Guwahati: There’s a moment of pride for the Assamese film industry as Aei Maatite is now being screened at the Lockdown Film Festival organised by the Federation of Film Societies of India.
The FFSI was supposed to organise several film festivals this year but could not due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent lockdowns. That’s when it decided to organise the film festivals online. Aei Maatite is now being screened as part of the seventh series and can be watched for free from July 20 to 26.
“Being selected in FFSI is a matter of immense pride,” said Tridip Lahkar, assistant director cum publicity manager of the movie. “The film itself talks about a very disturbing and tabooed issue that is still prevalent in various parts of the state: witch-hunting. To be able to bring the attention of movie lovers from across the world via this screening is nothing less than achievement on our part,” he added.
Lahkar said he is thankful to FFSI as it gave the well-wishers of the movie a chance to watch it. “Many were unable to watch the movie during its original release but now people living across the world can watch it,” he added.
Aei Maatite is the first Assamese full-length feature film on the burning issue of witch-hunting, a debut feature film of eminent theatre personality and independent filmmaker Sitanath Lahkar. Witch-hunting is a serious social menace riding on superstition, coupled with greed for wealth and personal grudge of certain criminal gangs. Thousands of innocent people have lost their lives due to this evil practice, where villagers took part en-mass under the influence of superstition.
The movie has a very strong message against witch hunting, upholding the value of scientific temperament and human life. The film mainly talks about the witch-hunting problem in Assam and how a section of people are using witchcraft for their interest. Witch-hunting has no reason at all and is shrouded with the darkness of superstition, which is to be overcome by the society – this is the say of the film.
“We just got a notification that many people from the US are streaming the film as well and within two days of its release over two thousand people have already watched the movie,” said Tridip.
The film was also screened in the First Assam International Rural Film Festival in 2017 and Global Film Festival, Gangtok in March 2020. Additionally, the film has now become an important informational tool for educating the rural masses of Assam about the disturbing trend of witch-hunting. The film was screened at some very interior locations across Golaghat district with active support from a leading public sector undertaking Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL) where witch-hunting is still prevalent in June 2018 in an attempt to sensitize people against all sorts of unscientific beliefs.