The Khasi flim “Syrwet Shemlanot U Tiewlarun” will be release soon: Raphael

Shillong, July 10: There is a deep sense of concern for the prevailing scenario of movie culture in the State of Meghalaya that Riti Academy endeavours to make a difference. There is no yardstick to evaluate the content of the local films and provide an assessment on the quality of the local film industry. The commercially driven movie production ventures along with the ambition for box-office success needs to be redefine in the actual essence of film aesthetic with creative and original expression of the cinematic language.

Moreover, there are few elite approach of liberal expression that might not be relevant with the society and certain elements of activism to generate or rather sensationalise public sentiment. We have encountered several film producers and directors and realised that there is a pool of talents that have not been streamlined with the faculty they possess and taking a path in the right direction. Therefore there is a tremendous mismatch of talents that end up in confusion and Tiewlarun film project is the outcome of the aspiration, anxiety and responsibility over the entire gamut of social and cultural situation in the State.

‘I have not waited for this moment to happen and I was not even prepared for anything at all, but the passion have always been consistent throughout my life’ stated the Producer of the film ‘Apot’, Raphael Warjri. He reiterated ‘It was a candid decision to start something out of the insufficient resources and limited availability of affordable expertise along with the sincere effort to achieve something better than the best. I assumed and anticipated that many of the active and emerging filmmakers in the State considered our attempt redundant or even obsolete.

We might not be totally confident of what we are doing and we are not aware of our capability to deliver; however, there is an absolute clarity to every step that we set forth with the limited knowledge on the art of filmmaking and the hope of sharing good deeds and for that matter good films in the society’.

The topic of Tiewlarun just emerged like a draw of the lot among the vibrant oral tradition of Khasi folklores. It is not a careful pick among the greatest Khasi folktales, but there is a vigilant insight into the story to relate with the contemporary situation in the society. The conventional myth is the allegory of the consequence of misfortune if sacrilege is committed by intent or by coincidence. On the other hand, the film is being retold with interpretation of the various aspects of human life, which is universally relevant with every society in the world.

The prelude to the film underlined the present situation prevalent in the society where the people are ignorant about the roots of their own culture. It is a wakeup call for the future generation to realise about the need to treasure the past and shape the future with clarity on the original identity of the community. Thereafter, the transition facilitated to relate the actual folktale with certain intellectual interpretation of the universal context of the ethnic narrative.

It is an attempt to relive the past, rejuvenate the present and refurbish the future of the community and humanity at large. The lead actor, Synranki Najiar was excited about his role to assume the epic character of the ancient society and performed in the ambience of primordial period. He was dedicated and sincere to the character that he portrayed and excelled by his own genius.

On the other hand, the main heroine Darihun Marbañiang was initially reluctant to take the role because of her uncertainty over her capability. However, she accepted on the insistence of the mastermind of the film, Raphael Warjri; and delivered every act with sheer ingenuity and devotion. Whereas, the role of the chieftain was taken by an experience actor, Banjop Leo Kharmalki, who had sacrificed his life to ensure that the venture created a benchmark in the tradition of Khasi cinema.

It was a debut attempt for Rembrandt Iakmenlang Kharnaior as the Director under the inspiration, motivation and guidance of a veteran filmmaker, Raphael Warjri. He was innovative and independent in his approach to mould an original and personal narrative of the film language.

The screenplay, dialogue, lyrics and costume design was the creative novelty of Raphael Warjri, even as financial constraint is a hindrance to specific expert consultation. Nevertheless, the cinematography is the creative pursuit of Elzer Dhar; sound design is the ingenious handiwork of Julius L Basaïawmoit; film editing is the wholesome design of a self-taught  editor Nixon Kharbithai, and the music is the harmonious combination of the expert skill  of Augustine Kurbah and a talented novice, Dalariti Gratel Kharnaïor, who also did the playback singing with Anderson Warlarpih. The honorary counselling to certain aspects of the folklore was provided by Prof. Antoinette Kharmalki, who also acted the role of a queen mother.

The entire film shooting was done in the spectacular landscapes of South West Khasi Hills District of Meghalaya, particularly at  Mawlangwir, with the cooperation and support of the local authority, Dorbar Shnong Mawlangwir, the government machinery especially the District administration and the Veterinary Department, besides the other local sports and cultural clubs.

One of the most challenging venture in the film is the featuring of ponies. It was difficult to command and ride the pony, but the respective actors have done commendable job in this regard. The owner of the ponies, Bitali Kharsyiemiong along with his expert apprentices have been instrumental in the training and facilitating the ponies according to the requirement of the film. Initially, there was a thorough research to find the most suitable animals for the purpose.

The research team have travelled the length and breadth of the State and discovered five different species of ponies, where few of them are hybrid variety while the rest are indigenous. Ultimately, the ponies of Bitali Kharsyiemïong from Mawmahwar was considered as the most suitable and charming ponies, where large numbers of them are available for the project. Moreover, his avid skill in the rearing and care of the animals is an advantage to navigate them according to the demand of the scenes.

The other cultural paraphernalia incorporated in the film are the folk string reed message or ‘Kyrwoh’, the rare folk dance ‘Shad Kñia Sngei’ choreographed by Nestarland Wanniang and performed by the Salonsar cultural troupe, and the unique archery chants with merriment supervised by Dimrai Kharlyngdoh. The traditional hunting with the chanting of folk poetic couplets or ‘Phawar’ monitored by Elbok Wanniang and Forwardman Lyngdoh along with the charming rendition of folk song by Forwardman Lyngdoh are the exotic flavour of Khasi ethnic tradition.

The innovative publicity plan of the film is to stage the theatre on the same theme to promote the film and the film screening will publicise the theatre apart from other conventional advertising platforms. One of the significant tradition of Riti Academy is the inculcation of harmonious relationship within the production team under the leadership of the Producer of the film, Raphael Warjri.

There are instances of voluntary execution of logistic management and working of menial jobs by each and every team members except for the hired technical professionals. The forefront leaders including the main characters would gather the garbage, carry water from the stream and fetch firewood from the jungle, while the female team members would cook, clean the utensils and serve meals for every participants of the project.

The glamorous attitude of mocking the conventional film production atmosphere has never affected, even at the instigation of few superficial elements. Even the several obstacles due to resource constraints and ulterior motives were effectively tackled by the entire production team led by Ioannis Shylla and volunteered by Shining Pala, Barikupar Warjri, Peter Syiemlieh and all other members of the team. With regards to the production cost there is a meagre contribution from Mr P N Syiem, then Chief Executive Member of Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council and few individuals like Mr P T Sawkmie and the team members, including the moral support of the family members of the Producer and Director. The film is slated to be completed towards the end of 2019 and shall be released at certain film festivals in the country and attempt will be initiated at the international fora.


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