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Assamese film Xogun introspects on journalistic practices [at New York Indian Film festival 2021]

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Hitting hard at the penury-like attitude in modern-day journalism, the Assamese film Xogun by filmmaker Utpal Borpujari puts perspective to structural misinformation being planted at many levels in the process of creating false news, by photo-journalists, reporters and local editors, politicians , or local authorities. The film is adapted from a story by the noted writer-journalist Kumar Goswami. The film is directed by national-award-winning filmmaker Utpal Borpujari.

Misinformation and false/fake / planted News is being used to bring attention to a massacre that took place between two communities.

Two journalists, one a senior journalist and a photo editor are seen walking around a piece of land. When kids who are playing come running to see a car stop. In the next shot, we see a pool of kids lying dead surrounded by greenery. All the while, the two senior journalists are talking to interns, who have comes along to observe the senior reporters at work.

This simple film lays bare the complex level of lack of source checking, transparency, accountability in the visible and non-visible players in a media organization probably in India. If a society is about creating art and health, with so much misinformation being pooled into the public information system: public life is moving towards chaos. But, there is still hope as the film Xogun shows in the young interns, who keep questioning the senior reporters on the dishonest practices. With brilliant shots, you keep guessing where the story is taking you. The opening scene shows three kids playing, and they go running away to a call by another kid about an event. When you are taken to the next scene where a car has stopped, it dulls your curiosity as you were expecting something shocking ( the build-up is well hidden by the director Utpal Borpujari.)

In the next frame, the young interns are speaking to the senior journalists. And then you are taken to the people lying dead in the field. There is a confused sense of calmness in the senior journalists, ( as the event is faked, which we understand at the end of the film )as you see the pool of dead people lying. And, you believe that a massacre has happened. Until, you see two boys moving, ( they are the same two kids who open the film) and the photojournalist calmly walks and takes photos. The barbarity of the whole event is conveyed in such simple images and metaphors that you feel cheated as a viewer.

Xogun is Produced by IFT India. It had earlier won the Best Film award in the short film at the 13th Guwahati International Film Festival. It was screened at the 14th Signs Festival in Thiruvanathapuram.

Director : Utpal Borpujari

Producer: IFT India

Script : Utpal Borpujari

Dialogues : Utpal Borpujari

Cinematographer: Chida Bora

Sound Design & Editing: Amrit Pritam Dutta

Production Mixer (Location Sync Sound): Debajit Gayan

Music: Anurag Saikia

Editor: Umesh Kumar

Executive Producer: Basanta Kumar Borthakur

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