July 04, 2020
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Local Kung Fu (Assamese)

Just another home video? Nah, it opens up an entirely new, young window to the Northeast

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Local Kung Fu (Assamese)
Local Kung Fu (Assamese)

Starring: Kenny Basumatary, Sangeeta Nair, Bibhash Singha, Utkal Hazowary
Directed by Kenny Basumatary
Rating: ***

You can very easily dismiss Local Kung Fu as just another home video. The film has a rough-hewn, homemade feel—Kenny Basumatary put it together for a minuscule amount, using his own family members and fri­ends for actors. But rat­her than take away anything, it adds to the film’s charm. What’s more, the actors may not be trained but their comic timing is well in tune. It’s a hyper­-energetic, cocky, funny action film about local kung fu street fights in Guwahati. Basumatary himself plays the hero Charlie, who tends to get an upset stomach by eating mutton and will change his old mob­ile, held precariously tog­ether by a rubber band, only after he has won over the uncle of his lady love. Then there is a gang of silly but likeable goons who are after the heroine’s excise inspector uncle for a licence for a liquor store in front of a school. In between, there is a stolen laptop, a naked thief and some poop jokes. The film is full of quirky characters. Bonzo wants to be the top under-18 don. Tansen hums classical tunes as much as he fights. The lines are witty and the humour moves to slapstick with equal ease. There are underlying referen­ces to the disquiet amongst the youth but it remains a sunny film at heart. For an audience habituated to watching a certain kind of artistic Assamese cinema, Basumatary opens up an entirely new, young window to the Northeast. And shows that where there is a will, there can always be a film.


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