October 20: When the first Bhojpuri talkie film, “Ganga Maiyya Tohe Piyari Chadhaibo ” was launched in 1963, nobody knew that the industry would become a mammoth 2000 Cr industry. Popularly known as “Bhojiwood” has an array of A-listers like Ravi Kishan, Manoj Tiwari etc. Who took the industry popularity and reach to new levels. But somewhere, people who were connected to the roots of the Bhojpuri culture felt that the industry was not doing justice with the rich literature and culture associated with the language. One of these was Ashish P Mishra.
An artist by profession, Ashish P Mishra, was eager to show the world the true side of Bhojpuri Cinema which was yet undiscovered by many. He soon discovered that his journey wasn’t as simple as one could think of. With no godfather from the industry and no big production house backing, Ashish had to go from pillar to post to initiate his journey. A Bhojpuri film with no item numbers, no vulgarity and zero violence were something unimaginable to the makers. Even after zero support from industry stalwarts, Ashish did not lose hope and decided to produce the film on his own. He displayed his work at several art exhibitions to gather funds and thus created a banner, Bold Monk Pictures.
Now with some funds in hand, Ashish took to the streets to look for actors who would dictate the mood of the film. After several auditions, he shortlisted his cast. But the real work began here. Ashish made his crew not just practice but memorised the entire plot of the movie before they moved to the shoot location. It took almost 3 weeks of rigorous practising of dialogue delivery, acting, expressions as Ashish did not want the audiences to feel any disconnect with the Bhojpuri flavour that the movie aimed to offer.
The final shoot of the Bhojpuri romantic art feature film Bhent happened in Bangalore, Varanasi, Pune and Mumbai. People who saw the film can still believe that Ashish shot and completed this film with a small crew of fewer than ten people. “Bhent” started making waves from the day it’s trailer was released on YouTube. Several universities and organisations invited Ashish for screening of his film and to take sessions to explain the journey of his beautiful gift to Bhojpuri Art Cinema. Like Banaras Hindu university invited Ashish at Bhojpuri ShodhSansthan Varanasi, and the Delhi state government’s Maithili and Bhojpuri Academy invited Ashish P Mishra at Habitat Center Delhi.
As time passed, Ashish’s film Bhent started getting a lot of award nominations in competitions across the country and kept on winning several prestigious awards; one of them was the Best scriptwriter Award for ‘Bhent’ at Jharkhand International film festival 2018. Wherever Bhent was nominated, all others participating knew they didn’t have a chance to stand against the magical movie Bhent, which showed how impactful the art film was.
Adding to the recognition and awards, Bhent was given a parallel cinema status and premiered on ZEE entertainment’ Bhojpuri channel Zee Biskope on 26th September 2021. With the success of his first movie, Ashish P Mishra is looking forward to creating new projects that will prove to bring back content-driven movies, a change in perspective and the lost glory of Bhojpuri cinema.
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