Rima Das’ Village Rockstars takes nation by magical storm

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By: Anurag Barman

And finally the most talked about flick over the couple of months got down the theatres last Friday. A film that has got so much love and appreciation from all around the globe was ready to treat its native folks. And especially after the announcement of the official entry to the Oscar’s by the Film Federation of India, the Assamese audience thronged into the theatres. This is for the first time that an independent movie has reached the par height of hype of a big budget commercial movie. It seems purely magical that a film shot by single lady in a small village of Assam created a new wave in the Indian cinema. Starting from the journey of Rima Das to the Oscars, Village Rockstars is indeed a miracle in the cine-world.
A simple story of a small girl named Dhunu who dreams of holding a guitar in the magnificent nature driven village turns out to be new form of cinematic expression which binds together the aspects of realism and simplicity through the power of the lens. A film which uses the minimalistic approach with a deep rooted subject exploring the daily happenings of the village folk in the sweetest way possible. Unlike all other feature movies, Village Rockstars does not follow any specific film convention and structure. It’s more of a docu-fiction with a mild narrative and lots of socio-cultural elements. Equating this film with the two basic elements of cinema i.e. space and time, Rima Das has definitely delivered an extraordinary treatment by beautifully composing the soul of the village with respect to changing times. The scenic beauty of the landscape with the changing seasons, the growth and maturity of Dhunu and the daily circumstances get well depicted in the 87 minutes.
Now, talking about the most important element which makes it an unusual one is the reality which has been portrayed with utmost honesty. There isn’t a single frame where you will feel that it has been created to dramatize the audience. The costume, the locations, which include floods, rainfall and cropping come alive on the screen. And looking at the characters, one feels that the people on the screen exist in reality. The relationship between Dhunu and her mother speaks a lot about their eternal bonding and love. The scene in which Dhunu compares her mother beyond the sky connects the entire flow of the mother-daughter events especially when she doesn’t show any disparity among the boys with her and teaches her the skill of swimming to survive floods. The children of this film serve as the spine as many pertinent things have been voiced through their innocence. Another notable factor is the truthfulness with which Rima told the story. She didn’t add any mass appealing ingredients to the narrative and kept the credibility till the end. Bhanita Das and Basanti Das who played the role of Dhunu and her mother respectively were lifelike characters and nobody can ever think of their replacement with any professional actors. Rima also justifies the title of Village Rockstars in two ways. One is the dream of Dhunu of being a rockstar with a guitar in her hand and other one that probably is more evoking is the essence of a real rockstar in the village children which shows lifeness in their face even after being poverty stricken and flooded with difficulties.
Coming to the technical aspects, Rima has really done an incredible job by capturing the live moments with such vibrant composition which probably seems impossible to create for the second time with the exact raw essence. And the fact that Rima has single handedly looked after the direction, camera and production literally deserves a special mention and is a benchmark in the cinematic world. Village Rockstars has broken all the previous stereotypes of creating big sets with big budgets in making a magnificent film. Rima has proved that filmmaking is just an expression and needs a camera with vision of storytelling. The fact that everything on the screen looks real but still is a film had created a new form of cinema which makes it stand out from all the other films. Let’s hope that Village Rockstars creates the same magic in the world’s most glamorous award ceremony by winning the first ever Oscar from India.

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