Vishal P. Chaliha
India. 2021. 108 min
A boy named Sijou lives in a village named Saikhong Guri in Assam, India. A very jolly kid who loves playing with his friends but who knew that one day he will have to become a slave. His life takes a drastic shift when he becomes a victim of the Feudal Land Tenure System which was in practice in Bhutan till 1958. People living near the Indo Bhutan areas in Assam were also affected by this system until it was abolished.
Sijou lives with his father Niren. His mother died when he was an infant. Sijou is a very mischievous kid who annoys the people of his village alongwith his friends. The village where Sijou lives is Saikhong Guri which is very near to Indo Bhutan Border. The village is dominated by the Bhutanese people. The villagers have to pay tax for their land. The taxes are in kinds like rice, vegetables, usable items etc. Those who fail to pay the tax, has to live as a slave in Bhutan for the rest of his life.
One day Sijou’s father Niren fails to pay the tax because of which he is taken as a slave alongwith Sijou by the Bhutanese. Sijou leaves his village and goes to Bhutan. The Father and Son starts to serve the Bhutanese people. Sijou’s father suffers from a disease because of which he dies.
Karma,a Bhutanese man,is against this feudal land tenure system. But as he is a loyal nationalist, he is bound to obey it as a duty. Later,after seeing the atrocities, his conscience forces him to rescue Sijou and send him to a Monastery where Sijou stays for the rest of his life.
VISHAL P. CHALIHA
Vishal P. Chaliha is a director and writer from India. Sijou is his debut feature film as a writer and director. Before making Sijou, he made several short films and documentaries.
I live in Assam,India. Bhutan is very much near to my state. One day, one of the producer’s of the film Mr. Omprakash Kherkatary came to with the idea that he wanted to make a film on the feudal land tenure system which was in practice in Bhutan until 1958. So I asked him what it has to do with India or Indian people. He said that people living near the border areas of India and Bhutan, mostly people of Assam which is an Indian state, were victims of this system. Generally, whenever I hear the word slavery, the image of African slaves comes to my mind. I never knew that slavery was present near my state also.