“I have only two purposes in my life – cooking good non-vegetarian meals and finishing off criminals. I will just finish you off”- Inspector Boro (Utkal Hazowari).
Inspector Gagandeep Boro is already suspended. He is honest and an incorruptible cop who has been transferred thirteen times in seven years. He is also a martial arts maven and a badass cop on top of that. Inspector Boro is assigned to unofficially investigate a missing girl Sabrina Rai’s (Poonam Gurung) case, the search of which is depicted in this journey of action crime thriller movie called Suspended Inspector Boro. The protagonist meets an equally tough antagonist Inspector Lokhi Madan Jwala (Kenny Basumatary).
The original script was written in 2013. It was written for a production house in Mumbai and the story was set in Delhi, unlike the current story which is based in Assam.
Suspended Inspector Boro is director Kenny Deori Basumatary’s third film which is made in Assamese and Hindi languages. The Assamese version releases on 7th Dec 2018 followed by the Hindi version in the next few days. Kenny has previously acted, directed and edited the Local Kung Fu (2013) and Local Kung Fu 2 (2017). Kenny has also directed multiple TV series- Yeh Hai Ashique, Suun Yaar Try Maar, Confessions of an Indian Teenager, five episodes of Savdhaan India and also acted in films like Phata Poster Nikla Hero, Mary Kom and Raag Desh to name a few. He also wrote a book ‘Chocolate Guitar Momos’ which was published in 2011. Today we had a one-to-one conversation with the man himself who likes to wear multi hats.
Tell us why you made Suspended Inspector Boro? Kenny: “The original script was written in 2013. It was written for a production house in Mumbai and the story was set in Delhi, unlike the current story which is based in Assam. The company did not go ahead with the filming. I then met Utkal who was on a summer break and discussed the project with him and we decided to go ahead.”
The film takes inspiration from various stories. A woman once narrated to Kenny about her story, how she was once trapped by a man who pretended to be in love with her and kept her confined somewhere for some time. There was also a newspaper article he read and that has contributed to the story. An auto-rickshaw driver who was from Assam once went to a brothel heard some new girl crying and was speaking in Assamese. He did not go to the police but instead went to an NGO who helped to rescue her from there. That article was the starting point though the story is not depicted in the movie.
“When I write, a lot of times the stories comes up from wanting to say something about some issue. This story too came out from wanting to tell about a story of an ideal police officer who is incorruptible, who probably does not exist. But as cinematic culture does create a character, we wanted to show it on the screen. That became the theme of the character and a good story is needed for that character.” Kenny tells us that his process of writing has a solid outline of the story. Such a story that when it is narrated to someone, it is exciting. He puts it down on paper and makes it logical. And since it is an action film, it has to have fights sequence in intervals and those have to be integrated properly into the story. Once the outline is set, the dialogue writing follows. The dialogues are rehearsed and in the process, they come across better dialogues and comics contributed by other actors.
As most of the actors are friends and family from the previous movies, we asked him about his selection process, are they auditioned? Kenny: “I audition all my friends and families. It is my experience that a person might be a good storyteller or tells good jokes but once the camera is switched on, their personality changes as they become conscious and become very stiff and unnatural.”
Playing the villain in uniform Inspector Lokhi Madan Jwala’s character, fulfilled one of Kenny’s desires. “I always wanted to do a villain’s role. I loved playing the villain and it is more enjoyable.”
If you have watched any of Kenny’s previous two films from the Local Kung Fu series, you will find how the action scenes are remarkably unique and different from any other action films in India. It is raw, it is real martial arts with no wires, no ropes, and harness. The action scenes in Suspended Inspector Boro has gained a level up. The film is not just an old wine in a new bottle, but this time it has more spirits in it.
I audition all my friends and families. It is my experience that a person might be a good storyteller or tells good jokes but once the camera is switched on, their personality changes as they become conscious and become very stiff and unnatural.
The evolution of this writer-director over the years is quite noticeable in each of his new projects. He admits that whenever he has worked with other filmmakers, he has observed and learned different ways and new techniques of filming, taking shots, delivering dialogues, the importance of production value, etc.
Suspended Inspector Boro is a film with a budget much bigger than his previous two films,(budget not revealed) which is why he has utilized multiple cameras, drones, FS700 camera for super slow motion, destructing lots of materials for the action scenes and also shot in two languages. Many shoots have taken place in big locations in Assam to look good on big screen. Kenny received a generous funding from Bishan Rai, Priyama Goswami, and family members.
We tried to understand some math about where does most of the cost gets absorbed, and he explains that apart from the travel and hotels there are miscellaneous expenses for post-production, editing, songs, sound recording, dubbing, calibrating, studio, release time virtual print fees, etc all these can sum up to over Rs. 40 lakhs.
While the editing of the film was done by the Kenny himself, he had the background music and sound designing composed in Mumbai, the calibrating was done by Dhruvojyoti Bordoloi in Assam. The film will be released for theatrical shows but from his previous experience as an independent filmmaker, Kenny is well aware that it is very difficult for indie films to break even. Local Kung Fu luckily was released in PVR direct with help from Shiladitya Bora who was working in PVR then. It is very expensive to screen movies in metros until 80-90% of the hall tickets are bought, otherwise, it is a loss. It’s another story if the content is bought for online streaming like Netflix or Amazon prime, etc. “If I do not recover the cost that was spent in the making of Suspended Inspector Boro, I may have to go back to Mumbai and direct Savdhaan India and some other TV shows.” He is hopeful that with the Hindi version this film could reach out to a bigger audience.
I practice martial arts and I make films. This combination is very rare in India. I will continue to make action movies as long as I have the strength and energy.
Suspended Inspector Boro is a third in the row action film and we asked him for the reasoning behind. Is he not into other genres? Kenny: “I practice martial arts and I make films. This combination is very rare in India. I will continue to make action movies as long as I have the strength and energy. But it won’t be true to say that I am not interested in other genres. Last February, we came very close to make a romantic comedy film but had to abort it owing to financial reasons. In fact, I do have plans to make a horror movie sometime in the future.” And as told earlier that Kenny has also written a book- Chocolate, Guitar Momos, and we were let known that its production rights were bought by a production company in Mumbai for five years. It’s been three years now and it has not moved ahead. We look forward to him to turn it towards the screen in the near future.
As one of the prominent filmmakers originating from the North Eastern part of India, we asked Kenny about his views on the change in trend in the industry in Assam in particular and North East in general. “There is an increase in the number of films produced in the region and with good content and all these are despite the challenges due to lack of infrastructure. There is now a greater accessibility of good cameras and equipment- the Sony A7S, 5D Mark 4, etc. availability on online platforms and the likes. Going back in time until a few years ago, the cost of the reel was enormous and with multiple re-takes by the actors, the overall cost would inflate, also there aren’t many theatres to support the language.” We were also told that the Assam government is coming up with a policy to grant good films. These films will be shown to a jury of the big names of Indian Cinema industry like Amir Khan, Rajkumar Hirani etc, who have nothing to do with northeast and so won’t be biased to any particular filmmaker. A good and a quality film could be prized up to Rs. 40 lakhs and so are the mid-level films. If the policy is implemented, filmmakers will not have to worry about box office at all.
As the ecosystem for producing and making films in North Eastern India is coming up to be at par with that of the mainstream Hindi cinemas in Mumbai, with talents and artists of equal calibers and contents which are even better and truly creative, it will not be a mistake to claim that feature films originating from the region will attract new audiences with great stories narrated in styles never seen before.