“Number 1 Under 18 Don is Bonzo”

We’re sure that with that one dialogue everyone has figured out the movie without even a mention of its name. Peppered with much more such amusing dialogues and comedy, Local Kung Fu was the runaway hit of 2013. At a time when the regional film industry is constantly feared to disappear, Local Kung Fu was one of those rare films that appealed to the entire young generation.

In fact, Local Kung Fu was almost iconic in its impact and reach to the audience. The characters, as well as the actors who portrayed them, are role models to many for the dedication that they brought to the whole project. Perhaps that was the reason for the overwhelming success of the movie.

Charlie and his gang will be back on the screen with Local Kung Fu 2 releasing on 19th April 2017. But this time with more action and wittier dialogues.

Let’s know a little about the man behind Local Kung Fu.

Local Kung Fu was conceived as an idea by Kenny Basumatary who also starred in it apart from directing it and working on the script. Basumatary had dropped out of IIT Delhi in order to fulfill his passion for the craft of filmmaking. He had appeared in a cameo in Dibakar Banerjee’s “Shanghai” and had also made a few short films. He also played a role in “Mary Kom”. However, Local Kung Fu was the first feature-length film of his.

Local Kung Fu was not only loved by movie lovers but it also got various recognitions on the national scale with it being nominated as the Best Assamese Film in the inaugural Filmfare Awards for the Eastern Region where Kenny was also nominated as the “Best Director”.

This year the same movie is back as Local Kung Fu 2 but with a little twist in the story line as it won’t be a continuation of the previous part.

Local Kung Fu 2 would, however, be featuring most of the old faces but with a change in characters so as to cope up with the new story line.

So, to bring to the audience the latest from the cast and the team of Local Kung Fu 2, we arrived for a chat at Director Kenny Basumatary’s residence.

Local Kung Fu 2
Montu, Kenny, Sarmistha and Durlov Baruah in conversation

So read on to know the answers to various questions associated with Local Kung Fu 2.

Q. Where did Kenny learn martial arts?

Kenny a.k.a Charlie learned martial arts for around one or two years from his uncle Mr. Amar Singh Deori with whom he used to stay while he was studying at Cotton College. The form of Kung Fu that he performs is Win Chung Kung Fu. While staying in Mumbai he used to learn Jujitsu and wrestling as well with one of his friends.

Local Kung Fu 2
Montu, Kenny, and Sarmistha while in conversation with us

Q. Before making Local Kung Fu what did he do?

Well, he was a writer and actor in Mumbai where he worked in ads and small roles in few films. He also participated in a scripted writing competition which was judged by eminent personalities of Bollywood like Anurag Kashyap along with two other judges but unfortunately his script won the 6th position as during that time Akshay Kumar’s movie Chandni Chowk to China released which did make much impression and everyone in the industry thought that there’s no scope of martial arts movie in India.

Q. Before making Local Kung Fu did he conducted any study or took views of any person?

No, the only thing he wanted was a complete movie and he did not take any sort of review from anyone as the genre of the movie was action-comedy and he was confident enough that it would appeal to the public.

Q. How did Kenny conceive the idea about how to bring out the story told in this unique way which had not been attempted in regional cinema before?

Kenny explained this,”We had a very fixed set of people & locations. His elder & younger uncles places, and the school where martial arts is taught. Also the empty space on the hills. So we knew that these are the places where we can do the shoot.
One of our relatives owns a wine shop where we did the shoot, so these were the locations and we had to make our movie around these locations itself. According to our resources, we planned out the story.”

Q. How did the idea of Local Kung Fu 2 come about?

Kenny answered, “The first one was quite successful, as in after release it got successful, i.e. after it got pirated and everybody saw it. So people were asking us to make the sequel, again & again. It took 3 years to make the sequel as he was busy making to short films in Mumbai which were indeed a good experience for him as well. He was offered a web series which didn’t release for some reason or the other. So he thought to forget it and make his own movie.

Local Kung Fu 2
Kenny answering our questions

Q. Did you originally plan to make a sequel (while making Local Kung Fu) or was it after the success of Local Kung Fu that you planned the sequel?

“Not before but after the success of the first one”, Kenny answered.

Q. What is the basic premise/beginning of the story in Local Kung Fu 2? Is it a continuation from the last film?

No, it’s a completely new story with a new set of characters.

Q. Why wasn’t the sequel of the movie continued from where it ended in the last part?

There are two reasons for making drastic changes in the second part of the movie.

The first reason as Kenny said, was till the time he did not have any script which was as fun as the first one he didn’t wanted to continue from where the movie ended in the first part as it would not justify the story and the second reason was that Kenny wrote a web series for a certain media house which could have been the perfect script for continuing with the first part in the sequel as well but as that particular holds the rights for that script so Kenny couldn’t use it even though he wrote it as he was paid by that firm to do so. So he had to completely change the entire story and the characters played in this movie.

Q. Are there any additions to the original cast of the film?

Local Kung Fu 2
Some new faces in the cast

Yes, there are lots of additions this time like actresses Sharmistha Chakrabarty, Ipsita Hazarika, B Hazarika, Montu Deori & 3 people from NSD. They also have better lighting and sound system.

Q. Where were the locations of the story?

They have shot the film mainly in Guwahati & Tezpur as the entire story lingers around this two cities

Q. Is Local Kung Fu 2 made on a greater scale than the last film?

Kenny answered,”Ya. It is quite a big scale as compared to the last one as this time they have a proper DOP as well as colorist and sound”.

