‘Village Rockstars’ director hopes to inspire northeastern filmmakers

NEW DELHI: Assamese director Rima Das, whose film ‘Village Rockstars’ has been selected as India’s official entry to Oscars 2019 for the Best Foreign Language Film category, said she’s hopeful that this feat will motivate other young filmmakers from the northeastern region.

Talking about the achievement, the 36-year-old told ANI, “I was waiting for this day. I used to pray that the film should be nominated for Oscars. It’s a huge honour for us and Assam. I hope this inspires other young filmmakers from our region and also gives them confidence that ‘yes, we can do it.'”

Out of the 28 movies in contention – including ‘Padmaavat’, ‘Raazi’ and ‘Love Sonia’ among others – the selection committee of the Film Federation of India (FFI) on Saturday had chosen the Rima Das-directorial. The film traces the story of Dhunu, a girl from a village in Assam, who dreams of owning a guitar and forming a rock band.

“Through my movie ‘Village Rockstars’, I have tried to convey the message that the village people, despite living with poverty and other natural calamities, are still celebrating life. This was my realisation when I visited my village after staying in Mumbai for almost a decade. I am so happy that people are connecting with the film as it talks about dreams, possibilities and emotions,” Das said.

She also talked about her next project ‘Bulbul Can Sing’, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), and said the film is also going to the Busan International Film Festival.

Child actor Bhanita Das, who portrays the character of Dhunu, finds it hard to express her happiness in words.

When asked if they had expected this while they were shooting for the film, Bhanita said, “Not when we had started the shoot. But, when we were shooting for the second half, Rima didi motivated us to do even better, saying we will get a prize if we do that. We are happy that we are being recognised.”

The selection announcement was made by Kannada filmmaker Rajendra Singh Babu, the head of the selection committee. “The decision was made unanimously by the jury to send ‘Village Rockstars’ – the film which also won the National Award for Best Feature Film this year – to represent India at the Academy Awards,” he had told ANI.