A short film chronicling a series of events from the life of Assam music legend Jayanta Hazarika is set for release on July 16, 2021. Directed by young filmmaker Pranjal Gayari, the film titled Xur Bahini, is based on the efforts of Jayanta Hazarika and his team of singers who collaborated under the same name for contributing to social causes in Assam in the late 1970s. The director took to Instagram and shared the release date along with a poster of the film.
Scheduled for a YouTube premiere, the trailer of the film was also released recently.
As the trailer depicts, the film will explore two narratives of the past and the present, and a silver lining to connect both.
“The reason behind the making of this film is to highlight the significance of Jayanta Hazarika’s noble cause for the people of Assam during trying times such as the disastrous floods of 1977 and draw its relevance to the current times”, said director Gayari.
The Xur Bahini of the late 1970s was a huge initiative, where singers of the group left the stage to sing in the streets and collected donations for helping other people in need. “It is also an effort to familiarize the current generation about Jayanta Hazarika, the difficult times of the past and the earnest endeavours led by this legendary singer”, he added.
The youngest brother of music maestro Bhupen Hazarika, Jayanta Hazarika was equally popular as Rana Da. He wrote and composed music for many Assamese movies of his time. In his short life span of 34 years, he created music considered timeless classics today.
Speaking to EastMojo about the many challenges of making a period film, Gayari said, “The unavailability of proper resources like prosthetics makeup, highly trained makeup artists, lack of sufficient information and video documentation of Jayanta Hazarika posed as severe hindrances.”
Such productions also call for detailed planning so that it appears faithful to the time it represents. “Capturing the essence of the seventies on camera is quite an arduous task since everything, from the colour of the interiors of the house to the furniture and the costumes to makeup and hairstyle, had to be researched and laid out in detail” he added.
The first look of lead actor Kamal Lochan as Jayanta Hazarika was showered by praises from netizens upon release because of the strong resemblances it shared with the singer.
Gayari said, “It’s not a hundred per cent, but we have tried our best with the resources we have had, and I am blessed to have a great team including Biswa da (Biswajit Kalita) who handled the makeup job deftly”. Shedding light on the process, the director also revealed that the idea of arriving at Kamal Lochan’s look for the film is inspired by that of Aamir Khan as Chandrashekhar Azad in Rang De Basanti.
“Chandrashekhar Azad never looked like Aamir Khan nor do Jayanta Hazarika looked like Kamal Lochan, but it’s an attempt to portray the character and not to replicate or make a copy of him and also the fact that there was no earlier attempt to portray the singer on screen, we could take some creative liberties”, he added.
When asked about the experiences and challenges of playing the character, actor Kamal Lochan said, “Every role is challenging and although Jayanta Hazarika is a popular figure, his character is very new for me because I always try to create a new character by merging together the soul of the actor and the character.”
He elaborated further about his preparation for the role and said “I have tried my best to learn everything about him, from his diction and his way of speaking to walking and thinking, from audio records and the people who were close to him and now only people can judge the success of the act”.
He also added, “There is never full satisfaction on my end because I always feel there was more scope for my effort to every character I play and likewise it is the same for this character as well”.
Produced by Ananta Tasa, the hype for Xur Bahini has been high since the trailer has dropped. The film was written by Raj Dutta with dialogues by Neel Barman also stars Prayash Sharma Tamuly, Ashim Krishna Boruah, Nirupom Saikia, Luchiyana Das and Achinta Raj Kashyap. It is shot by Asutosh Kashyap and edited by Uddipta Kumar Bhattacharyya and Milan Jyoti with background music by Tarali Sharma. The poster design and GFX work are done by Ramjyoti Krishnacharan.
“Xur Bahini is not a biopic of Jayanta Hazarika because we can never illustrate the entirety of his life and personality in just twenty minutes. It is an inspiring tale for everyone and a call to contemporary artists to stand for such causes as his”, said director Gayari, who is also credited for the story of the film.