Rima Das’ lone journey as a filmmaker to ‘Village Rockstar’

A screen grab of the film by Rima Das ‘Village Rockstar’

When Rima Das’ film Village Rockstar premiered in Toronto International Film Festival in 2017, critics and movie buffs were surprised at the fact that she had made the film almost entirely on her own

The young filmmaker from Assam Rima Das’ film Village Rockstar has been selected as India’s official entry for the 91st Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film category on Saturday.

Rima Das expressed her thanks and gratitude on Twitter as well as to many media houses which approached her after this news. She wrote on Twitter;

Rima’s journey as a filmmaker was a solitary effort till the time she saw a bunch of young boys imitating a rock band with make-believe musical instruments. At that time she was in the process of shooting her first feature film Man with the Binoculars (2016).

She decided then that someday she will make a film on these children. It was the time when she was rediscovering her roots in Chhaygaon, her village in Assam. When she saw these boys using the musical instruments made up of thermocol, she was fascinated.

When she interacted with these village boys, this idea of making a film on the aspirations of these children started developing. The boys too joined her journey as a filmmaker and she started experimenting with different camera angles to picturise them. Her young cousin, Bhanita kept following her out of curiosity and gradually Rima could see herself as a little girl in Bhanita, whom she finally cast as the protagonist Dhunu in her film Village Rockstar.

But it took her a long time, more than three years to develop the story while the filming was done in 150 days in her village only. The story revolves around a little village girl Dhunu and her dream of owning an electric guitar.

When the film premiered in Toronto International Film Festival, 2017, it immediately cast a spell over the audience with its spontaneity, unseen location and a very genuine cast. The critics and reviewers were enthralled by the fact that Rima Das is almost a one-woman crew of this film. She has written, directed, produced shot and edited the entire film on her own.

Rima had wanted to be an actor. She came to Mumbai to fulfil her dream in 2003. She acted in some plays but was disillusioned with the unending series of disappointing auditions. It was at this juncture that she started learning the art and technique of film making with the help of some videos and articles available on the internet. She eagerly watched the works of the iconic filmmakers. And after trying her hand on some short films she ventured into making a feature film.

Her determination and perseverance finally paid in form of her first feature film Man with the Binoculars which was showcased in Cannes Film Festival and at Mumbai Film Festival. With Village Rockstar’s selection as India’s official entry for the 91st Academy Awards, Rima Das has finally proved her mettle as a filmmaker.

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