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oinam doren - songs of mashangva
oinam doren
songs of mashangva

Release Date: 16/01/2012
Language: Other
Publish Date: 15/02/2012

Genre: Music Documentary, Nature / Earth, Society
tangkhul folk music strikes back in the modern age as "naga folk blues".

In the deep hills of northeast india, Christianity and pop culture have taken over the
lifestyle and imagination of the tangkhul tribes. Rewben Mashangva travels through the remote villages of the Tangkhul Naga to talk to the old people and collect traditional songs and instruments. The rhythms, melodies and lyrics form links to his own music, which he describes as Naga Folk Blues. In his traditional ‘haokuirat hairstyle’ and western boots along with his 9 year old son Saka, he performs across India and Southeast Asia spreading the message that there is no reason to be ashamed of one’s own culture and regard Western culture as superior.

About the project:
The film was shot for more than 18 months in Shillong, Kolkatta, Rajasthan, New Delhi, Imphal, Nagaland and a number of misty, mysterious villages in Ukhrul district of Manipur.

A National award winner, the highest filmmaking award given in India by the President, the film has been screened in a number of international film festivals winning rave reviews for its mesmerising cinematography and melodious rare tangkhul folk tunes & chants.
Photographer: oinam doren | Designer: the root reel | film poster
Press Release
For all those who might not know of Rewben Mashangva, he is a Tangkhul Naga musician who hales from the Choithar village of Manipur. He is the only Tangkhul Naga trying to save their 1000 year old folk music tradition.He works from Imphal and doesn’t even have a proper house to work out of and yet he has been climbing up the stairs of success and with each step getting closer to the dream of putting the Tangkhul Naga Folk Music on the map of Indian music. Songs Of Mashangva, in many ways has worked as an eye opener for me. I am glad that I watched this documentary and I am sure that I will be watching it many times over.

Oinam Doren takes us through a period of a folk artist’s life and in doing so is able to pass over an important message.The narrative starts off with the introduction of Mashangva and his origin. Then we are taken deep into the Tangkhul community where we are given an insight into their folk music. The Tangkhul has songs for every occasion. be it war, marriage, harvesting or my personal favorite the lulla-by. Then there is the Khamahon, a non lyrical harmonic chanting which they practiced as war chants and while working in fields. Then we see the various traditions of the Tangkhul village including their history and how the village converted to Christianity through the eyes of villagers, social activists and Mashangva himself. The documentary also takes us with Mashangva top Rajasthan where he performs and then to Kolkata where he is awarded for his contribution to Northeastern Folk music. On the way we meet Shaka and Mashangva’s facilitators the ” springboardsurprises.com”

Through this picture, Oinam is able to successfully put forward a message to safeguard one’s own culture and heritage in away which will find many takers. There is a snazz and zing associated with the depiction of the Tangkhul which is bound to arouse interest and sense of respect for these people. For example, Mashangva’s narration through the many twists and turn of events works extremely well. The way he takes the authorities of Christianity head on in a simplistic way reminiscent of a true villager is amusing to watch. Watch out for the sequence where he narrates a story about how a “priest” termed his songs as too erotic and the answer that he gave for it….It is bound to extract some giggles if not roaring laughter.

The cinematography is breathtakingly beautiful. Right from the opening sequence where a close up of a group of ants is shown to the picturesque locales of Shillong, Tangkhul and Rajasthan, every frame presents a picture of beauty in entirety. I was especially blown over by the colorful apparels and the varied musical equipments shown. Most of Mashangva’s equipments are custom made out of products which are a regular presence in a farmer’s life. Mashangva strikes an important point when he says that the folk music will survive only if the the agricultural way of life of the people survive.

The music for the documentary is perfect. Oinam has used authentic tunes and hymns from the Tangkhul and the involvement of Mashangva must have helped his cause to strike the right cords and he does so with elan. The cinematography gels flawlessly with music and creates a hypnotic mix of visuals and sounds which is difficult to get out of. A film like this one should be seen on the big screen with the best possible audio output to get the treatment the way the director intended it to be.

Overall Songs Of Mashangva is a victory all the way. It justifies the truck load of awards that it has received. I feel that a documentary of this type should be popularized and marketed even more so as to ensure that as many people as possible get to see

review by Aambar Chatterjee on october 25, 2012

Producer: Oinam Doren
Actors: rewben mashangva, saka mashangva
Cinematographer: Oinam Doren
Record Label: romi lamabam
Music Composer: Rewben Mashangva
Country: india
Subtitles: english
Original Film Format: 16:9 widescreen NTSC
Office release date: january 2012
Locations shot: Rajasthan, Kolkata, Nagaland, Shillong, Manipur
Awards / Nominations: National Awards 2010, INDIA
Distibution Company: Times Group
External Link / URL: http://http://dearcinema.com/article/national-award-winner-songs-of-mashangva-to-compete-in-lessinia-film-festival/1521
External Link / URL: http://http://timesmusic.retailmart.com/songs-of-mashangva.html
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