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New Delhi: Onaatah – of the earth, an upcoming Khasi film directed by National Award winning director Pradip Kurbah on Monday won the Rajat Kamal for best feature film in other languages during the announcement of the National Film Awards here.
“A sensitive portrayal of rape victim in the course of her revival in the healing background of a tribal setting,” the citation for the film said.
The film featuring Merlvin Jude Mukhim and Sweety Jane Pala in lead roles, is produced by Pomu Das and Marjina Kurbah. Both the producer and the director will receive one lakh rupees each.
Other veteran actors include Enshon Lamare, Richard Kharpuri and Mary Nonghuloo.
Onaatah is filmed largely amidst the rural outback of Meghalaya including Thangsning, Mawlynngot, Mawkynrew, Jongksha, Rapleng and parts of Iewrynghep, Umkhoi, Wahlyngkhat and Lyngkyrdem in East Khasi Hills, with a few scenes shots in Shillong.
The story and screenplay for Onaatah is written by Pradip Kurbah and Paulami Duttagupta, while music is being scored by National Award winning song composer and director Anurag Saikia.
Debajit Gayan did the on-location recording with Pradip Daimary once again joining Kurbah as cinematographer.
Pomu Das and Marjina Kurbah representing Kurbah Films in association with 3ME Entertainment and Cat & Mouse Entertainment (Mumbai), and Jova Kurbah, Arpana Kurbah, Mayvaria Lyngdoh and Pradip Daimary, Shaiju Nambiadath and Ramesh Sharma are the producers, co-producers and associate producers respectively.
Onaatah has been officially selected for the Hong Kong International Film Festival. After screenings in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Jaipur, the film will also be showcased at Festival of Cinema, Manipur on April 13.
The 63rd National Film Awards 2015 were announced on Monday by the Chairpersons of the three juries on Feature Films, Non Feature Films and Best Writing on Cinema.
The Feature Film Central panel was headed by Ramesh Sippy, a popular director & producer in Hindi cinema and the Central panel comprised of 11 members including Chairman. The Non Feature jury was headed by Vinod Ganatra and comprised of 7 members including the Chairman.
The Awards were dominated by Bollywood but Meghachandra Kongbam of Manipur received best film critic award. Tezpur 1962 also received Rajat Kamal award on non-feature film category as best investigative film.
Onaatah is the second Khasi film to bag the National Award. In 2014 Kurbah had won the award for Ri – Homeland of Uncertainty, a film based on the diminishing returns of militancy.
Ramesh Sippy, Chairperson of the 63rd National Films Award Committee, said of Onaatah, “This is one of the nicest films I have seen.”
Onaatah is about a young woman wounded by a fateful incident and being stereotyped by society because of it. While she refuses to give up she also does not know how to pick up the pieces of a broken life even as the courts and society drag her pain and sorrow for years.
Onaatah decides to take a break from the humdrum of city life and goes to live with her uncle in a remote village. He and his wife provide the succour she needs to regain her composure.
The film was appreciated for its camera work which captures the exotic terrain of East Khasi Hills. This is where Onaatah rediscovers life in all its simplicity. Her meeting with the quintessential rustic Duh, a village lad, whose naiveté wins her heart, is the theme of Onaatah.
Onaatah’s perspective of life changes after she realizes the hardships that village people endure. Would she be able to leave her past behind? What is it about her past that haunts Onaatah? That and her friendship with Duh are what the film is about. Kurbah’s storytelling skills have only improved with time. He uses his camera as a piece of art, capturing the best from his artistes.