The Assam Kaziranga University

At the 15th edition of the prestigious SiGNS Film Festival in Kerala, debutant Assam filmmaker Akanshya Bhagabati’s short film “Kumu” received the prestigious John Abraham National Award for Best Short Feature.

SiGNS is a pioneering festival in India, organised by the Federation of Film Societies of India – Keralam, that features a national-level competition for documentaries and short fiction for the prestigious John Abraham National Awards. A citation, a trophy, and a cash prize of Rs 50,000 are included in the award.

Akanshya Bhagabati, who previously worked as an assistant director on Parthajit Baruah’s “The Children of God,” expressing her gratitude said, “I have not attended any film school, but the story that I have attempted to express here is very special to me, and it is this concept that has given me the strength and enthusiasm to turn it into a film, and receiving this prestigious award, I am overwhelmed with joy and a great sense of honour. I strongly believe that if anyone has the passion for good cinema, one can do it.”

Akanshya is a final year student of Mass Communication and Journalism at Tezpur University.

“Kumu” is a film set in Assam’s lush green tea gardens, and it follows the life of Kumu, a 12-year-old Adivasi girl who was forced to forego her education and carefree life due to familial circumstances.

Kumu’s journey focuses on how Adivasi children in Assam’s tea gardens are deprived of their childhood happiness and hopes, as well as beauty and parental care, and are even forbidden from dreaming of a life beyond their predetermined fate.

Chida Bora, who previously worked on Jaicheng Jai Dohutia’s National Award-winning film “Haanduk – The Hidden Corner,” is credited with the film’s cinematography.

Tarali Sarma, a renowned National Award-winning singer, is the film’s music director. Debajit Gayan, a National Award-winning sound designer, is responsible for the sound design, while Suraj Duara, the director of the National Award-winning film “Orang,” is responsible for the colour grading. Hirak Jyoti Pathak edited the film.

Nayanmoni Mura, who was born and raised in the Dhontula Tea Estate near Nagaon, played the role of “Kumu.”

The Assam Kaziranga University