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Sujata Hatibaruah
Date of Publish: 2017-07-08

Local Kung Fu 2 - sequel of Assamese cult classic breaks stereotypes


Local Kung Fu, an Assamese film directed by Kenny Deori Basumatary was a cult classic made with a shoestring budget. Packed with comedy and action, the film provided the viewers of Assamese film a new taste. When the filmmaker and the director issued an appeal for crowdfunding for making a sequel of the film it evoked an overwhelming response. Thus, history was scripted and for the first time the sequel of an Assamese film was made. The viewers had high expectation from the sequel--Local Kung Fu 2 and the film too did not disappoint them. It was packed with more kick boxing with a stronger story. The acting too was flawless.

However, even while entertaining the viewers with comedy the film brought some new ideas which are not seen in serious films. The language, for instance is a mix of Assamese, Hindi and English which is not usually used in Assamese films though actually used a lot around these days by a section of people for whom it is a carefree way of speaking. The dialogues are also short and not dramatic. Sometimes, a short dialogue may sound dull but triggers laughter.

The characters of the film also mark a departure from the usual. Family drama movies are rarity in Assam. Usually the Assamese films would have an ideal family of grandfather, father, mother, elder brother, sister-in-law. Other than the villains, the characters of film are more respectful towards their parents and elders in the family that lack spontaneity. None of the main characters Local Kug Fu 2 has such a typical family. Either they had become orphans or their parents are no more. Members of the family are like friends and very casual in addressing each other.

The film does not have usual scenes of Assamese films of only the heroine clad in Saree or Mekhela-Chador making delicious dishes. Perhaps there is no certain duty for anyone in the kitchen. Anyone prepare a dish according to his or her liking. So, the husband also ties an apron and cooks. It has scenes of preparing a mouthwatering dish of chicken with sesame in Karbi style. This provokes the viewers to ponder whether any other Assamese film includes a discussion on recipes of ethnic cuisines? A scene of eating snails in Local Kung Fu 1 also drew viewers’ attention.

One of the prejudices in Assamese society is that a man living in the family into which he marries is worthless and only those who have no self-respect or financially sound lives in his wife’s family. However, the hero of Local Kung Fu 2 lives in his wife’s family and he himself is financially self-reliant. Perhaps, they have no ego as to in whose home they should live.

The film also deals the issue of relationship between former lovers differently. Usually relationship ends when the love is lost. Any relation with former lovers, post marriage, is simply unimaginable. Assamese fiction and novels also abound with examples of unexciting narration of chance encounters of married people with their former lovers after long interval even though they had deep love for each other once. Most such former lovers lack maturity to maintain a healthy relation even after their love is lost. However, the hero of the Local Kung Fu 2 is cool. His former lover is also cool. Therefore, even after their marriage they have been maintaining their friendship and affection. The hero’s wife and the husband of his former lover too have no problem with this relationship.

The film exposes, through satire and comedy, the fraud demi gods and their fraudulent means of looting people. However, this is easier said than done. It is difficult to overcome the superstitions with self-introspection and self-confidence. Local Kung Fu 2, however, has made no compromise on this. Seeing her sister, who is anxious about her future, excited to meet the astrologer to seek his blessing the elder sister asks her to destroy her certificate of a science graduate outside on a moonless night before meeting the astrologer.

The most interesting aspect of the film is the presence of a gay character. Not as a comedy character but as a bold and plain-speaking police officer. With spontaneity and without any hesitation the character announces: “I am gay.” Through other characters too, the film wants a send clear message that the homosexuals are natural human beings and there is nothing unnatural about their homosexuality. At least the homosexuals have not been made a laughing stock for the viewers by presenting a wrong perception about them.

The film also has scenes of girls boozing outside which is unthinkable for the Assamese society even though the society has no problem with male characters enacting such scenes.

The action-comedy sequel is not a mere an adaptation of the Comedy of Errors but it is a lively presentation of the contemporary Assamese society which replaces the stereotypical presentations.

However, the film is not free from minor hitches. Firstly, it cannot be clubbed with artistic films. It is dialogue-based, action-based and entertaining film. So, the director and the cinematographer have not availed the opportunity of using the camera as the narrator. Perhaps, they have not felt the need to use this opportunity available in a cinema. The shots are simple and one should not look for aesthetics of the shots. The panaromic view of Tezpur, a beautiful town are not to be found. Due to over emphasis on incident and action, less time was spent on character development in the film. In few scenes, two characters were shown boarding a train at Guwahati in the morning and reaching Tezpur the next morning. Such a long duration journey to cover this distance is technically not correct.

Viewer of Assamese films are accustomed with slow dramatic scenes due to which rapid changes in the scenes have left the scope of confusing the viewers and diverting their attention. Moreover, the viewers also get confused at times when they are able to identify the two twin characters. Many viewers of the view that Local Kung Fu 2 has less comedy than the first one which is true. Besides, even though it is sequel to the first the stories are not connected. However, compared to the Local Kung Fu, the director seems to have laid more emphasis on the story in the sequel. The sequel also has more characters. However, the last scenes were hurriedly ended.

Leaving aside these minor flaws, the film is an entertaining one. However, the cine-goers in Assamese were deprived from watching the Local Kung Fu 2 with the Baahubali sequel replacing it all big screens in the state in just one week despite the first Assamese sequel running full house. Unless the filmmakers and producers come together for a joint action such incidents will recur.

However, the makers of the Local Kung Fu 2 have released it on the internet. Even though it is still being screened in some halls in India, interested viewers can now enjoy the film on internet.

Sujata Hatibaruah

(Sujata Hatibaruah teaches Political Science in Puthimari College in lower Assam's Kamrup district. Her interested areas include Human Rights, women and children issues, films, culture etc. She can be reached at sujatahatibaruah@gmail.com.)

All The photographs and video clips used in this review - courtesy - Local Kung Fu Team.


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