The trailer and poster of ‘Baruar Xongxar’ (The House of Baruas), a feature-length documentary film, chronicling the famous Assam-type house at Latasil in Guwahati and its illustrious occupants, who have greatly enriched Assamese cinema, music, culture, sports and society over the years, was released on November 11, 2023.
The 71-minute long film, directed by National Award-winning filmmaker Utpal Borpujari and produced by Nayan Prasad, Jemini Phukan and Dibyajyoti Saharia under the banner of the socio-cultural organization Surjya and Jemini Phukan Production, will have its world premiere at the forthcoming 54th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa, as part of the prestigious Indian Panorama section.
The poster and trailer were released by legendary musician Ramen Barua and eminent singer Dwipen Barua in the presence of several members of the extended family at a simple ceremony held at the front verandah of the legendary house which has completed its centenary this year.
From the film’s crew, producers Nayan Prasad, Dibyajyoti Saharia and Jemini Phukan were present along with chief assistant director Bhaskar Jyoti Das, cinematographer Rituraj Shivam, editor Jhulan Krishna Mahanta, sound designer and mixing engineer Debajit Gayan, and researcher and assistant director Manaswinee Mahanta.
Both Ramen Barua and Dwipen Barua expressed their happiness and thanked the filmmakers for trying to tell the story of their historic house through the documentary. “We and our entire family are really happy that this film has been made at a time when our house has completed its centenary,” said Ramen Barua.
“The film will take the story of our family to people not only within Assam but hopefully also to those outside the state. That is a matter of great satisfaction for all of us,” said Dwipen Barua.
Eminent theatre personality and one of the producers of the film, Nayan Prasad, said on the occasion, “I, along with Jemini Phukan and Dibyajyoti Saharia, decided to support the idea of Utpal Borpujari to make this film as our tribute to this iconic family on the centenary of their equally-iconic house.”
“What better than to make a film on this family that has given Assam so much happiness through cinema, music, sports and much more,” said Jemini Phukan.
The film’s director, Delhi-based Borpujari, said in a statement on the occasion, “The Baruas are surely the only family in Assam, and perhaps in entire India, that has produced so many noted personalities in fields as diverse as cinema, music, sports and politics. The idea behind the film is to audio-visually document the family’s contributions to these fields and present it before the world,” he says.
Constructed by engineer Chandranath Barua of Bihdiya village located near Baihata Chariali, the house nestled on the eastern flank of Latasil ground has been home to some of Assam’s most famous icons, such as filmmaker, actor, musician Brajen Barua, filmmaker, footballer, flutist, painter Nip Barua, singer turned composer Ramen Barua, filmmaker Dibon Barua, cricketer turned singer Dwipen Barua, cricketer, pilot, entrepreneur, politician Girin Barua and radio broadcaster Niren Barua.
The house was built in 1923 with a mix of materials imported from the UK as well as sourced locally.
Starting with the 1955 release ‘Smritir Parax’ (1955), directed by Nip Barua, members of the family have given 30 feature films in Assamese, Bengali and Hindi, including ‘Ronga Police’, ‘Dr Bezbarua’, ‘Lalita’, ‘Mukuta’, ‘Ajoli Nabow’, ‘Kokadeuta Nati Aru Hati’, ‘Shakuntala Aru Shankar Joseph Ali’, ‘Jog Biyog’, ‘Toramai’ and ‘Ajala Kokai’.
In the sporting arena, Girin Barua shone as a cricketer and represented Assam in the Ranji Trophy for 15 years, including as captain. He had also been a leader of the anti-foreigners Assam Agitation of 1979-85 and had formed the now-defunct Asom Jatiyatabadi Dal.
Dwipen Barua played in the Ranji Trophy and even captained the junior East Zone team before the songs of ‘Dr Bezbarua’ made him an overnight sensation in 1969, leading to a career shift as a singer.
On the other hand, Nip Barua played football and captained Assam in the Santosh Trophy even while making films.
Among the film’s other crew are Nayan Jyoti Bhuyan and Manjit Nath (production sound mixer). Renowned musician Rupam Talukdar has recreated some of the immortal compositions of Ramen Barua on accordion specially for the film.