IN ASSAM, filmmaking is steadily declining. If this trend continues, then production of Assamese films will soon come to a stop and the film industry will become defunct. This trend is mainly because of the commercial failure of Assamese films. Producers cannot recover their costs, often incurring losses. One of the main reasons for this is that there is very little scope to show Assamese films in the rural areas where the real audience for such films exists. But sadly, over the years, no attempt has been made to expand the market to these areas. In towns, because of the cosmopolitan population, cinema halls prefer to show Hindi films. Therefore, the market for Assamese films remains very limited.
To overcome this drawback, it has become necessary to expand the market to the rural areas by developing and establishing a permanent network where Assamese films can be shown on a regular basis. In many rural areas, there are community halls that can be used for showing Assamese films, equipping them with basic minimum infrastructure. Where there are no such halls, the Government of Assam can be approached to have them constructed through different government agencies.
For commercial viability and to generate additional income, besides showing Assamese films, the halls can be used for various other purposes, like providing local students with computer education, quality tutorials, lessons on dance and music, etc, for nominal fees. Additional income can also be generated by providing a platform to various government departments as also the private consumer product companies to show their publicity/promotional documentaries. Besides being commercially viable and self-sustaining, such a permanent network will not only provide culture-based entertainment, but will also provide the rural folk the opportunity to avail quality education, cultural training and latest information at their doorstep. It also has tremendous scope of generating gainful employment directly and indirectly in the rural areas.
The halls and equipment should be managed, maintained and run commercially by local self help groups of unemployed youth, cultural organisations, etc, of the respective areas. Initially, it was aimed to set up at least five model units in selected areas to be operative by October 2008 and thereafter the network to be expanded, so that at least 50 such centres are established in the next five years.
As it is an enterprise of public interest aimed at reviving the dying film industry of Assam, government and private participation is must to implement the project successfully. Besides, support from interested international organisations and funding agencies is also necessary.
If successfully implemented, it will surely establish the much needed permanent network for Assamese films to reach its real audience.