Northeast film fest underway in Delhi

New Delhi, Aug 21 (IANS) “Fragrances of the Northeast”, a three-day festival of cinema from the northeastern states, got off to a colourful start here on Friday.

Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore and Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Sarbananda Sonowal, Secretary in the information and broadcasting ministry Bimal Julka and host of eminent film personalities from the northeast attended the inaugural ceremony of the second edition of the festival.

“From my army days, I have interacted with people from the northeast and I can tell you, they are among the best people, absolutely loyal,” Rathore said addressing the gathering.

“This festival will keep getting bigger in the years to come,” he promised.

He said his ministry will work giving high priority to the northeast.

Rathore highlighted the measures being taken to promote quality education in the field of journalism through the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Aizawl.

He also mentioned that efforts were being made to fast track the process of establishing a film making institute in Arunachal Pradesh.

Sonowal, in his speech, said the people of the region were always proud of their cinematic legacy.

“Assamese cinema has turned 80 years old this year. The first Assamese feature film, ‘Joymati’, was made in 1935 by Assamese cultural icon Jyotiprasad Agarwala,” he said.

Stating that such festivals showcased the youth talent of the region, he said these also helped cinema from the northeast get a foothald in other parts of the country.

Veteran Manipuri filmmaker Aribam Syam Sharma said this festival should not stay confined to the antional capital but should also be taken to other cities in the country so that people from other parts of India could also get to know the cinema and culture of the northeast.

A cultural programme added vibrant colours to the inaugural ceremony.

A troupe from Tripura performed the Hojagiri dance in which the movements are mainly confined to the lower parts of the body.

A Dhol Pung Cholam troupe from Manipur enthralled the audience with their dexterity and skills with drums and sticks while another troupe from the state gave a recital of the classical dance form, Ras Leela.

Girish and the Chronicles, a rock band from Sikkim, had the crowd on their feet by belting out their own creations as well as numbers of AC/DC and Led Zeppelin.

The inaugural function was followed by the screening of “Pallepfam”, the debut film of Manipuri filmmaker Wanglen Khundongbam, who has both directed and produced it.

The three-day festival will also have a retrospective of Manipuri movie maestro Syam Sharma.

Six of his films, including two feature films — India’s first Grand Prix of Nantes-winning film “Imagi Ningthem” (1981) and “Ishanou” (1990), the official selection of Cannes in 1991 — and four non-feature films, “Orchids of Manipur”, “The Deer on the Lake”, “Indigenous Games of Manipur” and “Yelhou Jagoi” will be screened in the retrospective.

Assamese filmmaker Manju Borah’s Mising film “Ko:Yad” will also be showcased.

Tribeny Rai’s films from Sikkim, “Yathawat” and “Last Rites from Sikkim”, will be among the films screened.

Kokborok film “Maithya”, directed by Joseph Pulinthanath, and Sherdukpen film “Crossing Bridges” by Sanga Dorjee Thongdok will give glimpses of Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh, respectively.

A bouquet of shorts from Meghalaya — “Karyukai” and “Rong Kuchak” — directed by Domnic Sangma, and from Nagaland — “The Honey Hunter And The Maker” directed by Tiainla Jamir and “Story of a House” directed by Sesino Yhoshu and Sophy Lasuh — will also be screened.

The festival will end on Sunday with the screening of Hindi film “Aisa Yeh Jahaan” (2015), written and directed by Biswajeet Bora from Assam and produced by Maya Kholie from Arunachal Pradesh.

To add northeastern flavour, the film screenings will be supplemented by cultural programmes, exhibitions of handicraft and books, and food stalls among other programmes.

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