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Jyoti Prasad Agarwala

(1903 – 1951) – (Assam)


Jyoti Prasad Agarwala (Aged 48), born on 17 June 1903 in Tamulbari Tea Estate, Assam, India, was the son of Paramananda Agarwala and Kiranmoyee Devi. He was related to renowned Assamese poets Chandra Kumar Agarwala and Ananda Chandra Agarwala, and his forefather Nabrangram Agarwala had come to Assam in 1811 from the Marwar region in Rajasthan.

After completing his studies in various schools in Assam and Calcutta, he matriculated in 1921. He went to Edinburgh in 1926 to study economics, but returned in 1930 before completing his course. On his way back, he spent seven months at the UFA studio in Germany learning filmmaking.

After returning to Assam, he resumed his activities for Indian independence that had disrupted his studies earlier, and in 1932, he was imprisoned for fifteen months. He established the Chitraban Studio at the Bholaguri Tea Estate and began filming the movie Joymoti around the end of 1933. This was the first film made in Assam. The film, released in 1935, was based on a play by Laxminath Bezbarua about the heroic Ahom princess Sati Joymoti, who was imprisoned and tortured by a repressive Ahom Swargadeo.

In 1936, he married Devajani Bhuyan. In 1941, he participated in the freedom movement, and in 1942, he went underground to escape British repression. Toward the end of his life, he moved from a romantic to a more radical vision, which was reflected in his works. He passed away due to cancer on 17 January 1951 at his residence in Poki, Tezpur, Assam, India.