With an aim to create awareness about the inhuman practice of witch hunting, prevailing in Assam and other parts of the country, the Children's Film Society, India (CFSI) is set to present feature film 'Ishu'. The movie is based on noted Assamese writer Manikuntala Bhattacharya's popular novel of the same name and marks the feature film debut of National Award-winning film critic and acclaimed documentary director Utpal Borpujari.
'Ishu' offers a glimpse at the ancient system through the eyes of an innocent child, whose favourite aunt is branded as a witch by an evil village quack. The film is complete and is expected to be screened soon.
"However, despite its sensitive and serious backdrop, my film treats the subject in a way that it is suitable for viewing for children. In fact, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has given it a 'U' Certification without any cuts," Borpujari said in the statement.
He believed that children's films can effectively take up social issues, if handled sensitively. The social evil of witch hunting has been a recurring problem in Assam and several incidents have been reported this year.
CFSI chairman Mukesh Khanna said the film will deliver a message that social evils must be eradicated from the society. "Children are the future of our country and should always be motivated. Movies like 'Ishu' bring awakening in the society about the ill-effects of social evils and educate people about their harmful aspects on the society. CFSI will continue to make and promote such films," he said.
In the film, the lead role is played by 10-year-old Kapil Garo, who was selected for the role after the director and his team interacted with nearly 300 kids across Assam. "Kapil has the required innocence and charm that I had visualised in 'Ishu' and being from a village himself, he blended naturally with the character," Borpujari said.
The film also stars two-time National Award (special jury mention)-winning actor Bishnu Kharghoria and National Award-winning Manipuri actress Tonthoingambi Leishangthem Devi. Veteran artists Chetana Das and Pratibha Choudhury and other young actors like Monuj Borkotoky, Dipika Deka and Nibedita Bharali also feature in the film.