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How I made It: Kaneen (2018)


The guilt triggered by the happenings following an encounter with an abandoned infant makes the wife of a high-profile police officer obsessively track down her own abandoned child, born out of premarital momentary passion. But her efforts to bring him back to her life hit the high glass wall that divides them.

Based on a novel by Dr Rita Chowdhury, the central thrust of the film is to explore the dynamics set in motion by some hidden trespass that an individual happens to commit inadvertently and how it turns the wheel in the way beyond the control of the individual.

135 Mins | Assamese | Drama | 2018 | India

In its persistent mission and zeal to promote good cinema, the Indian Film Institute brings you the experience of the Director of the film - Monjul Baruah

Why this subject matter for your film and Where did you find this story for this film? I need to get a few words said before I go to talk about the subject. This is the second film directed by me as a filmmaker. When I was holding a private screening of my first film ‘Antareen’ shortly after its completion, a producer came up to me and expressing his admiration for ‘Antareen’ he proposed that I do a film with him. He told me of the desire that had been in him for the last 9/10 years. He told me of his desire to have a novel of renowned Assamese novelist Dr. Rita Choudhury cinematize. Out of curiosity I got hold of a copy of the novel and began to read it. I got gripped by the elementary forces of the novel: mother’s affection, human instincts, and hunger for sex. Marriage is a man-made social institution. ‘Kaneen’ comes into being when an individual gets caught in the cauldron of tension between social constraints and primordial instincts. And I came to feel that this tension, these pulls from opposite entities exist across societies. I remain grateful to the producer Dr. Gopendra Mohon Das and writer Dr.Rita Choudhury for enabling me to give this cinematic expression to a universal phenomenon.

What were the challenges you faced in making the film?

I was lucky that the film had a producer, so worries about money were not there. But I took it as a challenge to spend the money very thriftily so as to keep the film within a small budget. Casting was indeed a challenge for us. Many of the cast were picked from amateur theatre. Casting director Ronald Hussain played the major part here. And another challenge was finding the suitable location. Because of the small budget we didn’t think of making sets in the studio and went about looking for real location instead. Sometimes even if there was suitable location, we couldn’t get permission to use it. And the smallness of the budget also didn’t permit us to go for the suitable equipment. Such constraints were there on us.

Did you face any problems in releasing the film?

For a regional film, getting release is indeed a big challenge. It is such a costly and complicated affair that it often makes us floundering. I have had very depressing experiences in releasing my two films. If I go about telling those experiences then younger filmmakers could get discouraged. Along with it you have promotion, publicity and marketing.

What was your background before making your first film?

Looking back over my shoulder I don’t see much of a background when I ventured to make a film. My learning of filmmaking began as an assistant in the year 1997. I had worked as an assistant director in 7 Assamese films and 4 (four) Hindi films by the time in 2013 I was given the opportunity by Manabendra Adhikari to direct the film produced by him. So, from ‘Antareen’ my journey as a filmmaker started.

How do you think filmmakers like you can overcome common challenges like finance and distribution?

Unbeknown to me, the filmmaking worm has got into my blood, and so come what may, I won’t be able to step back from the world of filmmaking. Accepting all the challenges I will have to go on doing what I am destined to.

Any other interesting facts about this film that you may like to cover.

I intended the film to convey layered meanings, and the dialogue is certainly not the sole medium for that. I will be happy if the audience takes part in unearthing those meanings. Of course there have been wonderful responses from the audience. There is always expectation in me to get more from the audience in the days to come.

How to Reach the Director

Monjul Baruah





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