Utpal Borpujari

February 7, 2014

Strong North East flavour pervades 44th IFFI

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(Published in Eastern Chronicle, 23-11-23013)

By Utpal Borpujari

Panaji (Goa): At the 44th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), it’s the flavour of the North East that pervades the air. A special “Focus: North East Cinema” section, which for the first-time ever puts a comprehensive spotlight on the cinemas of the region, opened on Friday, heralding six days of cinema, culture, art and cuisine from the eight states.

Mizo director Mapuia Chawngthu’s “Khwanlung Run” opened the North East section, taking the packed auditorium at the 900-seater Kala Academy auditorium into a pulsating journey into a love story set in the historical backdrop.

The energy of the film, aided by its deft cinematography and editing (by Chawngthu himself), and a confident performance by its cast comprising many part-time actors, kept the audiences fully hooked throughout the evening.

The mood for the event was set by a superb performance by Naga folk fusion band “Purple Fusion” from Dimapur, which took the audiences into the world of the multi-ethnic world of Nagaland through their songs plucked from traditional folk music background and presented in alternative styles.

The event was declared open by Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma in the presence of filmmakers Manju Borah (Assam), Prashant Rasaily (Sikkim), Chawngthu (Mizoram), Tianla Jamir (Nagaland), writer Yeshe Dorje Thongchi (Arunachal Pradesh), author-editor-activist Patricia Mukhim (Meghalaya), actors Seema Biswas, Adil Hussain, Jerifa Wahid (all Assam) and Meena Debbarma (Tripura). Manipuri master Aribam Syam Sharma, who was scheduled to be present, could not travel to Goa for personal reasons.

The North East section, curated by this critic, will see the screening of 19 feature, short and documentary films from the region. In addition, Abdul Majid’s classic Assamese film “Chameli Memsaab” will be screened in a section showcasing the musical journey of Indian cinema and Kalpana Lajmi’s “Ek Pal” will be screened as a homage to its producer Hemendra Prasad Barooah, the noted tea planter who passed away recently.

The North East mood is being lifted at the festival by cultural performances by folk musicians and dancers every evening and a handicraft exposition, both organized by the West Zone Cultural Centre. In addition, a special food court providing samples of food from all the eight states has been set up by Roshang Café of New Delhi, which is run by Mary Lalboi of Churachandpur, Manipur.

(The writer has curated and designed the “Focus: North East Cinema” section)

(www.easternchronicle.net: go to archives and select 23-11-2013 edition)

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