Assamese cinema

Cult Assamese film ‘Local Kung Fu’ has a sequel – and one of its characters is proudly gay

Kenny Basumatray’s Assamese film is meant to entertain, and it does so amply.

At a press interaction before the premiere of Local Kung Fu 2 in Guwahati, a journalist asked its director, Kenny Basumatary, about the film’s message. “The film is meant to entertain, not deliver any message as such,” Basumatary replied.

For most of its 125-minute running time, Local Kung Fu 2 is a laugh riot, but it does have a message: being gay is normal and homophobia is disgusting.

The sequel to the 2013 cult hit Local Kung Fu has a gay character who is both martial arts expert and dashing police officer and the most self-assured among all the men in the movie. His sexuality is just another part of his life, and is treated as such in the film.

Consequently, the April 19 release never tries to double up as a morality lesson. Yet, for a movie that is primarily directed at an under-30 audience, it is an unmistakable takeaway.

Basumatary didn’t write the character with an intention to make a point. “Initially, I was just having some fun,” he told Scroll.in. “But later I did think I could make a little point here.”

Play
Local Kung Fu 2.

Its dispassionate remark on homosexuality withstanding, Local Kung Fu 2, like its predecessor, is at its heart a martial arts comedy. The first installment, made on a shoestring budget of less than Rs 1, 00, 000, went on to achieve cult hit status in Assam. While the film owed its popularity in large part to its novelty value, its rough-hewn look (it was shot on a Canon digital camera) was a marked departure from most other productions in the state. Punchlines from the movie became part of local lingo and even started featuring on t-shirts.

The second movie is a much more ambitious project, at least in terms of its budget. The post-production cost alone was Rs 8, 00, 000. A crowdfunding project raised 110% of the amount elicited.

Basumatary chose to crowdfund the film because he didn’t want any one person to have “too much clout”. He added, “Also, to be honest, we weren’t confident about risking someone else’s money. So, the money we raised is basically funds with no-strings attached.”

Local Kung Fu 2 is based on William Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors. “I wrote it for a short story competition based on Shakespeare’s works,” the filmmaker said. “Although it didn’t make it to the finals of the competition, I read it out to family and friends and they laughed a lot. So, I thought why not make a film on it.”

The movie is set in Tezpur and Guwahati and revolves around two pairs of identical twins who are separated at a young age. One from each pair knows martial arts. This duo is on the run from criminals in Guwahati and reaches Tezpur, where the other two live.

Kenny Basumatray (left).
Kenny Basumatray (left).

Local Kung Fu 2’s strength doesn’t derive from its hackneyed plot. Some of its comic elements, such as intense weed-induced hunger pangs, have been borrowed from Hollywood stoner comedies.

What works for the movie is Basumatary’s dialogue. Much like the first film, they are real and full of dry humour. “I don’t know to write dialogue like professional writers, so maybe that’s why,” he said.

Also, unlike most other Assamese movies, the lines borrow generously from Hindi and English. The characters sound like young people in the state: they speak in Assamese mixed with Hindi phrases and English words.

The movie’s strength, however, might work against the film’s fortunes outside the state (the producers plan to release it in major metropolitan cities). The dialogue encapsulates a very modern and carefree conversational Assamese, much of which is bound to be lost in translation, particularly in the absence of a strong plot.

The novelty element – the martial arts sequences – are somewhat laborious, though well-shot. Yet, for every clichéd sequence, there is a redeeming moment. The actors know their job, and the martial arts scenes come across as authentic. “There is no message in the film, but if there were to be one, I’d wish for a society where there is no violence,” Basumatray said.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content  BY 

These GIFs show you what it means to miss breakfast

That monstrous roar is your empty stomach.

Let’s take a glance at your every day morning routine. You crawl out of bed, go for a quick shower, pull out and wear your neatly ironed clothes at the speed of light and then rush out of the house, making sure you have your keys and wallet in place.

Giphy
Giphy

You walk into office, relieved because you have made it to work on time. Stifling yawns and checking emails, you wonder how your colleagues are charged up and buzzing with energy. “What is wrong with these people” you mumble to yourself.

Giphy
Giphy

Slowly, you start to change. You start snapping at colleagues and start arguing with your computer. You take out your frustration on anything or anyone in sight.

To add to the aggressive behaviour, you’ve completely lost your focus. After some time, you simply forget what you were doing.

Giphy
Giphy

Unable to bear the hunger pangs, you go for a mid-morning snack. It is only when a colleague asks you for a bite do you realize that you have developed into a fully formed, hunger fueled, monster. Try not to look at yourself in the mirror.

Giphy
Giphy

If only you had spared not even twenty or ten but just 5 minutes in the morning and not skipped breakfast, your story would look completely different - as you will see in this video.

Play

The fast dip in your mood and lack of focus is because your body has missed its most important meal of the day – breakfast. Research has shown that skipping a meal, especially in the morning, worsens the mood because there is a drop in the blood sugar. This in turn affects the levels of serotonin and dopamine, the chemicals produced in the brain that control our moods and feelings. In simpler English, not having breakfast is going to make you really cranky and confused!

Morning is also when the body needs maximum nutrition to function efficiently through the day as you’ve just woken up from a full 7 hours of no food (and if you’re sleeping less than that, that’s a whole other article).

So in short, having a breakfast could make you go from looking like the earlier GIFs to this:

Giphy
Giphy

But with changing lifestyles and most people hard pressed for time, a healthy breakfast is taking the backseat. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. MTR has come up with a range of widely loved Indian delicacies like Poha, Upma and Halwa which can be made in (hold you breath) just 3 minutes! All you have to do is add hot water and wait for 3 minutes to get a delicious and filling breakfast.

Giphy
Giphy

These amazing and delicious breakfasts can be made in a jiffy and consumed with the least hassle, even in the midst of your frenetic morning routine. So grab your #MTRbreakfastin3 to start the day on an awesome note.

Click here to make breakfast a part of your morning routine.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of MTR and not by the Scroll editorial team.