Guwahati: Assamese short film Xogun (vulture), adapted from the much-acclaimed short story of the same name by noted writer-journalist Manoj Kumar Goswami, scripted and directed by Utpal Borpujari, has been selected to be screened at the 21st New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF).

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the film festival will be held virtually from June 4 to 15.

Produced by IFT India, Xogun is among 58 feature films, documentaries and short films in 15 languages from across India that have been selected for NYIFF, one of the most prestigious Indian film festivals globally.

Earlier, Xogun won the Best Film Award at the 13th Guwahati International Film Festival organised by the Gauhati Cine Club and was screened at the 14th Signs Festival in Thiruvanathapuram, which is considered among the most prestigious short film and documentary festivals in India.

Filmed in Agia area of Goalpara with the support of Badunduppa Kala Kendra, the film, like the original story, takes a critical and hard look at certain aspects of modern-day journalistic practices in a powerful way.

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“As a former journalist who wrote and reported from metros as well as some of the most-interior parts of India for over two decades, I feel strongly about how the profession has responded to the times – with the negatives often outweighing the positives. Manoj Kumar Goswami’s story is a powerful reflection of how things are,” said Borpujari on the subject of the film.

“Like in any other profession, there have always been corrupt elements within journalism too, but rarely was corruption institutionalized like it has been in the recent years – be it in the form of paid news, fake news, individual corruption or the unstated institutional alignment with political parties and corporate houses.

I feel that the responsibility for the rot largely lies on those who looked the other way – while not forgetting to pontificate – as the profession degenerated over the years. This short film is a reflection on all this, in a darkly realistic way,” he said.

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