indian cinema heritage foundation
  • Release Date04/01/1948
  • LanguageAssamese

Social chaos, the massive scale of migration, communal riots, rape, loss of property, conflict between Hindus and Muslims were the primary realities of the Partition of India in 1947. When the communal riots between Hindus and Muslims were rampant across the country, two Assamese cultural icons- Bishnu Prasad Rabha and Phani Sarma- came forward under the banner Chitrawali Pictures Ltd, to make a film on the theme of Hindu-Muslim unity. The film Siraj, based on Lakhidhar Sarma’s story of the same title, was directed jointly by Bishnu Prasad Rabha and Phani Sarma. Siraj was the first Assamese film made on the theme of national integration with a message of communal harmony. The film depicts how Sirajuddin Ahmed and his widow sister Fatema(played by Anupama Bhatachrjee) raise Sita, daughter of Sabitri. Sabitri (played by Kamala Bhatachrjee Tiwari), dies in childbirth at Siraj’s house. The daughter of Sabitri grows up at Siraj’s house and later is sent to Calcutta to study. She meets Anil there and both fall in love, and decide to get married. However, when Anil’s family learns that the orphaned Hindu girl Sita has been brought up by a Muslim man, they step back from the proposal of marriage. Siraj pleads with them to restore their faith in humanity and requests them to see the marriage from a wider human perspective. They do not relent. Anil, leaving behind his family, decides to marry Sita. The film ends with their wedding. The song Agni jugar firingoti moi/ Natun Axom gohi (I am the sparkle of the age of rebellion, I will build a new Assam) was written, composed and sung by Bhupen Hazarika who also played the role of Anil. This film was a strong statement on the integrity of people irrespective of caste, creed and religion. Suresh Ghatak was the cinematographer and Kamal Ganguli the editor of the film. Phani Sarma played the role of Siraj. The film was premiered on Sunday, 4th January 1948 at Dipak auditorium, Calcutta at the august gathering of Assamese audience and the non-Assamese residents of Calcutta. It was released in Assam on 16th January 1948 at Ranghar of Dibrugarh and Krishna Talkies of Nagaon.

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