(Published in Eastern Chronicle, 25-11-2013)
By Utpal Borpujari
Panaji (Goa): When a Chief Minister takes the mike and sings a love ditty, or when a prominent activist editor lets go herself and dances to the beat of a Bihu song by a prominent folk singer, or when a venerated writer takes photographs on his mobile phone like an excited child, you know that the feeling of North East fraternity is at work.
After a great opening to the “Focus: North East Cinema” section on Friday and a serious panel discussion on cinemas from the region on Saturday, it was time to unwind for the North East delegation Saturday night at the 44th International Film Festival of India (IFFI).
It was to the credit of Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, who had opened the NE section in the festival, that he organized a special dinner for the NE delegation at a quaint-yet-happening open air restaurant in North Goa so that the feeling of oneness gets an informal colour.
Himself dressed in an informal floral shirt, Sangma the host looked surely a bit like an actor, though the do’s real stars were Adil Hussain, Seema Biswas and singers Lamstala Sangtam of Naga folk fusion band Purple Fusion and Mising folk singer and actress Tarulata Kutum, who came there resplendent in a Mising mekhela that she had adorned for the evening’s earlier screening of Manju Borah’s film “Ko: Yad” in the Indian Panorama section.
The restaurant band set up the mood for the evening with some lovely numbers but it was when Sangma took the mike that things really perked up. He later even danced with Manju Borah, as noted author Yeshe Dorjee Thongchi got busy clicking pictures with his mobile phone.
Things really got rocking when Lamstala, whose powerful voice had wowed all the opening of the Focus: North East Cinema section, took to the floor and sang a couple of Naga folk songs, and made everybody sing “Ho He Hollo He” along with her. It was then the turn of Kutum to mesmerize everyone with a rendition of “Asin Ayang”, and the first one to do the typical Bihu steps was the usually –stern looking writer-activist Patricia Mukhim.
The enthusiasm caught on immediately with Adil Hussain, Seema Biswasm Zerifa Wahid, Jadumani Dutta, Suman Dowerah and others joining in. Surely, the North East is the flavour of the season at this IFFI, and the North East delegation is definitely enjoying every bit of it.
(www.easternchronicle.net: go to archives and select the 25-11-2013 edition)