Joymati: The first Assamese Film
Joymati released in 1935, was the first ever Assamese langauge film. It was based on Lakhminath Bezbaruah’s play on the 17th century story of Sati Joymati. Noted Assamese poet Joytiprasad Agarwala produced and directed it. The movie starred Adieu Handique and acclaimed stage actor and playwright Phani Sharma. Incidentally, Agarwala’s forefathers came to Assam from Marwar in search of setting the business in Assam.
Legend of Joymati
Joymati was the wife of the Ahom prince Gadapani. During the purge of the princes from 1679 to 1681 under King Sulikphaa (Loraa Roja) instigated by Laluk Sola, Gadapani took flight. At various times he took shelter at Sattras and the adjoining hills outside the Ahom kingdom. Failing to trace Prince Gadapani, Sulikphaa’s soldiers picked up his wife Joymati. Despite brutal and inhuman torture, the princess did not reveal the whereabouts of her husband. After continuous torture for several days she died.
Joymati’s self-sacrifice bore fruits later. Laluk was murdered in November 1680 by a disgruntled body of household retainers. The ministers were now roused to a sense of patriotism, they made a search for Gadapani. Gadapani gathered strength and came back from his exile in Garo hills to oust Sulikphaa from the throne. Joymati knew that her husband was the only person who could end Sulikphaa-Laluk terror rule. For her love and supreme sacrifice for her husband and the country, folk accounts refer to her as a Sati.