Sunday, July 21, 2024

Cannes, India and its North East


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India makes a maximum number of films and Bollywood has a deep penetration not only in the country but also in its neighbourhood and beyond. This year there was some good news for India and its lakhs of actors and film lovers at the Cannes Film Festival and its side events. Actress Payal Kapadia added glory to the festival and Anasuya Sengupta opened a new chapter in the history of Indian actors too.  India was shining bright at the 77th Film Gala. Despite all the glitter, no Indian film was winner in the completion section in the recently concluded festival which is the most important event of the industry in the entire world.

As far as Northeast India is concerned, some of its films were screened at the Marché du Film (Film Market) which takes place along with the Cannes Film Festival. Here people pay a fee to screen their films in halls for potential distributors and marketers from across the world. National Film Development Corporation also takes some Films from India including from North East. In this festival a couple of films from the Northeast were also screened at the festival which brought cheers to the region.

-In the Marché du Film Festival following Films were screened at the Cannes from Northeast India-

Sangi Gai: Feature film from Arunachal Pradesh:

Sangi Gai was screened at the 77 Rue Félix Faure at the  Marché du Film. This platform is renowned for showcasing some of the most anticipated films from around the world.  Produced by Alison Welly Bakha and directed by Nyago Ete, with creative production by Hali Welly, Sangi Gai captivated the hearts and minds of the audience, highlighting the unique and vibrant culture of Northeast India.

“We are overjoyed with the response Sangi Gai received at the Cannes. It’s an honour to share the rich cultural tapestry of North East India on such a prestigious platform,” said Alison Welly, the producer of the film to The Shillong Times on her return from Cannes.  The film’s selection for a market screening at the Marché du Film highlights its exceptional qualities against a backdrop of influential global cinema. Sangi Gai’s inclusion in the Marché du Film celebrates its potential for reaching international markets and underscores the film’s unique storytelling.

Sangi-gai portrays Journey Across Time is a sci-fi adventure film that explores the culture shock and environmental issues of a tribal man who travels from 1914 to 2023. The film begins with a team of Chinese soldiers invading the tribal lands of Arunachal Pradesh, India, in 1905, in search of a mysterious Tibetan chest.

Tara, Sikkim:

Tara, the Lost Star from Sikkim made its debut at the Marché du Film

Actor and producer Shyama Shree Sherpa represented the state and the film at the festival. The one and half hour film was extensively shot at beautiful Gnathang-Memenchu near Changu sacred Lake in the state.

The film offers a window into the beliefs of Himalayas and Sikkim’s vibrant culture. Its selection of the film for market screening at “Marché Du Film, Cannes de Festival 2024” highlights the growing acclaim of regional cinema worldwide, said the filmmakers. This achievement celebrates the talent and perseverance of the talent from the Himalayas. As the excitement builds for its Cannes debut, “Tara: The Lost Star” promises to shine a spotlight on Sikkim’s burgeoning film industry like never before, the release states. Tara, the Lost Star is directed by Samten Bhutia and co-produced by Sabitri Chettri. It is a presentation of SaDa Productions in association with Passang Mintok Films.

Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Sing Tamang wrote on X, “I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the entire team behind the creation of the film ‘Tara: The Lost Star,’ a remarkable achievement for Sikkim as it makes its debut at the prestigious Cannes International Film Festival 2024.” “My sincere applause goes to the director, producer, and every individual involved in bringing this cinematic masterpiece to life. I commend SaDa Productions in collaboration with Passang Mintok Films for their perseverance, dedication, and vision,” he said. This milestone not only marks a significant moment in our region’s history but also showcases our vibrant culture and the rich narratives of the Himalayas. ‘Tara: The Lost Star,’ a Nepali-language social drama, promises to captivate audiences worldwide with its compelling story, he said. Tamang added, “The selection of our film for the market screening at the Marche Du Film, Cannes de Festival 2024, highlights the increasing recognition of regional cinema on the global stage.”

