CiNEmatters Ep 1 | How the Bodo film Jwlwi: The Seed examines the plight of women in a volatile Assam

Arshia Dhar
·2-min read

CiNEmatters is a podcast by Firstpost that attempts to turn the spotlight on a lacuna in the discourse surrounding Indian entertainment €" cinema from the North East, which continues to remain largely inaccessible in the age of OTT, when content in languages from across India and the world is just a click away on our screens.

In each episode, we discuss a new film available for viewing online, going beyond its cinematic scope to explore socio-political and historical nuances.

Tune into CiNEmatters on Firstpost's YouTube channel, Spotify, Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, and wherever else you get your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of CiNEmatters here.


Episode 1: Jwlwi: The Seed (2019)

Language/Region: Bodo/Assam

Streaming on: Moviesaints

Director: Rajni Basumatary

Cast: Rajni Basumatary, Shimang Chainary, Queen Hazarika, Sattyakee Dcom Bhuyan, Jayanta Narzary, Kanyakorn Kiratichotiyangkoon

In the maiden episode of CiNEmatters, we discuss the 2019 Bodo film Jwlwi: The Seed, which is the story of Alari (played by director Rajni Basumatary, who also played Priyanka Chopra's mother in Mary Kom), a woman caught in the crossfire between the state and rebelling outfits in the insurgency-riddled Assam of the 1990s.

After her husband gets accidentally shot during an encounter between the local armed forces and a group of suspected rebels, years later, Alari ends up losing her son as well when he grows up to join a banned outfit. This thrusts her life into complete disarray, stripping her of all hopes of a normal future and an ordinary family life.

The story follows Alari's plight and journey through her life as a widow, a lonely and anxious mother, and a woman who constantly yearns to outgrow her circumstances that are especially hostile and inflammable. Jwlwi allows us to enter this fraught terrain where people are assigned markedly different roles based on their gender, religion, tribe and language, with women being relegated to the margins of their households in a hyper-masculine machinery of unrelenting violence.

In this episode, we, along with our guest Kaustubh Deka €" professor of political science at Assam's Dibrugarh University €" dissect the historical and political premise of the film and explore how Basumatary drew heavily from her personal life to write the screenplay, besides investigating how the Indian army may have played an active editorial role during its making.

Listen to the episode here €"

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