Militant outfits renew tirade against Assam's mobile theatres

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Guwahati, Sep 17 (UNI) Mobile theatre groups of Assam, which had caught the attention of the nation for their successful stage adaptation of even sci-fi movies, has once again come under the fire of ultra outfits in the state.

After having been warned by the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) long ago to stop the adaptation of Hindi and English movies for the stage, another outfit, Rhino Force, yesterday slammed a 'no entry' for the theatre groups in 11 districts of lower Assam. The Rhino Force, formed by Koch-Rajbonshi community people, is active in lower Assam and has been carrying out an armed struggle for a separate state of 'Kamtapur'.

In a press statement yesterday, the outfit warned mobile theatre groups against performing in the districts of Kamtapur, alleging that the 'vulgar and cheap' entertainment provided by the present lot of mobile theatre groups would adversely affect impressionable minds and pose a threat to the indigenous culture.

The mobile theatre groups had earlier come under threat from the ULFA, the most powerful militant outfit in the state.

It had warned the mobile theatres not to imitate Hindi and English movies blindly but concentrate on themes and topics closer to the state's culture and habits.

The mobile theatres had drawn wide attention for their technical superiority. They had adapted on stage such movies as 'Titanic', 'Jurassic Park' and 'Sholay'.

Besides direct adaptation, the theatres also engage in technical gimmicks and other tricks to depict larger-than-life themes on stage, mostly inspired by Hollywood and Bollywood.

It is an industry in its own right, with a turnover of over Rs 10 crore annually, and provides direct and indirect employment to many.

Though the mobile theatre groups had downplayed the ULFA's warning on the previous occasion, it is not clear how they will respond to the new warning by Rhino Force.

Lower Assam has a rich culture of mobile theatre, with the very first group, Nataraj group, originating in the town of Pathsala.

Meanwhile, the ULFA, in a statement yesterday, alleged that Hindi films were hampering the growth of the Assamese film industry and having a negative impact on the young generation.

It claimed that the Hindi films had destroyed the fledgling film industries in many North Eastern states and was also proving to be a block for the further development of the entertainment industry in Assam.


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