Set in the insurgency filled 80s and 90s, Jwlwi – The Seed is a detailed representation of the sufferings and struggles of families under the draconian law. This movie, produced in 2019, depicts the tragic period in history of the Bodo community in Northeast India, where people lived in constant fear for their lives and uncertainty for their future, as Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) ruled them. The Bodo people of Assam were under oppression from political leaders who cared nothing for their citizens and would often go as far as subjecting them to inhumane conditions. This led to several rebel uprising which was the only way the people could register their displeasure against the ruling class.
For ardent fans of Mary Kom, you once again get to see actress Rajni Basumatary skilfully portraying the versatile character of Alaari. Basumatary is a talented actress, director and writer who witnessed first-hand the impact of the draconian law, and was determined to bring global awareness to that dark period in their history. Basumatary lost family members to the murky times, and this has been one of her greatest motivations all through the production of this movie.
Basumatary, who has been at the centre of the suffering, is a strong advocate of the annulment of the AFSPA, and believes the movie is a powerful way to enlighten people on the need to end the existence of this law. AFSPA is an Act that gives special powers and immunity to armed forces in areas that have been declared as “chaotic”. It has remained in force in a number of states in the Northeast.
In the movie Jwlwi – The Seed, Alaari who is played by Basumatary, experiences great hardship and suffering. In the midst of the suffering, Alaari shows great resilience and courage in withstanding these challenges. The movie portrays a society where the fundamental human rights of its indigenous people have been compromised and the responsibility of the government towards the protection of the members of the indigenous communities is non-existent.
It all starts when Alaari loses her husband to the cold hands of death. He was caught in the crossfire between the Indian forces and rebels. Some time later, Alaari once again faces the negative impact of this rebel movement, when her son, Erakdao, whose character is brought to life by actor Shimang Chainary, is influenced into joining the same movement that took the life of his father. She struggles to convince her son otherwise and help him find the path he should take. The movie depicts how vulnerable youths in the rural parts of India were to the rebel movement.
As the narrative progresses and the political scene heats up, most Bodo youths are coaxed into thinking they too must arise to challenge the autonomy of the unjust political system. They are armed with guns and are led towards the path of false liberation of their people from oppression.
Jwlwi – The Seed is directed by Rajni Basumatary, and co-produced by Basumatary and Jani Viswanath. The film was shot by cinematographer Suruj Deka. It follows minimalist mentality to accurately capture the rural and poor villages in the Northeastern part of India. The editorial aspect of this movie is also top notch and was done to near perfection by Hemanti Sakar; it beautifully complements the cinematography and portrays the storyline Basumatary tries to paint.
In addition, the film’s music is composed by Avinash Baghel and it helps with soothing the troubled heart of the viewers stirred up by the stimulating subject of the movie. Fans are once again delighted with yet another artistic masterpiece. This movie doesn’t have flashy scenes or utilise a bank breaking budget, but it carries a powerful message that viewers can learn a lot from.
Jwlwi – The Seed speaks to a lot of vices plaguing societies from gun violence to unjust political leaders. It shows how these vices have permanent scarring effects on the lives of families. The movie was shot without special equipment or drones to portray the everyday life of the rural part of India. The language used in the movie agrees with the indigenous audience and for the more global audience, the movie includes subtitles.
The movie is not only a superb representation of a past event, but a passionate reflection of the present situation in Bodoland, and by extension, the entire world. The movie speaks to the hearts of viewers in ways they have never felt before. Jwlwi- The Seed is a beautiful and emotional story. It ranks pretty high in quality of cast with near perfect characterisation and representation. Another character that deserves a mention is Major Singh, portrayed by Raj Agnihotri; his power-packed performance won hearts of many. Production is superior quality with a touch of realism, so as not to lose the natural scenery and feel.
The movie is currently streaming on MovieSaints.
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