A lyrical and heartbreaking reminder of the human toll of violence/war and its sad effects on children. Mumbai-based director Bidyut Kotoky’s Assamese film Xhoixobote Dhemalite (Rainbow Fields) is a movie that deals with the emotional turmoil of children who grew up during Nellie massacre (February 1983) – one of India’s devastating act of violence that reportedly saw around thousands dead in one day.
The winner of the best foreign film award at the Hollywood International Cinefest in Los Angeles initially was relying on an online crowd funding campaign but it wasn’t sufficient, the strong willed national award winning filmmaker Bidyut Kotoky didn,t loose hope and with the help of an Indian philanthropist – Jani Vishwanath, hopefully the movie will see the light this Saturday – 31st of March 2018.
Told through the eyes of a survivor, RAIBOW FIELDS is semi biographical as the director claims the movie to be based on his personal experience. The movie opens with Niyor (Nakul Vaid) a filmmaker from Assam. One day while working on his computer, Niyor receives a letter informing him about the death of his childhood friend Pulak. Away from his roots, enjoying the comforts of life, the letter disturbs the peace of Niyor and he decides to revisit his homeland. On his way to the lush green fields of Assam, Niyor encounters some haunting memories from childhood. Starting from the time when he was 10 year old kid who along with his sister Kuwoli on his way to school in a car, witness a violent mob on a rampage.
Niyor and Kuwoli are in a state of shock. Their parents Naved Aslam – the father and mother played by Dipannita Sharma, try their best but its only their grandfather played by the legendary Victor Banerjee a theatre-artist who manages to convince the children by calling it ‘unreal’ and saying it was a film shoot. Niyor who represents the privileged class is convinced but destiny has a different story in store for his friend Pulak – son of the lesser privileged car driver. In the backdrop of simmering Assam and violent student agitations, Niyor is impressed by his grandfather theatre and wishes to enact a ‘realistic’ play with his best buddy Pulak and others.
What happens when a ‘real’ gun creates a sensation while the kids are performing their ‘fake’ play turning life upside down in reality for Niyor, Pulak and their families forms the crux of this riveting, emotional, shocking, depressing and eye-opening adage on what violence/war can do to people, state, country, human and most important to the children whose innocence is brutally attacked.
Bidyut Kotoky’s biggest triumph is his quality to make the audience feel the pain and suffering of the horrible incident with minimum bloodshed. It has no dream to sensationalize the audience and offer them shocks, though it grabs them by force by an intoxicating narrative that travels with all the emotions and ends with a hope.
Incident like children during the practice of their play by the river recollecting counting of those dead bodies in the river after the madness is sheer class. Somewhere for a fraction of a second the movie did reminded me of Bahman Ghobadi’s TURTLES CAN FLY as it shares the common seed of theme – effect of violence/war on children.
Anyhow, Bidyut Kotoky adds his indie colors of class divide, negligence, failure of the system, the attack on innocence to his RAIBOW FIELDS with a subtle approach. Elements of predictability and somewhat ‘filmy’ (simplistic) approach during the proceedings will be debated but overall the movie is destined for a praiseworthy response from the niche audience.
It’s always a treat to watch the legendary Victor Banerjee on screen and here he enthralls with an amazing act. Nakul Vaid as Niyor is fantastically natural. Dipannita Sharma cuts a riveting picture of a concerned mother shedding her glam quotient with ease and getting right into the skin. Naved Aslam as the father is quite competent. The kids are a bundle of talent.
Technically fine with decent production values, Satya Prakash Rath’s camera captures the beauty of Assam pleasantly. Pallavi Kotoky’s editing is sharp. Anurag Saikia’s music goes with the mood of the film and the title song sung by Zubeen Garg is apt.
As it is said by wise men, violence/war is not a solution to any problem. Be it Syria, India or any part of the world. It hurts you, gives you pain and suffering. Pain gets healed by medicine and/or time but the suffering remains and can haunt you back.
Bidyut Kotoky’s Xhoixobote Dhemalite (Rainbow Fields) does recollects the pain and suffering of a horrific incident that happened three and a half decades ago but as a good human it doesn,t instigates resentment, instead it infuses some dopes of hope and motivates us to dream on and keep moving.