IIT dropout's Local Kung Fu

IIT dropout's Local Kung Fu

Kenny Basumatary wanted to be a filmmaker ever since he was in Std VI. Perhaps, that is why it was so easy for him to drop out of IIT Delhi. However, even years after leaving one of the most prestigious institutions in the country, he has not found any reason to regret his decision.

A native of Assam, Kenny’s first feature film - an action comedy Local Kung Fu was
recently screened at the ongoing 12th Osian’s-Cinefan Film Festival. The film’s first public screening was applauded big time for having the courage to laugh at his own community, as also filming impeccable martial art scenes in a princely budget of Rs 95,000.

Local Kung Fu is a fun-filled film about youngsters in Guwahati and its story revolves around Charlie who moves to Guwahati to win over his girlfriend’s family but instead runs into unexpected obstacles and a whole lot of unexpected bad guys which make the narration hilarious and action-packed.

Made in Hindi and Assamese, Local Kung Fu was made with the help of family and friends. “I was sure the film would be appreciated by people of my age group since martial arts is involved. Besides friends and family, I used the students of my uncle, who is a Kung Fu instructor. The characters in the film speak in a Assamese Hindi accent and we have retained that for flavour.” It certainly works.

Before his debut, 31-year old Kenny had made a few short films and also did a cameo in Dibakar Banerjee’s Shanghai. He had not even thought of a theatrical release for Local Kung Fu, leave alone screening it at some big film festival.

“I was planning an online release. But when I showed it to my friends they said ‘pagal hai kya, you must think of releasing it in theatres’,” says Kenny, who has also acted in the film. One of the reasons why this film made it to OCFF is its shoe-string budget. By casting friends and family, Kenny shot the entire film in 100 days in Guwahati using Canon 550D SLR.

Kenny wanted to join Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune. Since
minimum qualification for seeking admission in FTII is graduation, he joined IIT in 1999 but decided to drop out in 2003. “I thought I’ll do graduation from IIT easily and then join FTII but realised ki galti ho gayi. I informed my parents over phone. Obviously they were not very amused,” he recalls.

He moved to Mumbai to realise his dream of becoming a filmmaker, made shorts and wrote scripts before making Local Kung Fu. “I was sure the film would be appreciated by the people of my age group since martial art is involved. Besides friends and family, I used the students of my uncle, who is a Kung Fu instructor,” says Kenny, who has also penned a novel ‘Chocolate Guitar Momos’.

Ask why he chose action comedy for his first full-length film, he says, “I have not seen any good films on the martial arts in India.” His ultimate aim is to make Hindi films and he hopes to get noticed by Local Kung Fu.

Having received commendations more than he had imagined, Kenny is now planning to take the film to more film festivals before its theatrical release in December.

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