Moukon Cursing the goat shepherd
Moukon Cursing the goat shepherd

Every Indian village or small town has a unique characteristic, story, and a quirk. With an extremely slow pace of life, abundant extra time at disposal and fewer opportunities for growth, there is an interdependent lifestyle which sometimes can result in funnily intermingling relationships. In such towns, gossip spreads faster than wildfire and sticks longer than any powerful glue because the next best gossip takes a long time to happen. So sometimes an unbelievable lie masquerades as an undebatable truth, leading to further quirky and funny situations based on that false truth as a foundation.

“Bornodi Bhotiai” is essentially a tale of a town. A quaint little town called Majuli which is a river island town surrounded by the river Brahmaputra. It is an Assamese (the language of Assam, a northeastern state of India) feature film created by a Majulial Anupam Kaushik Borah.

This is a story of a few characters interrelated to each other for quirky reasons. There is a girl named Moukon (Dorothy Bharadwaj) who loves knitting, embroidery and while doing so, speaks to herself to keep her mind sane. Moukon is infamous in the village as a witch or girl with black tongue because of an unfortunate incident for which the people blame her.

There are 4 friends who are educated but jobless and want to start a goat farm after attending an awareness workshop by the government on animal husbandry. One of them is an undiscovered singer, another a theatre actor and others doing some sundry work. All of them are attracted to the same infamous girl in town, Moukon.

Four Friends in Majuli

One of their other friend Luit (Anupam Kaushik Borah), is an insurance agent. The 4 friends want to insure their goats. But Luit tells them that no company offers insurances for goats in Majuli, because of its flood-prone geography.

One of these 4 friends, Simanta (Sonmoni Sarma) who is a wannabe singer, decides to marry Moukon and asks his family to arrange for the same. Soon he comes to know that Moukon is marrying the government officer Kushal Kakati (Kenny D Basumatary).

Luit is Moukon’s childhood friend whom Moukon teases for his running nose. Luit opens an insurance policy for her husband Kushal Kakati too. Thus, each of the characters and their life is entangled with each other, which is very common in a small town life. What happens after that is the story of “Bornodi Bhotiai” and much much more.

Writer-Director Anupam Kaushik Borah, who also plays the role of Luit, weaves an intricate tale of these entangled lives and tells it in a lite, quirky and funny way. There so many weird but simple events and moments in the film, which are very much possible in a small town life. Those are unbelievable, contradictory and funny.

Through this film, he wants to tell that love heals and he does it with a very homegrown, authentic way which brings out the flavour of the town Majuli and the Majulian people. There are many layers to his storytelling, which successfully conveys the philosophy, a message and also portrays the day to day life of that part of the country.

Moukon looking out of the window
Moukon looking out of the window

Anupam’s writing and direction are ably supported with beautiful cinematography by Prayash Sharma Tamuly and editing by Rantu Chetia. The film has beautiful songs and background music given by national-award winning singer-composer Tarali Sarma.

Performances which are extremely real is the key strength of the film. While the actors in the key characters do an outstanding job, everyone else too have performed very well.

Assamese people are making a mark on the national level in recent years. Another Assamese filmmaker Reema Das is currently in vogue for her film “Village Rockstars” being the official nomination from India for Oscars. Hima Das is a big name in sports. With “Bornodi Bhotiai”, Anupam Kaushik Borah does the same for Assam which these other people did, and that is to make India proud.

“Bornodi Bhotiai” is definitely a recommended watch.