Riquoma Rq. Laloo is the first film director in Jaintia Hills and is credited with the first Jaintia film Man I Sa.
The 47-year-old media shy filmmaker earns his livelihood as a teacher at Rymbai Government Secondary School. He is among the bravehearts in the local film industry who plunge into uncertainty for the love of movies. Laloo uses a PD Sony camera to shoot his films.
Among his other films are Chakae, Dei Pharchi Yanga, Wympoi Pyrkhat, Chukor Ka Ru, Saphika. Laloo is also a singer and produces albums in Pnar language. He has also published books and is the editor and publisher of Samboi Ia Myllin, a collection of poems.
DR Michael Buam (in picture and inset Lah De Toh Kshang Ye Ngaw, the first film in War-Jaiñtia language released in 2008) is a prolific young director who, despite all hurdles, has already made 21 films most of which are commercial ones. A self-taught man like his peers in the industry, Buam says as a child he was fascinated by two things, books and films.
“I like to read stories and when the moving picture began to tell stories, I was equally captivated. Being a contemporary of the digital revolution, I learned digital filmmaking. I always wanted to tell stories. So the medium of films was another channel for me,” says Buam, who has also authored a novel.
Talking about finances, the director says he keeps his budget between Rs 3-8 lakh for commercial films but does not exceed a lakh for making documentaries. To meet the expenses, he often knocks on friends’ doors or opts for collaborative work.
“Being an independent filmmaker, making short films or documentaries burns your pocket. I have several films in the production line which are yet to see the light of day. However, I have completed a collaborative project on Kiang Nangbah which was released for the local audience in Jowai through a local TV network. It was well appreciated,” says Buam, who is currently working on a new version of Kiang Nangbah produced by Sein Raij Jowai.
Besides films, Buam has other interests too. He is an editor of both books and movies. His children too are enthusiastic about his works and often ask questions.
But with so many adversities, where does the filmmaker’s road go? Buam has a simple answer to it.
“I would like my message to reach to as many people as possible and I want people watching my films to benefit from them. I also look forward to working with other filmmakers outside the state and country.”
The first film made in Jaiñtia Hills
was Nga la bakla, written and produced by Phidalia Toi and released on VHS in 1992. It was in Khasi language.
The first digital Pnar film Manisa was released in 2005 at Borbon Cinema, Jowai. It was followed in 2006 by Chakae, a comedy film that gained wide popularity. It was directed by Riquoma Rq Laloo.
The next film was Dei Pharchi Yanga, jointly produced by TechLife and Yoobina Lato. It was released in 2007. It was the first Pnar film to get a housefull reception at Borbon cinema, Jowai. A string of Pnar films were produced after that. Some of the popular ones are Chukor ka ru, Wympoi Pyrkhat, Bamjem, Saphika and Skop.