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“For a Particular Shot, The Crew Had To Remain Submerged In Flood-water For Seven Hour: Kripal Kalita, independent film maker

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Kripal Kalita addressed a press conference on 19th January 2021 at the 51st IFFI taking place in Goa regarding the IFFI 51 Indian Panorama Feature Film, ‘The Bridge’ along with Blessy Ipe Thomas, a National Award-winning film director and scriptwriter to talk about his documentary film ‘100 Years of Chrysostom – A Biographical film which was also screened in the Indian Panorama Non-Feature Film Section of IFFI 51.

“There is no solution in sight for this problem. I, being a farmer’s son hailing from rural Assam, have faced this,” said Kripal Kalita, an independent film-maker. Kalita made ‘The Bridge’ on the sufferings the Assamese people go through due to the annual floods occurring in the state.

“Shiva Rani Kalita who plays the role of ‘Jonaki’ was chosen after a screen-testing done on 300 college-goers and theatre artists. The film, made with limited resources, was shot in a real flood situation in Upper Assam. For a particular shot, the crew had to remain submerged in flood-water for seven hours. Even real scenes of people struggling in the floodwaters have been used in the film,” mentioned Kalita. He mostly involves the freshers in the crew and cast for the film.

‘The Bridge’ showcases how Jonaki, the protagonist battles the struggles due to the annual floods caused by the mighty Brahmaputra and its tributaries which ruin the village and the cultivation. Her struggles are increased by the absence of a bridge over the river. Conclusively, she becomes empowered signifying “life must go on.”

Kalita also mentioned his desire to make a big-budget film based on Ahom King Chaolung Sukaphaa who came from Thailand in the 13th century and set up an Assamese kingdom, and the king himself had to face hardships caused by the floods. 

Blessy Ipe Thomas’ 2019 documentary film, ‘100 Years of Chrysostom – A Biographical Film’ is based on an 103-year-old Bishop Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar Thoma Valiya Metropolitan. He is the longest-serving Bishop today of all Christian Churches in Asia and one of the longest in the world in the history of Christianity.

He has become a spiritual leader for all the people irrespective of their religion and walks of life by the strength of his personality and character.

“I am too much inspired by his thoughts,” said Thomas. “This documentary aims to take forward his vision for the coming generations,” he further added. His life is an epic chronicle of India’s political and social history of the last century, starting from the final years of the First World War.

The full version of the documentary which is 48 hours and 10 minutes received the Guinness Record for the ‘Longest Film Documentary’ in the year 2019. Although, the film was screened of an abridged bone hour version.

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