Assam’s Manoj Barpujari wins Nat Award for film criticism

09 Mar,2012

By Archita Wagle


The recently announced National Awards 2011 saw Manoj Barpujari win the Best Film Critic award Swarna Kamal and Rs75,000 for his critiques in English and Assamese.


Mr Barpujari is based in Guwahati and works as Assistant Editor with the Assamese daily, Dainik Agradoot. He also “very occasionally” contributes to the English daily, Assam Tribune. He is a member of Indian section of FIPRESCI, the Paris-based international federation of film critics and contributes to the website, He has been associated with the film society movement for more than two decades and has been tutoring on media and film studies. Mr Barpujari’s win makes him the fourth from the North-east to win this award.


Mr Barpujari said that winning the Best Critic award was “Beyond my expectation. I am feeling what any man would feel on winning such a prestigious award.”


When asked about his foray as a film critic, Mr Barpujari said: “I started as a film critic in the early 80s, even before I became a full time journalist. I was very much influenced by the parallel cinema movement in India and that inspired me to write about films. I write mostly about political and social issues. Only 10 per cent of what I write is about films.”


Fellow film critic and Assamese journalist and now a film-maker, Utpal Borpujari, who was also the first from the North-east to win the Best Critic in 2003, was all praise for Mr Barpujari. “Manoj is a very senior film critic. He follows Indian and world cinema very seriously. He is the fourth from the North-east to be awarded the Best film critic. This proves that there is serious film criticism happening in the North-east. Unlike the mainstream media, regional publications are giving space for serious film criticism.”
Apart from Mr Barpujari and Mr Borpujari, Altaf Mazid and RK Bidur Singh, both from North-east, jointly won the Best Film critic award in 2009.


Mr Barpujari is not just a film critic and a “working journalist” as he calls himself. He is the winner of the Hafeez Karamath Journalism Fellowship 2010 of Trinidad & Tobago and has published nine books on various subjects in the fields of socio- political issues, art and literature including cinema. He has co-edited with Dr Garima Kalita the first ever comprehensive volume on cinema of Assam titled Perspectives on Cinema of Assam (2007).


Mr Barpujari has served as jury in many competitions and film festivals in India and abroad. He presented documentaries from Assam in a program organized under the auspices of the Media and Communication Department, Goldsmiths College, London in 2008.


Mr Barpujari is also a poet whose have been translated in to several major Indian languages. A collection of his poems won the Munin Borkotoky Literary Award in 2004.


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