weekend of Magh Bihu. The essence of this festival is the barter system of purchasing goods. A few days before the fair, people of different tribes in the adjoining areas come with their products. They perform fire worship before the fair starts and the fair is characterized by traditional dance and music performances in the end.

Baishagu

This festival is celebrated by the Bodos and Kacharis during the middle of April. It is one of the important festivals of the Bodo community people of Assam.

Brahmaputra Beach festival

Brahmaputra

This festival is held in the beautiful sandy beaches of the mighty river Brahmaputra. It is celebrated every year during the month of January and coincides with the Magh Bihu which is the harvest festival of the Assamese. It is a beautiful blend of traditional contests like elephant race, kite flying and modern activities like rafting, canoeing, para-gliding, beach volley ball, beach cricket etc. The festival aims at promoting the indigenous culture of Assam in sync with the modern culture. The Brahmaputra Beach Festival is organized by the Assam Boat Racing and Rowing Association in collaboration with the Assam Transport Development Corporation.

Ambubachi Mela


Ambubachi

The Ambubachi Mela is one of the most important fair and festival celebrated at the Kamakhya temple in Assam. It is held in the month of June every year.  According to legends goddess Kamakhya goes through her menstrual cycle during this time. During this time the temple doors are closed for three days and no puja is performed in the temple. Millions of devotees could be seen thronging the Kamakhya temple during the Ambubachi mela in Assam. 

Durga Puja

Another most important festival celebrated in Assam is Durga puja. Durga puja is celebrated in the city for a period of 4 days. Goddess Durga is worshiped during the festival in Assam. Assam is no less in celebrating the festival the way Kolkata and Agartala does.

Diwali

The state of Assam also celebrates the festival of light, Diwali with much fanfare and gaiety. Assam wears a festive look with lights and 'diyas' enlightening the homes and shops around the state.

Holi

The festival of colours, Holi is celebrated in Assam by all the people irrespective of caste and creed. The festival falls on the month of March and is celebrated with colourful hearts by the people.

Christmas

There are many people of Christian belief dwelling in Assam. They celebrate Christmas with much enthusiasm. Not only the Christians but all the people celebrate Christmas with much gaiety.

Biswakarma Puja


Bishwakarma puja

The God of architecture, Lord Biswakarma is worshipped during this Puja. Workers, artisans, carpenters, industrialists, mechanics, industry workers, factory workers and all other types of workers worship Lord Biswakarma. It is believed that Lord Biswakarma composed the Sthapatya Veda, the famous science book of architecture and mechanics. This puja is mostly celebrated in the industrial area and factories.

Raas

This Vaishnavite festival is celebrated to mark the birth and life of Lord Krishna. In this festival, different events and essence of the life of Lord Krishna is depicted through clay figures in Mela.  There are also Raas Bhaonas where events of life of Lord Krishna are depicted through plays by people.

Ali- ai Ligang Festival

This is a festival of the Mising tribe people of Assam and is celebrated in the spring season. This festival lasts for five days and is a harvest festival. It is during the time of this festival that sowing of paddy fields starts. The word ‘Ali’ means root seed, ‘Al’ means fruit and ‘Ligang’ means sowing. The ceremony starts with sowing of paddy fields and then followed by dance performances by the youths. Then there is feast where dried fish, pork and rice beer is served.

Rongker & Chomangkan Festivals

These festivals are celebrated by the Karbi people for good health and prosperity for the whole New Year. In the Rongker festival, the elderly men of the village pray to the Gods and Goddesses for the well being of the village and the people. One of the special characteristic of this festival is that the womenfolk of the village are not allowed to enter the worship place. The Chomangkan festival is a compulsory death festival for the Karbis and is celebrated at any time of the year depending on the locality convenience. The festival lasts for four days and nights.

Rajini Gabra and Harni Gabra Festival

These agricultural festivals are celebrated by the Dimasa tribe people of Assam. It is celebrated before the new cultivation is done. In the Rajini Gabra festival, the village chief prays the family deity and during the night the puja is performed for the prosperity of the village and its villagers. This is known as Harni Gabra. During this festival, no outsider is allowed to enter the village as the puja then is considered as spoilt.


