Bhabendra Nath Saikia

A physicist by discipline, Saikia has a PhD from London University and a diploma from Imperial College, London. He was Reader in the post-graduate department of Physics at Guwahati University till 1968 and an academic officer of the same University till 1978. Even as a student, Saikia had established himself as a writer of repute and through the years, has received several awards. He has also been actively associated with the stage both as playwright and director. As a filmmaker, Saikia's earlier films, Sandhyaraag (1978), Anirbaan (1981), Agnisnaan (1985) and Kolahal (1988), have all received the Rajat Kamal at the National Awards.

Notable films:

Sandhya Raag - 1977 -Assameese
(The Evening Song)

Bhabendra Nath Saikia's debut reveals a remarkable sense for realist, ethnographic detail in this unusually complex treatment of the cultural tensions between impoverished village and a modern city. The two daughters of the widowed Putali go to the city as domestic servants in two upper-class households. The elder sister, Charu, is treated lake a member of the family and gets used to the urban lifestyle. The younger sister, Taru, has to ward off the amorous advances of her employer's son. When the sisters are of marriageable age, they return to their village but are unable to adjust to the poor and restricted life in the village. Charu agrees to marry her former employer's chauffeur even though he is sexually impotent. Her mother and sister join her in the city.

Direction, Screenplay & Co-music: Bubendranath Saikia
Cast: Runu Devi, Arun Sharma, Maya Barua, Ishan Barua, Aarti Barua
Cinematography: Indukalpa Hazarika
Co-music: Ramen Choudhury

Agnisnan - 1985 - Assameese

The film is based on Saikia's own nover, set in 30s feudal-colonial Assam. The well-off and British-supported rice mill owner Mohikanta is married to the quiet Menoka and has four children by her. When Mohikanta takes a second wife, Kiran and makes her pregnant, the angry Menoka starts secret affair with the village thief, Madan, and becomes pregnant. Unaware of his double standards, Mohikanta feels betrayed and demands an explanation from Menoka's refusal to have sexual relations with him ever since Kiran moved into their home. Menoka simply points out that since Mohikanta had expected her to put up with his infidelities, so he must accept hers. The final confrontation between husband and wife, set in the rice mill, provides an unusual ending to this tale about patriarchal hypocrisy as the initially submissive Menoka self-confidently affirm her right to fully equal status with her husband.

Direction & Screenplay: Bhabendranath Saikia
Cast: Malaya Goswami, Biju Phukan, Arun Nath, Kashmiri Barua
Cinematography: Kamal Nayak
Music: Tarun Goswami

Kolahal - 1988 - Assameese
(The Turmoil)

The child Moti keeps himself and his mother from starvation by stealing rice from trucks. His mother Kiran tries to work in a warehouse with a little support from her neighbours. Moti is killed when a truck capsizes and the driver tries to bribe Kiran's mother with a sack of rice marked by the blood of her son. When later she discovers that her long-absent husband is living with another woman in the city, she succumbs to the advances of Badal, the truck-cleaner.

Direction & Screenplay: Bhabendranath Saikia
Cast: Runu Devi Thakur, Arun Nath, Bibhu Ranjan Choudhury
Cinematography: Kamal Nayak
Music: Mukul Barua

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