In the early 1970s, Asiyasi film production was a major force in the Indian film industry, with films such as Maha Bhaiya (1975), Sholay (1976), Peev (1977) and Rajiv (1978) topping the charts.
Today, the industry has been eclipsed by the dominance of the Telugu-language film industry and the rise of Hindi-language productions, such as Sholaya.
The films made by Asiyasis over the years have generally not fared well in the domestic box office.
While the last three Asiyasa films, which are all about the life of a young boy, have grossed more than Rs. 1 crore, they have not achieved the same success in the international marketplace.
In fact, these films have only made the top five list in the world’s most watched films rankings.
Why is that?
“We do not have a lot of films to promote here, and we do not know how much of our money we will get from foreign box office,” said Rajan, who has worked as a filmmaker for more than 30 years.
“It is not a good place to launch a film.
I have seen the films and I can tell you that it is not the best.
It is not for us to talk about how to launch our film.
Our films are about a life experience, and the film does not have much to do with what it is about.”
For many years, the Asiyata family had been a struggling family in an area of north-eastern India where the government does not recognise Asiyaspa as a community.
In fact, the region is largely Hindu.
The family had no cinema or TV set, and most of the films they produced were made outside the family home.
“A lot of the time we used to watch TV, but we did not know what we were watching,” said Bhattacharya, who is now a producer in the field of Asiyasu cinema.
“Our films were very niche.”
“We did not have any money and we had no films to advertise.
We were trying to get films made in the area and I did not get any money,” said Asiyashikumar, who had started producing films when he was 17.
“I never saw anyone making a film, but I knew that it would be a success in a film industry.
I was not a big fan of the genre.”
The family went on to start a successful film production business, but in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the situation changed.
The Asiyasca community was hit by the imposition of the Emergency in 1975, and many people in the region lost their jobs, homes and livelihoods.
The region was ravaged by the civil war and the subsequent famine.
The economic crisis caused by the war was particularly brutal.
The community was also affected by the riots that broke out in the early 1980’s, and their children were not able to attend school.
The government imposed severe restrictions on the community, and restrictions continued to be imposed throughout the 80s and 90s.
Asiyas life was not easy.
The majority of the Asyas live in poverty, and Asiyasyas are often victims of violence and discrimination.
Many families are forced to live in a single-room accommodation, with no electricity, running water or electricity to their homes.
“When the war started, we were living on a bare subsistence,” said Shishikant.
“People would not let us have food, and people would beat us.
If we had money, they would give us money.
When they took us out of the house, we would be beaten by other people.”
Bhattacharyas father, Anuj, had started working in a nearby village as a labourer.
“My father had a job in a factory and he would have a piece of land, but he did not earn anything,” he said.
“But the government came to our house and we were forced to work for two days.
After two days, we got the money, but they took away our food.
We lost our children.”
Bhatacharya was a young man when the war broke out, and he had been given the opportunity to earn a living.
“We had to work.
We had no choice,” he explained.
“If I did work, I was getting paid Rs. 500 a day.
If I went to a village to earn money, I would get paid Rs 2,000.”
The only time the family was able to enjoy the luxuries afforded to other villagers was when Asiyasca families moved out of their village.
“At that time, we did have a television set.
But I had no TV set at home.
My family was living on Rs. 600 a month, which was not enough for food,” he recalled.
“The only way we could afford a television was through our parents.
We would rent