Other festivals which are celebrated by the different communities of Assamese people are the Dehing Patkai festival, Majuli festival, Tea festival, Saraswati Puja, Lakshmi Puja, Kali Puja, Janamashtami and Shiva Ratri.

Assamese Cinema


Not all cinema is commercially successful.. Not all cinema is loud and flamboyant.. There is an industry in Assam which even if not known for producing commercially successful cinema has nevertheless gained critical acclaim for making offbeat and parallel cinemas since years and which continues to win the hearts of the people. That is Assam's very own Assamese cinema. The cinema of Assam is the film showcasing the culture and tradition of the state. Assamese films are the films of the rural folks, womenfolks, societal and now, the contemporary stuffs. The Assamese film industry is known for producing critically acclaimed sensitive cinema, with several Assamese films gaining distinctive acclaim, most notably of the films of Jahnu Barua and Bhabendranath Saikia.

Assamese Cinema: History and Present


Joymoti

One will always wonder what if Assam did not have Jyoti Prasad Agarwalla? Assam is highly indebted to this great personality who gave Assam its first film. Before Jyoti Prasad Agarwalla there was nothing called Assamese cinema as the history of Assamese cinema can be traced back to a time when people did not step up for this kind of activities. This distinguished poet, play writer, composer and freedom fighter Jyoti Prasad was a revolutionary legend who took up distinctive steps in the world of cinema amongst the Assamese community. The first Assamese film was Joymoti and Jyoti Prasad was the man behind the making of this film, under the banner of Chitrakala Movietone. During that time, due to lack of proper exposure and experience, he himself had to shoulder multiple responsibilities while making the movie. He not only produced the movie but also was the script writer, producer, director, editor, choreographer, music director, lyricist and set and costume designer.

Indramalati

After getting through all the hardships, Jyoti Prasad was finally able to complete the film Joymoti within a budget of Rs. 60,000 and released it on 10th March, 1935. Unfortunately, the movie was a disaster and also, such was the misfortunes that even the negatives or complete prints of the movie could also not be saved. However, the failure of his first movie did not discourage him and he made and released another movie after just 3 years time. The movie Indramalati was his second and last movie released in the year 1939. Late Dr. Bhupen Hazarika played a very relevant role in this movie of Agarwalla.

After the tragic demise of Jyoti Prasad Agarwalla, the Assamese film scenario came to an irrevocable hiatus, which was followed by the war with the British. Soon after that, Late Mr. Rohini Kr. Baruah took advantage of the situation and made a film with a revolutionary theme and named it Manomati. This was soon followed by many other films like Parvati Baruah’s Rupahi (1946), Asit Sen’s Biplabi, Phani Sharma’s Sjiraj, Prabin Phukan’s Parghat, Kamal Narayan Choudhury’s Badan Barphukan (1947), Suresh Goswami’s Runumi, and so on.

Piyoli Phukan

A classic movie produced during this time was Piyali Phukan which went on to win the National Award in the year 1955. Directed by Phani Sharma and music composed by young Bhupen Hazarika, this film brought about remarkable achievement for Assam and its natives. During the 1950s an upcoming talented director by the name Nip Barua made history in the film making sphere by bagging state level as well as national level awards for his movies Maak aaru Morom and Ranga Police. His directorial debut Smriti Paras also earned a lot of accolades from critics and people.

Shakuntala

Well known music director and singer late Dr. Bhupen Hazarika also made his entree into the film direction by making his first directorial debut through the movie Era Baator Hoor. Dr. Bhupen Hazarika also won the president’s silver medal for his music in ‘Shakuntala’, which was highly appreciated by critics and press as well. Prabhat Mukherjee is another director whose movie Puberan (1959), which focuses on the universality of motherhood, was shown in the Berlin Film Festival. Other than that, another memorable production from Assam was Lachit Borphukan by Sarbeswar Chakraborty. The films that followed are Nip Barua’s Narakasur, Anil Choudhury’s Matri Swarga, Brojen Barua’s Itu hitu Bohutu and Mukto and Anwar Hussain’s Tejimola

There came a time in 1960s when movies started to be released on a regular basis with new directors and producers coming up in this sphere. It can be worth mentioning here that in between 1935 and 1970, a total of 62 films got produced. Directors and producers like Gauri Barman, Sujit Singh, Prafulla Baruah, Saila Baruah, and so on emerged during this period. Once the film making made its sudden boom towards the top, there was then no looking back for the film makers.

