By Utpal Borpujari
“Sonar Baran Pakhi” (The Golden Wing), a Rajbanshi language feature film by Assamese filmmaker Bobby Sarma Baruah on the life and times of legendary Goalpariya folk singer Pratima Baruah Pandey, has won the Grand Jury Prize at the 15th annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA).
The festival, which concluded with the screening of Shubhasish Bhutiani’s highly-acclaimed film “Mukti Bhawan” (Hotel Salvation) starring Adil Hussain, also awarded a Special Jury Mention to Haobam Paban Kumar’s Manipuri film “Loktak Leirembee” (Lady of the Lake).
IFFLA is widely recognized as the premiere showcase of groundbreaking Indian cinema globally. This year the festival featured two World premieres, five North American premieres, five US premieres, and 11 LA premieres.
Awarding the top honour to “Sonar Baran Pakhi”, the jury said, “We wanted to recognize this work for its artistry in storytelling and filmmaking, its exploration of class and society, and for the seamless and elegant way in which it incorporates music and performance. This is a film that celebrates a woman’s independence, her compassion and humanism and ultimately her enduring reputation as an artist.”
The jury awarded “Lady of the Lake” for its “inspired and distinctly cinematic fusion of magical realism and docu-fiction approaches in depicting the beleaguered fishing community living atop and among the hypnotic floating biomasses of Loktak Lake in the little-photographed Manipur region”.
The Grand Jury Prize for Best Short was presented to “Devi”, directed by Karishma Dube, while the Shorts Special Mention was given to “Gudh”, directed by Saurav Rai.
Meanwhile, the audiences chose “A Billion Colour Story” as their favorite narrative feature film of the festival, and “An Insignificant Man” as their favorite documentary feature. “Aaba”, directed by Amar Kaushik and winner of the Best Short Fiction film at the recent National Awards, was chosen as the Best Short by the audiences.