Local Kung Fu proved to be a shot in the arm for the independent film makers of Assam and also a heartwarming experience to take solace from for the numerous aspiring directors of the country. The film proved that even a sphere like movie making which involves some of the most arduous constraints imaginable is only as arduous as we think it to be. Armed with only a Canon DSLR camera and eyes full of dreams, Kenny DB Basumatary created a film which interestingly became the 3rd Assamese film ever to get a country wide release. Picked up by PVR Director’s RARE, Local Kung Fu redefined Independent Cinema of Assam and also brought the Assamese film-making under spotlight.
The story revolves around Charlie(Kenny himself) who is trying his best to get in the good books of his girlfriend’s uncle. The uncle however thinks him to be someone else and also is a man of strict principles. His principles brings him in crossroads with Dulu Dada(Utkal Hazoway), the local hoodlum who is trying to get a liquor license and in turns runs into a tiff with Charlie. Then there is Bonzo(Bonnie Deori) who is an aspiring under 18 don but is always in loggerheads with his inabilities and nonexistent Kung Fu skills. He starts fooling around with Charlie’s brother(Johny Deori) which also brings him in Charlie’s firing line. Apart from these, there are a host of other characters who contribute to the humor and action sequences of the film resulting in a mouthwatering mixture of action, humor and entertainment.
Local Kung Fu can be easily touted as one of the best martial arts films of the region and also the country. The fact that no wires are used and all the action sequences are done actually by the cast members themselves makes it even more worthwhile. The three way showdowns between, Dulu, Charlie and the guy named Tansen(Bibhash Singha) are the high points of the film. The scene where Bonzo tries to get Charlie beat up but ends up getting thrashed himself is also stunning. The fight choreography is easily the highlight of the film. The actions sequences are done with such breathtaking physicality that the audience is bound to be hooked.
The film does have its share of comedy but that remains constricted only to the region. The subtitles can never make up for the subtleties and certain nuances of the Assamese language which will be lost for the people who don’t understand the language. Luck for me that I am from this region and I could enjoy every bit of the witty humor that Local Kung Fu throws at us. Some of my favorite scenes are the ones involving Bonzo. The scene where he and the whole gang threatens Charlie’s girlfriend who on the other hand doesn’t understand the local lingo, the scene where Bonzo and his gang go looking for Charlie searching door to door and also the scene involving his interactions with Dulu. Bonzo is the heart and soul of the comedy in Local Kung Fu. Another character who has a brief presence but makes a mark is Mantu(Tony Deori Basumatary). His English burdened with an Assamese accent is as funny as his dialog delivery and situations. Tansen with his bulging belly and musical prowess is another adorable character.
Using his friends and relatives as characters, Kenny is able to create an effortless comfort level between the characters which is visible on the screen and makes for some fun watch. Technically, the film is crude and is edited on a very basic level, but going by the kind of content that it boasts off, I believe the team could have easily polished off the content and that would have increased its effect on the audiences. The biggest problem is with the sound design. The editing too lacks some of the basic gigs which make an action movie all the more likeable.
All said and done, Local Kung Fu serves up a healthy dose of martial arts comedy just as it promised. It is funny without trying to be and thats what effectively puts it where it is. This film should pave the way for many such independent and authorative films which are driven by content and not star power. With the amount of rubbish being cooked up and served up week after week at the box office, Local Kung Fu could easily be looked upon as an example on how to make interesting and entertaining cinema without having the need of big buck or big stars. Good content will always triumph.