Sandhya Raga

During the period of 1970 and 1982, a total of about 57 films were made and released. The Assamese movies which needs mention here are Samarendra Narayan Deb's Aranya (1970), Kamal Choudhury's Bhaity (1972) the first colour film of Assam, Manoranjan Sur's Uttaran (1973), Deuti Barua's Bristi (1974) Pulok Gogoi Khoj (1974) Padam Barua's Ganga Chilanir Pakhi (1976), Dr. Bhabendranath Saikia's Sandhya Rag (1977) and Atul Bordoloi's Kollol (1978) among others. These movies have received immense acclamation from the viewers and critics and they were able to make a niche for themselves in the world of Assamese cinema by their sheer dedication to movie making.

Haladhia Choraye Baodhan Khai

Some outstanding works by talented Assamese directors include Jahnu Baruah's Aparoopa, Papori, Haladhia Choraye Baodhan Khai, Banani, Firingoti, Hkhagoroloi Bohu Door ; Bhabendaranatha Saikia's Anirbaan, Agnisnaan, Sarothi, Kolahol, Abartan, Itihaas, Kaal Sandhya; Sanjeev Hazarika's Haladhar, Meemanxa; Dr. Santwana Bordoloi's Adajya and Bidyut Chakraborty Rag Birag.

Classic Assamese Movies

Let’s take a look at some of the classic Assamese movies that has survived the turmoil of time.

Joymoti:

Released in the year 1935, it is the first Assamese movie directed by Jyoti Prasad Agarwalla.

Rupahi:

A Parbati Prasad Baruah production, the movie Rupahi had music, lyrics, screenplay and direction from the producer herself, in the year1946.

Siraj:

Released in 1948, Siraj is the sixth Assamese movie directed by the renowned director Phani Sarmah. The movie focuses on the unity that existed between the Hindus and the Muslims like brothers and sisters. Lakshidhar Sharma, whose story ‘Siraj’ influenced Phani Sarmah to make a film, also wrote the screenplay and dialogue of the movie. The indoor shots of the film were taken in Kali Film studio, Kolkata and the outdoor shots were taken in and around Tezpur. The lead role was played by Phani Sarmah himself and the music composed by Bishnu Rabha, with help and assistance from Bhupen hazarika and Shiva Bhattacaharya.

Era Baator Hur:

This is the first film by Dr. Bhupen Hazarika, released in the year 1956. This movie was a consequence of the struggle, hopes, turmoil and happiness of a common man. The movie is based on characters of the tea labourers, and how they did whatever they did in order to survive in this competitive world.

Puberun:

This film is special since it was the first Assamese film to be screened in an international film festival. It was a film by Prabhat Mukherjee and was filmed in the Berlin Film festival. The story of this film is based on the fact that every child of this world is equal and it primarily focuses on a mother-child relationship. Another remarkable feature of this movie was that ‘Margaret Anderson’ of London dramatic school also made a presence in this movie.

Saknoiya:

This movie released in 1959 and is the only movie directed by Soilo Baruah. The indoor shots of the movie were taken in Indrapuri Studio, Kolkata and editing of the movie also done in Kolkata. The movie’s story revolves around two brothers who goes different directions with one becoming a high rank official and the other being a taxi driver.

Doctor Bezbaruah:

This movie by Brojen Baruah was released in the year 1960. This movie marked the start of commercial movie and its success as well, following which a lot of other commercial movies came up. The movie was the first Assamese thriller movie and the entire indoor and outdoor shooting of the movie was done in various locations of Assam.

Gonga Siloni Pakhi:

Released in 1976, this movie is one of the most remarkable movies in the Assamese history till date. The movie was produced and directed by Padum Baruah, music by Padum Baruah, story by renowned novelist Dr. Lakhminandan Bora and screenplay by Padum Borah himself. The story of the movie is based on the simple life of the modest villagers.
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