Review Assam

Xogun review: A searing critique of journalism in our times

Release Date: 2021 / 17min

Cinestaan Rating

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Sukhpreet Kahlon

Utpal Borpujari’s Assamese-language short film reflects upon media ethics and their rapid erosion.

Adapted from the eponymous short story by acclaimed writer and journalist Manoj Kumar Goswami, Utpal Borpujari’s Assamese-language short film Xogun (Vulture) is a searing critique of journalists and the state of the media today.

A group of journalists arrives at a remote village in Assam following news of riots breaking out in the area. Meanwhile, a group of kids foraging in the forest sees a car and, fascinated by the rare sight, is curious about it. The journalists come across the bodies of victims of the riots and we see their responses to and actions in the situation which belie their attitudes.

The group includes a celebrated journalist, Mishra, who has made his career covering war and violence, a photographer who is in the Northeast on a punishment posting and cannot wait to get out of there, a woman who is more interested in preening in the middle of nowhere, and a conscientious young journalist who is the only one concerned about ethics.

The short film is acutely pertinent today when we are questioning the role of the media and the collusion between the government and news channels in India today. It urges us to reflect upon the role of journalism and the ways in which we can address the apathy that seems endemic in media professionals.

Xogun does not, however, opt for some neat, easy solutions, with the end titles providing a hard look at the reality of making certain choices.

Besides directing the film, Borpujari has written the dialogues and screenplay as well.

Xogun won the Best Film award in the short film competition at the 13th Guwahati International Film Festival and is being screened at the 21st New York Indian Film Festival from 4–13 June.


Related topics

New York Indian Film Festival

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