Skip to main content

A report from The Telegraph (June 1, 2005)

Film fights for prestige - Video art presentation dispels myths about region

Guwahati, May 31: Bollywood may have painted the wrong picture of Bodo society through the controversial Tango Charlie, but Guwahati-based filmmakers Mriganka Madhukaillya and Sonal Jain are using the cinematic medium to protest the mainland's distorted view of the Northeast.

Admittedly, an attempt to bridge the divide between the region and the rest of the country, Madhukaillya and Jain's experimental exhibition of video art in New Delhi received rave reviews.

The duo's style of filmmaking is a mix of the abstract and the real, and the topics are usually critical issues confronting the region. Madhukaillya's five-minute film, The End of Nature, was screened at the Chicago Filmmakers' Spring 2004.

In the video art presentation titled Alpha and Beta, the filmmakers have used footage from Tango Charlie to show how tribal society and culture are misrepresented by the mainstream media.

Tango Charlie, directed by Mani Shankar and featuring Sanjay Dutt and Ajay Devgan, was banned in Assam after Bodo organisations opposed the distorted portrayal of their community.

"Bollywood, or for that matter anyone from outside the region, has pre-conceived notions about the Northeast. We want to dispel these myths," Madhukaillya said.

Countering the depiction of Bodos as 'blood-thirsty monsters' in Shankar's film, Alpha and Beta incorporates real footage of human rights violations such as the crackdown on students in Manipur. Madhukaillya defended the gory scenes in the video art presentation. "Violence has become omnipresent in our lives," he said.

Video art is a kaleidoscope of moving images, photographs and music, captured with a video camera and projected on screen.

"Though it is a new medium, we deliberately chose video art to put across our message because it is easily accessible and reaches out to a large section of society," said Jain, a former faculty member at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad.

Madhukaillya and Jain are now trying to organise funds for a mobile exhibition of their latest venture, which they intend to take to every part of the region. Another short film, Daily Check-up, depicts the inconvenience residents of the Northeast face because of round-the-clock surveillance. Politics of Real Time is a four-channel video piece featuring the lush sacred forests of Meghalaya, the Brahmaputra, clippings from the first Assamese film Joymoti and traditional dances of Arunachal Pradesh.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The year that was

I'm wearing a rather striking shirt, one that makes me feel like a clown fooling around in a graveyard. Roving eyes latch on to me and make me too conscious of myself. Checkered in red, grey, black and maroon, I've excused myself into donning it and looking silly for two reasons. It's Friday and…more importantly, the last working day of the year. Tailored half-a-year back, I never had the courage to wear it, not until today. It's that time of the year when it's time to reflect on the events that transpired. Last year ended on the worst possible note. Dad had expired and I was numb with shock. The repercussions rippled halfway thought this year. Things were so abysmal initially that I had lost the will to live. Acrid in everything I did, I was immensely angered by time phlegmatically flowing through its cadence. It was as if Dad meant nothing to anybody. What right did people have to live the way they always had when Dad was no more? Why was much of the world still

Post Christmas

The workday didn't have the sweetest of starts. After being made to wait for almost half-an-hour for breakfast in the cafeteria, I was told only when I enquired that there could be no omelette since the heater wasn't working properly. I lost my temper and aired my annoyance not because the heater was out-of-order but because I was needlessly made to wait for something that was just not about to happen. The onus was on them to intimate me and they failed to own up to their responsibility. I find this attitude very irksome. Anyway, the rest of the day was smooth sailing except for a minor glitch that had to be rectified just when I was about to head for lunch. The bay was mostly deserted since most of my colleagues had volunteered for a training. I'm self-taught...thus my being an exception to the mass exodus! Nilotpal is on a fortnight-long leave and I missed him dearly today.
I'm learning the hard way not to trust anyone. Even the one you revere the most may be scheming your downfall. By no stretch of imagination may this seem logical, but who said imagination is limitless?