| A poster of the documentary |
Calcutta, Aug. 17: The journey of an endeavour to revive Naga folk music will be showcased at a film festival in Italy dedicated to mountain life and its myriad aspects.
Producer-director Oinam Doren’s Songs of Mashangva will feature in the 18th edition of the Lessinia Film Festival in Bosco Chiesanuova, Italy, from tomorrow till August 26, after being screened at a number of prestigious film festivals around the world.
The documentary, which had won the 58th National Award for Best Ethnographic Film in the non-feature film category last year, traces Mashangva’s path through the villages of Manipur and other states to garner folk music and instruments and incorporate them into Hao music.
The Lessinia Film Festival is dedicated exclusively to short films, documentaries, and full-length features about the life, history and traditions of the mountains.
Rewben Mashangva hopes the screening in Italy will further highlight Hao music before an international audience.
“My music is about feelings and freedom. I try to weave fresh elements, playing upon tribal music. We also spoke to folk musicians in Bengal and Rajasthan to incorporate their elements into the songs. It’s a film for the people,” he says.
The musical was shot for over nearly one-and-a-half years in Rajasthan, Calcutta, Nagaland, Shillong, Imphal and in Ukhrul district of Manipur, including Longpi village, which is famous for its pottery.
Oinam Doren reminisces about the time he listened to Mashangva’s music for the first time, from his debut album Tantivy.
“Rewben’s music, which he describes as Naga folk blues, was something I had never heard before. It was rooted in Tangkhul folk music and evoked such feelings that I decided then and there to do a project with Rewben someday,” he said.
After eight years, he met Mashangva in a studio in Imphal and they decided to do three projects together — Songs of Mashangva, The Next Song and The Lonely Village.
The documentary combines folk melodies and mesmerising visuals that evoke the world where the tunes originated. “I have treated the visuals in a very poetic way to add an aura of mystery. Yet, they are grounded in reality,” Doren added.
He is now trying to raise funds for the third project, The Lonely Village, a comedy about how a tribal village disappeared off the planet.