Lachit the Warrior, Assam:

Assam’s animated film “Lachit the Warrior” screened at Marché du Film Festival for a global audience recently. It was part of the online screening section and was screened for the global audience. Written and directed by Parthasarathi Mahanta and produced by Mina Mahanta and Indrani Baruah, “Lachit – The Warrior” is an audio-visual film on Lachit Barphukan that traces the genesis of the military commander’s ancestry, his charismatic personality, his dexterous skills in diplomacy and naval warfare, physical prowess, unmatched valour, and most importantly, his resolute sense of patriotism.

The story of Lachit was of seventeenth century Assam. After a series of intermittent skirmishes, the battle of Alaboi was fought in the year 1669 and eventually, the military campaigns under Lachit Barphukan decisively ended in the battle of Saraighat (1671), where the Mughals were completely vanquished. Had it not been for Lachit, the geographical map of the nation would have been different today.

Headhunting to Beatboxing, Nagaland:

The Marché du Film festival also saw renowned composer and Oscar winner, AR Rahman releasing a musical feature documentary Headhunting to Beatboxing in which he himself starred and produced too. The film depicted the story of a Naga tribe engulfed in the depths of violence and bloodshed but resurrects itself through the healing power of music and emerges through a musical renaissance. The film is directed by Rohit Gupta starring AR Rahman himself, Metet Jamir, Thepfulie Kengurusie and others.

Kooki, Assam:

Hindi film Kooki was screened at the Film Market (Marche du Film) held at Cannes. The show was attended by leading actors including Ritisha Khaund , the producer Junmoni Devi  and distributor Manoj Nandwana.

The narrative of Kooki, a 16-year-old girl played by Ritisha Khaund, is centred around a catastrophic tragedy that destroys her ideal life and bright future. She feels deceived and abandoned as a victim since the court’s decision does not bring her the justice she seeks. In order to come to terms with the experience and find atonement, Kooki has to face her own fortitude and resolve.

Director Pranab J. Deka skillfully ties together the many threads of the narrative behind the camera, while others capture the unadulterated emotions and breathtaking scenery. The lyrics by Avinash Chouhan, Ibson Lal Baruah, and Dr. Sagar, coupled with the music composed by Pallab Talukdar, Sourav Mahanta, and Tapan Jyoti Dutta, give the story even more depth. Sunidhi Chauhan, Divya Kumar, Muhammad Faiz, and Krittika Sharma are the singers.

The restored version of Shyam Benegal’s landmark film Manthman (on milk cooperative movement Anand) starring late actor Smita Patil, made a magnificent return to the spotlight with its screening at the Cannes film festival. National Award-winning cinematographer Santosh Sivan became the first Asian to be conferred the Pierre Angénieux Tribute award at the film festival. The honour has been conferred in recognition of his career and exceptional quality. Incidentally, Manipur’s Aribam Shyam Sarma’s Ishanou in 1991 was screened at the Cannes Film Festival. In 2023 its restored version was screened there too.

At the fest, Sunflowers were the first ones to know, the film made by the students of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), won the La Cinef Award at the 77th Cannes Film Festival. Directed by Chidananda S Naik, the film is based on a Kannada folk tale about an old woman who steals a rooster. As a result of her action, the son stops to progress in the village. Meanwhile, animation film Bunnyhood competed in the La Cinef section, and took home third place. Bunnnyhood is helmed by Mansi Maheshwari.

This time many Influencers from India are showcasing their talent and glamour, making a significant impact on the global stage. Film stars and internet personalities, including Indian celebrities like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, Aditi Rao Hydari, Hina Khan, Anushka Sharma, Sonam Kapoor, and Diana Penty, among others, were present at the festival serving fans with unforgettable and iconic fashion moments.

Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Sanjay Jaju hosted the first ever Bharat Parva, a celebration of Indian culture, cuisine, handicrafts and cinema.

Image captions 

1. Producer, Alison Welly & Creative Director, Hali Welly attend wokshops at the Film Festival

2. Alison Welly Bakha strikes a pose at the Festival

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