A Girl From the North East Country

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Village Rockstars (India,2017)

Director/Writer/Editor/Screenwriter – Rima Das
Starring: Bhanita Das, Basanti Das

” If I want something a lot, I will get it, right?”

Rima Das’s “Village Rockstars” is a film of ethereal grace and beatific tenderness – a coming of age film of a young girl who dreams of buying a guitar to start her own rock band. Mostly shot in natural light(by the filmmaker herself), the film gorgeously captures the bucolic life along the southern bank of Brahmaputra (shot around the villages of Chaygaon).The film has the spirit of Ray’s films,especially Pather Panchali,in its portrayal of resilient and rebellious female characters, astute awareness of human nature and in its sensibility to find poetry in the mundane.Wearing a Jaapi( A traditional Assamese conical hat),we see Dhuna(played by Rima Das’s young cousin,a terrific Bhanita Das) along with her pet goat running across the verdant farm fields.She possesses a strong independent spirit and her eyes are fraught with undying optimism.These qualities are something that she has seemingly inherited from her widowed mother who encourages her to be strong and fearless like herself.She and her friends spend their time enacting rockstars using guitar made of thermocol and painted with shiny glitter of blue and red, hanging on the trees like little bats and just unhurriedly sleeping in the lush green fields.Though, everything is not dandy with her life as we see her getting caught while reading comic books during classes or getting constantly rebuked by her neighbors for hanging out with the boys instead of girls.Water bodies and bamboo vegetation- prevalent in this region- are shrewdly used and are ubiquitously present throughout the film as important characters. Bamboo logs are used as money boxes as well as oars to row the boats while escaping from tragic floods.

“Village Rockstar” is centered strongly around an endearing mother-daughter relationship.The scenes between Dhuna and her mother are extremely poignant and one of the films major strengths. This is an irresistibly charming film and will definitely leave you beaming as you step out of the dark.

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