Guwahati: As content from Assam finds a new home in streaming platform Reeldrama, a new Assamese feature film ‘Riyaz‘ has premiered on the streaming platform on Friday. Directed by debutant Mriganka Borah, the film is about the spiritual connection and bond shared between individual lives and music. “Music plays a pivotal role in every individual’s life and according to me it not only helps soothe the people in distress but also extends an eye to see things in a different way”, said Borah.

It is this reflection that the director has tried to highlight through a poetic love story between a blind poet and a widow living as a tenant in his house. The director also shared in a statement, “It is where a blind boy separately binds together all his memories, his perception, passion and realizations of his own being, in accordance with his way of living”.

The official page of Reeldrama shared the trailer of the film on Facebook.

“I intend to put in the picture that every individual has feelings and emotions. This story will depict the perception of a blind man towards his society and how music enthrals his emotions to show the true feeling of love”, Borah added.

Borah was involved in the making of short films since his days as a student. His films on child labour and other social issues were screened and awarded in many student film festivals and recognized by institutions like the National Film Development Corporation of India (NFDC), UNESCO India and the Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia, etc. Riyaz is also inspired by one such effort to make a short film on unity in diversity back in 2014 in which a blind person’s view towards life and the world was expressed. “I developed the idea further to make it my debut feature and it took me almost four years to complete the script”, he said.

Riyaz refers to the systematic practice of music by a determined musician in the classical tradition of music. It not only sharpens the skills of a musician but also elevate the person to a state of self-transcendence. “The ambience and mood during riyaz always fill up with positivity and I find a person performing riyaz very interesting because it is something the performer does for themselves and for their own contentment”, Borah, who is a post-graduate in Mass Communication from Dibrugarh University, added.

The film stars Swagata Bharali and Soumar Jyoti Borah in the lead as Karabi and Ashim and was shot in just nine days. It was also screened at several national and international film festivals including LIFFT India Filmotsav – World Cine Fest 2020 and Asian Film Festival, Los Angeles Hollywood 2020 and grabbed the Best Concept Award at Buddha International Film Festival 2020 and Special Mention Award at the Stockholm City Film Festival 2020.

A snap from ‘RIyaz’

Speaking to EastMojo about the challenges of making the film, Borah said, “As a newcomer, I had to cross a lot of hurdles right from finance and production to distribution, but I invested my own savings and hard work and completed the film. The post-production work took more than a year for such reasons.”

He also added, “Research was another challenge for the film and I am thankful that the opportunity to work at Shishu Sarothi, which is an NGO working for children and youth with disabilities, helped me to arrive at the right choices of presenting a visually impaired character in the film.”

Produced under MB Productions, the film is shot by Nagen Baishya and edited by Debojit Dutta with sound design by Ankur Pathak and sound editing by Anirban Borthakur. The background score is composed by Geet Priyam and Raja Hazarika. The filmmaker is also considering a theatrical release or organising a non-traditional screening when and if the COVID-19 situation improves.

Riyaz is not about gaining or losing someone in love. It is about how music helps to put us through life. Love is the ultimate inspiration for a man to provide for emotional fulfilment, express himself, and also understand the world around beyond its flaws and that is what the film is all about”, Borah, who has also written and produced film, said. As movie theatres are shut owing to the pandemic, movies are taking the over-the-top (OTT) platform route to reach their audiences. After Prakash Deka’s Fireflies( Jonaki Porua) and Prodyut Kumar Deka’s Chiyahir Rang (The Colour of Pen), Riyaz is the third feature film from Assam to go for a digital debut. It will be followed by Rajen Das’ Life in A Puppet which is scheduled for a release on Moviesaints on July 17.

Also read | Kripal Kalita’s ‘Bridge’: The Assamese movie making waves globally

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