This Year for the first time the International Film Festival of India which held from November 20-30 has highlighted NorthEastern Cinema with a special title named “Focus: North East”.
The section was inaugurated on November 22 with a special opening ceremony. There was also a special closing ceremony on November 27. A total of 23 films from the northeast in the section was screened, including “Ek Pal” as a special homage to its producer Hemendra Prasad Barooah.
The opening movie of the section was “Khawnlung Run”, the first-ever Mizo film to be screened in any international festival. It is directed by Mapuia Chawngthu.
The opening ceremony guests include Bolywwod actors from Assam Seema Biswas and Adil Hussain and there was a special performance by Naga folk fusion band Purple Fusion.
The northeast section has been curated by National Award-winning film critic Utpal Borpujari, who will also moderate a panel discussion on the region’s cinema.
Among the films screened in IFFI is “Rupkonwar Jyotiprasad Aru Joymoti” (dir late Bhupen Hazarika), a documentary on the making of “Joymoti”, the first film in the North East made in 1935 by Jyotiprasad Agarwalla. The documentary contains the only surviving portions of “Joymoti”.
Another iconic film screened was “Matamgi Manipur” (dir: Deb Kumar Bose), the first movie in Manipuri language made in 1972. Haobam Paban Kumar’s documentary “The First Leap”, on how “Matamgi Manipur” was made, on the memory of its actors as they watch the film after 30 years of its making, was shown.
The closing film of NE Section was done by Arup Manna-directed Assamese film “Aideu”, a biopic on “Joymoti” heroine Aideu Handique.
In the musical section on Indian cinema, Bhupen Hazarika’s “Chameli Memsab”, which had won the National Award for Best Music in 1975, was screened.
These are in addition to Manju Borah’s Mising language feature film “Ko:Yad” and documentaries “Manipuri Pony” by Aribam Syam Sharma, “Resonance of Mother’s Melody” by Dip Bhuyan and “By Lane No 2” by Utpal Datta, which are part of the Indian Panorama section.