‘Jankfai Jonak’(From the Shadow of Silence): A Tale of Technical and Thematic Triumph in a Troubled Terrain
Faith is part and parcel of a belief-system. Faith at its best inspires, fortifies, makes life worth living…..! Faith is a glimmer of hope in the teeth of the worst of odds….!But human history also bears testimony to the grim reality that all that faith epitomises is not rosy……! Faith, which almost always preys on the credulity of common masses, may culminate in catastrophes….! Faith, which has a borderline with superstition as flimsy as air, is always vulnerable to the unscrupulous designs of the Machiavellian as well as the malicious motives of the green-eyed monsters……! Sanjib Sabhapandit’s ‘Jangfai Jonak’(From the Shadow of Silence) is a critique of this ugly face of faith which has an uncanny potential to spell doomsday for innocent and innocuous individuals…..! Two highly contemporary and veracious stories are juxtaposed in the plot to drive home to the audience the perspective of the film. Both the stories the film works around are well-knit both thematically and structurally. One features an innocent adolescent who is made a ‘Baba’(A God Incarnate) despite his reluctance by the gullibility of common masses . In the other, a malicious suitor and an avaricious fortune-teller join hands to conspire against an innocuous young girl . Capitalising on the credulity of naive rural masses , they make her a ‘Daini’(Witch) and brutally kill her.
Sanjib Sabhapandit is a serious filmmaker who has an uncompromising knack of dealing with themes of intense human appeal and profound social relevance in his films . Both of his first two films “Juye Pora Son” and “Jatinga Ityadi” were highly extolled by critics and connoisseurs alike for their cerebral themes . ‘Jangfai Jonak’ is no exception. But what has fascinated me most about “Jangfai Jonak’ is its amazing technical finesse hitherto unknown to Assamese Cinema. While Sanjib Sabhapanjit’s first two films were marred by technical blemishes glaring enough to vitiate cinematic beauty, ‘Jangfai Jonak’ has certainly broken that jinx and loomed large as a cinematic triumph. The film ,in fact, is a fitting reply to the much hyped skepticism of certain film pundits about the adequacy of HD cameras for shooting quality feature film. The cinematography of the film is simply impeccable except in a few moving shots. Parashar Borua wielded his lenses superbly to capture the hues and mood so evocatively…The film can boast of some of the best shot night/low-lit sequences in Assamese cinema. Top notch editing is another cynosure of the film. The editor duo (Saurabh Dutta and Ratul Deka) have adroitly resorted to ‘tight cut’, split edits, L-cuts/J-cuts, camera zooms , blow-ups , matching action and other digital intermediaries to give rise to a delightful visual treat that mimics real life experiences so well and makes acting so real that it does not feel like acting.
While all true blue movie buffs appreciate how crucial an element lighting is for filmmaking, one of the most underrated elements in Assamese Cinema is ironically the light designs. In recent times, no Assamese feature film barring ‘Adajjya’ could live up to my expectations in lighting design. I am thrilled to find a second one in ‘Jangfai Jonak’. Skillful employment of both hard light and soft light to create a sense of verisimilitude all throughout the film , astoundingly natural looking night sequences and indoor scenes are what impress me most in ‘Jangfai Jonak’. Although the lighting effect falters a bit in the final night sequence, I have not an iota of hesitation to concede it is still a beautifully shot, highly natural looking night sequence rare in Assamese Cinema. Annirudha Boruah’s background score is highly spiffy and quite in tune with the mood and spirit of the film. Equally admirable is the job of the Make up Artist as well as the Art Director. Sanjib Sabhapandit, who has also done a near perfect script for his film, has,indeed, struck a perfect equilibrium with his technical crew motivating everyone to render an optimal performance and thereby ensuring a highly accomplished final cut .The director’s deftness is not circumscribed to the film’s technical finesse alone. He has motivated his cast to deliver a convincing performance collectively. Sanjib Sabhapandit’s predilection for minute details in ‘Jangfai Jonak’ is instantly reminiscent of that of Jahnu Barua and Dr. Bhabendranath Saikia in their critically acclaimed films.
‘Jangfai Jonak’---a good movie indeed virtually from every cinematic perspective. Here is finally an Assamese feature film which has redefined for Assamese filmmakers how a technically sound and thematically appealing film may be made on a shoestring budget creatively and judiciously falling back on latest sophisticated technology of digital filmmaking.