Dimasas request President Droupadi Murmu to stop screening of national award-winning film 'Semkhor'

Dimasas request President Droupadi Murmu to stop screening of national award-winning film 'Semkhor'

The headquarters of the Dima Hasao district in Assam is where Dimasa organisations have petitioned President Droupadi Murmu to step in and stop the showing of the National Award-winning movie "Semkhor" for allegedly misrepresenting the community. The 2021 movie, which is the first to be released in the Dimasa language, won the Rajat Kamal at the 68th National Film Awards. The primary actor and co-producer of "Semkhor," Baruah, was given the Special Jury Mention award. She is the spouse of Pijush Hazarika, the minister of information and public relations of Assam.

The Dimasa people complained in a note to the president on Thursday that the movie had presented a distorted picture of their customs, traditions, and way of life. Additionally, the Dimasa organisations pleaded with the president to stop all press coverage of the movie's director, Aimee Baruah. Here, they staged a protest march and delivered the note to the Dima Hasao district government.

In response to Baruah's inaccurate portrayal of Dimasa custom, tradition, and way of life in her film "Semkhor," protesters sought a public apology from her. Their memorandum stated, "We want restitution to the Dimasa society for defaming the traditional morality of the community. A baby girl allegedly passed away from a cold while the movie was being made because Baruah disregarded the proper legal procedures.

An ethnolinguistic group called the Dimasas resides in the states of Assam and Nagaland. The life and times of a tribeswoman are chronicled in the movie. The memorandum from five Dimasa groups claimed that "the video portrays the Dimasa people as being opposed to any form of contemporary advances like road infrastructure, schools, and medical facilities." "The video grossly misrepresents our culture to the point where it suggests that female infanticide is common in Dimasa society, which is untrue and absolutely incorrect. Since the beginning of time, such practises have never existed in the Dimasa community "It read.

The protesters argued that Baruah didn't conduct in-depth research on Dimasa traditions and customs. She "rather continued with a half-baked story and is simply carried away with her passion to meet up with her profession/hobbies by which she can earn name and fame and her act has led to a permanent dent on the morality of customs, traditions, and livelihoods of the Dimasa tribe," the author writes. The protesters accused Baruah of breaking the law by failing to obtain the district magistrate's approval before using the infant girl in the movie, as required under the Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act of 1986.

The memo demanded justice for the bereaved family and stated, "This is a clear case of breaking the law." The statement read, "The newborn girl was just 84 days old when she was cast in this particular film and grew ill due to exposure to cold and harsh weather condition at the time following which she died four days later. Three days after the shooting on the bank of a river in the country during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, a three-month-old daughter named "Claring," who was cast in the movie, reportedly passed away from a cold. Mahendra Kemprai, the leader of the All Dimasa Students' Union, reported Baruah to the police earlier this week, alleging that the community was inaccurately portrayed in the movies.

Although the concept of the movie was developed using data gathered from newspapers, books, magazines, and a few people, Baruah claimed that the story is "totally imaginary." "We never intended for our movie to offend anyone's sensibilities or sense of self-respect. I merely tried to bring our society's attention to the beauty of the setting, the native tongue, the dress, and other factors. We do, however, deeply apologise to anyone we may have offended "posted something on Facebook. The movie was co-produced by Mala Baruah, and Sasanka Samir wrote the script. Jintumoni Kalita, Sasanka Samir, Uday Bhaskar Patar, and Aimee Baruah wrote the screenplay.

Semkhor received praise and was screened at numerous national and international film festivals. It was released for sale last week. The inaccurate portrayal of female infanticide in the film was also denounced by the Dimasa Mothers' Association. The association argued that depicting the neighbourhood engaging in such "evil" was "completely wrong and factually erroneous".

(Source : PTI)

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