Wednesday, July 4, 2007

"56 years later, Lalung sees his story on screen"-The IndianExpress

56 years later, Lalung sees his story on screen

Samudra Gupta KashyapPosted online: Monday, July 02, 2007

GUWAHATI, JULY 1: Fifty-four years in prison and that too without
trial, Machang Lalung has probably realised that words mean little.
Released in July 2005, Lalung, a poor tribal from Silchang in Morigaon
district, was recently at the Boston International Film Festival as the
central character of a film made by Aneisha Sharma, which also won
an award.
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life supportPresent at the screening of the film Freedom at the Edge in Guwahati,
Lalung did not utter a word. Instead he sat silently beside noted
Assamese actor Indra Bania watching the story of his life unfold.
He did not even offer a smile, not even when he was felicitated with
an aronai, a traditional Bodo tribal scarf, at the end of the screening.
“For me, it was really difficult to enact the life of Machang Lalung. I
have never heard of anyone with such misfortune, being dumped in
jail for 54 years without any trial,” said Bania. This was the second
time Bania had played the role of a living person. In 1986, he played
Raseswar Saikia, a wronged farmer in Jahnu Barua’s Halodhiya
Choraiye Bao-dhan Khay.
Machang Lalung was picked up by the police back in 1951 and was
dumped in Guwahati jail. He was shifted to a mental hospital at
Tezpur and the jail authorities lost track of him there. When members
of the National Human Rights Commission discovered him at Tezpur in
2005, Lalung had already lost over five decades of his life. No records
of any case against him have been found till today.
Sharma’s film on Lalung was among the 100 films selected from over
1,600 entries for the Boston Film Festival. “My film got tremendous
response from the viewers,” said Sharma. Speaking about Lalung
Sharma said that even during the shoot at his native village, Lalung
used to just sit in a corner and watch silently.
“I think silence is his way of expressing himself. And at times, when I
tried to interact with him, I realised, the silence was not just
eloquent, but frightening as well. It’s full of anguish which is yet to
find an expression,” Sharma said.


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