Even though films produced from North-East India are predominantly in Assamese and Manipuri language, in past few years we have seen several hidden gems produced in lesser known languages. Films made in Khasi, Sherdukpen, Wancho, Mishing, Bodo, Rabha are gaining national and international acclaim. We handpicked a list of 11 non-Assamese films from this region that you must watch.
1. Ko:Yad, Mishing
This Manju Borah classic is adaptation of Anil Panging’s critically acclaimed novel of the same name. The film tells the story of hardship and struggle in lives of ordinary Mishing people. The beautiful cinematography work by Sudhir Palsane fetched him the Best Cinematography award at 2013 National Film Awards along with Best Regional Film in Mishing language.
2. Dau Huduni Methai, Bodo
How insurgency affect common people and bystanders’ life is beautifully portrayed by Manju Borah’s Bodo film Dau Huduni Methai. The film tells the story of a young rape victim, Raimali, whose life was devastated by the separatist violence of this region. The film was premiered at Montreal World Film Festival and received many accolades including Best Bodo Film in 2016 National Film Awards.
3. Phijigee Mani, Manipuri
Phijigee Mani is a tale of mother-son relationship against the backdrop of insurgency and drug-ravaged. A young girl sets out on a journey to bring some changes and happiness in her family. On the way, she is also disturbed by the past memories of her home and her family. The film is directed by Oinam Gautam Singh.
4. Orong, Rabha
Suraj Kumar Duwarah directed Rabha film Orong: Strangers in the Mist caught national attention by winning Best Rabha Film award at 2015 National Film Awards. The film looks into the field of adolescent psychology. It is a story about 14 year old boy living with mother and step-father and has to work in a diesel pump to provide for the family. According to director Duwarah, “although Orong has been officially certified as being in the Rabha language, its soul is in Assamese, as this film represents the life and issues of an ethnic group who are the sons of the soil of Assam.”
5. The Head Hunter, Wancho
The Head Hunter, first ever film to made in Wancho language, is a drama with universal appeal. Nilanjan Dutta directed this film tells the age old conflict between man and nature through the protagonist Apu, an elder of a once-fierce community of headhunters. The film won the Best Wancho Film award at 2016 National Film Awards.
6. Leipaklei, Manipuri
Directed by prominent filmmaker Aribam Syam Sharma, Leipaklei is a heartwarming story about a woman and her undying spirit of never giving up. Based on the Sahitya Akademi Award winning drama, the film’s titular character is played by Leishangthem Tonthoi. The film was screened in various film festivals across the globe and awarded with Best Manipuri Film award at 2013 National Film Awards.
7. Ri, Khasi
Pradip Kurbah’s directorial debut RI: Homeland of Uncertainty is a complex tale of insurgency and reconciliation set in the turbulent state of Meghalaya. The film got recognition in national level and bagged Best Regional Film award in Khasi at 2014 National Film Awards.
8. Onaatah, Khasi
After Ri, Pradip Kurbah hit the home run again with his second feature Onaatah. The film is a humane story about a girl who is on a journey to rediscover the purpose of life and the diversity of relationships. Merlvin Mukhim and Sweety Pala’s wonderful performance and mesmerizing picturization will leave you spellbound.
9. Pallepfam, Manipuri
This Manipuri romantic drama is about a man who starts questioning reality as he starts living two extremely different but parallel lives. Directed by Wanglen Khundongbam, the film’s cast includes Redy Yumnam, Leishangthem Tonthoi, and Apsara Anoubam.
10. Crossing Bridges, Sherdukpen
Crossing Bridges the first film to be made in Sherdukpen language is a homecoming story about a guy from city to his remote native village. Directed by Sange Dorjee Thongdok, this modern age drama takes you the scenic remote locations of Arunachal Pradesh as the protagonist begins to reconsider his life and career choices. One of powerful line in the film when protagonist says, “the outside world don’t know much about us” indicating the lack of awareness about the indigenous people of north-east by rest of India.
11. Yarwng, Kokborok
Joseph Pulinthanath directed Kokborok film Yarwng takes a look at the displacement of thousands of indigenous people in Tripura because of the Gumti Hydel project. With this film Tripura makes it’s mark for the first time in National Film Awards by winning the Best Kokborok Film.