Q .What measures were taken to make it better than the previous Local Kung Fu?

This time the Director of Photography(DOP) for Local Kung Fu 2 is Suraj Deka, a man with an immense set of skills when it comes to playing with light and camera. He has been the DOP for many Assamese movie released before. Having a proper DOP this time enhanced the cinematic essence of the movie. Also, this time emphasis was given to the publicity of the movie.

Q. What are the measures they took for the publicity and marketing of the movie?

Here the main role was played by the fans who were constantly asking them for the next part of the movie. This time they have taken help of the social media for publicity where they have also raised crowd funding for the movie. During the production, the happenings while making were constantly put up facebook as well as conveyed to various other media. This time for managing publicity in an orderly way they took help of Nabish A Alam who himself has been associated with various media platforms and knows how to run the show.

Q. How did they feel about the impact that was laid by the iconic dialogues used in the earlier movie and they became an identity for Local Kung Fu as well?

Kenny laughed and answered,”It’s a pleasant surprise. When we made them, we knew that it was funny. But we had no idea of the catchphrases going viral all over the state. It’s also scary because it raises expectations sky high for whatever you do next.”

Q. How has life changed for everyone involved with Local Kung Fu after its success?

Local Kung Fu 2
Shots from behind the scenes

For Kenny, it helped open up a lot of doors. He got offers from Bollywood for direction only because he directed Local Kung Fu. Confessions of the Indian Teenager was the first T.V. show he directed. He was recommended by a few of his friends and the producers took him in because he had already made a movie of my own.

Q. What do you think about the future of Assamese films, given its current sad conditions?

According to Kenny,”The encouraging thing is that quite a few films had big opening weekends like “Bahniman”, “Gaane Ki Aane”, “Kotha Nodi”.If we also have more and more cinema halls then our own industry will also improve. He cited Kerala’s example as it has almost the same population as Assam, but Kerala has like 100s of theaters while Assam have 60 maybe. Moreover, the infrastructure of the theaters have to be improved and the content of the movie plays a big role in its success so if these are taken care of then surely the industry will revive again.”

Q. What kind of problems did they face while searching for sponsors for financing the film?

Druvoh Baruah the Executive Director of the movie answered to this ,” That it’s actually very difficult to get sponsors especially in case of an Assamese movie as the current market has not been that good for the movies released and also when it comes to financing a movie a company always looks it’s market share in that particular state if the share is not that good eventually the company would not invest on anything in that state. So it took a lot of effort for them to get sponsors for LKF 2″.

Q. What sort of stories do you think would appeal more to the audience?

That doesn’t really matter as long as the story is interesting. It can be anything, but as long as it’s interesting people will enjoy watching it. There ae some genres while has a wider appeal on their own like action comedies, romantic comedies. More people go to watch them anyway. Also period relationship drama, that can be marketed in any country. It depends on who wants to see which genre.

Q. What were the safety measures that were taken during the filming since the movie had a lot of action scenes?

Local Kung Fu 2
The Action Scenes

Kenny explained,”In this movie, only those acts were performed in which the actors were confident enough that they can execute the action without harming anyone. Here the angle from which the shots were taken also played a big role so as to show the kicks and flips in a much more aggressive way than they actually were. Other safety items like padding and crash-mates were also used taking care of all the safety concerns.

Q. We have all seen the immense success of crowd-funding the film and as filmmakers what is your opinion about the relevance of social media in the success of funding and also promoting a film? How better can social media be used to achieve these goals?

Kenny thinks that they are lucky in a lot of ways because social media is there to help us them in promoting their film as they don’t have to spend much on social media. Thankfully, because of social media people can the trailer and help us in the promotion and in that way a lot of publicity is generated.

Q. What are the things that actually play the most vital role while making the movie?

“Good Script and Actors”, answered by Kenny, as according to him the casting of the movie has to be good as it is the thing that appeals to the audience the most. Here, the Director of the movie also plays a very vital role.

Q. So, Kenny any advice or tips for aspiring or upcoming filmmakers and actors?

Yes. Don’t try to become actors and filmmakers because it is very tough (laughs). If you want to become in spite of somebody discouraging you, then you can, but otherwise, don’t try.

Q.  Was this the case with you?

I wanted to become a filmmaker since class 6 and my whole life I was planning to go to FTII. But since I couldn’t complete my graduation, so didn’t happen.

Q. Will the movie be released outside the North East?

Yes, the Assamese version of the movie will be released in other metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru where there are many Assamese people residing but not now since it’ll take some time to settle things and see the response of the people towards the movie.

Q. Finally, what would you like to say to the audience before this Friday’s release?

Kenny said,”They themselves have found the film very funny. They also showed the film to a couple of their friends and relatives and the laughed a lot. So they are confident enough for now that they will get a good response. Regarding the release on Wednesday and not on Friday, Bahubali 2 will release on Friday. Once Bahubali comes the distributors will try to remove their movie from the theaters and the number of screening will drastically decrease. So now, they got two days extra of individual attention of the audience.



Local Kung Fu 2
And our meet ended with a selfie with the LKF 2 Team

At the end, I would like to thank my colleagues Amrita Mahanta and Bushraa Firdaushi for helping me out with this article.

Here is the trailer of Local Kung Fu 2 check it out guys you’ll surely love it.

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