Brilliant Assamese film “Halodhia Choraye Baodhan Khai” (1987) directed by Jahnu Barua which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film besides a score of international awards. Its a poignant story of a simple farmer Rakeshwar Bora (Indra Bania in a brilliant role) who loves his family, having to lose his land to a greedy landowner from whom his father had taken some loan and mortgaged the land. The father had apparently paid off the dues but there was no receipt to prove it.
Rakeshwar’s family of wife and two kids have to do farming, duck rearing, supplying curd, while the wife works the loom. Its a tough life for them there. Having lost his land, he has to file a case before the local collector to reclaim it and for it he has to pay umpteen bribes to several people. He ends up selling his cow, pledging his bullocks and is forced to send his young son to work as an errand boy to work in the village headman house, all for the purpose of paying bribes to reclaim his land. The landowner farmer conflict is brilliantly bought out by Jahnu Barua. The landowner has total 105 acres whereas the farmer has a small plot of land which is enough to feed his family and send his kids to school. Indra Bania has done a searing portrayal of a struggling farmer desperate to reclaim his own land. This is somewhat like Do Bigha Zameen of Bimal Roy which was also another brilliant movie on the same theme – money lender – farmer conflict which is common in villages in India for lack of any official banking system it is the money lender who exploits them with usurious interest rates, no paper work, very poor court system to take care of their woes etc. Only the ending is unlike DBZ.
Tara as the silent suffering wife has also done a super role. For the farmer, all they have is their land, which is make or break for them. At one point, the farmer tells the collector, if i don’t have the land, how will i feed my family.