The gender stereotype which consistently exists in human society are been faced by every other woman across the world. The idea of the system has been holding back the women in the society by striping off their dignity and claiming them to be slighter than men in all possible fields including acting since time immemorial. In Assam, the same was broken for the first time when Aideu Handique a girl from a native village came out to act in the first Assamese Cinema which made history amongst the people of the state.
Born in the year 1920, in Pani Dihingiya village in the district of Golaghat, Assam to parents Nilambar Handique and Malakhi Handique, Aideu was the first-ever film actress to act in Assamese cinema. She starred in the film Joymoti (1935) directed by Jyoti Prasad Agarwala. The script of the film demanded her to address the co-actor assuming the role of her character’s husband as Bongohordeo (Husband in Assamese) after which she was assaulted and perceived as having violated a cultural taboo and as a result she had to face utmost disgrace among the folks in her village. Eventually shunned by neighbours, Aideu sank into solitude and obscurity. She ended up being all alone and unmarried for the rest of her life.
Hereafter, she never acted in any other film except for a minuscule role in the film Ganga Siloni and a guest appearance in a film made on her life. Later in 1985, when Assam celebrated the golden jubilee of the state’s cinema, her role in Joymoti, was acknowledged. A wheelchair was gifted to Aideu by the East Indian Motion Picture Association. Besides, the Assam Government, gave her Rs.1,500 a month as a pension. Her name was recommended for Padmashri but was denied since she had only one film done. In the year 1991, a girls school was named after her in her village. In the year 2007, Arup Manna made a film on the tragic life of the first Assamese actress eventually titled, “Aideu” that got released at the Mumbai International Film Festival on 8 February 2007.
After living a long life of miseries and plight, she departed in the year 2002. The first-ever woman who held the audacity to act in movies by breaking all types of patriarchy and stereotypes will be remembered by each and every individual of Assam till the end of time.
Visual credits: Anubhav Baruahm, written by: Swagata Bora, The North-Eastern Chronicle