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June 22, 2018

The (Em)Power List 2018: Rima Das

Donning the roles of producer, production designer, screenplay writer, director, editor and cinematographer, Rima Das has left no stone unturned

37, Film-maker

The sociology postgraduate from Pune University hopped over to the City of Dreams to pursue a career in acting only to find herself exposed to a treasure trove of world cinema that she had no access to earlier. That’s when Rima Das decided to get into film-making instead. Her sophomore film Village Rockstars (2017) that was made on a shoestring budget is set in familiar territory — Chhaygaon in Assam, not far from her own village. Starring her 10-year-old cousin Bhanita Das, the film has picked up four National Film Awards this year — Best Feature Film (making it only the second Assamese film to win this honour and after a gap of 29 years), Best Editing, Best Child Actor for Bhanita and Best Audiography for another cousin, Mallika Das. But that’s not all, Das has emerged as a force to reckon with and been dubbed ‘a one-woman army’ by the media. After all, she left no stone unturned — donning the roles of producer, production designer, screenplay writer, director, editor and cinematographer, she proved that she is an indie rockstar alright. While lack of funds, and therefore choice, was definitely a driving factor in her decision to take on the many roles, she has to be lauded for turning a potential dead end into a triumph. Without a crew or a shooting schedule, and with only herself to answer to, she patiently planned each step along the way, with just one goal in mind: delivering a realistic picture. So what really sets her apart is her fearlessness and no-compromise game which is so strong that she didn’t have to think twice before taking this huge leap and going all in: investing all her funds, not to mention effort and time — it took her four years to finish this film — despite being a newcomer with much to prove.

“It’s very inspiring to see a woman single-handedly make a powerful and moving film set in her own village, with her own family members and take it to such great heights. And she is already shooting her next! I am totally awed by her talent and grit!”
– Mauli Singh, 39, Publicist, Mumbai

Previous: Asha Rangappa
Next: Suchi Mukherjee

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